Rug Buying Guide: Fibers and Fiber Types

The type of fiber used in a rug is one of the most important variables to consider when shopping for a rug at FurnitureCart. Also, it is important to understand that the most expensive fibers, New Zealand wool for example, aren’t always the best choice – it depends on the needs of the end consumer. If a customer is wary of high foot traffic or messy stains from children, then a more resilient fiber like polypropylene or cotton is possibly the better choice. Understanding the fiber types on the following chart will help make the best decision.

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  • Natural, soft fiber
  • Sometimes used as thread for the base of a rug
  • Easy to clean and maintain


  • Natural fiber, stems from the agave plant. The strongest and hardest wearing natural plant fiber used in rug making
  • Highly sustainable
  • Does not attract dust and is static free. It stains easily and is recommended for use in dry areas


  • Shiny, vegetable fiber. Highly textured, soft and durable
  • One of the most affordable fibers
  • Second to cotton as the most produced vegetable fiber
  • Low thermal conduction, and anti-static make it a popular choice. It stains easily and is recommended for use in dry areas


  • The most commonly used natural fiber in rug production. Made from sheep’s fleece, wool resists stains, repels moisture and retains its appearance. The most commonly used fiber in handmade rugs
  • Fiber diameter is the single most important wool characteristic, determining price and quality
  • Wool rugs will shed initially, but subsides over time


  • Silk is a natural fiber made from silkworm cocoons and is often used as a design accent in rugs
  • Delicate with luminous sheen
  • Takes color beautifully


  • A durable natural plant fiber
  • It stains easily and is recommended for use in dry areas


  • A strong, durable natural plant fiber
  • It stains easily and is recommended for use in dry areas

Rug Types


Moderately priced
Durable, although not as strong as other synthetics
Most commonly blended with other fibers like polyester (poly-acrylic blend)

Very affordable
Easy to maintain and highly durable
A petroleum-based textile made from propylene and ethylene gases
Strong, fast-drying, colorfast. Resist moisture, abrasions, mildew, soil and stains
Low-density fiber make it lightweight

Synthetic, “shiny” fiber typically made from viscose/rayon or a natural fiber using mercerized cotton
Commonly referred to as artificial silk
Viscose is used as an accent, adding shimmer to dense pile construction

Very affordable
Wears well and feels very soft, especially when used for rugs with a thick pile
Moisture, stain, and abrasion resistant
Retain color over time, easy to clean

Petroleum-based fiber
Durable, soil-resistant, easy to clean
Nylon yarn can be solution dyed, skein-dyed or space-dyed

The color scheme of your room

When searching for a rug, there is also color in mind. These are primarily determined by their paint color and the colors in their upholstery. Rug’s don’t necessarily need to exactly match the key elements in the room, but they should flow together. For example, a solid red rug should not be paired with a solid red sofa. A similar shade of red should be an accent color in the rug. Just in case they need more help in general, here are a few items to point out:

  • A warm color scheme creates an energetic space. Ideal for dining rooms, entry ways, and exercise rooms. Suggested colors: Red, Rust, Gold, Yellow.
  • A cool color scheme makes a room feel relaxed, perfect for bedrooms, bathrooms, and nurseries. Suggested colors: Blue, Green, Lavender, Grey.

Rugs may have a history rooted in ancient times, but modern advancements in technology have introduced an array of new fiber types. Due to these recent advancements, rugs have become more affordable, fashionable, and complex in texture, design and color.
Rugs and accessories tie a room together visually, so browse our online catalog to find the rugs that will fit the color scheme and the style of your room.

With help from Loloi Rugs and Surya Rugs.

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