Wool Rug. Chenille Rug. Jute Rug. Oh my! Selecting the Right Material for Your Space

The right area rug can be your decorating lynchpin. Selecting the correct size is certainly an important part of finding a floor covering for your space. There’s more to decide before you dive into colors and patterns, however. Your rug material will also be an important factor in selecting the right rug.

First things first

Selecting the right type of rug isn’t just about esthetics. Before heading out to find your new rug, ask yourself these questions:

- Is this a high traffic area?

- Is this a space prone to spills and stains?

- Is the room casual or formal?

- Is this a place I’d prefer something soft and cozy beneath my feet?

Wool Rug

It’s no wonder wool rugs are popular. These highly durable, easy to clean, elegant rugs are ideal for high traffic areas and can repel stains. However, you don’t want to use a wool rug where humidity is high – like a bathroom or basement, as it will soak up moisture in consistently damp spaces. If you’re looking for a good insulator, on the other hand, this is a good choice. 

Chenille Rug

Chenille is a nice, affordable alternative for those who like the decadent softness of a silk rug without the higher price tag. This type of rug will provide a cozy floor cover for rooms where a little plush is preferred. It’s not the best for high traffic space, however. 

Jute and its cousins

Natural plant fiber rugs like jute, sisal and seagrass bring a breezy, casual feel to a room. There are differences in how each of these natural materials feels beneath your feet. Jute, for example, is more coarse, and seagrass is more pliable. Stains on natural plant fiber rugs are not necessarily easy to clean. They are also not well suited to humid environments.


There are several variants of the synthetic rug including nylon and polyester. These budget-friendly options are generally easy-to-clean, durable pieces that are well suited to high traffic areas or rooms more prone to tough use (like a child’s bedroom or playroom). The lower price point may also give you latitude to swap out rugs for a new seasonal color or to replace a rug that has seen better days. Although a synthetic rug is designed to mimic their natural fiber counterparts, they do not necessarily have the same feel.

by Anjie Cho