Rug Guide: Choosing Rug Materials

Rugs are one of our favorite items to add to any design project.  They set the stage, ground the furniture, are key to the color palette, tie everything together, and add coziness to a space. 

If you’re often wondering what rug material to choose, what size to buy, what’s easy to clean, and what style of rug works for you, we’ll share lots of great tips in this series!  This will help you have the basic knowledge you need so you can find the perfect rug for your home. 

But first, let’s take a look at this rug material chart. We find this chart so helpful when making decisions on rug materials. Below, we’ll break down reach category and have added some of our favorite rugs!

MaterialTextureDurabilityMoisture ResistanceStain ResistanceMinimal SheddingSustainability
WoolMediumHighXX X
Jute/SisalCourseAverage   X
CottonSoftAverage  XX
PolypropyleneMedium to CourseHighXXX 
PETSoft to mediumLow/ averageXXX 
Viscose/ RayonSoftLow/ average  X 
Source: Jaipur Rugs
Natural Fiber Rugs

Rug Materials: Made from Natural fibers

Wool/Wool blend

If you’re looking for a high-quality long-lasting rug, wool is the best way to go. Wool is traditionally made from the shearing of sheep, which is naturally very resilient and can be resistant to dirt and stains. 

It is also an elastic fiber so foot traffic can be easily brushed out.  Wool rugs are warm and cozy and will work great in most areas of your home.  We love to use wool rugs in living rooms and bedrooms.

Considerations: There are many ways to construct wool rugs, from power-loomed to hand-knotted.  The way it’s made determines the cost and durability.  Some rugs can shed quite a bit in the first few months but normally stop over time.

Wool Rugs

Wool/Cotton Blend Rugs

Jute /Jute Sisal blend

Jute and Sisal are natural eco-friendly fibers. Jute rugs are raw textured rugs that can be blended with Sisal to give a smoother feel and look. They are normally handwoven and are great for adding warm color to a space.

Jute and Sisal can be vacuumed, are durable in low-traffic areas, and won’t show dirt because of their color and texture.

Considerations: We recommend to layer jute rugs under other rugs in high-traffic areas or to use in low-traffic spaces like bedrooms and offices, as tough dirt and residue can be hard to remove.

Jute/Jute Sisal Blend Rugs


Cotton rugs are a great natural alternative.  These rugs are lightweight, soft on the feet, and easily take the dye coming in a variety of colors and patterns. They are affordable, easy to clean, last for a reasonable length of time, and can be turned and used on both sides.

Considerations: Since these rugs are so light, they can be slippery, so make sure to invest in a good rug pad.


Made from natural fibers (ie. wood pulp), viscose was originally created to mimic beautiful and soft silk rugs at a less expensive price. Because of this, you will see viscose in many rug companies and it is often mixed with other materials like wool or cotton.

Considerations: Generally, we avoid Viscose rugs because the material is hard to clean. If the material gets wet, the fibers nap together and the material weakens. Stains are also difficult to remove.

If you like the look and feel of viscose, some PET (see synthetic) rugs have the similar silky sheen while feeling cozy and soft and would be a good alternative to seek out.

Rug Materials: Made from Synthetic fibers

Synthetic fiber rugs


Polypropylene, also known as olefin, is a man-made fiber used often in home decor due to its fade and stain resistance. This synthetic rug material is made from fibers that are hard-wearing and great for areas where there is a lot of traffic, including kids and pets. It is stain-resistant and easy to clean.

Polypropylene’s versatility is awesome as it can be used in or outdoors in all parts of the home, also it is soft to the touch, and affordable, making this one of the top materials of our list!

Considerations: This material can be difficult to dye, so color options could be limited.

Polypropylene Rugs

Polypropylene Rugs


Polyester is a man-made material that holds up well to stains and can be fade resistant, but still soft and affordable if made well. Since they are lower in cost and stain resistant, they are a good choice for many areas of your home. They can also have long-term wear if cared of property.

Our team use polyester rugs often but we pay attention to the vendor details and reviews, as polyester rugs can vary greatly.

Considerations: While polyester is very versatile, the fibers are less resilient than wool, so when placed it high traffic areas, the fibers could flatten over time. When placed in hallways and living rooms, it is best to walk without shoes.


P.E.T rugs are made from recycled plastic water bottles. They are soft, some have a feel similar to a wool rug, and are also easy to clean. P.E.T. can withstand high traffic areas well and some are weather resistant, making them great options for indoor-outdoor rugs. They are easy to clean and hold up well to stains.

Considerations: While these rugs are stain resistant, they can attract oils, which trap dirt.


As you can see, there are some great options to choose from when it comes to rug materials. From natural to synthetic materials, there’s a rug type that will work well for you depending on your budget, lifestyle and room setting.

I hope this helps you get clarity on rug materials.  Feel free to share with any friends or family that also struggle with rug selection!

And if you’d like help upgrading your spaces with functional, modern, and colorful designs, we’d LOVE to help you. Check out our virtual interior design services to learn more.

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