Guide to Natural Fiber Area Rugs

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Natural fiber rugs have long since been designer favorites with their earthy texture and neutral color palettes. The visual simplicity of jute and sisal are especially well-suited to modern, bohemian, and coastal styles.


The earthy textures lend a relaxed, easy vibe to a space. Additionally, their higher-than-average durability makes them a very practical choice. With a variety of styles and materials to choose from, natural fiber rules are extremely versatile.

What is a Natural Fiber Area Rug?

Natural fiber rugs are woven from fibers extracted from plants. These affordable, neutral, and durable area rugs are made up of materials found in, well, nature. Unlike other types of rugs made from synthetic materials, natural fiber rugs come from renewable sources and tend to be extremely hard-wearing.


Types of Natural Fiber Area Rugs

Oftentimes, “natural” refers to tough plant fibers such as jute, sisal, hemp, or seagrass, but natural fiber rugs are also made of softer, warmer materials including wool and cotton. Each of these types of rugs offer their own sets of pros and cons ranging from the amount of durability needed, to who lives in your house and the space and functionality where the rugs will be used.



Jute rugs have a perfectly imperfect texture that adds an earthy, beautiful vibe to your space. This is the same material burlap is made from, while its natural fibers are a brown hue, jute can be dyed to a variety of colors. The weave of jute rugs is chunky in nature, adding an ‘organic’ feel to the room. As with anything, jute has its own set of pros and cons.


Pros: Soft texture almost resembling wool. Offers comfort and warmth and is a wonderful addition to bedrooms and living rooms.


Cons: Because of their softness, jute is one of the lesser durable natural fiber rug materials prone to raveling and fraying. These rugs are best used in low to medium traffic areas.


Jute is easy to care for, with regular vacuuming and blot spills quickly.




Sisal rugs should be synonymous with durability. Sisal fibers come from the sisalana, or agave plant native to Brazil, Mexico, and Africa. Sisal fibers are the toughest of the group. They offer similar earthy hues as jute, however, are superior in durability and have finer fibers making a cleaner, more uniform look over the chunky weave of jute rugs.


With their ability to stand up to a lot of traffic and abuse, does come at the expense of comfort. These rugs tend to be “scratchy” and coarse underfoot. Sisal is also extremely absorbent making it prone to stains from spills.


Pros: Great for a clean, modern look and can withstands the wear and tear of high-traffic areas. Sisal offers a beautiful, earthy neutral brown tone, but like jute, can also be dyed a wide range of colors.


Cons: Less comfortable than other natural fiber materials; coarse and scratchy underfoot and can also be prone to being slippery with a lot of wear, so they should be avoided on stairs. Due to their absorbent nature, sisal rugs can be easily damaged from spills and stains.


Sisal should be vacuumed regularly, and spills should be addressed quickly to avoid staining.



Seagrass fiber rugs offer texture. Seagrass is grown in saltwater marshes and is non-porous meaning it is incredibly water-resistant. Seagrass fibers have a light sheen and start out with a light green tinge that fades to an earthy khaki. Seagrass rugs are often bound with cotton or leather which makes them very stable, staying in place.


Seagrass is an excellent choice for kitchens or bathrooms with their durability and natural water resistance.


Pros: Seagrass is extremely durable and is more comfortable underfoot than sisal. Seagrass is also a very sustainable and eco-friendly choice because it grows rapidly and is easy to harvest.


Cons: The fibers of seagrass do not take dye well, so they are limited in color options. Seagrass rugs also have coarse textures, so they do not offer as much comfort as other options. As most natural fiber area rugs, seagrass cannot be used outdoors.


Seagrass can also be vacuumed regularly, and spills should be blot cleaned quickly to avoid staining.


Hemp fiber has been used in textiles for many years. Just as in the fibers in seagrass, hemp is naturally durable and makes for highly hard-wearing rugs. Hemp is coppery-brown in color, but has the ability to be dyed and woven into intricate, unique patterns.


Pros: Hemp is very sustainable, and mildew-resistant, these fibers are extremely strong, making hemp a very durable choice. The texture can be coarse at first but will soften over time.


Cons: The fibers will fray, and some shedding can be expected from hemp rugs.


Hemp area rugs should be vacuumed regularly, and spot cleaned often.



Cotton is the original natural textile–often overlooked when talking about natural fiber rugs, cotton is technically a natural plant fiber just like jute, sisal, and hemp, however, it does look and feel much different.


Cotton area rugs are soft and warm and extremely versatile. Cotton rugs are made from strips of dyed fabric braided together. This type of method makes for a very sustainable type of rug as it can be made from any kind of fabric strips, particularly recycled fabric from old blankets, clothes, and other textiles–giving new life to older products that would otherwise be thrown out.


Pros: Extremely soft, versatile for all decors and styles. This material is washable and therefore, can be kept looking fresher longer. Cotton rugs are best used in casual spaces such as bedrooms, where foot-traffic is lower.


Cons: These have a lower durability than other types of natural fiber area rugs.


Cotton rugs should also be vacuumed regularly, can be spot cleaned as well as washed in a washing machine, unlike other types of natural fiber rugs.



Though wool is not derived from plant fibers, wool is another natural material that makes a premier rug. Wool is an extremely versatile, soft, stain-resistant material that can be dyed a range of colors and woven into unique, intricate patterns.


Wool rugs can be a bit pricier than some of the other textiles as they are often hand-knotted, and hand-woven by design. However, wool rugs are extremely versatile, used in nearly every environment adding beauty to any space.


Pros: Versatile, beautiful and stain resistant. Wool is a sustainable, eco-friendly material used for thousands of years in textiles. Wool is also made without any chemicals and is fire-retardant.


Cons: The biggest downfall is the cost. Wool can be quite pricey. Very absorbent, so they can stain more easily than some other fabrics. To some, wool can feel itchy underfoot.


Fairly easy to maintain, wool rugs are also resistant to dust, mites, and allergens.



Shop Area Rugs

Natural fiber area rugs are a popular choice in interior design keeping with the trend of bringing elements of nature indoors. With light, airy paint colors, natural flooring, and hues of blue, green, and neutral tans and beige popping up in furniture and decor, an area rug made from natural fibers is not only the obvious, but the best choice. Choosing the right rug for you can be complicated with so many options available, here are some tips for shopping for a natural fiber rug.


Before shopping for a natural fiber area rug first, you’ll need to determine your needs. Keep placement, usage, and the look and feel you have in mind before choosing which rug is best for you. For example, if you know you have small children that will be sitting and playing on the rug, you’ll want to avoid rough, scratchy materials and lean more towards rugs made of cotton or wool.


If you’re planning to use the rug in a high-traffic area, you’ll want to choose a darker hue and a stain-resistant weave to keep it looking fresh.


About Flowers Flooring

Flowers Flooring is your family flooring specialists with two locations – Cornelius, NC and Winston-Salem, NC. Both locations service a 100-mile radius from the showroom. Both locations specialize in flooring sales and installation including carpet, laminate, hardwood, sand & finish, hardwood restoration, vinyl plank, vinyl tile, rubber flooring, tile floors, tile showers, tile backsplash, area rugs, interior painting and more. To reach the Cornelius, NC location please call (704) 445-7750 and to reach our Winston-Salem location, please call (336) 660-0977. Please be sure to inquire about our current promotion and financing offers