How to protect the carpet under a kitchen table in an apartment?
January 2, 2011 4:41 PM   Subscribe

How to protect the carpet under a kitchen table in an apartment?

The kitchen in my apartment is too small to fit my kitchen table (46" x 28") so I have had to place it in an adjacent room with brand new carpeting. I am trying to protect the carpeting from getting ruined from spills from the table and scrapes from the chairs that will inevetibly happen. The minimum area that needs to be protected is probably (48" x 84"). I am looking for something that is easy to clean, will allow chairs to slide easily on, relatively inexpensive, and looks ok.

I have had a couple of ideas, but they both have problems:

1) Flor Carpet Tiles
+Could look decent.
-Not sure that they will allow chairs to slide easily.
-Not sure how easy they will be to clean.
-Relatively expensive

2) Square Chair Mat
+Easy to clean
-I haven't found one big enough
-Not good looking

Does anyone have any good ideas?
posted by cycleback to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
A large area rug? The chairs will probably slide as easily as on the regular carpeting, and area rugs usually look fine on wall-to-wall carpeting. Plus it'd help define the area. Since you know this rug will get spills and messes, get something relatively inexpensive from Target, and in a pattern that won't show spills.
posted by bluedaisy at 4:45 PM on January 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've become a huge advocate for polypropylene synthetic rugs. I bought several while battling a major clothing moth infestation (my wool rugs kept offering them safe harbor). Overstock has a huge selection at great prices. I personally love this style, which are very low knap, making it very easy to keep them clean. They are extremely stain resistant. I had a guess accidentally get ink on one of mine, and was able to easily scrub it out with household cleaners that would be to harsh for a cotton or wool rug. I also have a desk chair which moves very easily on this rug.
posted by kimdog at 4:50 PM on January 2, 2011

I'm not understanding how sliding chairs is going to damage the carpet. Though of course picking up the chairs when you want to move them is the easy way around that. Unless your landlord is insane, I wouldn't worry too much about wear and tear on the carpet. I mean, you live there. You have to use your home. You are more important than any carpet.

For food stuff:

A. If you are a relatively neat eater, vacuuming under the carpet regularly should be fine. If you find that you dribble a lot onto the floor, you might also look into pushing your chair closer to the table, and having a napkin on your lap.

B. If you are a very messy eater, I would get a semi-disposable (or possibly easily cleanable) cheap rug to put over the carpet and let things fall where they may. I mean, definitely still vacuum regularly as in option A. But just in case we're talking, like, "I spill red wine, beet juice, and barbecue sauce on the floor every time I eat a meal", at least you've got that extra layer of non-permanent carpet protecting things. In that situation, honestly anything affordable and non-hideous will do. Flor tiles, sure, why not? Or whatever else you like, I suppose. Flor has the benefit of being aesthetically unobtrusive. I like the cheap rag rugs IKEA sells, too.
posted by Sara C. at 5:15 PM on January 2, 2011

Flor tiles aren't really for use on top of carpet. The "joints" between the sides of two tiles won't be able to remain flat and stay together since the tiles are flexible and only secured at the intersection between three or four tiles. I suspect the legs or wheels of chairs will get caught in those gaps and cause the Flor tiles to separate. (See
posted by jroybal at 5:20 PM on January 2, 2011

Get the carpet ScotchGuarded- maybe even give it a prophylactic steam cleaning with some kind of protectant in it? I don't really have any experience with this, but it seems like a carpet that has already been cleaned will be less likely to get stained. I have no idea why I think this.

If you go the area rug route, make sure you have rugs to cover all the traffic areas or else you will have a circle of clean with an edge of dirty. This will look more obvious to picky landlords than a carpet that is either 100% clean, or worn/dirty naturally.
posted by gjc at 5:35 PM on January 2, 2011

I keep living in rental accommodation with white or cream coloured carpets (what's WITH that???) and so we just put rugs from IKEA under all the high traffic areas, including the table. IKEA has a large selection and they are cheap.
posted by lollusc at 5:45 PM on January 2, 2011

Get some of those plastic carpet protectors that you use in front of a desk. Staples, WalMart has them, etc. Your chair would slide easily and they could be wiped clean. Those protectors have little teeth like points on the bottom to keep the protector from sliding.
posted by JayRwv at 5:52 PM on January 2, 2011

Response by poster: I have thought about the carpet protectors but worried they are not going to look so hot.
posted by cycleback at 7:22 PM on January 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

We, also, use the Ikea rugs. At $15 for a 4x6, they are cheap enough to just change out when they are dirty. Plus, they're reasonably stylish and modern looking.
posted by Knowyournuts at 7:51 PM on January 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Maybe I'm not the best tenant in the world, but unless you have a feeling that your landlord is going to be a big pain in the ass about it or are a particularly messy eater, I wouldn't worry too much about it. A reasonable landlord should expect you to use your home, not lock it away in some time capsule.

I have a friend who got a new puppy in a rental house, and he covered the new (white) carpets in plastic sheeting, then carpet tiles. It looks pretty good, and aside from a faint crinkling sound, I wouldn't have noticed it wasn't regular carpet. It did cost about $200 for the whole first floor, but he paid a $500 pet deposit, so it'll likely save him $300.

Unless you have a similar financial incentive, I'd say forget about it or go for a giant area rug.
posted by fontophilic at 8:20 PM on January 2, 2011

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