Kitchen runners are long, rectangular carpets that usually feature some sort of gripping material to keep the carpets in position when placed on a smooth kitchen floor. These carpets can vary in style, size, and function, and the materials used to make kitchen runners can vary significantly as well. Some runners are made with machine washable safe synthetic materials that will resist staining and water damage, as it is likely the runner will end up with spills and food droppings at some point. Others are made with cushioning material to help enhance the comfort of someone who stands in one place for long periods of time.
Sisal kitchen runners are popular because the material is stiff and resistant to damage, and it can be cleaned fairly easily. This natural fiber can absorb quite a bit of moisture, however, so it can be susceptible to mold and moisture damage. Synthetic fibers such as nylon or polypropylene may be used to make kitchen runners, and these materials are good choices because they will resist water damage and staining in most cases. The downside to these synthetics can be the cost: they are likely to be more expensive than some other materials, though the cost of the rug will rarely be unmanageable.
The size of the kitchen runners can vary according to the homeowner's needs. Most are long and narrow so they will cover the floor along a counter, or in front of a sink or stove. Others can be shorter and wider to accommodate various kitchen shapes and sizes. The runners are unlikely to feature fringes, as these can cause a tripping hazard or even a fire hazard in the kitchen, and fringes can be difficult to keep clean.
Non-slip materials are often used in the creation of kitchen runners. Some runners may feature a non-slip bottom, which means the rug will not slip out of place when a person is moving across the runner. The bottom of the rug can be rubberized to accomplish this non-slip feature. Other types of kitchen runners are treated on both the top and bottom of the rug so the rug will not slip out of place and the person standing or walking on the runner will not slip. Rubber mats can be used as runners as well to provide a non-slip, cushioned surface that eases strain on the feet and legs, particularly when the person is standing on the rug for long periods of time.