Are you making more environmentally friendly choices in your home? Then chances are, you are looking for natural area rugs to replace those nasty, synthetic rugs you've had lying around. There are many choices for more natural materials, and knowing a little more about them and where they are best used to take advantage of their natural properties will ensure you choose the rugs that will not only help protect the environment but enhance your home as well.
Wool is renewable and sustainable, and is perhaps the oldest, most enduring material used for rugs. Wool is not only gorgeous and soft, it is a tough, durable fiber that will last a long time. A rug made from live wool, wool that has been sheared from a live animal, will include more of the natural oils and increase the durability and lifetime of the rug. Some wool rugs are made from dead wool, which has been removed using chemicals from animals that are already dead, and will not include all of the natural oils you want.
These natural oils make wool area rugs resistant to stains, moisture, fire, dust mites and fading. A live wool rug can be used in any room of your home, even in high traffic areas. It will stand up well to furniture being placed on it. It's also great year round, because wool's natural properties help to both retain heat in cold rooms, and increase cooling in warm rooms.
Sisal is another great choice for high traffic rooms. Sisal is made from the fibers of the agave plant, so if you prefer not to use animal-sourced fibers but you still want tough and durable, sisal is a great choice. The fibers are very strong, but also smooth and fine, so comfortable to walk on. You can use them anywhere in the home, as they are also resistant to fire. They are perfect for upper floors, as sisal absorbs sound.
Jute is another plant fiber, and is tough enough to handle heavy, every-day traffic. Natural area rugs made from jute tend to be coarser, so they are not the best choice for bedrooms or rooms that you want a soft, cozy feel in. They also are intolerable to stains, so kitchens are not jute-friendly. You may not want to use jute in the rec room either if you or your kids tend to eat in there frequently. One solution is to use a large jute area rug to cover most of your floor, especially if you have floors that are not-so-nice, and then use another, smaller rug for areas that may experience spills … under the coffee table or kitchen table, for instance.
Finally, bamboo is becoming more broadly used for natural area rugs, and it is very versatile. Not only is it renewable and sustainable, it created very tough, durable fibers. You can often find bamboo rugs for less expensive than other natural fiber rugs, and since you can use them in any area of your home they make a great choice for most families.