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Office Chair Mat vs. Rug

Office chair mat or rug?

Are an office chair mat and a rug the same? If you aren’t well-versed with office equipment, then these two things can be easily interchanged.

But despite some similar characteristics, an office chair mat and a rug have different uses. Using each of them for your workspace has different pros and cons too.

So how different are they, and which should you use? That’s what we’re here to figure out.

And when you finish reading this post, you’ll be able to know if it’s an office chair mat or a rug that you prefer.

What is an Office Chair Mat?

Chair Mats - The Essential Item for your Home Office

An office chair mat is a flat surface made of vinyl, bamboo, or plastic that is placed near or under your desk. It’s where your office chair will be rolling on instead of directly on the floor.

Office chair mats aren’t created equal. Aside from using different materials, others are designed to be used on a carpet or a hardwood floor.

An example of this is a chair mat that has small cleats underneath. The purpose of those small cleats is to increase the hold of the mat on a carpeted floor.

On the other hand, an office chair mat that doesn’t have cleats will be perfect for hardwood floors.

Did you know that there are anti-static chair mats too? This type of chair mat is made to reduce the static you might get from electronic devices.

What is an Office Chair Rug?

office chair rug

On the other hand, an office chair rug is like a carpet that is usually low pile and allows for smooth mobility of your office chair. In all honesty, an office chair rug is a lot more similar to a carpet than an office chair mat.

There are three types of office chair rugs that are best for your workspace. These rugs aren’t just made to enhance the design of your workspace, but they’re also great for mobility, maintenance, and durability.

You can choose from low-pile, indoor, outdoor, and jute. Their common denominators are the flatness, and the ease of moving your office chair while rolling over them.

You use a rug the same way you would use any carpet. But since we’re talking about office-specific rugs, these rugs are just laid where your chair will be placed.

Side By Side Comparisons: Breaking It Down

By their definitions alone, we know that an office chair mat is different from an office chair rug. But we’re taking our knowledge another step further by looking at the areas where these two options can be different.

How to Use

Using and installing an office chair mat is very simple. If your mat isn’t rolled, then you have to unwrap the whole mat and look for the side that is meant to be facing the floor.

If your mat has cleats,  the cleats should be facing the carpet and the flat area is where your chair will roll on.

OFM Essentials Chairmat For Carpet 36x48 Review

But if your office chair mat comes in a roll,  you will need a few tools to flatten it out. Most of the time, if the mat doesn’t flatten right away, you will need to use electric tape to hold the mat to the ground.

Otherwise, the mat will curl up on the edges making it hard for you to roll on the mat.

The only difference with using an office rug is that you don’t need to use electric tape to tape the rug. And that’s regardless of them arriving flat or rolled.

With an office chair rug, you just have to unroll them and place them in front of your office desk.

How do They Work

Office chair mats are made of hard material that is thick enough to prevent any dents made by your casters on the floor. The thicker the chair mat, the better it will be in preventing any damages to your carpet or hardwood.

In other words, office chair mats work by serving as an extra layer of protection from your office chair wheels.

Unique Loom Sofia Collection Area Traditional Vintage Rug

Office chair rugs work in much the same way, they provide something extra – design.

Since office chair rugs can be made by different types of fabric and weavings, there can be different colors, patterns, and designs woven on the rug.

This way, it also serves as an additional ornament to your office space.


Office chair mats are much more affordable than office chair rugs. This is mainly because the materials used on the latter are much cheaper than those used on rugs.

DIY Office Chair Mat For Under $25!!!

Besides, you can always do DIY for an office chair mat which might cost you around $25 or less. Buying from a store can also cost similar to this or even cheaper.

As for office chair rugs, simple and plain designs start at $100. Again, rugs use more material (for the woven part) and these materials are usually more expensive than plastic, vinyl, or bamboo.


Safety is an important consideration, and when it comes to picking a safer option, it’s the office chair mat.

Office Chair Mat for Hardwood and Tile Floor

Office chair mats are, by design, non-slip. Some brands even offer an anti-static feature that will prevent static from reaching you.

As for office chair rugs, although they’re usually non-slippery, they’re not anti-static. The fabric and threads used will also automatically create static that might reach your skin.


There are many chair mat or rug alternatives that you can use for your office, but the most popular is the glass-made or hardwood-made office chair mats.

These mats aren’t your conventional mats because the glass mats allow you to see the design of your floors, while the hardwood mats can be covered with vinyl tiles of your choice.

Another alternative is by using felt pads on your chair legs so that they don’t damage your floors.

Scotch Felt Pads, Felt Furniture Pads

Comparison Table

To make comparing easier, let’s look at these two alternatives side-by-side:

Office Chair Mat Office Chair Rug
How to Use Cleats side down, use electric tape to flatten the sides Lay it down on the floor
How They Work Extra layer of protection to your floors Extra layer of protection and added design to your space
Affordability More affordable More expensive
Safety Can have anti-static features, non-slip Non-slip, casters can be caught up with the threads

Can I use a rug instead of a chair mat?

HIWOOD Carpet Low-Pile Desk Chairs Rug

Yes, you can use a rug instead of a chair mat as long as the rug you’re using is low pile and is meant for office chair use.

Remember, the reason why you’re adding a rug under your chair is so you can have better ease of movement and so you can prevent any damage done to your floors.

You should also consider looking for a rug that is thick but not fluffy. The thickness of the rug will be able to combat the pressure your office chair wheels might make on your floors.


You can use office chair mats or office chair rugs for your chair. While office chair mats are really made for protecting your floors, low-pile rugs can also be a good alternative for these mats.

However, When compared to one another,  office chair mats come out as more affordable and safe while rugs offer various designs.