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Any interior decorator worth their salt will tell you that there are few design additions that do more for a room than adding an area rug alongside stone, hardwood, tile or laminate flooring. They are great for creating contrasts in color and texture in your living spaces, and adding an area rug also cuts down on the wear and tear on your original flooring, especially in high traffic areas.
Area Rug Types
That's a tough question to answer. The truth is that there are so many rug materials and styles on the market (many more than most homeowners realize) that it almost always comes down to individual taste and need. Here's a list the most popular area rug styles, and why they might be the right choice for you.
Sisal RugsSisal is an all-natural fiber garnished from (you guessed it!), the sisal plant. It's tougher and more durable than flax, jute, and even hemp, making it an ideal rug material. In fact, it's been used for just such a purpose for thousands of years. A sisal rug is a woven style area rug and is usually a natural, light brown or greenish hue in color. They can be bleached or dyed, however, and are often fitted with a canvas or leather border.
The Oriental RugThe term "oriental rug" generally refers to thick, ornate wool rugs with intricate dyed designs. Persian rugs are perhaps the most popular oriental rug style, sporting flowing, mid-eastern designs and a thick, warm feel. There are more contemporary oriental rugs out there, however. Everything from abstract dye patterns to country western motifs are available to match any home design.
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Bamboo RugsBamboo rugs come in a plethora of styles, including matchstick, woven fiber, and wider, slat bamboo designs. Add to that a number of available color choices, possible border materials, and even paint on design, and it's clear why these rugs are surging in popularity. Bamboo is also a "green" manufacturing material, since it can be grown on plantations and harvested every few years without killing the plant, making bamboo rugs an environmentally friendly choice as well.
Seagrass and Mountaingrass RugsLike sisal, both seagrass and mountaingrass rugs are made by weaving fibrous plant material to create natural looking, durable woven rugs and mats. Seagrass is hard to beat when it comes to looks and price, but isn't the best material for stairs (it's slippery), and can develop mold and mildew problems in very humid areas. Mountaingrass is often referred to as hemp in the rug industry, and is an excellent, attractive and tough material suitable for just about any use or space.
Of course, there are other types of area rug styles out there for you to choose from, such as outdoor vinyl rugs and shag rugs, if none of these sound like what you're looking for. And if you are looking for ways to both beautify and protect your home flooring, talk to an interior decorator to get even more ideas. An area rug is a great jumping off point, but the wealth of other possibilities, from window treatments to floor finishing options, are virtually endless.
Matt Goering, formerly a carpenter and house painter, is a freelance writer for the home improvement industry who has published over 600 articles.