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Rug Material Types: Which Will You Choose

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The type of material used to make custom rugs can greatly play into the overall look and function of a particular room, home or office.

If you are going for the right look, your options are plentiful. If you are going for durability, your options might be slightly more limited.

At Natural Area Rugs, we have rugs to fit your style, needs, and budget. Learn more about the pros and cons of rug materials below!

4 Factors to Consider Before Choosing a Rug Material Type 

To understand what rugs will work best for you, determine what your needs are. Here are a few things to consider:

Traffic: Will the rug be in an area where there is a lot of foot traffic? Will it be in a space that few people enter? Knowing this will help you determine how durable your rug needs to be. 

Style: Would you like a brightly colored rug that catches the eye? Are you looking for a more subdued color? Some fabrics only come in a few earthy tones, while others allow for more versatility.

Sustainability: Would you prefer that the rug is made out of eco-friendly materials? Do you want a rug that is made with the planet in mind? Certain fabrics like seagrass are vegan, while others like leather are derived from animal products. Keep this in mind as you search. 

Maintenance: Rug upkeep is another factor to consider. Is the rug likely to have dirt, fur, and other articles on it? If so, choosing a rug that is easy to clean will save you time.

These decisions will greatly affect the type of rug that you choose. Keep these factors in mind as you review the different types of natural fiber rug materials and their uses.

Rug Fabrics 101: Your Guide to Natural Fiber Rug Materials

When you want entryway or runner rugs that have no comparison when it comes to durability, you want a natural product. These are made typically from plant stems, though some are animal products. The following are our offerings.

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Cotton – Easy to clean and budget-friendly, cotton is a popular rug fabric choice.

What to know about cotton: Cotton fiber for rugs grows in a “boll” or a protective covering. It is processed into yarn and woven tightly together, making a soft fabric that feels pleasant to walk on. 

However, cotton rugs are not as resistant to wear and tear as other fabrics. Additionally, they are highly absorbent and take a long time to dry after getting wet.  

Ideal for: Cotton rugs fit best in casual spaces like children’s rooms or family spaces. They are a great option for budget-conscious individuals and families. 

Some of our favorite cotton rugs: Rosetta Beige Cotton Hemp Rug & Brasilia Blue Cotton Round Rug

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Leather – Leather imparts texture to a room in a polished and unique manner.

What to know about leather: Leather rugs can be made exclusively from leather strips or woven with other fabrics, such as jute. Either way, the rug material is soft yet durable.

Nonetheless, leather does not hold up well under moisture as humid and wet conditions can adversely affect the fabric.  

Ideal for: Leather rugs are perfect for bringing a bedroom, office, or den to life. For those looking for a hypoallergenic rug, leather rugs fit the bill. 

Some of our favorite leather rugs: Markham Multi-Color Cowhide Patchwork Leather Rug & Bergama Cowhide Rug

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Jute – Due to its durable nature and woven pattern, jute is a favorite among natural rug shoppers.

What to know about jute: Jute is considered one of the most eco-friendly materials on the market. It is a vegetable fiber that, when spun, becomes a strong thread. Not only is jute highly durable, but it is also pet friendly. 

Jute is coarse and highly absorbent. Because of this, you should keep it away from moist areas and avoid steam cleaning this material. 

Ideal for: If you desire a natural look in a room and want a fabric that’s easy to clean, consider a jute rug.

Some of our favorite jute rugs: Amor Beige Jute Rug & Gracie Multi-Color Jute Rug

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Mt. Grass – For a healthy and beautiful rug option, mountain grass rugs make an excellent choice.

What to know about Mt. grass: Mountain grass is sustainable as it grows quickly. The natural browns and greens make for beautiful rugs, and these rugs are made without any harmful chemicals.

These rugs are easy to maintain, as you can wipe away stains and spills without damaging or staining the rug material.

Ideal for: Mt. grass rugs do well in sunny areas and high traffic places due to their strength. Additionally, they are a healthy choice as the production process does not include toxins or damaging chemicals. 

