Choosing the Perfect Rug for Your Home
With so many fibers to choose from, here are a few tips to help you make the right choice
When it comes to choosing the right rug for your home there are a number of considerations to take into account, from appearance and style to how the rug feels underfoot, to its clean-ability and maintenance requirements.
A high quality rug is an investment and it is worth it to do your research before you buy.
Here are a few tips to help you make the right choice for your space.
Wool is traditionally the most used fiber in rug making because of its durability, strength, and the ability to accept dye. The natural lanolin in wool acts as a stain repellent, making wool the easiest to clean and most stain resistant.
Wool is also the most cost-effective choice for a quality rug and is often combined with other fibers.
Because of its versatility, you can truly put a wool rug anywhere- in the entry, family room, dining room, even high traffic areas.
Silk is a protein fiber derived from the stringy web material of the silkworm. While it is known for its delicate and shiny appearance, silk is also extremely strong and durable.
That being said, it is difficult to clean without crushing the nap of the rug and excessive vacuuming can make fibers fuzzy.
For major spills and stains, you need to contact a rug cleaning professional who has experience in cleaning silk rugs. Not all cleaners are equal, so do your research before hiring the service out.
100% silk rugs are not recommended for high traffic areas but work better in bedrooms or formal living spaces that are used less frequently and are less likely to have spills.
If you blend silk with wool, it becomes much more durable and is safe to use in a variety of spaces.
Viscose is an umbrella term for man-made yarn produced from natural cellulose fiber. Its appearance is shiny like silk, but it is a more economical choice for designing an organic rug.
To increase viscose’s durability, blend it with another material like wool. If you have a mostly wool rug, with a smaller amount of viscose, you should achieve enough of the softness and sheen that you desire without compromising durability.
100% viscose rugs should be used in very low traffic areas where spills and soils happen very rarely. To increase viscose’s durability, blend it with another material like wool.
Linen rugs are made from cellulose fiber derived from the flax plant. With a lustrous sheen, linen rugs can shine like silk but are very sturdy.
An ideal application for linen fiber is a sumac weave, which looks like small braids or a knit fabric.
This results in a flatter, non-pile appearance which is very durable and doesn’t crush. Like all plant fibers however, linen is porous and more prone to staining.
Linen rugs are a lovely choice for low traffic areas such as bedrooms and formal living spaces.
Aloe, nettle and sisal rugs are made from stiff and sturdy material made from 100% plant fiber.
Aloe is a renewable resource and is a naturally anti-static and biodegradable option for making organic rugs.
Sisal rugs are sometimes mistakenly seen as a tough, go-anywhere option, but they are actually not as durable as they seem.
While they fare well with everyday dirt and dust, the fibers are porous and stains can seep in.
A good choice for a home office, living room or den, sisal rugs are not ideal for dining rooms where constant spills and cleanup may occur.
Alpaca rugs appear to be delicate, but in reality are a strong and durable choice. Because they are made from animal hide and fur, they are the easiest to clean and remove stains from.
Alpaca fiber is hair so just like our hair it gets wet and dries naturally all the time without any damage. One word of caution: the longer hair is harder to vacuum and food crumbs tend to get stuck in the long fibers.
Alpaca rugs are a great choice for bathrooms, living rooms, guest suits, and definitely master bedrooms.
Mohair wool is an incredibly durable fiber with regular wool properties, but it comes from the underbelly of the sheep so it is incredible soft.
Mohair fiber in a rug makes a thick, plush pile and the washing technique gives it a silky sheen. It appears extremely luxurious and best of all, cleans incredibly well. Mohair makes a wonderful choice for family rooms, especially ones with kids and pets.
We often use mohair wool in master bedrooms because of the soft touch underfoot.
Stephanie Holmes is the owner of Integral Thread, a creative design studio and showroom offering bespoke, hand-made rugs and textiles that are natural, sustainable, and ethically sourced. View their profile or visit their website for more information.
Content for this article provided by Integral Thread.