The ultimate guide to the different types of rugs, including the best types of rug weaves, materials, and styles for your decorating needs.
Familiarizing yourself with the different types of rug materials available on the market is essential to designing your home accordingly.
There are plenty of things to consider including the area you’d like to place the rug in, the foot traffic in the said area, and the overall look and feel you’d like to achieve for a particular living space.
Types Of Rugs Materials
Read on to find out which types of rugs are considered the hottest trends and what you can expect from each of these decorative staples.
This type of rug material is particularly prized for its durability and softness. If you’re looking for a rug that provides warmth or insulation and repels water and stains remarkably, then wool rugs are your best choice.
These rugs are also excellent for living spaces where you’d like to relax and rest comfortably such as the dining room, living room, and bedroom.
However, a downside to wool rugs is they’re not exactly suitable for areas that are prone to humidity and moisture. Shedding and fading may also become an issue over time.
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Polyester is another common material that is used for rugs, which are also typically used for other basic necessities such as clothes, linens, cushions, and so on.
Polyester is highly valued for its vibrant colors, design flexibility, and affordability. They can be a great addition for areas such as the bedroom, dining room, living room, and even the basement area.
They’re quite flexible and easy to maintain; in fact, you can use them for either your outdoor or indoor area. Moreover, these materials are usually made of polypropylene and nylon, which are known for their anti-allergy properties.
Still, they’re quite prone to staining so maintenance can be a real issue. They can also generate static electricity so if you’re uncomfortable with mild static electricity shocks, it’s best to avoid this type of material.
Additionally, polyester rugs also tend to unravel easily and get flat over time so they won’t stay as pretty and durable for long.
Tip: Keep these rugs away from heat sources like radiators because they can either scorch or melt when exposed to extreme heat.
While polypropylene is made of synthetic fibers, it can actually resemble the look and feel of rugs that are made of natural fibers. Polypropylene rugs are also family-friendly, moisture-resistant, easy to clean, and long-lasting.
Moreover, they’re best used for the outdoors, hallways, and other high-traffic areas in the home.
Unfortunately, aesthetic appeal isn’t really something you can bank on when you opt for this type of rug material compared to other rug alternatives.
Cotton rugs are another remarkable rug material. They’re soft, comfortable, and are perhaps the most affordable rug material you can get your hands on.
They’re also quite easy to clean and extremely versatile, making them perfect for everyday use in almost any area in the house. It’s also easily the best material to use for flat-weave rugs.
Still, cotton rugs fall short when it comes to durability and tend to have a short lifespan because of this.
If you want to go for something that’s a bit more on the luxurious side, you might want to consider silk rugs. This material is best known for its fine details, subtle sheen, and incomparable softness.
If you want to indulge yourself and give certain spaces in your home a touch of elegance and coziness, then silk is definitely the material to go for.
Silk rugs are best for low-traffic areas in the home such as bedrooms.
But, take note that silk rugs tend to show marks and footprints if you use them regularly. Because of their delicate materials, professional cleaning is recommended since doing it by yourself can actually be quite challenging.
Natural grasses have been making waves lately and with good reason. For one, they can look amazing especially if they complement the rest of your home décor.
Natural grasses such as jute make for great rugs because they’re neutral, earthy, and versatile. Widely recognized as the design chameleons of the interior designing world, you can easily pair them with any interior theme or color scheme.
If you’re looking for a rug material that’s environmentally friendly and free from any type of chemical processing whatsoever, then jute rugs are definitely for you. They’re especially excellent to incorporate into the areas of your home that get a lot of natural light such as the living room and kitchen. They can also hold up well against wear and tear.
Nonetheless, these rugs also have their downsides. First, they are actually quite hard to clean. Careful and thorough cleaning is required for this type of rug. Avoid scrubbing them since it can break the materials easily.
Some of the jut rug varieties also tend to be quite rough or coarse which would essentially defeat the purpose of adding a rug indoors. Unless you intend to use it simply as a decorative piece from the get-go.
Bamboo rugs, as the name suggests, are made of bamboo silk fibers which are one of the hottest interior trends lately. They’re quite soft and visually pleasing, as well as renewable and eco-friendly.
In fact, there are also bamboo silk variations that can possibly rival the softness of real silk rugs.
A major downside to bamboo rugs, however, is they can be quite delicate and are not, in any way, moisture-resistant. Even something as basic as a water spill could completely alter their look, leaving a permanent stain on them.
This can also affect their durability. Moreover, professional cleaning and maintenance may be required because of their delicate nature.
Faux Hide Rugs
If you’re into the luxurious look and feel of animal skin but are still concerned for the welfare of animals, then faux hide rugs may be your best bet.
This material mimics the texture and appearance of real animal skin. It has a soft and suede-like texture and is very comfortable to use.
Do take note, however, that faux hide rugs aren’t nearly as thick or comfortable as authentic hide rugs. The materials of the former are typically thinner and are more prone to shedding as well.
