Learn About the Different Types of Natural Fiber Rugs

A rug brings an entire room together when you choose the right one. Natural fiber rugs are one of the most affordable styles, and they offer plenty of variety. Whether you layer the rugs over each other or use them alone, their wool- and plant-based fibers offer a distinctive pattern that complements any motif.

You might find yourself wondering, “what are natural fiber rugs?” There are slight differences that separate one texture from the next. Luckily, natural fiber rugs match with nearly any color arrangement, even if you have a neutral look. Rather than choosing a synthetic fabric that becomes scratchy and tattered over time, select one of the many natural materials that are likely to last longer.

Wool

Wool is easily one of the most popular materials on the market today for natural fiber rugs. With impressive strength and stain resistance, this type of rug can find a home in many rooms. However, the material should not go in a spot that collects a lot of humidity, like the bathroom, since it may form mildew with water exposure. Even with this small restriction, wool natural fiber rugs perfectly suit a hardwood or tile floor, offering cushioning for a softer surface.

With the luxurious natural fiber of wool, you adequately insulate the floor, keeping your feet warm during the coldest of months with just an area rug. However, if the entire piece uses only wool, you need to add a rug pad to keep it in place and avoid tripping.

Jute

Jute is much coarser material than wool, but it also gives you a different range of styles to work from for your natural fiber rug. You probably recognize jute as being similar in style to burlap, with its earthy texture and tone. While jute rugs typically come in natural color, the industry often dyes the natural fiber for greater versatility in decor.

Despite the burlap-like appearance, jute can be incredibly soft, making it perfect for any living space with lots of traffic. The upkeep of a jute rug is simple, since you only need to regularly vacuum it to eliminate any dust. However, since the material is also incredibly absorbent, you should treat spills as soon as possible.

Sea Grass

Sea grass isn’t quite as popular as its counterparts, but it's one of the most water-resistant natural fiber rugs on the list. Most of the time, sea grass gets bound to cotton or leather for a softer texture, but it's naturally light green. Over time, with exposure from UV rays and other lighting, sea grass fades to a khaki color. You won’t need to add a rug pad to sea grass rugs, since they feature a latex underside to remain in place.

Even with its resistance to water, sea grass rugs are not meant to be outdoor rugs. Luckily, they're one of the few materials that work well in the kitchen and bathroom, if you keep them vacuumed regularly. Pair the greenish hue of the natural fiber rug with similar shades in the room, like pale green towels or cabinets.

Sisal

Sisal is one of the most absorbent materials around, though it’s also incredibly durable. Many people confuse sisal natural fiber rugs with jute. Though the two seem similar, there are a few qualities that separate the two. The most predominant feature is the stiffness, since that quality supports the structure and integrity of the piece.

When you choose a sisal rug, you have many colors and patterns from which to choose, making them the perfect complement to modern, contemporary, or even eclectic motifs. However, with such stiff materials woven through it, you need to add a rug pad underneath to support its position. Make sure to treat stains quickly to keep the integrity of this beautiful natural fiber rug.

Hemp

The last of the most common natural fiber rugs is hemp. The fibers here are durable, and these pieces are one of the only types of rugs that resist the development of mildew. They aren’t as soft and luxurious as the other options, but the coarseness of the hemp slowly softens over time with use.

Expect some shedding as the hemp rug grows older, though the integrity and structure of the natural fiber rug stays the same. Keep these pieces in areas where people avoid laying on the floor or walking with bare feet, like a patio or underneath the dining room table. If you have concerns about using wool or jute rugs, layer it over a hemp rug to protect the floor and create a layered look.

The most important factor to consider when looking through the different types of natural fiber rugs is the type of traffic in the room. If the room is somewhere that guests and loved ones will kick off their shoes or need to find warmth, a wool or jute rug seals in the heat. If you need something that withstands the moisture outside or in the bathroom, hemp provides the best protection. There are natural fiber rug options for any of your needs in between, but it's up to you to make the final decision.