This post was published in February 2014 and updated March 2021.
There are many reasons why natural fiber rugs are a go-to favorite. Jute, sisal and seagrass rugs are easy to care for, affordable and eco-friendly. Their natural, earthy texture makes them amazingly versatile — and a perfectly neutral foundation for any décor. In fact, many designers opt to go au naturel, using a natural fiber rug in nearly every room of a house.
While they share many similarities, the differences between jute, sisal and seagrass are what sets them apart. You may find that one is more suited to your lifestyle than the other. So if you want to know if jute rugs are soft, if you should go sisal in your high-traffic entry or if seagrass can handle spills in a playroom, then read on.
Jute is a natural plant stem fiber that is primarily grown in Bangladesh and India and is also used to make burlap and twine. Jute fibers are soft and smooth with a waxy sheen, resulting in the softest choice underfoot. For a super-soft jute rug, look for one that’s blended with chenille. Because of their weave, our Braided Jute Rug and Round Braided Jute Rug have a softer texture than your average jute rug.
The rich texture and natural tonal variation of jute rugs comes in handy for masking minor stains or spills. However, jute rugs are less durable than sisal or seagrass, so they’re a better match for spaces with medium traffic, like dining rooms or bedrooms.
We love the lovely organic feel of jute rugs, but they aren’t for everyone. Because jute is made from this natural fiber, shedding often occurs when the rug is new. This typical eases up the older the rug gets. Another important thing to note, color and texture can differ from rug to rug. Our jute rugs are 100% hand-spun and hand-loomed, so variation is unavoidable.
Sisal fibers come from the agave plant, the same family of plants that make aloe and tequila. They’re grown in Central America, but major production is from Brazil and East Africa. Sisal is the strongest, most durable of the three – and often the pricier, too. Their hardy weave means they last and can stand up to pet-scratching!
Note that while sisal rugs are very durable, they can fade in direct sunlight and can become discolored easily, even by water.
Seagrass is a fast-growing marine plant found in the Asia-Pacific region. Because it’s grown in water, the reedy plant produces a strong, non-porous yarn that’s resistant to stains. Once a water spill dries, a seagrass rug will return to its normal color. The dense weave also makes it a very durable choice for high-traffic areas in the home, from the mudroom to the family room. Your seagrass rug will last you years.
Take note: we don’t generally recommend any of our natural fiber rugs for moist or humid areas, like bathrooms. And if you’re still not sure which rug is right for you, order a swatch to get a better idea of color and feel.
We bet you didn’t know that coir is a material derived from the husks of coconuts! First, the husks are seasoned in a lagoon, and then they’re beaten using wooden mallets to extract the fiber. The fiber is then hand-woven into your doormat by artisans using century old looming techniques.
Coir mats are made from natural fibers, so it’s inevitable that they will break down over time. To extend the life of your coir mat, avoid prolonged exposure to direct sunlight and try to keep it fairly dry. If it’s completely soaked through with water, it will break down faster, so allow it to fully dry!
Unfortunately shedding is normal for any coir mat, but over time, the shedding will diminish. Simply shake it off or vacuum the mat to remove loose fibers.
For more rug inspiration from these helpful posts below:
- Living Room Rug: How to Decorate Around Your Favorite Floorcovering
- 4 Reasons to Use Outdoor Rugs Indoors
- A Day in the Life of an Indoor/Outdoor Rug
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