9 Types of Rugs That Add a Splash of Sophistication to Your Space

Updated: | Categories: Interiors
types of rugs

One of the things that instantly elevates the look of a room instantly is a good rug. And understanding that is the easy part. Finding and selecting the types of rugs that best suit the space you are decorating requires a little more attention to detail.

This is a craft that is slowly being lost in many parts of the world. But thanks to the revived interest in interior design, some of the finest decorating ideas ever thought up have come to life.

To begin the search for the perfect rug you need to start with locating the place where you want to place it. The amount of footfall or traffic in that space will determine the material of which the rug must be made.

Just remember, there is no one-size-fits-all answer here. A lot of this is about preference and creativity and not a hard science. But to make it easier we'll talk about all of the types of rugs categorized by the material used when they're weaved.

Natural Fiber Types of Rugs

As the name indicates, rugs that are made of natural fibers like wool or cotton are the most popular choices. When you are picking one, this is what you need to be mindful of.

Woolen Rugs

Woolen rugs, also called wool rugs, are extremely durable with many design styles and colors.

These are the most durable rugs in the business. It is what makes them very popular, especially with homeowners. The fabric is extremely versatile and they stay that way for a long time. You can get them in an endless choice of colors and also just as easily dye them.

They can handle quite a bit of footfall and if you are standing bare feet on them, woolen rugs can be quite comfortable. Families, especially those with children who tend to run around quite a bit, will absolutely love these.

It is also a dense fabric so it repels liquids impressively. It will absorb the moisture but it also allows for a quick cleaning job that helps with damage control.

These rugs are also thicker than you'd find with other types of rugs, which makes pet hair shedding a real problem. So if you have a dog that’s a shedder, you have your work cut out for you, as well as if they have fleas. Try these plants that repel fleas near the rug if it's a problem.

But you can opt for a flat-weave rug and that will solve the problem to an extent. Flat weaving is one of the ways in which rugs are made. But you must be prepared for professional cleaning with these types.

Cotton Rugs

Cotton rugs are relatively inexpensive, look more casual, and come in nearly infinite designs and colors.

Cotton is a fabric that sits well with dyeing so these rugs are a gateway for makeovers. Typically, they are braided or flat woven rugs.

They are softer than jute rugs (which is next on the list, by the way). Cotton rugs are durable and you can wash many of them in the machine, which is a huge time and effort saver. 

They are cheaper than woolen rugs and they do sport a more casual look. That’s what makes them quite popular among customers on a budget. Due to the cost you won't feel too bad about replacing them when they get old and you want to try out something new.

Jute & Sisal Rugs

Jute and sisal rugs are extremely durable and have several textures and weaves available.

These are tough and extremely durable rugs. They are made to accommodate texture and weaves. Those are qualities that other fabrics don’t leave room for.

These are great rugs if you’re looking for something good but someone in the house (or office space or wherever else) is allergic to wool.

But you must remember that these rugs are not as soft compared to the previous models discussed here. Jute rugs are popularly made in India and sisal is from different parts of the African continent.

It is also tougher to get rid of stains from jute and sisal rugs. They absorb moisture but don’t give you room for damage control like wool does.

Silk & Viscose Rugs

silk rugs and viscose rugs are very sophisticated, expensive, and take extra effort in order to maintain and clean.

On the contrary, silk and viscose rugs are soft and easy to dye. They are versatile but not as durable as the aforementioned rugs. That is why many rug makers use them in combination with wool. This gives them depth and panache.

They have a luxurious and elegant look on them since silk is a very decorative fabric. These are rugs you want to show off but not stomp on every day. So silk and viscose rugs make for great area rugs in those areas of the house that don’t see much traffic.

They are easier to maintain but you want to be careful and do everything you can to avoid mishaps that leave permanent stains, largely due to the price. You might use these as part of your staging in the dining room, versus in the family or living room, where they'll see far more foot traffic.

Synthetic Fiber Types of Rugs

The second type of rug is, naturally, the synthetic type. They are made on a machine and the weaving takes place on a power loom which is a fascinating thing to watch on its own.

Thanks to the heavy work involved in the manufacturing, there is a lot of customization that can be done with these rugs. From size to color to pattern, there are a lot of details that can be added.