One of our favorite Mt. grass rugs: Rainier Mountain Grass Rug

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Seagrass – Seagrass rugs are sustainable, toxin-free, and very affordable, making this fabric a true gift from nature.

What to know about seagrass: Much like mountain grass, seagrass is a sustainable and eco-friendly material. Seagrass rugs are mold and mildew resistant, unlike other fabrics that are easily affected by water. They are also durable; however, seagrass rugs are never dyed, so vibrant colors are not an option with this fabric. 

Ideal for: Because seagrass is cultivated in water, it is great for use where moisture could occur, such as a bathroom or kitchen. You can even create a custom seagrass rug to fit unique spaces in your home.

Some of our favorite seagrass rugs: Mayfair Seagrass Rug & Basketweave Custom Seagrass Runner Rug

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Sisal – When it comes to durability, sisal rugs rank high on the list.

What to know about sisal: Made from the Sisalina plant leaves, this is the strongest of our plant fibers. When woven together, it becomes a coarse floor covering. These rugs are cost-effective and impart an organic texture and feel to a space.

This rug can also withstand high foot traffic as it can be vacuum cleaned. With that in mind, remember that sisal rugs are not as soft as other fabrics like cotton or wool rugs. 

Ideal for: Sisal rugs are great for high traffic areas in the house because they are not prone to wear and tear.

Some of our favorite sisal rugs: Seattle Custom Sisal Rug & Karima Beige Sisal Rug

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Wool – One of the most versatile fabrics, wool is soft to the touch and comes in a wide array of options.

What to know about wool: Our wool fibers come from sheep fleece, making comfortable rugs suitable for many different spaces. Wool rugs combine the best of both worlds because they are highly durable yet very soft. However, while they’re quite durable and flame resistant, wool rugs don’t like moist areas. But, when cared for properly, a wool rug can last for decades. 

Ideal for: If you are seeking a rug that resists stains, spills and dirt, wool rugs are a great choice. 

Some of our favorite wool rugs: Borneo Wool Rug & Piedmont Dhurrie Wool Rug

Our Machine Made Rugs

While most of our products are completely natural, we understand the different needs of our customers. Natural Area Rugs has a variety of mixed-fiber rugs and floor coverings, which includes vintage oriental rugs made of wool, cotton or silk. In addition, a selection of wool shag rugs and wool sisal rugs. Learn more about our synthetic materials for rugs, stair treads and more.

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Polyester – A popular synthetic rug material, polyester is a versatile fabric in terms of style and uses.

What to know about polyester: Since polyester is a manmade fabric, there are many design possibilities available. This material is great for use in moist areas, as it resists stains and mildew; in addition, it dries quickly.

Overtime, polyester rugs tend to go flat. While other materials do this as well, they tend to spring back. Polyester, on the other hand, does not have this resilient quality. 

Ideal for: They are also a good indoor option for a stain-resistant and statement-making rug. Polyester rugs are great outdoor rugs for the patio or door entrances to a home.   

Some of our favorite polyester rugs: Camilla Beige Polyester Shag Rug & Andorra Multi Polyester Vintage Oriental Rug

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Polypropylene – Polypropylene is a safe synthetic material designed to look like wool or sisal.

What to know about Polypropylene: Polypropylene is a highly stain-resistant material, lightweight, and possibly the most used synthetic material for floor coverings.

It has a nonporous structure, which means unpleasant odors will not get trapped in it. However, this fabric is sensitive to oil-based stains, so a kitchen space would not be ideal for this type of fabric.

Ideal for: If you are looking to make a statement without breaking the bank, a polypropylene carpet could be the answer. Since these rugs are moisture-resistant, they also work well in wet or humid areas. 

Some of our favorite Polypropylene rugs: Afghan Red PP Vintage Oriental Rug & Solara Blue PP Vintage Oriental Rug

Let’s Get Started

As you browse rug materials, reference this guide to compare and contrast. If you have more questions about rug sizes or rug weave types, check out our rug guide. Or, please contact us for more details.