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#6 Bath Restyle 101: The Spa-Quality Towel is the Quintessential Bathroom Accessory

STYLE YOUR BATHROOM LIKE A LUXURY SPA

Bath Mats & Rugs: Style and Warmth for Your Spa Bath

Welcome back to our final lesson of Bath Restyle 101, a design series where we've been collaborating to give your bath a spa-style transformation.

Our most recent lesson covered one of my very favorite topics: luxury bath towels. It’s worth repeating that towels are often the first things that come to mind when you think of a spa. To help you choose your perfect “spa” towel, we took a deep dive into multiple aspect of bath towels including fabric (cotton is always the best choice); textile safety certifications including GOTS and Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX®; towel weave (traditional terry vs. other styles like twill and waffle); towel weight (including the pros and cons of heavy vs. medium weight towels); and color (neutral tones and subtle shades). Lastly, we gave an overview of luxury bath towel care to help you get lasting beauty and performance out of your towels.

Today we’re going to explore a related subject: bath mats and bath rugs. Depending on the towel manufacturer and style you choose, these may be an extension of your bath towels. You can also choose a bath rug that is a statement piecein its own right and a focal point of the room. Just because bath mats and rugs are the topic of our final lesson, don’t get the impression that these are an afterthought. Indeed, the Fine Linen and Bath design team has frequently outfitted and accessorized an entire bath around a stunning rug.

So let’s get started and take a close look at what goes under your feet in the spa bath!

The difference between a Bath Mat and a Bath Rug

Understanding Bath Rugs vs. Bath Mats

The distinction between bath rugs and bath mats can be a bit confusing, especially when the terms are often (incorrectly) used interchangeably. In fact, bath mats and bath rugs are two different types of accessory.

Bath Rug

A bath rug is a decorative accessory that is meant to go anywhere on the bathroom floor. A bathroom rug is heavier in weight, typically made of combed cotton (or a blend of cotton and acrylic depending on the pattern and style), and often has a canvas or non-slip backing. Bathroom rugs can complement a towel collection; coordinate with design elements such as a shower curtain, paint color, or wall décor; or make a bold style statement by serving as the room’s focal point. A well-chosen bath rug will definitely add warmth to your spa bath.

Simple Bath Mat vs Decorative Bath Rug

Bath Mat

A bath mat is made to be placed directly outside the shower or bathtub and is designed to catch water from wet feet and prevent slips; it is lighter in weight, highly absorbent, and most often made of cotton terry, similar to a thick towel. A bath mat can typically be found as part of a bath towel collection and coordinates in color scheme, style, and finish with the bath towels. (Note: you can also purchase a non-slip bath mat with silicone finish for additional safety.) Bath mats are soft and absorbent; you can even find bath mats filled with memory foam material for the ultimate cushion.

The Difference Between a Bath Mat and a Bath Rug

 

Bath Mats

Bath Rugs

Purpose

Absorb water, improve safety

Design, décor, warmth, luxury

Placement

Outside of shower, tub

Anywhere in room

Weight

Lighter, closer to towel weight

Heavier, often with non-slip backing

Part of towel collection

Usually

Sometimes coordinate with towel collections

Stand-alone designs

Not typically

Many stand-alone design choices like color, pattern, and texture

Size

Standard sizes

Standard sizes and custom options

Washable

Yes

Often

As a rule of thumb: bath mats typically coordinate with your towel collection. Bath rugs MAY coordinate, complement, or stand alone as a focal point.

Side by Side of Graccioza Egoist and Graccioza Aura Bath Linens
Featured Bath Rugs - Left: Graccioza Egoist Right: Graccioza Aura

How to Choose a Spa-Style Bath Rug

For today’s discussion, I’m assuming that you will select a bath mat in the same collection as your bath towels. This leaves only the question of your spa bath rug. I recommend considering the following things.

Size and placement of your Bath Rug

The square footage of your bathroom will dictate how–and where–your rug will go. You don’t want the rug to overwhelm the space (I still have nightmares about the carpeted bathroom our family had when I was a kid in the ‘70s–yuck!) so plan accordingly. If you have a larger bath, feel free to use several smaller rugs in different places such as in front of the sink, in front of the shower (with a bath mat on top of course), etc.

Budget - How much should you spend on a Bath Rug

The price for bath rugs varies widely depending on the manufacturer and style. Like bath towels, high-quality bath rugs are indeed an investment. Some luxury European bath linen manufacturers offer rugs in standard and custom sizes. These collections range from solid-colored rugs to decorative rugs and imaginative pieces – true works of art for the bath. Over my decades in the luxury linen business, I have seen bath rugs that have absolutely taken my breath away with their beauty and intricacy.

Side by Side of Habidecor Sakura and Habidecor Carare

Featured Bath Rugs - Left: Habidecor Sakura Right: Habidecor Carare

Style of your Bath Rug

In general, it is best to stick to neutral tones for a “spa” bath rug. With that said, you can add a bit of drama with a pattern, design, or sculptural weave. Don’t be afraid to experiment. If you’ve gone understated with the rest of your spa bath decor, the rug is a great place to add focus. You can also use your rug to subtly pick up a color used elsewhere in the bath (for example, green to echo the shades and tone of your plants).

Basics of Bath Rug Care

Your bath mats can be washed according to the same instructions as your luxury bath towels as outlined in our last lesson. Use a gentle detergent; avoid fabric softener, dryer sheets, or bleach; and sort bath linen according to weight and color before washing. Always follow the care guidelines on the label.

Most bath rugs are washable, but may be too heavy to wash at home (especially in a machine with an agitator mechanism). For a washable rug, I recommend a front-loading machine (even if it means a trip to the laundromat) and the same gentle detergent formulated for fine bath towels. You should also spot treat any dirt or stains on your bath rug immediately to prevent them from setting; I like using concentrated detergent right on a wash cloth with warm water.

One important care note: As strange as this sounds, you should NEVER vacuum your bath rugs. Unlike other household carpeting, a bath rug can be damaged by the extreme suction of your vacuum. Instead, shake your bath rug outside and air it out (away from direct sunlight) between washings.

As we close, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for joining me on this design adventure. I hope you’ve gathered lots of ideas and inspiration for styling your spa bath, and that you create your perfect space to retreat, relax, and renew.

Warmly,


Mary Babinski
Founder and Lead Designer, Fine Linen and Bath

P.S. If you’re pleased with the results of your restyle, I’d love you to share your before and after pictures with me. Drop me a line at mary@flandb.com. Of course, I’m happy to answer any questions or offer an idea or two if you find yourself “stuck.”

 

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