7 Chair Mat Alternatives (That Look Good & Won't Break the Bank)

Nick Durante
by Nick Durante
The best office setup is one that pays attention to all of the details, including the chair mat. However, there are 7 chair mat alternatives that are even better, and that includes bell glides. Whether it be bell glides or polyurethane wheels, follow along as we explore the best chair mat alternatives.

Chair mats are useful, but they aren’t exactly easy on the eyes or visually appealing. Many homeowners look for alternatives to traditional chair mats for that exact reason, and it’s easy to understand why. There are so many options out there, so what are the best chair mat alternatives that money can buy?

Chairs without wheels, standing desks, polyurethane wheels, and rugs are the best chair mat alternatives. Felt pads for chair legs are also a great alternative because they are discreet and smooth. Otherwise, glass chair mats and bell glides are useful chair mat substitutes because they allow the chair to glide easily.

You can find chair mat alternatives that suit your style, flooring, and personal preference. Follow along as we dive into the best chair alternatives that you can find right now.

Top Alternatives To Chair Mats

1. Chair Without Wheels

If you have a chair without wheels, you won’t have the need for a chair mat at all. Chair mats are mostly useful for chairs with wheels to protect the flooring. However, if your chair doesn’t have wheels, then that is not an issue.

Chairs without wheels are mostly ideal for hardwood and laminate flooring because they prevent scuff marks. You should still be careful with chairs without wheels so that you don’t drag them across the floor. Chair mats can be an eyesore at times, and chairs without wheels make it so that you don’t need one.

You can find chairs without wheels in countless materials, colors, finishes, and styles. Don’t limit yourself to traditional office chairs with wheels, especially if you don’t want a chair mat.

  • Great for wood flooring
  • Many styles available
  • Requires no chair mat
  • Inexpensive
  • Not ideal for marble or vinyl flooring

2. Rug

Rugs are one of the best substitutes for chair mats, and they are also quite stylish. Not only do they protect your flooring from the chair, but they add a visual flair to the room. You can find rugs that match the aesthetic of the room, or rugs that create a contrast.

There are countless sizes and shapes of rugs that are available, and there are more options than there are for chair mats. Granted, rugs are not always ideal for chairs with wheels depending on the thickness of the rug itself. Rugs that are not overly dense are the best for office chairs because they allow you to easily move or roll the chair.

Try to look for rugs that fit your personal style as long as it still allows for easy movement. The last thing that you want is a thick rug that requires you to lift the chair to move it each time. Rugs are the perfect chair mat alternative for the homeowner with visual appeal in the back of their mind.

  • Countless styles and sizes
  • Visually appealing
  • Easy to transport
  • Comfortable
  • Sometimes difficult for wheels
  • Can be expensive

3. Chair Leg Felt Pads

Choose chair leg felt pads if you want a simple, effective, and discreet alternative to chair mats. You can find chair leg felt pads for between $3 and $15, and they’re worth every penny. Chair leg felt pads simply attach to the bottom of the legs and they protect your flooring.

This allows you to rest easy knowing that your chair won’t produce scuff marks and floor damage. The nice thing about felt pads is that you can’t notice them unless you lift the chair and look under the legs. Unfortunately, felt pads only stay strong for up to 6 months, but in many cases, you’ll need to replace them after 3 months.

However, it is worth the cost considering how affordable chair leg felt pads are. Chair leg felt pads are the perfect alternative for homeowners that want to flaunt their flooring without covering it with a chair mat.

  • Discreet
  • Affordable
  • Protects your flooring
  • Only lasts 3-6 months
  • Doesn’t work for chairs with wheels

4. Bell Glides

If you want to avoid scuff marks, damage, and indentation without a chair mat, bell glides are a great solution. Bell glides are essentially discs at the bottom of your chair’s legs that allow them to easily glide. That means that you won’t have to worry about scraping or scuffing hardwood floors, and you won’t leave marks in the carpet.

You can find packs of bell glides for as little as $8-$11, and they’re easy to put on your chair. Simply remove the wheels from your chair and replace them with a compatible set of bell glides. They are affordable enough that they’re at least worth giving a try.

Bell glides are often used to replace caster wheels, and it’s easy to understand why. You won’t need a chair mat because of how gentle bell glides are for all types of flooring.