Moreover, they aren’t capable of withstanding wear and tear at all. There are also instances wherein the material can unravel or fray a little at the sides.
Animal Skin Rugs
If you want to create an exotic yet elegant ambiance, you should seriously consider getting animal hide or animal skin rugs for your living space. These types of rugs are becoming more popular because of their natural look and feel.
Essentially, they come in a diverse range of majestic patterns that can only be produced by the exhilarating beauty of nature. They’re also hypoallergenic and very easy to clean and maintain.
Additionally, they’re excellent for dens, offices, bedrooms, and other areas in the home that rarely get a lot of foot traffic.
Still, a major disadvantage of animal skin rugs is they’re essentially made of leather, meaning they can get damaged easily when exposed to extreme humidity or moisture.
They can also be quite expensive so if you want to purchase rugs on a budget, it’s best to consider other alternatives.
Pros And Cons Of Rug Materials
Below we weigh the pros and cons of rug materials which can help you decide about the following: where you want to place the rugs in your home, what kind of aesthetic you want to achieve, and how you’re going to maintain them.
Natural Rug Materials
Natural rug materials are usually made of jute, hemp, sisal, seagrass, coir, cotton, or even wool. They’re ethically sourced most of the time, are biodegradable, and have unique qualities such as being hypoallergenic, fire retardant, and anti-microbial.
Most of these rugs also come with green certifications. A few of the most important green certifications for rugs are Greenguard, Greenguard Gold, Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS).
Synthetic Rug Materials
As the name implies, synthetic rugs are made of materials that aren’t naturally procured. They are essentially made of a wide variety of materials such as nylon, polyester, and polypropylene.
Most of these rugs are professionally produced and treated, meaning they are normally cheap but that doesn’t necessarily guarantee good quality. Because of the latest advancements in technology, most synthetic rug materials can even imitate the texture and appearance of natural fiber rugs.
Types Of Rug Weaves
The thing is, not all rugs are created equal. Basically, there’s a wide array of materials readily available to make them.
You’d need to consider what fits you best, according to these factors: style, functionality, budget, and personal preference. And under the various styles of rugs available, there are also several types of rug weaves to consider.
Flatweave rugs, like the name suggest, are flat. They don’t have the typical “pile” made of extra pieces of yarn on its backing.
Flatweave rugs are known for their durability. They are also easy to clean as they don’t need any special handling.
Moreover, they hold up very well to foot traffic which means that they can be pretty long-lasting too. Synthetic flatweaves, in particular, are resistant to outside elements which make them suitable for outdoor use as well.
They can come in a wide variety of designs, including handmade ones such as the Kilims, which are known for their tribal designs and are perfect for adding a touch of culture to any space.
Braided rugs, on the other hand, have been around since the colonial period and are quite common in the U.S. They are easily recognizable because of their oval shape and rustic, country-style look.
They are a perfect addition to any bohemian-style interior. Braided rugs are usually made of materials that are braided into one long strand and then wound into a spiral pattern until the desired shape is accomplished.
Styles Of Rugs
The most common animal print patterns for rugs are leopard, tiger, and cow prints. They have a natural look that can appear sophisticated when paired with the right interior and decorative pieces.
This is an unusual but surprisingly versatile rug design. As the name implies, border rugs have straight and stately borders near the outlines.
It’s recommended to use these rugs as centerpieces for the living and dining room.
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If you’re looking for something that breaks away from the monotonous design of plain colored rugs, a chevron rug may be a creative and whimsical option. Despite its rather flamboyant look, it still surprisingly fits well with a wide variety of interior design styles and themes.
Chevron rugs are best known for their zigzag or V-shaped patterns. If you’re into stripes but would like to add a little bit more personality to the design, then a chevron-styled rug is perfect for you.
Coastal rugs are typically made of natural grasses such as seagrass, sisal, and jute. They’re usually woven, sustainably harvested, and feel soft underfoot. Most of them are slightly coarsely textured too.
These rugs particularly have an aged and worn-out finish, one of the hottest trends that most people seem to love these days.
This look is achieved by chemically treating the rug fibers, on top of being soaked then shaved.
Interestingly, dyed rugs can be any type of rug that has been dipped in a vat of dye to achieve any desired color.
If you particularly like doing projects yourself, a dyed rug may just be the fix you need to bring out your fun and creative side.
These rugs typically have patterns of flowers on the surface, with a broad selection of designs and colors available to choose from to mix and match with any room interior.
These are rugs that come in varying textures, hence the name high-low. This means that some areas of the rug are high while some are low, creating a unique and rather sophisticated effect.
An Ikat rug is a decorative rug that had its threads dyed before being woven together, resulting in a careful and elaborate pattern design depending on the level of binding.
These threads are usually bound together in a pattern.
This makes the threads covered by the binding resistant to the dye, which forms out the patterns.
