November 10, 2020 4 min read

Nothing changes up a room with as little time and effort as an area rug.

Without resorting to a paint job or new furniture, an area rug can breathe new life into your home, adding interest and color that draws attention. The problem, of course, is how to choose the right one!

With a wide spectrum of materials available, you’ll have a difficult choice to make. Luckily, we’ve got you covered. Here’s our guide to finding the best material for area rugs for your home.

Natural Fiber Area Rug Materials

As the name suggests, natural fiber rugs are made of materials found in nature and made into fibers. They’re also a great trend for any room design! Area rugs made with these fibers may make up a smaller percentage of the market, but many homeowners prefer natural fibers for their coziness, their beautiful appearance, and their environmental friendliness.

SURYA ARTIST STUDIO AREA RUGS STYLE ART-229

Wool

One of the most common natural fiber options, wool is great for warmth, softness, and durability. It also provides excellent insulation and repels stains and dust fairly well.

However, some homeowners find their rugs shedding or fading over time. They also don’t hold up against high humidity for long, and they can be expensive. Click here to view our wool rugs.

Silk

With a subtle sheen, silk fibers are soft to the touch and great for bedrooms and other low-traffic areas. They show signs of wear easily, and they also require professional cleaning, however, so it’s worth noting the extra maintenance costs. 

Cotton

More affordable than the options above, cotton is easy to clean in the wash, making it one of the best options for a busy household. Despite this durability, quality cotton rugs can also provide softness and warmth, with Chenille cotton rugs offering a luxurious, fuzzy texture. 

Natural Grass

Made of sisal, jute, bamboo slat, or seagrass, natural grass fiber rugs are durable and eco-friendly. They’re also resistant to water and stains, though they can require careful cleaning. 

It’s worth noting that their texture can be firm, and their resistance to liquid can make them difficult to dye. This means you’ll tend to find natural grass area rugs in more neutral, earthy palettes.

Synthetic Area Rug Materials

A great synthetic area rug can emulate the look and feel of a natural fiber area rug, and they’ll often have a more budget-friendly price tag. The majority of rug and carpet fibers sold today are synthetic.

Surya Aberdine Area Rug ABE-8012

Polypropylene/Olefin

Stain-resistant and easy to clean, polypropylene area rugs are a great match for your indoor or outdoor needs. You can lay them in high-traffic areas without worry, though you’ll want to keep in mind that this synthetic material is highly flammable. Despite these rugs’ cozy feel, you’ll want to keep them far from intense heat such as the area beside a fireplace. 

Polyester

Polyester rugs have most of the same advantages and drawbacks as polypropylene rugs, but they’re often more affordable and less durable. You can find family-friendly microfiber rugs made from polyester for an absorbent option for your home. 

Nylon

An affordable and versatile option, nylon is similar to the options above, though it can’t be tossed into the washing machine. Instead, you’ll need to use cleaning foam and elbow grease. 

Viscose

Designed to emulate the look and feel of silk, viscose rugs also carry silk’s fragility. They also tend to shed once they’ve come into contact with water, so keep them in low-traffic areas far from kitchens and bathrooms. 

Faux

If you’d like the look of fur without the impact on animals, opting for faux fur is a great choice. Made from a spectrum of synthetic fibers, these rugs can mimic the feel and thickness of soft animal fur, and most brands make them machine washable. 

Where Will You Place Your Rug?

As you may have guessed from the descriptions above, certain materials are best used in certain areas, so it helps to think about where you want your rug.

For example, a rug placed in a high-traffic entryway will need to be durable, resilient, and resistant to water. Given the number of footprints it will take each day, the best material for a high-traffic area rug is the one that’s easiest to clean!

Alternatively, a rug placed in a low-traffic bedroom doesn’t need to be as resilient, but warmth and softness may be bigger concerns.

Decide what works for the area in question before you move forward with your choice.

What Family Considerations Do You Have?

Having a household with pets or children in the mix can influence your choice as well.

With kids, you might want to opt for stain-resistant options, as well as area rugs that can be thrown in the wash. For nurseries and bedrooms, you may want to try wool or synthetics for durability, softness, and water-repelling abilities.

On the other hand, the best area rug material for pets may have shorter fibers that are less likely to trap shedded pet hair. Depending on how messy your pet is, you may want to try an easy-to-clean synthetic option. Alternatively, the durability of natural grass area rugs means they’ll take a beating if your furry friend plays rough!

Don’t forget to take any health conditions into account. If anyone in your family has asthma or allergies, you’ll want to find the best option for them. Non-organic fibers, like polyester and nylon rugs, will often make the best area rug material for allergy sufferers. Because these fibers are synthetic, they create an inhospitable climate for mold, and they also tend to dry out pollen.

What’s Your Budget?

Finally, don’t forget to keep your budget in mind. The price of the rug will depend on its size, of course, but each material will come at a different price point.

Synthetics tend to be more affordable options, especially if you’re worried about children or pets wearing them down over time. Natural fibers, especially wool and silk, tend to be at the higher end of the price range though you may find them better quality.

The Best Material for Area Rugs

What is the best material for area rugs? The one that fits your home!

Ultimately, there’s no single best material, and your lifestyle and family will dictate your options. However, we hope that the guide above helps you narrow down the choice to find the perfect area rug for your space.

Don’t forget to check out our collection for a range of high-quality styles to match any decor.

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