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Wool Rugs: How They Compare to Jute, Sisal and Other Natural-Fiber Rugs

There seems to be a discussion as to what constitutes natural fiber when it comes to rugs. Most people agree that jute, cotton and sisal are natural rug fibers because they come from plants. However, wool rugs are also natural fiber rugs because the fiber comes from sheep. Granted the fiber in wool rugs takes longer to harvest, than natural plant fibers. However, wool rugs offer the same qualities as their natural plant fiber counterparts, plus some additional benefits.

So as you browse through magazines and catalogs trying to find the perfect rug for your home, you have a lot to consider. And one thing you might want to keep in mind is that natural wool rugs are great for the environment, your home and your family in many ways.

Size and Shape of Natural-Fiber and Wool Rugs

One similarity of wool rugs and plant-based fiber rugs is that they both offer a wide variety of choices when it comes to size and shape.

You can easily find wool rugs as well as jute, cotton, sisal and other natural fiber rugs in standard rugs sizes such as 5’x7’ and 8’x10’ as well as in a variety of shapes such as rectangular and circular. This circular hand-woven jute rug with cotton border and this rectangular hand-hooked Malabar wool rug made of 100 percent New Zealand wool are just two examples.

Durability of Natural-Fiber and Wool Rugs

Another important aspect to consider when purchasing a rug is the durability of a wool rug versus other natural fiber rugs. Where you have a lot of foot traffic in your home – entry way, hallway, family room – you’ll want to consider a more durable wool rug.

Or you might want to consider a sisal rug because it is one of the toughest of the natural plant fibers and would also work well in high-traffic areas. Plus it absorbs humidity well; so on hot days it can help keep a room cool. Keep in mind, however, that it is made of plant fibers which can be rough to the touch.

If you are looking for an area rug for medium to light foot traffic such as your dining and living room or even a home office, give jute a try. Because the jute fiber comes from the leaf rather than the stalk of the plant, it tends to make a softer area rug and, therefore, is not as strong as a sisal or wool rug.

Colors of Natural-Fiber and Wool Rugs

Typically, buyers purchase plant-based fiber rugs because of the natural colors of the fiber used. Jute, sisal, bamboo and other plant-based fibers tend to be solid-colored rugs in neutral browns and beiges and although they can be dyed or bleached, they tend to darken or fade over time to their natural color.On the other hand, wool can be dyed to most any color you want in order to match your décor and the variety of patterns and designs are practically limitless, including sculpted and thick pile wool rugs.

Other Considerations about Natural-Fiber and Wool Rugs

Other considerations include the fact that whether the rug is made of plant or wool fiber it is environmentally friendly. Though both are considered a renewable resource, plant-fiber rugs are given higher marks because the plants require little care.

However, it is important to consider that plant-based rugs are generally flat under foot, whereas wool rugs tend to be softer and warmer and, therefore, lend these qualities to the room in which they reside. Last, but certainly not least, if allergies are a problem, wool area rugs are considered naturally hypoallergenic.

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