Today, we’re talking area and accent rugs.

Did you know that rugs and carpets date back to as early as 3000BC when nomad tribes began weaving together rugs to warm their earthen floors? They used the hair from their camels, sheep, and goats to craft their primitive rugs. In fact, good rugs or hides were considered to be a family’s most valuable possession way back then.
A lot has changed in the rug industry since those first primitive rugs. New technology has led the way for new designs, new fibers, and new materials. Wool is still the top natural material used in rugs today. Polypropylene and polyester have the market cornered on synthetic rug production. These materials aren’t the only ones used in crafting area and accent rugs. All of this got me to thinking-“What’s in that rug?”

Rugs made from jute, sisal, hemp, and other plant based materials have been around for as long as rugs have been made. A good natural fiber rug is like your favorite pair of blue jeans-basic, casual, and timeless. While some find jute to be a little coarse, innovations in production have lessened this characteristic while keeping the rustic charm that defines this product. Sisal is the strongest, most durable natural fiber. However, you’ll generally only find sisal in a neutral light beige color. Hemp is a natural fiber derived from the cannabis plant that has been used in textiles for thousands of years. It is easy to dye and is very durable. It is an excellent choice for high traffic areas.
Natural fiber rugs have no pile and are often reversible. Stains can be more problematic because the yarns are more absorbent. You will usually find jute, sisal, and hemp to be more economical. Wool, on the other hand, will be softer than the other natural fiber rugs. Often more costly, wool is remarkably flame resistant, sound absorbent, durable, and resistant to static electricity. Plus, there is nothing like a good wool rug.

Chenille is a fabric made with fringed silken thread and is woven in combination with wool, cotton, or synthetic fibers giving it a 3D effect. Chenille is popular for two reasons: its softness and beauty. Chenille is not recommended for high traffic areas due to its softness.
Cotton is another soft natural fiber that is generally inexpensive. Strong and stable, many cotton rugs are machine washable. Cotton is a true American staple, but cotton will not be as durable as wool.

Synthetic fiber rugs like nylon, olefin, polyester, and poly acrylic are easy to clean, very durable, and generally fade and stain resistant. These types of rugs are usually offered at a lower price point. Indoor/outdoor rugs are made of polypropylene. This type of material is the most stain and fade resistant. Polypropylene is extremely durable and can be used in high traffic areas.

Polypropylene is great for under kitchen or dining tables because it is so easy to clean.

Beyond the fiber or content, construction and maintenance will affect how long your rug will wear and its longevity. Regardless of the rug content, all area and accent rugs should be vacuumed regularly without the use of a beater brush. Also, just like you flip your mattress, you should flip your rugs if they are reversible. Finally, it is also recommended that you always use a rug pad underneath your rugs. Rug pads provide traction between the rug and the floor to prevent slipping. Rug pads also allow dirt to “filter” through the rug, protect the backing and help prevent possible color transfer. Proper care will prolong the life of your rugs allowing you to enjoy them for many years to come.

Jane is the co-owner of The Wayside Workshop at Aurora Farms Premium Outlets. For more info on The Wayside Workshop, please call 330-562-4800 or visit or