The A-Z Of Rugs: Everything You Need To Know About Buying a Rug

So how much is there to know about rugs?

A lot.

Who would have thought that a flat piece of material on the floor would lead me to write over 1,600 words? Well, coming from a rug expert such as myself, writing so many words about the different types of rugs you can buy to furnish and decorate your home, really, it wasn’t that difficult at all.

Most of us have an area rug in our home but what does an area rug even mean exactly? Are we even calling it by the right name, are we looking to buy a rug but we are searching online to buy the right or wrong rug?

Below you will read everything you’ve ever wanted to know about rugs and things you didn’t even know but you want to know, about rugs.

Whether you are interested in buying a wool rug, sheep skin rug, natural rug or any other rug for that matter, scroll down the page to find more information for the rug of your choice.

Types of Rugs

There are many different types of rugs but most will fall into the categories of area rugs, kitchen rugs, bedroom rugs, living room rugs, indoor/outdoor rugs, stair runners, and bathroom rugs.

Rugs have many different purposes and you will be surprised to find out how versatile rugs can actually be.

Area rugs are defined as being a rug that covers only part of a floor. In the category of area rugs there are several types to look at. There are handmade rugs and machine made rugs, natural fibers and materials and synthetic rugs and they all have characteristics that will make them stand out in a crowd.

Hand Made vs Machine Made Rugs

As far as handmade and machine made rugs go, they are pretty self-explanatory. Handmade rugs are made by a person while a machine made rug is made by a machine and are more widely produced.

A handmade rug that has recently caught my eye lately is this handmade felt ball rug. You can use it just about anywhere in the house and it also comes in colorful versions for kids. A beautiful hand made rug that is different and super comfy for the house.

These new handmade felt ball rugs come in a variety of sizes and can be used all over the home.

As you can see above, handmade rugs are more unique and known to be more of a custom made rug, since it’s nearly impossible for you to make something completely identical by hand and every person will make their rug in a different manner than another.

You will more often than not find that handmade rugs are made from more organic, safer materials compared to machine made rugs as they are produced at greater quantities.

Natural Fiber Rugs

Now, we can discuss natural fibers in rugs. What do you think of when you think of natural rugs? Sheepskin? Bamboo? Okay, what about Cow Skin?

The possibilities are astonishing when you think of how many choices you have in a rug before even having to consider buying an artificial synthetic fiber rug. Sea grass rugs are also a popular choice.

Below I will list the natural fibers most commonly used to make rugs.

Wool Rugs

Wool rugs are a popular choice for areas of high traffic because they are fairly resistant to stains and repel water well. A wool living room rug is pretty soft and feel nice under your feet but should not be used in an area of high humidity as they absorb it up and essentially break down because of it. Wool rugs are great for any room of the house, they are a light weight rug without being too heavy but still a nice fluffy rug for your toes.

In love with this super fashionable, modern and soft Moroccan Souk Wool Rug. It’s 100% high pile and comes in a variety of sizes.

Many people choose a wool rug for the nursery, hallways or living room, where durability and stain resistance are of the most importance. Got a pet? Wool is also a great pet-friendly rug. Read more of other things to look out for when buying a rug suitable for households with pets in best rugs for pets.

Sea Grass Rugs, Jute Rugs and Sisal Rugs

The great thing about these rugs are that they are made of natural plant fibers and are overall pretty strong rugs to buy and are a pretty light rug too. The new fashion trend this year is to layer any seagrass rug, jute rug or sisal rugs with other rugs around the home, they are modern and affordable and add that little extra detail. People often buy seagrass rugs to make a room look more vintage style.

New fashion trend alert: Seagrass and Jute rugs are the new in thing when it comes to rug decor.

These rugs also shouldn’t be used in a humid area but work great for those with homes by the beach. Sea grass is one of the more appealing of the three as it is more pliable and feels better on the feet as it’s not very scratchy. Seagrass rugs are also one of the go to rugs to buy if you have a pet (read more on pet friendly rugs).

