Best play mats: 6 most stylish baby play mat designs

We've found the best play mats, designed to please parents just as much as babies, with stylish and modern designs and patterns that will engage your baby and suit your interior scheme

best play mats : reversible play mat
(Image credit: Totter and Tumble)

We've found six of the best play mats that will please parents just as much as babies, with stylish and modern designs and patterns that will suit your interior scheme.

There are soft, quilted and textured play mats complete with little toys sewn in, like mirrors, flaps, crinkle leaves and rattles, and there are wipe-clean rubbery mats that are ideal for older, crawling babies.

There's a play mat that can be used both indoors and outdoors – ideal for taking to the beach, on picnics, or just enjoying some sunshine in the garden.

We've even found some reversible designs, with a side to engage and stimulate babies, and a pleasing muted pattern on the reverse so that it can blend into the home like a rug.

Whatever style or functions you're looking for, you're bound to find the best play mat for you from our edit below. That is play time sorted! For bed time check out the best cot bed mattress.

The best play mats for stylish, modern homes

Image 1 of 6

little dutch plat may quilted with toys from scandiborn

(Image credit: Scandiborn)
Image 1 of 6

little dutch plat may quilted with toys from scandiborn

(Image credit: Scandiborn)

1. Little Dutch Activity Playmat

The best interactive play mat

Specifications
Size: 80 x 100 cm
Material: 100% cotton, with 100% polyester filling inside
Colour options: Blue or green
Reasons to buy
+Super padded for extra comfort+Comes with a range of toys to stimulate and encourages independent play and tummy time+Gorgeous material, colours and style+Machine washable on a 30 ° wash
Reasons to avoid
-It's washable but not wipe-clean, so will likely need frequent washing with posseting babies.

The stylish play mats from Little Dutch are available in either an ocean scene or goose theme, and come in a soft green shade or a dusty medium blue. Super padded, and with toys sewn into the seams, they're great for really little babies to encourage some tummy time, and great for sitting babies too.

What we like

Unpacking this play mat we were amazed by just how soft the play mat is, and super padded / quilted, making playing on the floor very comfortable. The texture of the fabric feels like a cross between towelling and velour, and the mat is so cushioned it's almost mattress-like. We love the look and feel of the little toys too. They feel a lot more stylish than many play mat designs out there on the market.

We tested the ocean themed one which comes with a crab toy with a mirror, seaweed that makes a loud crinkle sound, a whale which rattles and a jelly fish with dangly bits – plenty to stimulate and to encourage independent play.

What we don't like

Our only criticism would be that it will likely need frequent washing for posseting babies, as it's not a wipe-clean fabric.

Image 1 of 3

round cream linen baby nest play mat with raised side

(Image credit: Alex & Alexa)
Image 1 of 3

round cream linen baby nest play mat with raised side

(Image credit: Alex & Alexa)

2. Buddy & Hope's Cosy Nest

The most stylish / attractive play mat

Specifications
Size: 100 cm in diameter and 18 cm in height
Material: 100% Cotton with 100% Polyester filling / padding
Colour options: pink, green, mustard, cream or grey
Reasons to buy
+Looks super stylish, would suit any interior scheme+Available in a range of colours+Padded for comfort+Raised sides to stop babies 'escaping', plus creates a safe, cocooning feel for them+Zip closure at the sides makes the cover easily detachable+Machine washable
Reasons to avoid
-It's not interactive, so you'd need to provide the baby with toys.-It's washable but not wipe-clean, so will likely need frequent washing with posseting babies.

From the Swedish brand Buddy & Hope, this cosy play mat is like a giant baby nest. It's even big enough for two babies to sit and play,  or do some tummy time.

What we like

We love the chic design with a gentle frill around the edge, and we love the range of muted colours too; it's available in cream (pictured), grey, pink, sage green or a mustard colour. It would suit any interior scheme, and is the most stylish, 'adult-friendly' design we've seen – this is a play mat you won't have to hide away when you have visitors.

The play mat is soft and padded, plus the raised sides help stop babies 'escaping', plus creates a safe, cocooning feel for them.

The Cosy Nest arrived in a see-through bag with a handle and zip, making it easy to carry / transport, and easy to store and pack away.

A zip running along the base means you can remove the cover and pop it in the wash.

What we don't like

Our only criticism is that it's not an interactive play mat (arguably why it looks so clean and stylish), so you'll need to provide some toys for the baby to keep them engaged.

