Natural fibre rugs are made from natural materials, such as sisal, jute, seagrass and hemp. They usually have a woven appearance and, unless they have been dyed, tend to come in neutral, earthy colours. Because of their durability, affordable price and neutral colour palette, natural rugs are especially good for high-traffic spaces, such as hallways and living areas. Sisal rugs are extremely hardwearing, easy to maintain and look good with a variety of decorating styles. They do, however, have a tendency to stain if liquid is spilled on them and can be a little hard on bare feet or babies’ knees. Nonetheless, their good looks and low cost mean that they are a popular choice as a budget conscious floor covering.
Rugs made from polyester or propylene have a lovely soft feel, are highly durable and stain resistant. They are also considerably cheaper than their pure wool counterparts. This makes them the ideal choice for fairly high traffic areas, or rooms where kids and pets mean that the occasional – or more frequent – accident is going to happen. If choosing for children, a pattern is often more practical than your favourite solid pastel!
There’s nothing like a pure wool rug for adding a touch of warmth and sophistication to a room. Wool is naturally fire retardant, stain resistant, durable, reasonably easy to clean and wonderfully soft and warm. Wool is the perfect choice for a bedroom or as a ‘statement’ rug in the living room. Wool costs a little more, but if pure wool is out of the question, you can also get wool blend rugs, giving you the luxury of wool with the lower cost of synthetic.
Whatever material you decide upon, you should also consider the texture of your rug. Sisal is usually very densely woven and flat, with a rough feel, but wool and acrylic rugs come in a range of textures from short pile to long and shaggy. Before you opt for shag pile – which can be deliciously soft underfoot in a bedroom – consider the practicalities of cleaning and whether the longer pile will become a trip hazard for toddlers or anyone elderly.