Sea grass rugs are also pretty easy to clean. Jute rugs are more firm and rough, not very comfortable and wouldn’t be ideal as a rug for a child or anywhere that you will be barefoot often. Sisal rugs are soft, durable and easy to dye and is a good choice for a bedroom.

Coir Rugs

Coir is made from coconut husks and is rather coarse and not as comfortable to walk on. It does give a nice rustic feel when used in decorating. Coir rugs are traditionally used as outdoor rugs and doormats but with the growing trend to bring the outdoor rugs inside, coir rugs are having the space in many people’s living rooms.

Coir rugs are durable enough to use in high traffic areas such as hallways and living rooms. Coir needs to be kept dry as it can fall apart and be destroyed easily by excessive moisture and can be discolored easily by spills.

Sheep Skin Rugs

Sheep skin rugs are very soft and plush. They also make wonderful decorations both on and off the floor. It is very common to find a sheep skin rug in a nursery or child’s bedroom, in fact if you were to ask my opinion, a sheepskin rug is one of the safest, most non-toxic and organic as a nursery or kids room rug (not to mention the most appealing and fashionable to finish off the look of the nursery room). Read more about nursery or kids rugs in the article Best Nursery Rugs for Babies.

Sheepskin rugs come in a variety of colors and sizes. A white sheepskin rug becomes a staple rug for many homes, in living rooms and bedrooms. However, a color alternative in grey isn’t so bad, isn’t it?!

They not only have their place in baby rooms, nursery and kids rooms, many adults use sheepskin rugs to place beside their beds or layer them in the living room areas aswell.

Sheepskin rugs are durable and don’t stain too easily. Sheep skin rugs are also a great rug for people who have allergies as they don’t build up dust as much as some other fibers (best rug for allergy sufferers).

Bamboo Rugs

Bamboo rugs aren’t like most rugs. In fact, they’re very different, and that is why I have bought an affordable bamboo rug myself. Just like the Seagrass and Jute rugs, Bamboo rugs are a new rug fashion trend that provide a clean and uncluttered look.

Bamboo rugs give a clean, modern and streamlined look in any living area of the house. They are very cheap and easy to clean. I would suggest buying one for warmer months of the year.

They won’t offer softness or cushiony plush under your toes but a bamboo rug is basically a wooden mat placed over an area, layered with other rugs to make your house look modern and clean cut. Bamboo rugs are also another must buy rug for anyone that has allergies. Lots of people like the way bamboo rugs look over tile, giving a more hardwood floor look. These rugs are also very durable and can last a long time even in higher traffic areas; and of course they are easy to clean. Sweep and wipe clean.

Cotton Rugs

You’ve seen them but probably haven’t noticed that the rug is made out of cotton. Cotton rugs are most often that flat pile rugs that are in a lot of kitchens. Above all, cotton rugs can sure take a beating. They’re durable and inexpensive with one of the only major downsides being that they are dirt magnets. Taking them outside and beating them can help with that, or using the vacuum on them. Cotton rugs are also pretty soft and can be cut in whatever shape and size desired.

Leather Rugs

Cow skin rugs, deer pelt rugs, bear skin rugs, if you can skin it there’s probably been a rug made from it at some point. These leather type rugs are very unique and offer a rustic feel to any area.

I personally love Cow Skin rugs. They are simple, elegant, light weight and can be layered like this picture with a Seagrass or Jute Rug underneath (remember how I said Seagrass was the new fashion trend above?)

Some even use the skin rugs as a blanket as they are pretty warm. Depending on the animal, your rug could potentially be very soft. Sometimes, the strips of leather can be strung together to mimic the look of a shag rug. Leather rugs shouldn’t be kept in humid areas as this can damage the preservation of the skin or hide.

Silk Rugs

A Silk rug is a beautiful and luxurious option of natural fibered rugs. They are tear resistant and feel great on the skin. Silk rugs make excellent additions to bedrooms, however, they aren’t going to last as long as a wool rug since they lack durability and are very sensitive to moisture. Silk rugs are expensive and would be recommended for the bedroom of an adult so it can be properly cared for and has less chance of being destroyed, however if you buy your silk rug online you may be able to find more affordable options.