Image 1 of 2

eden anais bonding playmat blanket

(Image credit: Eden + Anais)
Image 1 of 2

eden anais bonding playmat blanket

(Image credit: Eden + Anais)

3. Aden + Anais Baby Bonding Playmat

The best play mat for baby development

Specifications
Size: 114 x 114 cm
Material: 100% muslin combed cotton with 100% hypoallergenic poly fill
Colour options: One pattern
Reasons to buy
+Comes with toys sewn in, plenty to stimulate and engage babies+Breathable, muslin material+Larger than other plat mats, to encourage parents to join baby for bonding+Folds away small, easy to store+Reversible, with a plain motif on other side+Machine washable
Reasons to avoid
-It's washable but not wipe-clean, so will likely need frequent washing with posseting babies.

The Baby Bonding play Mat from Adan & Anais is generously sized so that parents can play alongside baby to interact during tummy time.

The design is aimed to stimulate babies and encourage development, with a bird toy rattle that encourages fine motor skills, a sun mirror and peekaboo leaves to encourage cognitive skills, and crinkle leaf toys to help develop sensory development.

What we like

We love the hand-embroidered design and breathable cotton muslin texture. It comes with a range of toys sewn into the play mat, to keep baby entertained and engaged. It also packs / folds away small, making it easy to store.

What we don't like

Our only criticism is that for all fabric / textured play mats, which is that it's not the best option for posseting babies as it's not wipe-clean.

Image 1 of 8

botanical leaf print play mat

(Image credit: Marmalade Lion)
Image 1 of 8

botanical leaf print play mat

(Image credit: Marmalade Lion)

4. Amongst The Ferns Play Mat by Marmalade Lion

The best play mat for both indoor and outdoor use

Specifications
Size: Diameter 100cm
Material: Cotton cover. Memory foam insert. Eco-friendly TPU waterproof coating.
Colour options: Comes in 8 different patterns
Reasons to buy
+Machine washable cover, waterproof mattress+Non-slip rubber dots on the bottom mean that it won't slide on slippery floors+Suitable for indoor as well as outdoor use+Mattress makes it soft to play even on hard floors and patios+Choice of 8 pretty, muted and pleasing designs to suit your interior+Arrives in a draw-string bag and is easy to pack away and store, also great for travel
Reasons to avoid
-Nothing

Marmalade Lion's play mats are large, round and super soft, with rubber dots on the bottom to help hold the play mat in place and prevent it from slipping and sliding around. We love the 'Among The Ferns' design, perfect for bringing a bit of the outdoors indoors, but we also love their Australian washable wool play mat, made from real sheeps wool.

The designs are all muted, and aimed at pleasing parents as much as babies, with an aesthetic that suits your interior. The play mats are also water resistant, and feature non-slip backing, making them very practical for using on any surface – including outdoors during the summer months.

The insert inside the cover is waterproof and made from thick, padded memory foam, which means it's super comfortable for babies as well as kneeling parents.

What we like

The play mat arrives rolled up in a pretty sack with pull-close string, making them easy to store away when not in use. The cover comes off so that it can be popped in the wash, and the mattress is waterproof so can be wiped clean.

The play mat unfolds as a super squishy waterproof wipe down circular floor cushion or mattress. The cover that comes with it has Velcro opening at the back, and slots over the top like a pillowcase, and fastens at the back with the Velcro pads.

The bottom has anti slip dots so that it can be placed on a kitchen or living room floor without slipping around. Meanwhile the leaf print top is a lovely soft material and features a pretty botanical motif.

The Australian washable wool one also arrives in a drawstring bag, and features a truly gorgeous low pile sheepskin play mat. It doesn’t have that lanolin smell as it's been treated to be washable, but the texture is undeniable authentic sheep’s wool.

What we don't like

We couldn't think of anything.

Image 1 of 7

best play mat

(Image credit: Skip Hop)
Image 1 of 7

best play mat

(Image credit: Skip Hop)

5. Skip Hop Reversible Play Mat

The best reversible play mat design to please both babies and parents

Specifications
Size: 132 x 218 cm
Material: 100% Polyurethane
Colour options: Available in two patterns
Reasons to buy
+Reversible design with a side aimed at holding a baby's attention, and another side which is more calming and muted+Cushioned and squishy, soft to play on+Wipe-clean and waterproof+Large pictures, lots to look at+A winding road design that pleases toddlers with an interest in vehicles
Reasons to avoid
-It's prone to tearing, so we don't recommend outdoor use

When we first laid eyes on the brightly coloured play mat, decorated with cartoons and a bold black wiggle road running down the middle, we worried about how it would look in our interior. But in all honesty, the design looks much better up close, and we're now sold on the design.