A medallion-styled rug is usually centered on a single symmetrical centerpiece. The designs can have varying shapes and styles, but the most common patterns are stars, quatrefoils, circulars, and octagons.
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If you want to make a statement piece of design with your rug, then a geometric rug is a perfect choice. This type of rug best complements elements such as brass, luxurious leather, and jewel tones.
Geometric rugs can definitely make a room stand out regardless of the occasion.
Novelty rugs are usually handmade, custom-made, commissioned, or made-to-order rugs. If you want to bring out and leave a trace of your personality in your home interior, then consider investing in novelty rugs.
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Normally, a rug is considered oriental if it satisfies the requirements for hand-knotted rugs. These rugs, particularly the handmade ones, are known for their vibrant colors, luxurious fabrics, and interweaving, intricate patterns, evoking rich character and culture.
Countries like Russia, Pakistan, Turkey, China, India, Nepal, and Tibet are the world’s most prolific oriental rug exporters.
Persian rugs are famous for their intricate designs and rich, vibrant colors. They’re usually made of luxurious materials such as silk, natural wool, and other prime-grade synthetic materials.
Due to their complex nature, they require painstaking craftsmanship which is probably one of the main reasons why they are very expensive. Persian rugs are also highly regarded for their durability and quality.
These are rugs known for their crisscrossed patterns that come in varying styles and colors, usually in a combination of two to three colors.
Rustic rugs normally take inspiration from nature for their designs, such as stone, leaves, wood, and a few more other organic elements.
They tend to create a relaxing and inviting effect when incorporated into one’s home interior.
Shag rugs, in particular, are perfect for hardwood floors because they can be quite soft and silky, creating a contrasting effect.
They’re perfect for when you want to walk around the house barefoot since they’re extremely comfortable to the touch. Moreover, they can be excellent insulators as well.
These are rugs that come in plain, solid colors without any additional designs or patterns on the surface. Basically, they’re a perfect choice if you want to achieve a minimalist or a monochromatic look for your living space.
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Often characterized by earth colors mixed with vibrant ones, handcrafted objects, and rocky textures, these rugs have a certain masculine appeal to them.
Southwestern rugs are essentially inspired by the resourcefulness and originality of the Aztec people, Navajo people, and other Native American tribes.
These are common types of rugs that come in striped patterns, in a combination of two or more colors.
What Are The Best Types Of Rugs?
The best types of rugs are ones that can essentially withstand wear and tear but still feel soft and comfortable at the same time. Several materials that you should highly consider are wool, nylon, polypropylene, cotton, and natural fiber.
What Are The Most Durable Types Of Rug?
Wool. It’s basically the perfect combination of comfort and durability. Thus, it’s no surprise that it continues to be very popular even to this day.
It has strong fibers that could withstand intense foot traffic, coupled with its softness that makes it feel very luxurious. It’s also moisture- and dirt-resistant so it’s certainly a worthy investment especially if you’re living with kids or pets.
What Is The Best Type Of Rug For A Living Room?
The living room is one of the most frequented areas in the home. So, if you want the best type of rug for this space, you would need ones that could really take a beating.
On that note, you might want to consider an all-wool or a cotton flatweave rug because they fit the qualifications above perfectly.
What Type Of Rug Is Best For Bedroom?
It may seem like we’re a little too biased to wool rugs but they really do cater to bedrooms excellently. They have a soft, inviting feel, while the thick ones can also enhance the luxury factor.
What Type Of Rug Is Best For Under Dining Table?
Flatweave or short pile rugs are your best choice, particularly for the area under the dining table. Although both shag and other wool-type rugs may also be great alternatives, they aren’t exactly suitable for the dining table area because there’s always the issue of food particles falling off the table, making cleaning an especially difficult task.
Also, this area is prone to high traffic so plush rugs might get worn down right away.
What Type Of Rug Is Best For High Traffic Areas?
We would recommend thinner rugs such as flatweaves or synthetics. This is because they can withstand high traffic and they don’t get damaged, faded, and frayed easily despite being scrubbed and cleaned too hard.
Softest Rug Material
Two of the softest rug materials available are definitely wool and cotton. Because they come from naturally occurring fibers, they feel luxurious and soft.
They also tend to be extra soft to the touch when stepped on.
Rug Materials To Avoid
Stay away from art silk as much as possible. This type of rug is usually a blend of two or more materials that aims but fails to mimic the look and feel of a genuine silk rug.
Moreover, art silk has lower quality and durability compared to real silk but because it has a bit of sheen, it can cost quite unreasonably high depending on the store that offers them.
Easy To Clean Rugs
Nylon rugs are hands down the easiest to clean. This is perhaps due to the synthetic nature of their fibers.
They’re also extremely durable and they can withstand a lot of abrasions. Overall, they are pretty great at retaining their appearance despite getting washed, sponged, scrubbed, and even steam-cleaned.
For more related content about the various types of rugs, check out our guide on how to pick rug sizes.