  • Affordable
  • Gentle on floors
  • Easy to install
  • Not visually appealing
  • Doesn’t roll

5. Standing Desks

Do you want a chair mat alternative that is as practical as it is healthy? If so, then look no further than standing desks that remove the need for a chair. Standing desks have become more and more popular for their health benefits and unique spin on office work.

You don’t need a chair mat because, well, you don’t even need a chair with standing desks. That means that you can enjoy your flooring as is without worrying about covering it up with a mat. Standing desks often come equipped with wheels so that you can easily move them in or out of the room.

This means that you can free up space in the respective room as needed without much trouble. Standing desks can become tiring for some homeowners, especially if you spend several hours at them. Even still, standing desks are one of the most practical and unique chair mat alternatives that money can buy.

  • Healthy
  • Easy to move
  • Variety of options
  • They can become tiring
  • Expensive

6. Glass Mats

Most traditional chair mats are made of polycarbonate, vinyl, and PVC, and they aren’t visually appealing. However, glass mats have recently become popular alternatives to traditional chair mats due to their smooth surface. Not only that, but glass chair mats are visually appealing, and they look great under any lighting setup.

Traditional chair mats can put up a fight when you try to roll your chair across them. However, that is not an issue when it comes to glass mats. Glass mats allow your chair to smoothly glide across the surface without resistance, and it’s satisfying.

You can find high-quality glass mats for between $50 and $150 depending on the seller. Glass mats look the best over hardwood because they allow you to see the surface below. Consider a glass mat if traditional chair mats aren’t smooth enough for your chair’s wheels.

  • Smooth gliding
  • Looks great on hardwood
  • Perfect for chairs with wheels
  • Breakable
  • They can be loud

7. Polyurethane Wheels

The simplest chair mat alternative is polyurethane wheels for your chair, and it works like a charm. Polyurethane wheels allow for satisfying mobility and smooth-rolling whether you have a mat or not. You don’t need a chair mat if you have vinyl, marble, or hardwood flooring underneath your chair with wheels.

Polyurethane is the best material for chair wheels because they are lightweight, slim, and glides easily. That means that you won’t have to worry about damaging your flooring with polyurethane wheels. Granted, polyurethane wheels are not ideal if you have carpet as they won’t properly roll across it.

As long as you keep your floors tidy, your polyurethane wheels should stay smooth and clean. They are the best option for homeowners that need to be mobile in their chairs, and that’s why polyurethane is the way to go. Pick up some polyurethane wheels so that you won’t need to worry about a chair mat that clashes with your room.

  • Slim
  • Glides well
  • Stays clean easily
  • Not ideal for carpet
  • They can be loud

Related Questions

What are chair mats made of?

Chair mats are often made out of polymers such as polycarbonate, but many are vinyl and PVC. There are natural options, such as wood, which are great for a rustic room. Otherwise, glass chair mats are a durable and visually appealing material in many chair mats.

Do chair mats ruin carpet?

No, chair mats do not ruin carpet, and in fact, they help to protect them, and they accommodate all types of chairs. Chair mats prevent your carpet from getting indentations from your chair’s legs or wheels. It is important to vacuum the carpet underneath your chair mat to keep it healthy.

Are glass chair mats slippery?

Glass chair mats can become slippery if you don’t clean them often and the room is prone to dust. Otherwise, the glass chair mats only become as slippery as you allow them to. However, glass chair mats are high maintenance because they can easily become dirty.

How do you wash a chair mat?

You can wash a chair mat with a simple mix of warm water and soap. It’s important to wash both sides of the chair mat and dry the underside fully before you set it back down.

Summing It Up

Chairs without wheels are the best chair mat alternative because they don’t require a mat at all. Choose a chair with polyurethane wheels if you prefer chair mats that can easily roll or glide. Alternatives such as glass chair mats are ideal if you have wooden flooring and want your chair to glide across the surface.

Standing desks are another great option that requires no chair mat because you don’t even need a chair. If you want a discreet chair mat alternative, consider felt pads because they have adhesive that sticks to the bottom of the legs. Bell glides are the perfect choice if you want your chair to smoothly glide across your flooring without leaving scuff marks behind.

Otherwise, you could use a rug in place of a traditional chair mat so that you can add a decorative flair to the room. Each of these chair mat alternatives are affordable, practical, and aesthetically pleasing.

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Nick Durante
Nick Durante

Nick Durante is a professional writer with a primary focus on home improvement. When he is not writing about home improvement or taking on projects around the house, he likes to read and create art. He is always looking towards the newest trends in home improvement.

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