Chenille Rugs

A Chenille rug is a thick and heavy twisted yarn into a super soft and plush pile. These rugs are made to imitate the look and softness of silk and are great to use as a baby rug who will need a cozy spot to play and be on their bellies. With its softness, a chenille rug wouldn’t be recommended for an area of high traffic, but rather as a nice soft place to sit and enjoy how soft and plush it is.

Synthetic Fibers

Synthetic or manmade fiber rugs are commonly used to make rugs. While they aren’t for the naturalist, but they are still a very affordable rug to buy for the home, often one of the cheapest rugs to buy online. These rugs can be made to be stain resistant, waterproof, soft, rough, and even for as indoor and outdoor rug. The most common synthetic fibers used to make rugs are listed below.

Nylon, Olefin, Polyester, Acrylic Yarn Rugs

Nylon, Polyester, Acrylic and Olefin rugs are made to have a similar look to wool rugs. They are also rugs that are easy to clean and care for aswell as being very durable. They can also resist stains and handle heavy traffic areas. Synthetic rugs are cheaper imitations of natural fiber rugs and are easy to replace and change style in a room.

Heard of an Olefin rug? This is what a rug made from Olefin looks like.

However, since they are not the real deal, you can’t expect the same feel as natural fiber rugs. You wouldn’t be needing to worry about taking these rugs to the dry cleaner for a simple clean up or even a major clean up, if something happens it’s much simpler to just replace. Synthetic fiber rugs are versatile and can be used in just about every room of the house without any issue.

Polypropylene Rugs

If you’ve never heard the name, you’ve heard the use. Polypropylene is the material that indoor/outdoor rugs are made of. These rugs are, as you can expect, very durable and able to take what life throws their way.

Shag rugs are an example of a polyprophylene rug.

Rugs made our of Polypropylene are less bulky than nylon and can be crushed down over time but are an excellent choice for dining rooms, living rooms or general area rugs, as they are easy to clean, and are the most stain resistant and fade resistant rugs out there. These rugs aren’t just great for the dining room, but also for the children’s play room, where their strength can really be appreciated.

Bathroom Rugs

Most bathroom rugs are made entirely out of synthetic fibers so that they can withstand the humidity and moisture they will be subjected to. Kitchen rugs are commonly bathroom rugs but they don’t have to be!

Oriental Rugs

Those expensive oriental rugs, are rugs that are made in the eastern part of the world. They are very delicate and are most commonly woven by hand, some with and without pile. These rugs require special care and are not suggested for rooms where people will be walking all over them as this can damage them and make them lose their value and beauty.

Gabbeh Rugs

Gabbeh rugs are expensive hand woven rugs made of natural fibers found in the area they are from. Although a little pricier, they are becoming a huge trend in many countries.

Love color and want to spend a little more on a quality rug, maybe consider a Gabbeh rug

These rugs are also commonly known as Persian rugs. There are many cheap imitations of these rugs dyed with chemicals and are usually made of cotton.

Runner Rugs (Hallway Rugs)

The rugs that you see on stairs or going down a hallway are runners. These rugs can vary in the materials they are made from and are made to high light an area and give a softer feel and traction as well.

Faux Fur Rugs

Faux fur rugs are made to look like the natural fibered rugs that are from animal hides, however, these rugs are made from synthetic materials, often dyed and are much less expensive and much less unique than actual fur rugs.

Grounding Sheets

Grounding sheets are blended or pure cotton sheets permeated with silver conductive threads. Those threads are connected to an electrical outlet through a grounding port. They make sure the negative and positive charges in the body are balanced while sleeping. Find out the best grounding sheets you can buy.

Rug Critic Final Word

With all the information about how many different rugs there are, it’s time to get decorating. Find the best household rug for you, this means finding the rug materials and type of rug you are looking for in your space, buy it and get started. There’s no rules outside of the basic rug cleaning and care instructions.

Do you want a wood themed bathroom? Then you go ahead and put that bamboo rug in there! Do you like the look and feel of cotton for the laundry room? Go ahead and put that in there then.

Rugs can be found in most any shape, size and color or pattern so you’re sure to find one that suits your personal style and tastes.