Choosing the Best Material for Your Area Rugs

Living room with an area rug, loveseat, and end table

Whether you are remodeling or just need to add a bit of pizzazz to a room, picking the perfect area rugs is a more daunting task than you realize. One of the most important things to consider when choosing an area rug is what material works best for your needs. We have some tips on how to help you determine the best area rug material for you.

How to Determine What Material is Best for Your Area Rugs

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The look of the area rug will ultimately play a big part in what you choose. But for your rug to keep its visual style, you need to make sure it’s the best material for the room. To ensure you pick the right area rug, you need to think about the foot traffic it will endure, how much sun it will get, whether kids or pets will play on it, whether it will be exposed to food and beverages, the temperature of the area and whether it is humid or dry, and how often you will clean your area rugs.


Location of Your Area Rugs

Area rugs look great in entryways, living rooms, bedrooms, family rooms, etc. But not every type of rug is the right fit for every room. Carefully consider the room when choosing a rug material.

For area rugs that are going to be placed in high-traffic areas, like entryways, stairs or hallways, or used as floor protection, choose a rug made of durable materials like bamboo, coir, sisal, jute, nylon, polypropylene or polyester. These fibers are often great for indoor/outdoor area rugs or doormats as well. These area rugs are heavy duty and durable, but they are not very soft or plush. If you want a softer but durable rug, opt for wool. It can handle foot traffic but can be a bit more difficult to keep clean. Low-pile rugs work best for high-traffic areas also as they hide tracks better than high-pile rugs and are easier to vacuum.

For rooms with lower foot traffic, like bedrooms, living rooms and family rooms, choose area rugs that are plush and comfortable. Wool, cotton, silk blend or hides work well. Some of which even create quite a statement piece! Wool and cotton rugs are great for kids’ rooms or living rooms. They are comfortable for lounging and playing on but are also fairly durable. They can absorb stains so spot cleaning as soon as possible is absolutely necessary.

Silk, or silk blend, and animal hides are best for low-traffic areas like bedrooms, formal dining rooms or as decoration. At their price point, you want to take extra care of them. They often need to be professionally cleaned so anywhere foot traffic or food is plentiful is best to avoid. Some hides and woven silk rugs are heirloom pieces. Use these as decoration and keep them well maintained to hold their value, sentimental or monetary.

For kitchen area rugs, consider a durable, stain-resistant and moisture-absorbing material, like nylon, polypropylene or cotton. Also, choose a kitchen floor mat with built-in cushioning so you are comfortable standing for long periods of chopping or cooking time.


Can Your Area Rug Weather the Weather?

Sunlight, humidity, and moisture can cause significant damage or wear on area rugs. You must account for the weather when picking your perfect area rug.

Continued exposure to direct sunlight will damage your area rugs. For areas that get hours of sunlight per day, opt for synthetic fibers, such as nylon, viscose or polypropylene. They won’t fade like natural fibers. They are also great for areas where moisture is present like basements or entryways. Avoid silk, natural fibers like cotton and wool, and hides in high humidity or moist areas. They absorb moisture and can get smelly if not properly cared for.


What is Your Maintenance Plan for Area Rugs?

Consider how often you plan to clean or vacuum your area rugs to help you decide what material is best for you. Some materials require a lot of work to maintain so in a house full of kids or pets, you may want to consider an easier to care for material unless you have a lot of time to devote to rug maintenance. Cotton rugs, especially flat or woven styles, are easy to clean and often machine washable. Nylon resists dirt and crumbs so shake clean fairly well. While wool area rugs naturally repel liquids, they will retain moisture over time and often need professional cleaning. Hides are generally easy to spot clean but require professional cleaning for larger problems. Silk is delicate and can be ruined easily. Use only if you plan to take great care of them. For more information on proper rug maintenance, check out How to Clean & Care for Area Rugs.


What Material is Best for Your Area Rug?

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Do you feel confident to pick the best rug material for your need and location? We hope so! Read Selecting the Best Rug Size for Your Space for more area rug decorating tips.


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Posted in Decorating Ideas Tagged with: , ,
Posted by: Amandah Blackwell

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