Trying to understand what area rug material is best for your space is critical. It’s usually best to consider how a space will be used, what kind of traffic it will receive, and how much coziness you desire. Here is a quick guide to the most commonly used materials for area rugs and the pros and cons of each.
WOOL AREA RUGS
The most commonly used material for rugs is wool which is known for its durability and softness.
Pros: Strong; great stain and water repellency; excellent insulating properties; comfortable underfoot on the rug
Some things to consider: Not that great for damp places as it absorbs humidity; and subject to fading.
Best in: Living rooms, dining rooms, high-traffic areas
SILK AREA RUGS
Luxurious, shiny and lustrous, silk area rugs are adored for their softness and subtle sheen.
PRO’s: Very soft and sumptuous feel; finer details than wool.
Things to consider: Requires good professional rug cleaning; can sometimes show footprints.
Best for: Bedrooms, low-traffic areas in your home.
COTTON AREA RUGS
It is most often used to make flat-weave rugs such as dhurries and kilims.
PRO’s: Typically more affordable than wool or silk; easy to clean.
Things to consider: Does not always wear well over long periods of time.
Best for: Kitchens, children’s rooms, casual spaces.
SISAL, JUTE, SEA GRASS AREA RUGS
Durable, natural grasses and other fibers combine neutral, earthy palettes and rich textures, making them the ultimate design chameleons.
PRO’s: Very strong; renewable; typically free from chemical processing
Things to consider: Some varieties can be coarse and difficult to clean
Best for: Living rooms, high-traffic and sunny areas
SYNTHETIC AREA RUGS
Man-made fibers including viscose, nylon, and polypropylene. They have been improved over the years to mimic the characteristics of natural fibers.
Why we love it: Easy to clean; family-friendly; can be used in damp environments; many types can be used outdoors
PRO’s: Doesn’t always feel luxurious
Best for: Hallways, outdoors (note: not all synthetic rugs are suitable for outdoor use), high-traffic and sunny areas