Figuring out what rug material is best for your space is essential. It’s important to consider how a space will be used, what kind of traffic it will receive, and how much coziness you desire. Check out our quick guide to the most commonly used materials for rugs and the pros and cons of each below.
The most common material used for rugs, wool is prized for its durability and softness.
Why we love it: Strong; good stain and water repellency; excellent insulating properties; cozy underfoot
Things to consider: Not good for damp places as it absorbs humidity; subject to fading; some shedding may occur but will lessen with time
Best for: Living rooms, dining rooms, high-traffic areas
Luxurious and lustrous, silk rugs are adored for their softness and subtle sheen.
Why we love it: Very soft and sumptuous feel; finer details than wool
Things to consider: Requires professional cleaning; can show footprints
Best for: Bedrooms, low-traffic areas
It’s most frequently used to make flat-weave rugs such as dhurries and kilims.
Why we love it: Generally more affordable than wool or silk; easy to clean
Things to consider: Doesn’t always wear well over long periods of time
Best for: Kitchens, children’s rooms, casual spaces
SISAL, JUTE, SEA GRASS
Durable, natural grasses and other fibers combine neutral, earthy palettes and rich textures, making them the ultimate design chameleons.
Why we love it: Very strong; renewable; typically free from chemical processing
Things to consider: Some varieties can be coarse and difficult to clean
Best for: Living rooms, high-traffic and sunny areas
Available as complete hides, stitched panels, or woven strips of tanned leather.
Why we love it: Both soft and durable; unique pieces (especially hides); generally easy to clean
Things to consider: Not great for damp or humid areas
Best for: Bedrooms, offices, dens, low-traffic areas
Man-made fibers including viscose, nylon, and polypropylene. They have been improved over the years to mimic the characteristics of natural fibers.
Why we love it: Easy to clean; family-friendly; can be used in damp environments; many types can be used outdoors
Things to consider: Doesn’t always feel luxurious
Best for: Hallways, outdoors (note: not all synthetic rugs are suitable for outdoor use), high-traffic and sunny areas