Shopping Guide: Natural Fiber Rugs

A Guide to Natural Fiber Rugs

There are many reasons why natural fiber rugs are a go-to favorite. Jute, sisal and seagrass rugs are easy to care for, affordable and eco-friendly. Their natural, earthy texture makes them amazingly versatile — and a perfectly neutral foundation for any decor. In fact, many designers opt to go au naturel, using a natural fiber rug in nearly every room of a house.

While they share many similarities, the differences between jute, sisal and seagrass are what sets them apart. You may find that one is more suited to your lifestyle than the other. So if you want to know if jute rugs are soft, if you should go sisal in your high-traffic entry or if seagrass can handle spills in a playroom, then read on.

Jute Rugs

Jute is a natural plant stem fiber that is primarily grown in Bangladesh and India and is also used to make burlap and twine. Jute fibers are soft and smooth with a waxy sheen, resulting in the softest choice underfoot. For a super-soft jute rug, look for one that’s blended with chenille. Because of their weave, our Braided Link Jute Rug and our Braided Jute Rug have a softer texture than your average jute rug.

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Natural Fiber, Jute rug

Our Braided Jute Rug has a thick weave and coastal-casual fringe on the edges.

natural_fiber_rugs_jute_3

The rich texture and natural tonal variation of jute rugs comes in handy for masking minor stains or spills. However, jute rugs are less durable than sisal or seagrass, so they’re a better match for spaces with medium traffic, like dining rooms or bedrooms.

We love the lovely organic feel of jute rugs, but they aren’t for everyone. Because jute is made from this natural fiber, shedding often occurs when the rug is new. This typical eases up the older the rug gets. Another important thing to note, color and texture can differ from rug to rug. Our jute rugs are 100% hand-spun and hand-loomed, so variation is unavoidable.

Sisal Rugs

Sisal fibers come from the agave plant, the same family of plants that make aloe and tequila. They’re grown in Central America, but major production is from Brazil and East Africa. Sisal is the strongest, most durable of the three – and often the pricier, too. Their hardy weave means they last and can stand up to pet-scratching!

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Natural Fiber, Sisal rug

Our classic Sisal Rug has super tight knots which means it can stand up to wear and tear like a champ.

Natural Fiber, Sisal rug

Note that while sisal rugs are very durable, they can fade in direct sunlight and can become discolored easily, even by water.

Seagrass Rugs

Seagrass is a fast-growing marine plant found in the Asia-Pacific region. Because it’s grown in water, the reedy plant produces a strong, non-porous yarn that’s resistant to stains. Once a water spill dries, a seagrass rug will return to its normal color. The dense weave also makes it a very durable choice for high-traffic areas in the home, from the mudroom to the family room. Your seagrass rug will last you years.

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Seagrass rugs

Our Seagrass Rug is great for dining areas and family rooms because it stands up to stains like you wouldn’t believe. It’s tight weave means it isn’t super soft though.

Seagrass rugs

Take note: we don’t generally recommend any of our natural fiber rugs for moist or humid areas, like bathrooms. And if you’re still not sure which rug is right for you, order a swatch to get a better idea of color and feel.

COIR MATS

Coir mats are made from coconut husks

We bet you didn’t know that coir is a material derived from the husks of coconuts! First, the husks are seasoned in a lagoon, and then they’re beaten using wooden mallets to extract the fiber. The fiber is then hand-woven into your doormat by artisans using century old looming techniques.

Coir mats are made from natural fibers, so it’s inevitable that they will break down over time. To extend the life of your coir mat, avoid prolonged exposure to direct sunlight and try to keep it fairly dry. If it’s completely soaked through with water, it will break down faster, so allow it to fully dry!

Unfortunately shedding is normal for any coir mat, but over time, the shedding will diminish. Simply shake it off or vacuum the mat to remove loose fibers.

Browse more rug inspiration by following our Rugs and Flooring Pinterest Board, or browse our extensive collection of rugs online.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

 
How to Decorate Team

How to Decorate Team

We enjoy spending days interacting with How to Decorate readers. From answering Design Dilemmas to writing How To articles and working with guest designers, our passion is to provide informative and accurate resources to help people solve their design problems.

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30 Comments

  1. Reply

    Lori

    August 19, 2015
     

    How do these rugs do for outdoor use on a covered patio? And which material if any would be the best choice

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      August 20, 2015
       

      Lori,
      In order for the rug to last, we suggest using a rug that is specifically designed for outdoor use on your covered patio, but we do have an outdoor sisal rug that would blend the look of a natural fiber with the durability of an outdoor rug. Our St. Tropez Indoor/Outdoor Rug has the look of sisal, but it’ll last!
      Best of Luck!
      The How to Decorate Team

  2. Reply

    Rachel

    July 5, 2015
     

    I would like to use a natural file rug in our dining room. Our hardwoods are light, not dark, like all of your photos show. Will the sisal rug with the red border look bad against the light floors?

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      July 13, 2015
       

      Hi Rachel,
      Not at all, our seagrass and sisal rug look really nice with virtually every hardwood floor stain!
      Happy Decorating,
      The How to Decorate Team

  3. Reply

    Nazima

    July 4, 2015
     

    Hello-

    I am looking for a natural rug to put under my zebra rug which is real zebra hide…..Which kind of natural rugs would you recommend and if you have any stores in mind thru online shopping please that I could look at and possibly purchase.

    Thank you!

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      July 22, 2015
       

      Hi Nazima,
      You can find all of our natural fiber rugs here.
      Best of Luck!
      The How to Decorate Team

  4. Reply

    Jeanie Hill

    December 15, 2014
     

    Are the sisal rugs flat enough that a door could open over one? I need one at the entrance coming into the house from the garage and wonder if the door would clear when swung open. There is a half inch clearance (I can slide my hand beneath the door and the hardwood floor when open.

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      December 17, 2014
       

      Hi Jeanie,
      I think a sisal or seagrass rug should be fine, as neither of them have a very high pile. You could also order a sample just in case!
      Happy Decorating,
      The How to Decorate Team

  5. Reply

    Amy

    November 17, 2014
     

    I have a basically neutral living room except for a sofa and chair with a floral bro daisy fabric (greens, golds, dark reds). I have not been able to find a patterned (oriental style) to match the fabric. I was thinking of your braided jute rug with the fringe but I am afraid it might look odd. Thoughts?

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      November 21, 2014
       

      Hi Amy,
      Thanks for your comment. We actually have a design team that can help you with your home. It’s a free service that we offer to all of our customers. Use this form to submit some photos, and our design team will create a design plan for your space. We look forward to helping you!
      Happy Decorating,
      The How to Decorate Team

  6. Reply

    Char

    November 13, 2014
     

    Love the natural grass rugs but I also love the grey/white duvet set. I was wondering if you could let me know where that can be purchased ?.We have a newly acquired house on the bay and will be purchasing rugs for it around mid-December!