When purchasing a rug, many people are overwhelmed with the options and don’t even know where to begin. There is such a wide range of prices, sizes, materials and styles.
Before purchasing a rug, consider a few questions. Am I buying purely for looks or with durability in mind? Do I have pets or kids? Am I willing to compromise durability for price? Am I looking for something trendy, or something to last a long time?
For the sake of keeping this post from being too overwhelming, I've decided to focus purely on rug materials, plus outdoor rugs for this post. While there are many different types of rug materials, I’ve rounded up the most common ones in summaries below.
Wool If I had to choose one favorite rug material, it would be wool. Wool offers comfort, clean-ability, and a variety of fabrications. Wool can take on various textures, and price points, depending on how it is loomed.
Room Suggestions: Bedrooms and living rooms, high traffic areas
Pros: soft underfoot, lasts longer than rugs made with synthetic fibers
Cons: depending on how it is loomed, can shed a lot; more expensive than synthetic fiber rugs
Design Tip: Use a broom or a vacuum without a beater bar to quickly rid your rug of shedding.
Jute Jute has that effortless feel to it. Casual and neutral, it has become a staple in many homes.
Pros: Soft, natural fiber
Cons: low durability, captures moisture and dirt
Room Suggestions: best for areas with low or medium traffic
Design Tip: Layer a hair on hide rug on top for a fun update
Via Dash & Albert
Sisal Gosh do I have a love hate relationship with sisal… Sisal has such a gorgeous texture when it comes to rugs, but boy are they a pain to clean.
Pros: Timeless, durable, easy to style, made from plants—considered an eco-friendly option
Cons: Prone to stains, rough texture
Room Suggestions: high traffic areas, away from dining areas
Design Tip: Not all sisal rugs are the same. If you have your heart set on sisal, pay special attention to the fiber content. A company may advertise sisal rugs, but cheaper, less durable sisal rugs will often be mixed with other materials such as polypropylene, but be advertised as a sisal rug. When it comes to rugs, especially sisal, you truly get what you pay for.
Cotton Not all cotton rugs are the same.
Pros: Easy to toss in the wash depending upon its construction, soaks in color for more a more vibrant look
Cons: less durable, soak up stains
Room Suggestions: low traffic areas, bathroom mats
Design Tip: Pay attention to the care instructions. Some cotton rugs are spot clean only whereas some can be tossed in the wash for easy cleaning.
Via Lorena Canals
Pros: typically a more budget friendly alternative
Cons: Cheaper in look and feel
Room Suggestions: Dependent upon the materials used, synthetic rugs can be used in just about any room of your home.
Design Tip: Try to find one with a slightly higher pile to give it more of a luxurious feel. If you’re in a store, it is easy to touch and feel the product, but when purchasing a rug online, see if the vendor has close up photos of the edges of the rugs. If the closeups look flimsy, more than likely you will be disappointed in the quality once it arrives to your home.
Outdoor Outdoor rugs are a sneaky good choice when it comes to dining areas, mud rooms, or anywhere where the chances of stains are high. Performance textiles have come a long way since they were first introduced, but it takes some digging to find the perfect one that has the quality worthy to bring into your home, especially if you choose to put it in an area that gets so much visual attention such as your dining room. There are also many outdoor rugs that reek of chemicals and look like loomed rectangles of plastic—not cute. They key is to look for ones that are made with polyester yarn versus polypropylene. Another phrase to look for if you are choosing an outdoor rug to bring indoors is “Indoor Outdoor.” This is another term used to describe a performance rug.
If you are looking at an outdoor rug purely for your outdoor space, polypropylene will be your most durable option. But keep in mind that outdoor does not necessarily mean “weather resistant.” Many rugs labeled as outdoor are typically for use in a covered space. Make sure you carefully read the care and use instructions for an outdoor rug you are considering before making your purchase.
Pros: Easy to clean
Cons: Tends to have a chemical smell upon first opening due to the polypropylene
Room Suggestions: Patio, sun room, mudroom, dining room
Design Tip: If your rug has a harsh smell, leave it outside for a few days to air out.
Do I need them? Yes. Here’s the thing, you are either going to ruin your hardwood floors with the friction of the rug backing rubbing on the wood or slip on a rug corner and bust your butt. Been there, have the tailbone bruise to prove it. From a comfort standpoint, there are pads you can choose that can add additional cushioning underneath, perfect to use in a space where you will be on the floor a lot—think baby nurseries, or adding that extra padding to a rug that lacks in pile height, a factor in determining how soft the rug will be under your feet.
Both my upright vacuum and Dyson cordless have a beater bar. I’ve found most hose attachments on uprights to cover such little area. Plus, carrying the canister for the hose to reach the entire rug became tiresome after a while. I found this Dyson Quick Release Mattress Tool to be the perfect solution to vacuuming our area rugs worry free.
When in doubt, don't be afraid to seek a professional for help. We wash our clothes, our cars, ourselves, why not our rugs?
For more tips on rugs, my favorite rugs, picking the right size, and more, head on over to my Pinterest page for more helpful links.