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What Rug Material is Best for You?

An often overlooked consideration for purchasing a rug for your home is the materials the rugs are made from. Making the wrong choice could result in disaster if wine is spilt on it or your dog's paws are muddy.  

By being aware of the types of available rug materials and their durability, you can make an informed choice about the best rugs for your home.

Rug Materials

Area rugs are made from both natural fibres and synthetic materials, so the type of rug you choose will depend on many factors, like:

  • Durability
  • Texture
  • Location for rug
  • Sustainability

You may also wish to consider how easy it is to care for a rug before buying one.

Natural Rugs

natural rugs

Retailers that specialise in environmentally sustainable area rugs offer rugs made from natural materials like:

  • Wool
  • Cotton
  • Silk
  • Hemp
  • Bamboo
  • Leather

The sources of these materials are renewable so they to continue to be produced with little to no harm to the environment.

Wool Rugs

wool rug

Wool is a good option for busy households because rugs made from this fibre:

  • can handle heavy traffic
  • are found in a wide variety of colours and patterns because they easily absorb dye
  • are usually very comfortable to walk across. 

Wool is one of the most popular choices for both area rugs and carpets due to these features.

A wool rug can be put in almost any room, including the family room because it is stain resistant. Since it is a dense material, it repels liquids and gives you time to clean up spills. Eventually, liquids will absorb into wool, but it takes time for them to do so.

Most rugs made from wool are thick, so they would be a good choice as bedroom rugs so you could avoid stepping on cold floors during the winter. 

However, they are also available in a flat weave if that is your preference.

Cotton Rugs

cotton rug

Cotton is a versatile plant used in the manufacture of many textiles clothing, bed and bathroom linens, table linens, and area rugs are made from. It easily absorbs dye, so cotton rugs come in almost any colour you can imagine and a wide variety of patterns. 

Although not as durable as wool, cotton holds up well to continuous use, and it is easy to clean. If the rug is small enough, it can be put in a washing machine, or you can shampoo a large cotton rug to remove stains, mud, and ground in dirt.

Cotton is very soft so you could place one in your children's bedrooms, guestrooms, and in casual areas like play rooms. 

Silk Rugs

silk rug

Silk is a very soft material that looks beautiful when woven into a rug. However, it’s absorbent, and rugs made only from silk are not very durable, so they shouldn't be put in high traffic areas. 

If water or other liquids are spilt on a silk rug, they will easily absorb into the fabric, so they wouldn't be a good choice for family rooms, bedrooms, or other areas where people eat or have drinks.

Fortunately, when combined with wool or bamboo, area rugs made from these blends are more durable, less absorbent, and they can be put into almost any area in a house. The added fibres give the rugs more depth, and the silk gives them a nice sheen.

Hemp Rugs

Hemp fibres, derived from cannabis plants, have been used for centuries to create textiles. More people are buying clothing, shoes, or rugs made from hemp because the plant grows easily, so it’s environmentally sustainable. It’s also one of the most naturally durable rug materials.

However, if you’re looking for an area rug that’s soft, hemp probably wouldn’t be your first choice. Although it can soften with use, hemp fibres are durable, yet hard. 

Most companies selling hemp rugs do not dye them, but the fibres are easy to dye so you can find some hemp rugs in several colours and pattern options. 

Bamboo and Jute

jute rug

Bamboo and jute have several traits in common, including the ability to be spun into textiles. While they don’t look like the type of grass you grow on your lawn, both plants are in the grass family. 

The rugs these fibres produce are durable and hold up well in heavy traffic areas. You can put them in almost any room, but since jute produces a rope-like material, jute rugs are not the most comfortable ones to walk across. However, bamboo can produce a soft, flexible material that's comfortable for walking on.

Both bamboo and jute rugs are easy to maintain and are available in a variety of colours because both materials are easy to dye. Along with high-traffic areas, these rugs could be put in kitchens, living rooms, or in sunny conservatoriums. 

Leather Rugs

Cowhide and leather have been used for centuries as floor coverings. Leather is very durable and readily available.

Leather is easily dyed, so leather rugs are available in many patterns and colours. They are also easy to maintain, depending on how they are made, but most spills easily wipe up. However, the material can absorb spills if they not cleaned right away.

When selecting a rug for a room in your home, some of the factors to consider are the material’s durability, softness, absorbency, and how easy they are to clean.