What does Spring Shower Mean? Mudroom Redesign

If you live in a particularly wet, snowy or all-around mud-prone climate, a mudroom can help ensure that the rest of your home stays clean, tidy and mud-free. Redesigning your mudroom with durable, easy-to-clean rugs and sensible storage solutions can ensure that your entire home — mudroom included — stays neat as can be.

Mudrooms should be built with water-resistant hard flooring like ceramic tile. To make cleaning even more effortless and to add a welcoming feel to your mudroom, finish it with a stain-resistant natural rug that’s durable enough to hold up during constant foot traffic. The extra layer provided by a rug means you can easily shake out dirt and debris that has accumulated over time. Sisal rugs are an obvious choice for the mudroom because they provide exceptional durability that will outlast other natural fibers. Sisal is also highly absorbent, so it can even help to eliminate some humidity in the room.


Seagrass, beloved for its natural, oceanic texture, is another highly stain-resistant and durable natural rug fiber. Because seagrass rugs are constructed from materials that thrive when submerged in water, they’re also naturally water-resistant and great for placing in environments that will see a lot of rain and melting snow. Many natural fiber rugs are also reversible, so they’re a great choice for placing in high-traffic rooms that require twice the fortitude of other materials like wool or synthetic fibers.

You can also easily and affordably enhance your mudroom by adding floor-to-ceiling storage that takes full advantage of the small space. Individual cubbies with drawers and hooks are ideal for big families or homeowners with pets (Fido gets his own cubby complete with hooks for hanging leashes and outdoor toys) and helps keep the room neat and organized. Shoe storage beneath is great for helping to encourage shoes going right where they’re supposed to go when not in use.


How to Achieve a Coastal Look

If your design vision is to achieve a seaside sanctuary inspired by the look, feel and smell of the sea, the right natural area rug may be the key. Coastal décor is defined by open, airy spaces decorated with beachy colors (think natural browns that mimic the shade of sand and light blues that are inspired by the sky), nautical knickknacks and deep-sea decorations.

Scan 20

If you want a truly authentic way to pay tribute to the tide, finish your coastal décor with a seagrass rug. Derived from fibers made from flowering plants that grow on the ocean floor and in saltwater marshes, there’s no better way to bring the sea straight into your home. Seagrass rugs are usually a light or medium brown khaki color, perfect for emulating the sandy floor of your favorite beach. Seagrass rugs are also stain-resistant, water-resistant and incredibly durable, making them great for high-traffic indoor spaces.

Another spectacular option for emulating an oceanic feel in your home is mountain grass. Mountain grass rugs are made from durable, long-lasting fibers derived from mountain grasses that are typically native to the Pacific Rim. Thanks to their deep, golden brown color tone, these rugs are great for bringing an elegant, earthy feel to your beach-inspired living space. Mountain grass is a desirable fiber thanks to its natural durability and unique texture, so it’s a wonderful choice for any open-air, earth-inspired living space. If you want to keep things clean and simple, a white wool rug is also a great way to tie together your costal décor.

Once you lay the foundation for your beach theme using a gorgeous natural fiber area rug, finish off with a few pieces of salt-worn wall art or whitewashed trinkets. The spirit of any well-coordinated coastal décor is blending clean, minimalist colors with down-to-earth decorations and earthy textiles, so finding that perfect balance is essential for a complete coastal look.

Think Like a Designer: Secrets to Picking the Perfect Rug

Curating home décor from scratch can feel a lot like filling an empty canvas — the opportunities are truly endless. This can be an overwhelming task for many, but if you learn how to think like an interior designer, you can achieve the space of your dreams. Expert interior designers recommend first surveying the space and keeping a close eye on natural light and architectural elements. Once you’ve determined a theme, start with the walls and flooring. Here are some secrets to picking the perfect rug like an interior designer.

jute1 0904132555

Keep it Simple
The fact is that if you’re decorating for a furniture-heavy room — like the living room or dining room — the rug is likely not going to be showcased. If you want your furniture and artwork to do the talking, choose a simple wool weave in a natural color. Rugs that are heavy on design or texture can deter from the draw of unique pieces of furniture. Living room rugs should be sized based on your furniture, so make sure you choose a rug large enough to accommodate all of your pieces. There’s nothing worse than a sofa placed outside the edges of the rug.

Think Beyond Convention
Conventionally speaking, American designers start with a rug and build a room outward. Take a more European approach by doing things the other way. Choose statement pieces first — distinct accent chairs or large wall hangings — and opt for a rug that will complement them, not match them. It’s far more difficult to weave in unique pieces than it is to add simple accompaniments. European designers also suggest approaching a room’s décor naturally rather than strategically. It’s better to have a room that feels like it has evolved along with you rather than to have it feel overly decorated or staged.

Keep it Custom
Interior designers are big on creating custom-shaped and -sized rugs for particularly challenging spaces. If you want a custom rug, choose a natural fiber rug like jute or sisal, as they’re much more affordable to order in custom sizes compared to Persian or Oriental rugs. The beauty of choosing custom is that you can design a room to your tastes and needs, rather than around the space and its constraints. Custom rugs can be also be ordered with whatever border and binding you want, ensuring that every detail is tailored to you.

Focus on Practicality
Contemporary interior designers aren’t always focused only on aesthetic. Choosing sensible, practical pieces that are appropriate for your space and lifestyle is a big part of thoughtful, responsible design. Before you select a rug for your home, determine the foot traffic of the space. If it’s a high-traffic room like the foyer or kitchen, durable natural rugs made from sisal or seagrass are a fine choice. If the rug’s main use is mainly for decorating or to rest beneath furniture, a rug made from jute or wool might be a better choice. Remember to reserve white- or light-colored rugs for low-traffic, occasional-use rooms.

