Best Material for Area Rugs: What You Need to Know for Each Room

best area rug room by room

There are many factors to consider when choosing the best material for area rugs in your home. Each room has its own unique set of requirements, and you want to make sure you select the right rug for the space.

If you’re anything like me, you take your rug selection very seriously. After all, the right rug can make or break a room. But with so many different materials on the market, it can be tough to decide which one is best for your home. That’s why we’ve done the hard research for you!

In this post, we will take a look at some of the best materials for area rugs and discuss which ones are best for each room in your house!

Keep reading here for:

What materials make for a great area rug?

There are a few things to consider when deciding on the best material for your area rug. For example, you’ll want to think about the level of traffic in the room, whether you have pets or children, and what kind of climate you live in.

Some of the most popular rug materials include wool, cotton, jute, and synthetic fibers. Each of these materials has its own unique set of benefits and drawbacks. All of these factors will help you determine which rug material is best for what space in your home. Let’s take a closer look at each one:


One of the most popular natural fiber rugs on the market. It’s durable and easy to clean, making it ideal for high-traffic areas. Wool is naturally resistant to mold and mildew,, a plus point for allergy sufferers. The only downside to wool rugs is that they can be expensive.


Another popular rug material. It’s softer than wool and less expensive, making it a good choice for bedrooms and living rooms. Cotton rugs are also easy to clean and can be found in a variety of colors and patterns. However, they’re not as durable as wool rugs and may show wear and tear over time.


A natural fiber that’s often used in eco-friendly area rugs. Jute is durable and has a rustic look that’s perfect for country-style homes. Jute rugs are also affordable, but they’re not as easy to clean as wool or cotton rugs.


Made from the same plant as jute, sisal is finer and smoother. Sisal rugs are durable and stain-resistant, making them ideal for high-traffic areas. However, they’re not as soft as wool or cotton rugs and can be scratchy on bare feet.


Another plant fiber rug that’s similar to sisal, seagrass is highly popular due to its durability and affordability. It is also less prone to staining. Seagrass rugs are often used in high-traffic areas like kitchens and entryways.


Another eco-friendly option that’s perfect for homes in warmer climates. It’s durable and resistant to stains, making it ideal for high-traffic areas. Bamboo rugs are also hypoallergenic and anti-static, making them a good choice for people with allergies. However, bamboo rugs can be expensive.

Synthetic fibers 

Common synthetics used in area rugs are polypropylene, polyester, nylon, olefin and acrylic. They’re usually more durable than natural fibers and offer more variety in colors and patterns. However, synthetic fibers are not as eco-friendly as natural fibers and may not be as comfortable underfoot due to their low pile.

Here is a breakdown of common rug materials (cos we love you):

WoolAll roomsHighSpot CleanSoftHighSustainable, Hypoallergenic
CottonBathroom, BedroomMediumWashableSoftLowSustainable, Vegan
JuteLiving room, EntrywayMediumPro CleanFirm, coarseLowSustainable, Vegan, Hypoallergenic
SisalLiving room, EntrywayHighWashableFirmMediumSustainable, Vegan, Hypoallergenic
SeagrassLiving room, Entryway, Kitchen, DiningMediumWashableFirm, coarseLowSustainable, Vegan, Hypoallergenic
BambooLiving room, KitchenHighWashableFirmHighSustainable, Vegan, Hypoallergenic
PolypropyleneAll roomsHighWashableSoft, flatLowMachine-made, Hypoallergenic
PolyesterAll roomsHighWashableSoft, flatLow to mediumVegan, Machine-made
Faux HideLiving room, BedroomHighWashableSoft, flatMedium to highVegan, Machine-made
Credit: Overstock

The Best Rug Materials for Each Room in Your House

Now that you know a little bit more about rug materials, let’s take a look at some of the best materials for each room in your house!

Living Room: Jute Tasseled Area Rug

Options are aplenty here! Both natural and synthetic fiber rugs are a great choice for living rooms. Jute rugs are a great option for those seeking aesthetics along with a child or pet friendly environment. If plushness is a perquisite, then wool rugs are a great choice for living rooms as the softness will add an extra layer of comfort to your space. For those seeking style and function, synthetic fiber rugs are a heaven send as not only are they easy to clean, they come in a variety of shapes and colors.

Bedroom: Wool Braided Area Rug

Consider high pile or shag rugs. Wool rugs are a perfect choice for bedrooms as they’re soft and comfortable, making them perfect for relaxing in. One advantage wool has over cotton is that it naturally repels moisture.

Kids room: Propylene Moroccan Trellis Area Rug

Synthetic fiber rugs are a great choice for kids rooms. Apart from their hypoallergenic features, they’re usually more durable than natural fibers and can be found in a variety of colors and thickness. Opt for flat weaves as it is easier to maintain and great for pets too! Shop for more kids room styles here.

