When you’re shopping for a new rug for your home or office, you have a number of options available. From pile height to size, material to manufacturing style, these factors can get confusing and make it harder to find the perfect rug. The most common rug materials include polypropylene, wool, silk, and cotton. The right material will depend on how and where you plan to use the rug, as well as the softness and comfort level you want your rug to have.
Rugs made from synthetic materials, such as polypropylene, work well for buyers on a budget. These economical rugs feel smooth, although the synthetic material might feel a bit artificial to a buyer who wants something soft. Most polypropylene rugs have low piles, which means they’re flat and won’t get in the way beneath a door as it swings open or closed.
Polypropylene and other synthetic rugs are treated to repel moisture and stains, making them great choices for indoor/outdoor use. If you want to put a rug on your patio or front porch, synthetics are the ones to choose. These rugs are very durable and won’t fade, even when placed in direct sunlight.
Rugs made from renewable, natural fibers are growing in popularity, especially among buyers who want to reduce their environmental impact. Some of the most common natural fibers used for rugs include sisal, jute, and bamboo. These plants grow quickly, especially bamboo, so harvesting them for rug production doesn’t destroy rainforests or other areas where they occur naturally. These strong fibers are durable and can withstand high traffic without falling apart, but the light colors mean they can stain easily. They work well in areas without much moisture exposure.
Most natural fiber rugs are braided or woven. You can also shop for reversible rugs to change the look of the space with a simple flip. The feel of natural fibers is coarser than other materials.
Wool is widely used in rugs, combining a soft feel beneath your feet with durability that helps the rug to last. In durability tests, a single wool fiber can bend more than 10,000 times without breaking. When wool fibers are dyed, they absorb the colors well for a vibrant, eye-catching shade, so you can shop a wide variety of colors. High-quality wool also shows off a sheen after it has been dyed. However, the colors of dyed wool can fade, especially when placed in direct sunlight.
Another benefit of wool rugs is their natural stain resistance. If you use a wool rug in your kitchen, you don’t need to worry about spills, since the rug won’t absorb liquid right away. As long as you blot up the spill quickly, your rug should look just fine. Wool fibers are also fire resistant. When you’re shopping for a rug to use in high-traffic areas, a wool option will hold up well. People often keep wool rugs as heirlooms and pass them down. Hooked and tufted styles are the softest rugs available in this material.
Silk offers the softest and most luxurious feel for a rug, although the material is quite sensitive. It’s best to use silk rugs in low-traffic areas or where they will be seen but not walked on too much. You might see a silk rug blended with another material to add durability while maintaining the natural sheen and luster of this elegant material. Silk rugs are sensitive to moisture, so avoid using them in bathrooms or kitchens where the risk of spills and water exposure is higher. Silk rugs are more expensive than others, but they deliver unrivaled softness and luxury.
Cotton is another top material for rug production, offering an affordable option that fits into just about any budget. Most cotton rugs are flat weaves, so they work well as interior doormats that don’t block the door. A cotton rug feels soft beneath your feet, although it won’t offer the plush feel you can get with wool. Many cotton rugs are machine washable, so if you have kids or pets at home, you can easily clean any stains or spills to keep your rug looking like new. Some cotton rugs are reversible to add more flexibility to the look and feel of your space.
If you do choose a cotton rug, bear in mind that while this material is durable, it isn’t meant to last forever. You will likely need to replace the rug after a few years, or more often if it’s in a high-traffic area or used outdoors.
Now that you know the most common types of rug materials, you can make a better decision about which option to use in every room of your home. Check out the wide selection at JCPenney to find the perfect rug to protect your flooring from mud and dirt while adding a splash of color.