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A Guide to the Best Types of Rug Materials

A Guide to the Best Types of Rug Materials

Rugs rolled up in a basket

Is there an area in your home that could use a little pick-me-up? A new area rug may be just the trick. As you search for a star to take center stage, or a subtle supporting character to complement your other decor, the rug's material is the most important factor to consider. The material determines the look, feel, lifespan, and care of your rug. We've gathered everything you need to know about rug materials to help you pick a rug that will enhance every space in your home.

Rug Materials Comparison

Rug Materials Chart

Choosing the best rug for you will involve considering the rug’s placement and purpose. Use our chart to weigh the qualities of popular rug materials for your needs.

 

Wool Area Rugs: Quality You Can Rely On

Wool Area Rug

Imagine a rug that feels as decadent and familiar as your favorite sweater. Wool’s heavenly-soft pile is great for lounging barefoot anywhere in your home. The rich fibers within wool are crush-resistant, so they’ll bounce back for years in a house full of rambunctious kids and pets. If you prioritize an easy-to-clean construction, consider the Highland-resistant quality of wool. Sheep’s natural oils repel water, dust, and dirt, so a rug made from their wool will stay thick, plush, and colorful in high traffic areas. You won’t be scrubbing on your hands and knees like Cinderella.

Polypropylene Area Rugs: Affordable Wool Alternatives

Dining room with a polypropylene area rug

Polypropylene is just as dense and glamorous as wool, at a lower cost. Extremely durable, water-resistant, and easy to clean, a polypropylene rug isn’t your common dish rag. It’s a smart rug material for the frequent hostess or a modern household constantly on the go. Its blanket-soft, fuzzy feel mimics wool’s lustrous fibers, but its strength makes a polypropylene rug versatile enough to be used outdoors for cozy nights on the patio. Swap out these cheaper rugs in bold colors and trendy patterns to make your home cozier, brighter, and more stylish.

Cotton Area Rugs: Cool, Breathable Comfort

Entryway with a geometrical rug

Cotton is one of the best rug materials for a relaxed, natural look. Crisp and classic, cotton is a great rug material for an easygoing place to meditate or lounge with a book. Many cotton rugs are reversible so they can get a lot of love, like a picnic blanket for your living room. Busy, budget-conscious families can simply flip the rug to the other side to hide more permanent stains. Think of a cotton rug like your well-worn t-shirt – snug and informal, but super reliable.

Silk Area Rugs: Dramatic and Enchanting

Dining room with a silk area rug

Lovely and sophisticated, silk rugs provide a luxurious shimmer and elegant softness. Because silk is delicate and highly decorative, you’ll want to show it off, but it’s best suited for areas with low traffic. However, combining rug fibers from silk and wool can offer the same dramatic look of silk with more durability and easier maintenance. Nothing short of magnificent, a silk rug will help you achieve a stylish designer look in your home.

Viscose Area Rugs: Breathtaking Embellishment

Bedroom with a viscose rug

Viscose is a magically soft man-made fabric with an exquisite sheen. Viscose mimics silk’s smooth texture and low pile, so you can get the sleek look and feel in your rug for less. The thin material is perfect for creating a stunning, intimate area where you’re not looking for a plush rug to sink into. Light use and careful cleaning are required to preserve their glossy fibers. Because of its lavish and romantic vibes, viscose is ideal for simulating a relaxing hotel getaway in low-key spaces.

Jute and Sisal Area Rugs: Simple, Honest Materials

Bedroom with a jute area rug

Jute and sisal are durable, beautiful area rugs. Their chunky, woven piles create a massage-like experience for bare feet. While inviting, the prickly texture isn’t one for lounging or playing with little ones. Cat claws and high heels can snag the gritty, sandy knots. Because of the rope-like construction, these organic weave rugs are less likely to hold allergens, so they’re healthier for your family. The neutral beige of jute and sisal fibers transcends style, so you can layer these nubby rugs with more vibrant patterns for visual interest. If you want to learn more about the benefits of sisal, read our guide about Sisal Area Rugs.

Seagrass Area Rugs: Thick, Rigid Basketweave

Living room with a seagrass area rug

Add a relaxing seaside ambiance to your home with the beachy texture of a seagrass rug. These durable rugs won’t easily stain and won’t fade in direct sunlight, making them great options for outdoor barbeques on the deck. Seagrass grows in water so it’s non-absorbent, making it the perfect rug material for housetraining new or nervous pets or cleaning up after sick kids. That being said, they’re not indestructible, so they’re best for medium-traffic areas. Seagrass is not very cushy, so it’s not a landing pad for long kitchen prep or rolling out of bed.

Nylon Area Rugs: Extreme Durability

Dining room with a nylon area rug

Make life seamless with a nylon rug. With this rug material, you don’t have to obsess over spilt wine or nail polish. Just live your life loud. Because nylon rugs are firm, flat, and resistant to fraying, they’re also ideal for wheelchair-accessible entryways or under a rocking chair in your baby’s nursery. Nylon resists dirt, so you won’t fill a vacuum with dust bunnies or find the rug fibers on your clothes.

Polyester Area Rugs: Affordable Alternatives to Natural Fibers

Living room with a polyester rug

If your aim is to get a soft rug material for morning yoga, polyester is stain-resistant. With polyester rugs, you can forget about juice and coffee spills. Durable and fade-resistant, polyester rugs keep their appearance as furniture comes and goes. You can even put a polyester rug by the backdoor to prevent tracking in snow or give your dog a place to sit for wiping their paws after a long walk. Polyester is fade-resistant and wears well, so regular vacuuming and spot cleaning will keep these rugs looking great for years. High traffic areas, such as your living room, staircase, or hallway, are perfect for polyester rugs, especially if you need to muffle noise from high ceilings.