Kitchen: Propylene Braided Area Rug

Synthetic low pile fiber rugs such as propylene, polyester or nylon are built for kitchens. Due to the high traffic and rougher needs of the area, these types of fibers tend to absorb stains less easily and will usually outlast natural ones.

Bathroom: Cotton Mazy Abstract Bath Mat

Natural fiber rugs like wool or cotton are ideal for the bathroom. Apart from being highly absorbent, they are also antimicrobial.

Entryway: Jute Braided Area Rug

Wool or jute rugs are a great choice for entryways. They’re durable and can withstand a lot of foot traffic. We have written a detailed article on the best entryway rugs here.

What type of rug is easiest to clean?

Wool, cotton, and synthetic fibers are all easy to clean. These choices are especially helpful for allergy sufferers or skin sensitivity. Natural fibers like jute and sisal can be more difficult to clean.  No matter what rug material you choose, be sure to vacuum it regularly to keep it clean and free of dust and allergens. And if you have any spills, be sure to spot clean them right away to avoid stains. With a little care and maintenance, your rug will last for years to come!

What kind of rug lasts the longest?

Wool, jute, and synthetic fibers are the most durable rug materials. They can withstand a lot of foot traffic and last for years.  Natural fibers like cotton and sisal are not as durable and may show wear and tear over time.  With proper care and maintenance, any rug material can last for many years.

What is a good thickness for area rugs?

The thickness of your rug will depend on the type of rug material you choose. Wool and cotton rugs are usually thinner than synthetic fibers. Jute and sisal rugs are usually thicker than wool and cotton. The thickness of your rug will also depend on the pile height. Pile height is the measurement from the top of the rug to the bottom of the rug. Low pile rugs are less than 0.25 inches thick and high pile rugs are more than 0.75 inches thick.

Recommended pile height for different purposes

  • Low pile (1/4 inch or less): Best for high traffic areas such as the entryway, kitchen, bathroom.
  • Medium pile (1/4 to 3/4 inches): Best for medium traffic areas such as the living or dining room
  • High pile (3/4 inches or more): Best for low traffic areas and bedrooms

How to choose the right size area rug for your room?

Size is an important consideration when choosing a rug. Here bigger is usually better, though do make sure the rug is proportional to your furniture and the room. For example, if you have a large sofa in the living room, you’ll want a rug that’s large enough to fit under it. But if you have a small coffee table, you don’t need a huge rug.

As a general rule of thumb, the rug is large enough to fit under all of your furniture or at least the front legs, with between six to eight inches between the edge of the rug and furniture.  If you have a large room or open floor plan, you may want to choose two smaller rugs instead of one large rug. This will help define the spaces and create a more intimate feeling.

When it comes to shape, you’ll want to choose a rug that compliments or follows the shape of your room. If you have a square or rectangular room, a square or rectangular rug is a good choice.  And if you have an oddly shaped room, you may want to choose an irregularly shaped rug or an area rug with geometric patterns to break the contours of the room.

Still not sure what size or shape rug to choose? Use this rug size guide to help you find the perfect rug for your space!

Credit: Pinterest


Should a rug be lighter or darker than the couch?

This is a matter of personal preference, but generally, it is recommended that the rug be darker than the couch. This will help ground the space and make it feel more cohesive. If you have a patterned rug, you may want to choose a lighter couch so that the rug is the star of the show.

What rug material does not shed?

Some rug materials that do not shed are wool, cotton, and jute. These materials are less likely to shed than other rug materials such as polyester or nylon. If you are concerned about shedding, be sure to vacuum your rug regularly to help remove any excess fibers.

What is the difference between polypropylene and polyester rugs?

Polypropylene rugs are made from a synthetic fiber that is stain-resistant and easy to clean. Polyester rugs are also made from a synthetic fiber, but they are not as durable as polypropylene rugs and may pill or shed over time. Both materials are good choices for high traffic areas such as the living room or kitchen.

What type of rug is best for carpet?

If you have carpet in your home, you may want to choose a rug made from a natural fiber such as wool or jute. These materials will not damage the carpet and will help protect it from wear and tear. You may also want to choose a rug with a non-slip backing to help keep it in place on the carpet.

What type of area rug is best for hardwood floors?

For hardwood floors, you’ll want to choose a rug made from a natural fiber such as wool or cotton. These materials are softer and less likely to damage the floor. You may also want to choose a rug with a non-slip backing to help keep it in place on the floor. Wondering what color area rugs to match your hardwood floors? Read these articles for dark or light colored hardwood floors.

Wrap Up

Now that you know more about the best rug materials for each room in your house, you can start shopping for the perfect area rug for your home!  Be sure to keep rug care and cleaning in mind when making your purchase. With a little care, your rug will last for many years to come!

Happy rug shopping!

What is your favorite rug material? Share them here!