8 Popular Rug Materials By Comparison

8 Popular Rug Materials by Comparison

Not sure what type of rug is right for your space? You’re not alone – finding the right type of rug can be daunting! An area rug pulls a room together and is much more than something soft underfoot. It defines a home’s style, makes the space feel grounded and anchors furniture creating a warm and inviting space. The perfect area rug can coordinate colors, prints and accessories “upping” your home’s décor quotient.

Ravishing Rugs…and the Materials They're Made Of


The benefits of area rugs extend far beyond style. Let’s talk comfort. From rich, plush wool rugs to of-the-moment naturally woven jute rugs, quality materials and solid construction help to layer any floor-type (even wall-to-wall carpet). But what type of rug is best for you? Check out these eight textile options. There’s certainly one to fit your lifestyle and give you the visual effect you crave.

Cotton Rugs


Research shows you get a better night’s sleep on cotton sheets. So, what’s to say you wouldn’t feel better walking on rugs made from this same natural fiber? Cotton allows your skin to breath, doesn’t retain odors like oil-based fabrics and is easier to wash than other rug materials; a plus in the high-traffic household.

This easy-care, fabric of our lives is most commonly used to make stunning dhurrie and kilim rugs which are flatweave designs. Cotton offers an inexpensive way to change the look of any room and adds interest to any space in fashion-forward patterns and colors introduced throughout the year. More affordable than silk or wool, cotton is easy to clean (it’s machine washable) but isn’t quite as long lasting as other materials. You’ll want to place a multi-surface rug pad under every cotton rug, so it doesn’t slip. Cotton rugs are perfect for bathrooms, foyers and kitchens.

Wool Rugs


It shouldn’t come as a surprise that wool, one of the most durable rug options available, is one of the most popular rug materials. It’s naturally soft, warm and colorful, yet it’s durable fiber bounces back, making it a great choice for high traffic areas. Wool is stain-resistant, thanks to natural oils that prevent dirt from sticking to the fibers. It’s strong, water-repellant, and best of all, it’s cozy underfoot. Choose plush, 100% wool rugs popular in flatweave – kilim tapestry styles – perfect for a bohemian-style décor. Wool rugs come in traditional designs, contemporary neutrals, bold graphic prints and sculpted dimensional.

How your wool rug is constructed is another choice you’ll want to consider, especially when shopping for a more luxurious, more expensive fiber like wool. Wool rugs are produced hand-knotted, hand-tufted or hand-loomed; each of these processes hand-finished by a skilled craftsman. Wool rugs are machine-loomed, which is a more efficient way to loom a variety of fibers at a value.

Jute Rugs


Why jute? Because it’s eco-friendly and adds a world of texture and visual interest to any decor. This natural fiber rug’s inherent beauty is something you can feel good about, as it’s made from plant fibers derived from the stalks of the Jute plant, coming mainly from India and China. It is renewable and biodegradable, growing rapidly during rainy seasons. It’s exquisite elements of nature add an inviting feel to any room. Combine other textures and textiles for a seriously interesting effect. Jute is low maintenance and easy to clean, but best of all, it feels like a foot massager every time you walk on it with a firm yet soft feel. Typically, free from chemical processing, jute combines neutral, earthy palettes and rich texture for the ultimate design accessory.

Nylon Rugs


Nylon is a synthetic material that can be luxuriously versatile. This man-made fiber has improved over the years to look much more like natural fiber with bold, rich colors, in a wide variety of chic, modern patterns that won’t break the bank.

These rugs are easy to clean, can be used in damp environments and are kid-friendly — perfect for growing families who want an inexpensive rug option. This man-made fiber tends to be the most durable and strongest of synthetic fibers making it an ideal choice for hallways and high-traffic area. You can even place them outdoors for a perfect pretty patio accessory!

Rayon Rugs


Smooth rayon is a man-made fiber, considered semi-synthetic because it’s produced using cellulose from wood or cotton. It’s one of the oldest manufactured fibers in the world, offering a great value in rugs that can look like silk or wool. Rayon is often blended with a natural fiber to take on the look of silk.

This blending makes it more durable, too. Machine-loomed for a tight weave, rayon can add an interior look to an exterior setting – just hose down to clean. Take note, a 100% rayon rug does not hold up as well as other materials to foot traffic, but it’s a colorful, budget-friendly choice. Rayon rugs are a versatile rug choice that can add color and design to a space.

Acrylic Rugs


Vibrant colors and budget-friendly prices make the man-made yarns of an acrylic rug a great choice. This material can feel like a soft wool rug but costs a lot less. Animal hair-like designs, like faux cowhide, are all the rage and many are now produced from acrylic, with nary an animal being harmed!

Acrylic is durable, moth-proof, crush-resistant and non-allergenic. Just throw it into the washing machine to clean. It’s smooth flat weave holds up to high traffic, is used for indoor/outdoor rugs and works well in entries, hallways, mudrooms and on patios. Acrylic yarns are flammable, so rugs made of acrylic are typically smaller rugs like those in bathrooms and may be treated with a flame retardant.

Olefin Rugs


Olefin, or polypropylene, is a synthetic rug material made from petroleum products. This man-made material has improved over the years to have more natural fiber characteristics. Unlike some natural materials, it is moisture-, mildew-, bacteria- and insect-resistant, while at the same time it’s easy to clean, colorfast and lightweight. Olefin rugs are made for both indoors and outdoors and are an affordable way to add rich color, warmth and style to a home.

Everyone from kids to dogs love rugs. They bring home interiors together in a variety of textile types and styles from which to choose. Whether your design taste leans toward old-world, traditional patterns, tapestry designs, faux animal fur or more contemporary geometrics, there’s a rug made of the material that’s right for your beautiful home. Check out our rug buying guide for more ideas and information on purchasing the perfect rug for your space.



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