8 materials to consider when shopping for rugs

If you’re out in the market looking for the perfect rug for your home, you can easily get overwhelmed by the different choices available—and varying price tags too. However, picking the perfect rug is down to three major factors: budget, style and placement.

Some other important factors you may also want to keep in mind is how easy it is to clean using different care techniques for your high-end rug, duration of use and if you have any preference for specific rug materials.

Rugs come in various fibres and styles and it is important to know the different material used—since each one has its pros and cons.  Know which rug material suits your style, especially if you’re looking out for general care, durability and room enhancement. Here’s a guide on some of the most popular rug materials:

1. Wool

This is the most commonly used material for rugs, and it is made out of natural fibre. Traditionally, wool rugs are either hand-tufted, hand-loomed or hand-knotted. There are also machine-loomed wool rugs, but they are not made out of natural wool but synthetic fibres.

Natural wool rugs are typically more expensive than those made from synthetic fibres due to the amount of work that goes into making them, however, they are of excellent quality with a particularly plush and soft texture. They have high durability and can be used for years without losing its original quality, provided adequate care is given to it.

According to Liz Toombs, a renowned interior designer, wool is the best rug material since it is easy to clean, highly durable, retains its colour beautifully and has a very soft feel—making it worth the expensive price tag. Wool rugs are particularly ideal for high-traffic areas like hallways, living rooms, bedrooms and even dining rooms. 

2. Silk

Just like cotton rugs, silks rugs are equally expensive and require constant care to keep them looking good. Whether wholly silk or a blend of silk, any rug containing silk material has a rather luxurious look that makes it quite unique from other fibres.

Silk rugs have a radiant appearance and are typically thin, attractive and with a soft feel. However, they are high maintenance rugs that require regular and professional cleaning to avoid it wearing out easily. Due to their delicate nature, silk rugs are best for low-traffic areas like bedrooms.

3. Cotton

A rather inexpensive and fun-looking rug material is cotton. Cotton rugs are a really popular choice due to being highly durable and a much budget-friendly alternative to silk or wool rugs. They usually come in different playful colours with modernistic designs but tend to attract stains easily and fade quickly.

However, they are quite easy to maintain with very soft texture—a combination that is quite rare with rugs. Cotton rugs are suitable for casual areas of the house such as the living room, bedroom and even the kitchen.

4. Bamboo or Jute

Bamboo or jute rugs are made out of natural materials that give your indoor space a coastal feel.  They add texture and taste to even the simplest of spaces and are quite economical too.

One major disadvantage of jute or bamboo rugs is how difficult it is to maintain. They easily absorb stains and require regular and careful cleaning from professionals for longer sustainability. If you want to buy a bamboo or jute rug, it should be for beautifying areas like your bedroom or living room.

5. Animal hide

Rugs made out of animal hides are commonly handcrafted. These rugs are a fantastic way to beautify your space and fill it with richness.

Whether it’s a leather rug or sheepskin rug, they are great for either small and awkwardly shaped spaces or high-traffic areas like bedrooms and home office spaces. They are quite easy to clean with a vacuum, but spillages and stains need to be cleaned immediately to avoid discolouration. 

6. Faux fur

Faux fur is a great and budget-friendly alternative to other fur and hides. They add a beautiful touch to every space and are typically power woven with a blend of synthetic and acrylic fur.

If you get worried over whether or not the fur you want was ethically sourced, buying faux fur might be a safer option. Unfortunately, they are quite difficult to maintain as cleaning them require lots of precision and delicacy, reveals interior designer, Michaela Farley.

Faux fur is suitable for popular indoor spaces like the living room or bedroom.

7. Synthetics

Polypropylene, nylon and viscose are some of the materials used in making synthetic rugs. These rug materials are quite durable and can be comfortably used indoors and outdoors.

Maintaining a synthetic rug is quite effortless as they can be tossed into a washing machine or hosed down outside. Synthetic rugs don’t require that much special cleaning and can be washed with mild detergents.

Synthetic rugs are not eco-friendly and are best fit for spaces such as mudrooms, hallways and kitchen.

8. Seagrass

Seagrass rugs are made out of natural materials similar to bamboo and jute rugs. They add a lot of texture to specific spaces are also great for layering.

Since it’s made out of natural fibre, seagrass rugs are very eco-friendly, stain-resistant and highly durable. They can be easily cleaned with a mop or rag and are suitable for bedrooms, living rooms, or mudrooms.


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