With one side that appeals to little ones with lots to look at, and high contrasting colours (great for babies eye development), it also comes with a pleasing reverse side which is more Scandi and muted. Thus, bold pattern to keep babies fascinated, then just flip it round for an aesthetic that's easy on the eye.

What we like

We love that this play mat is reversible with a side aimed at holding a baby's attention, and another side which is more calming and muted.

The texture of the play mat is quite rubbery and plastic-like, but it's cushioned, squishy and wipe-down as well as waterproof. 

Once unrolled it feels very springy – great for small babies as well as crawling babies, as it will feel spongy under hands and knees.

The images of the birds and houses are quite large, and they’re all different, with a cycling bunny and a hot air balloon and more, so plenty for babies to look at when doing tummy time.

The curved road also offers interaction for toddlers who enjoy playing with toy vehicles.

While the bright colours might not match your interior scheme, the baby will love it. It was also an instant hit with my two year old. It rolls up easily, and is fairly light so can be carried easily for storage. It also comes with Velcro straps to hold it together as a roll.

What we don't like

It's prone to tearing, so we don't recommend outdoor use.

Image 1 of 16

best play mat

(Image credit: Totter and Tumble)
Image 1 of 16

best play mat

(Image credit: Totter and Tumble)

6. Totter + Tumble play mats

The largest play mat – perfect for crawling babies

Specifications
Size: 210 x 140cm
Material: high quality, phthalate, and lead-free PVC
Colour options: Choose from 16 different designs and patterns
Reasons to buy
+Gorgeous, neutral designs to suit interior schemes+Reversible, with contrast pattern on reverse+Large size, ideal for crawling babies+Spongy, 1.3cm thick, soft on little knees+Wipe-clean
Reasons to avoid
-Designed with style in mind, so don't expect any toys, mirrors or flaps

Totter + Tumble play mats are robust yet squishy, keeping little ones cushioned on the floor. There are 16 different patterns to choose from, all designed with home interiors in mind, making them blend into the home the same way that a rug would.

They are all reversible, so you can switch up the patterns.

Made from sealed, waterproof memory foam, they're easy to wipe clean.

What we like

Designed like a rug for your home; stylish, large, spongy and soft – but wipe-clean. They are perfect for tummy time and play time, and the ideal play mat for crawling babies.

We particularly love the Rambler's cool and calming fresh sage green colour and leafy botanical pattern, bringing a hint of outdoors in. There are lots of Scandi inspired and geometric designs too, as well as some brand new grey leopard print patterned ones.

What we don't like

They are designed to suit your interior in the way that a rug would, so don't expect any bells and whistles (or mirrors, rattles and flaps).

What to look for when buying a play mat

  1. Purpose: Are you looking for a colourful play mat with toys to engage, stimulate and entertain during tummy time? Or are you looking for a large rubber mat design that's more suited to crawling babies? There are different designs to suit different age groups. For a one-size-fits-all play mat, opt for a large and reversible design, with one side to stimulate baby, one side that's better suited to your interior, and large enough to be enjoyed even by crawling babies.
  2. Easy to clean: All play mats are easy to clean to an extent, but the wipe-down waterproof mats will be better for drooling or posseting babies (babies with reflux) and safer against sticky fingers. Fabric ones can be soft and cosy, but require frequent washing.
  3. Developmental milestones: For younger babies, black and white patterns will stimulate eye development, and small sewn-on toys like mirrors and rattles will encourage fine motor skills.

Why are play mats good for babies?

Play mats encourage babies to explore the world around them in a safe, soft and stimulating environment. They also provide visual and sensory stimulation and are ideal for tummy time to help strengthen neck and stomach muscles.

What age are play mats for?

You can start to use play mats from six to seven weeks old. While some play mats are outgrown by the age of six months, some play mats go all the way up to two years of age.

Lotte Brouwer
Lotte Brouwer

Lotte is the Digital Editor for Livingetc, and has been with the website since its launch. She has a background in online journalism and writing for SEO, with previous editor roles at Good Living, Good Housekeeping, Country & Townhouse, and BBC Good Food among others, as well as her own successful interiors blog. When she's not busy writing or tracking analytics, she's doing up houses, two of which have features in interior design magazines. She's just finished doing up her house in Wimbledon, and is eyeing up Bath for her next project.