Everything in Moderation
Although today’s designers love the eclectic and out-of-the-box, it’s important to remember that big and bold statement pieces should be used sparingly. Keep a neutral base and decorate around it or choose specific spaces and rooms to express your unique personality. Every room should be a reflection of yourself, your tastes and your personality, but you never want to deter from a room’s organic spirit or architectural feel.

What is Sisal?


Sisal refers to one of two things; the first is the plant, Agave sisalana, which is a specific species of Agave originally found in southern Mexico.  The second is the fiber yielded from the harvest of this plant, which is also sometimes referred to sisal hemp.  This fiber is what the plant is primarily cultivated for, and has a variety of uses, including paper, cloth, carpet, various articles of clothing, bags, and even dartboards.  The most common traditional use for sisal in fiber form, however, is the production of rope and twine.

Plant Characteristics

The easiest way to identify a sisal plant is by the round arrangement of sharp leaves on its top.  These look similar to the leaves on a pineapple, although they are straighter, span as far outwards as they do upwards, and are much larger (up to 2 meters in length).  The leaves are the part of the plant that is valuable to harvest; each leaf produces around a thousand fibers.  The leaves also grow back after being harvested from the plant’s thick, trunk-like stem; a plant generally has a lifespan of about a decade.

Traditional Uses

Sisal is one of the primary materials used in the production of agricultural twine.  In addition to being naturally biodegradable, it is desirable for use as twine because it is strong and durable while still somewhat stretchy when in woven form.  It is also resistant to deterioration in salt water, which is a common problem among other biodegradable fibers.

Besides its use as rope and twine, sisal is traditionally also used to make textiles and fabric, particularly mattresses and carpets.  Though too tough for use in clothing, the fiber’s durability makes it suitable for rugs, carpets, and even shoes.  Most of these applications use the higher grades of fiber acquired from the sisal plant; the lower grade fiber is also commonly used to produce paper.


Fiber is retrieved from the plant by crushing the leaves and washing or brushing away the waste parts of the leaf until only the fibers remain.  These fibers are then carefully dried, and stored in bales for transportation.  Artificial drying is thought to produce better quality fiber than sun drying, but is sometimes forgone because of its inefficiency.

Works Cited

Morán, Juan I., Vera A. Alvarez, Viviana P. Cyras, and Analia Vázquez. “Extraction of Cellulose and Preparation of Nanocellulose from Sisal Fibers.” Cellulose 15.1 (2007): 149-59. Web.

“The Plant List — A Working List for All Plant Species.” Agave Sisalana Perrine. N.p., 23 Mar. 2012. Web. 23 May 2016. <http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl1.1/record/kew-294215>.

“Uses Of Sisal.” Wigglesworth Fibres. Wigglesworth & Co. Limited, n.d. Web. 22 May 2016. <http://www.wigglesworthfibres.com/products/sisal/usesofsisal.html>.

How Ever-Popular Natural Area Rugs Embody Timeless Style

jute1 022014

If you’re in the market for home décor that’s going to transcend trends, choose a natural area rug. These rugs evolved with mankind, dating all the way back to the Stone Age, when early humans used animal hide to cover the floors in their huts and shelters. Animal skin rugs — especially patchwork cowhide rugs and leather rugs — are still a highly desirable choice among interior designers and homeowners today.

Rug weaving techniques, many of which are still in use in modern day, were developed around 4,000 years ago in the fertile Middle East region of Mesopotamia. Naturally, these techniques spread throughout the rest of Asia and inspired centuries of rug-making traditions throughout Turkey and what is now Iran and Egypt. These rugs were generally made from sheep’s wool that had been dyed to various rich colors.

Since then, natural fiber rugs have continued to play a central role in the realm of high-quality flooring and home décor. Here’s a little bit about natural fiber rugs in the 20th century and today.

During the turn of the 19th century, elaborate Tudor and Victorian mansions were erected throughout the booming industrial cities of the Americas. Expensive, elaborate Oriental rugs were shipped over from Asia en masse and used to decorate the homes of some of America’s elite. The Hearst Castle, which was built by newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst in 1919, featured an exceptional collection of fine-quality Oriental rugs.

In the 1930s and ‘40s, it was all about art deco. Perhaps in response to the Great Depression, color schemes were pleasant and pastel, so wool rugs were quite popular. Wool is a highly reactive fiber, so it makes a wonderful base for bright colors and detailed patterns. Oriental rugs, which are traditionally woven with cotton, wool or silk, maintained their popularity among high society throughout the 1950s. Since many motifs relied heavily on Asian influence during this era, silk and bamboo rugs were décor staples.

Mid-century rugs were big on warm colors and striking, geometric patterns. Wool and cotton rugs were popular thanks to the fibers’ appropriateness for dying and fine weaving. Although some historians suggest that the shag rug originated in the Middle East or Central Asia much earlier than the 1960s, it certainly hit its peak in America during this period. This super-groovy style, usually made with wool or cotton, prevailed into the 1970s and eventually became archetypical of the era’s decor. Other eclectic styles, like patchwork cowhide rugs, grew in popularity during this time period, too.

As a reaction to the green movement in America, eco-friendly home décor has picked up major steam in the past several decades. This has inspired a whole new generation and class of interest in natural fiber rugs that are eco-friendly. Bamboo and jute, two high-quality fibers that are quick-renewing, have become some of the most popular rug options on the market today. Contemporary rugs tend to feature super-saturated, rich colors over detailed yet not too-busy designs. Simple, all-natural fiber rugs in earth tones are always trendy for homeowners that want to create a calm, soothing space.