So if you’re a rug fanatic, you have a lot to work with. There are three main types of synthetic rugs in the market, as seen below.

Nylon Rugs

Nylon rugs are extremely easy to keep clean compared to other types of rugs.

As described above, nylon rugs can be made from an endless palette of colors. They are so good in terms of resisting dirt and crumbs, you would be thoroughly surprised. So it’s safe to say these are great for families with little children and pets.

And in case there has been a mishap and you missed it, you don’t have too much to worry about. These rugs are quite easy to clean. They are also known for being very strong and durable. They can handle quite a bit of footfall while maintaining a silky appearance.

These are pretty great in all sizes but the large ones are hugely advantageous for some spaces. However, they have especially gained popularity among those who are looking for area rugs.

Now, even though nylon rugs can be dyed easily, they are often acid dyed and that can cause your rug to fade over time. They also develop issues over the long term. So either buy two of the same or be ready for a change later on down the road.

Olefin Rugs

olefin rugs feel very soft and resist stains quite well.

When it comes to rugs, this one is quite the star and for good reason. Olefin rugs are the most popular rugs in the business. They are made of polypropylene and are as soft as wool.

They resist stains very well and can hold color too. It gets better. They are very durable and affordable at the same time. It's because of these qualities that olefin rugs are preferred for outdoor settings, like on a patio.

However, you still need to make sure your furniture doesn't leave marks on it. That’s difficult to fix if you plan on rearranging the room. Think about the types of tables and chairs and what their feet may look like and if you'll place them over the rug.

You will also notice soiling and abrasions if you place it in areas with a lot of activity. But that's just typical wear and tear over a period of time and comes with every product. We have to have realistic expectations, I suppose.

Polyester Rugs

polyester rugs are tough and durable, hold their dye color very well, and have a higher price due to the effort to manufacture.

This is a fabric that is used to make rugs a lot. It is a very tough and durable fabric on its own. Polyester rugs are solution dyed which makes them very good with bleaching and fading.

Bleaching, fading, and accidents will happen over time, though. Thankfully, polyester rugs are quite affordable and thus a favorite of the manufacturers and customers alike. These are fantastic in the bedroom due to their softness and can add much to the bedroom feng shui.

It is also not an oil-resistant fabric so if you drop anything with oil in it, you will most likely have permanent stains. And here’s where it gets worse. It is quite the task to dye these rugs.

You cannot try too many colors or patterns. So there are no easy fixes if you screw up. So while they are affordable, the price of a mistake might just be too high, especially if you get attached to your rug.

How to Choose Which Types of Rugs You Want 

You typically should start with, “where does this rug go?” That will give you a sense of the footfall and help you decide whether you want something functional or decorative.

For instance, if you are looking for a rug for a playroom you need something that can handle stains and a lot of activity.

A kitchen, on the other hand, needs a flat-woven rug that does not have piling and shedding, or it will collect crumbs and moisture. You must expect stains and you need something that doesn’t cry for damage control immediately.

Flat-woven rugs are also great for offices for the same reason. Some spaces need to handle wheelchairs and office chairs that have wheels. So you don’t want to get olefin rugs that are damaged by furniture scars.

You also need to look at the area of the rug. You can have a large rug cover the entire space or multiple small rugs in a pattern that give the room a sub-divided texture. You get to play with colors and patterns and maybe even show off your aesthetic skills.

That also brings design into question.  You must try to pick colors and patterns that match the decor of the room. So you cannot start furnishing a house with rugs and carpets. If your furniture is busy, you need to pick neutral patterns for the rug because you can’t do it the other way round. 

All Types of Rugs Have Their Strengths

Rugs are one of the elements of your interiors that you don’t want to go wrong with. Because even the cheapest rugs are a bit of an investment and tend to last a while.

Plus, if you get it wrong, this is an item that will be on display. You could shove it into a cupboard but that’s good money gone waste. So with this article, hopefully you choose which types of rugs suit your needs best and look great while doing so.

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Rick Worst Headshot Rick is a home design consultant and enthusiast, who's life is consumed by all things home and garden. Starting as a hobby, Worst Room has grown into an information and inspiration wheelhouse for professionals and home owners alike. Rick serves as owner and editor for our many content contributors. Learn more about operation here.