If you’re going by aesthetic alone, it’s not hard to see why a beautiful natural area rug trumps its man-made counterparts. Rugs made with natural fibers are masterpieces in their own right — made with the best quality materials that come straight from the planet — and feature extraordinary designs, patterns and colors for both traditional and contemporary spaces.
Rug-shopping can be an overwhelming experience for many homeowners and designers, so we’ll help explain why you can’t go wrong when you choose a natural area rug. In the end, it comes down to quality, appearance and environmental considerations.
Natural fiber area rugs are woven with some of the most desirable, natural textiles in the world — including wool, hemp, bamboo, sisal, seagrass and jute — that have been used to create long-lasting flooring for centuries. These materials, some of them somewhat wood-like, are hand-crafted using weaving techniques that help the rug retain its shape and strength through years of use — even when placed in the busiest rooms in your home. Because of their natural durability and resilience, natural rugs are often recommended for use outdoors.
On the other hand, synthetic rugs are typically made in a factory using man-made materials like polyester, acrylic or nylon. Because they’re generally made from plastic- or petroleum-based fibers, synthetic area rugs don’t take abrasions or impacts as well as natural fiber rugs. They’re also known to yellow or fade much quicker than rugs made from plant-based fibers, so they’re not ideal for placement in rooms where there’s a regular stream of natural sunlight.
Furthermore, natural area rugs provide a truly unique appearance that adds texture to any room. From the woody presence of bamboo to the soft sheen of cotton, there’s no better way to bring dimension to your floors. Natural rugs are also a better choice for anyone who wants a quality, colored rug that won’t fade or dilute. Wool rugs, for example, are made with reactive fibers, so they’re known to hold and retain dyes exceptionally well. You simply will not get the same grade of coloring with any kind of synthetic rug.
Perhaps the most compelling argument for natural rugs over man-made rugs is their eco-friendly angle. Bamboo rugs, for example, are made from one of the fastest-renewing trees in the world, so they’re a great option for anyone who wants to design their home with sustainability in mind. Man-made rugs require much more water and energy to produce than their natural, hand-woven counterparts and often emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that may be dangerous to human health and are especially harmful to the environment.
Because natural fiber rugs emit zero VOCs, they’re much healthier for you and your family. Natural fiber rugs also have the power to alleviate symptoms of allergy sufferers. This is because synthetic rugs are much more hospitable to dust mites, mold spores and pet dander than natural area rugs. Similarly, natural fibers may help those with asthma breathe a bit easier.