Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Natural Fiber Rugs

I have been very happy with our natural fiber rugs. They offer neutrality and durability, and offer a stylish look to a room. We've purchased seagrass, jute, washed jute, and braided jute versions in the past several years. 

They have all been good purchases but after living with them for a while, we definitely have a preference for some over others. 

Our old living room had a washed jute rug with a very thick wool rug pad underneath. We purchased this rug instead of seagrass because it is much more comfortable to sit on. 

We found that the washed jute stained very easily- just plain water in fact. For this reason alone, I probably won't purchase a washed jute rug again.

One of our sweet peas decided it would be fun to spit their cherry smoothie out onto the carpet, throughout the room. Surprisingly, the red stain came up fairly well, but the water used to clean it left a dark spot. Also, water spills from sippy cups or from watering the Christmas tree left dark spots. 

The plain jute rug in our old bedroom was similar in that regard. It was very susceptible to stains, even simple water spills. 

Photo courtesy of Country Living magazine. 

Seagrass on the other hand, which we had in our old dining room, has been indestructible. 

Things that have been spilled or mashed into our seagrass rug are: 

tomato sauce
blueberries, blackberries, raspberries
cherry smoothies
sweet potato 

All of these cleaned up stain-free. 

Our only complaint with our lovely seagrass rug was that it left dent marks on the fir floors, which is a soft wood. If we had used a rug pad underneath that could have been prevented I'm sure. Also, the texture of the seagrass is coarse, so this type of rug may not be the best choice in all settings. 

Photo courtesy of Country Living magazine. 

The only form of jute that has been as indestructible as the seagrass has been the braided jute, as seen here in our old kitchen. It has received various food and cooking spills, and has always cleaned up really well - with no water marks. It's been relocated to our new kitchen here.   

We just purchased this sisal rug for our new dining room last week. We found it on clearance at our local Home Goods store. I like the fact that it is so light, as this is the darker of the two front rooms in the house. We'll see how it works for us over time.

This photo also shows tremendous progress in our effort to settle into our new home. It may not look like much, so I've attached a glimpse of what the room looked like just a week or so ago. 


  1. I love the new rug. Just perfect for the dinning room. Can't wait to see the finished look. I love the color of the room with the windows the accent color. Just beautiful like you dear.

  2. Fur balls !

    Had to laugh, you didn't mention fur balls.

    Ruined the sisal & jute, long gone.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  3. Oh I just adore the exposed beams in the ceiling! Gorgeous pictures, too.

  4. You have been busy and with 2 little ones underfoot. my goodness! I can't wait for a tour via your blog. xo

  5. I had wondered about natural fiber rugs so thanks for the breakdown! Very helpful.
    The before picture of the dining room made me shutter! There is NOTHING fun about moving but great satisfaction when everything finally finds its new home! Many blessing to you and your family in your new place!

  6. Your progress looks wonderful and just in time for the holiday season. Thank you so much for this review of natural fiber rugs. I'm getting ready to select a natural rug for the living room in our 100 year old farmhouse. It will have to stand up to a lot of wear and tear. Did you use the thick wool rug pad undernearth your living room rug in Oregon for extra warmth and cushioning? Happy Thanksgiving to you, Mike and your adorable little ones!

  7. Denise, Yes we used a thick wool pad for the living room. It has worked really well! Best, Catherine

  8. Miss you here on the west coast but so glad to hear you are all well and getting settled just in time for Old Man Winter.

    Holiday Blessings,
    Karla in CA.

  9. Your new home is so beautiful! Would you share where you got your dining room chair slipcovers? Thank you!

  10. Those moving boxes bring back memories (13 moves!) But I love the editing process and the thrill of nesting in an all new environment! You are going to have such fun making this darling house your own.
    Best wishes,
    PS Thank you for the rug info.

  11. Dining room slipcovers are Shabby Chic from Target. Not sure if they still carry them but they were a great deal at $24.95. Best, Catherine

  12. I am always inspired by your creativity and eye for beauty! Would you please share where you got your dining room chair slipcovers? Thank you!

  13. I'm so happy to read of these comparisons on natural fiber rugs. We have a sisal rug under our dining room table and it's been great, no stains, no complaints, other than wishing it was softer to the touch. I love the look of these natural fiber rugs but Mr. B. won't consider it for our bedroom due to the coarse texture.

  14. I can't wait to see it finished. Just love the color. We too have had wonderful luck with our seagrass rug...it ages beautifully!!

  15. Loved seeing the rooms again in your old home. It brought back sweet visual memories . . . Thank you for the tips on rug fibers/choices . . .
    Happy Thanksgiving Day Catherine, for you and your family.

  16. I love the natural look and texture of jute and sisal but have never bought them for fear they might get "fuzzy" with wear. Do they? Where can if find seagrass rugs?

  17. Very helpful information! Thanks for posting this. Happy Thanksgiving! Hope you are settling in nicely!!! donna :)

  18. I am all about the sisal rugs right now. I was surprised at how much I've enjoyed them. I wasn't sure I would because they felt rather modern & a bit too beachy for our farmhouse but they actually just blend away into the background & I think (besides the clean up) is what I like about them the most. I wouldn't mind if they were softer though :) Thanks for this post!

  19. Beautiful! What a difference you have made! We are considering buying an old farmhouse that sits on some beautiful property but the ceilings are rather low. It looks as if your ceilings might be low as well? Would you mind sharing if that's been an issue for you at all? Thank you and Happiest Thanksgiving!

  20. I love the look of the natural rugs, not the feel, nor the durability, so I went with a natural wool rug that is woven to look like jute. It's an expensive, but in the long run, not, option. It is really lovely has held up for over 10 years, grandkids and family.

  21. I really have found that seagrass is very pet friendly. I resisted natural fibers for years and tried sisal, then I got a seagrass rug and it is indestructible. It sure isn't soft, but the cats love scratching it and it doesn't show.

  22. Your post is so timely and helpful as I am now shoping for a rug the ones you used in your Oregon home! Is the seagrass too rough for dogs? Or to walk barefoot? Love you style. Thank you for sharing.

  23. I started with jute rugs and found the same thing with staining. The one in my dining room also got big divots from the chairs wherever anyone sat in them and I got rid of it within months.

    I also agree with you about the durability of seagrass but i found it smells for a little while. I googled seagrass smell and I guess it helps to expose it to sunlight. It wasn't really an easy option after setting up a bed in the middle of it. Also not the softest under foot.

    Mountain grass from Natural Home Rugs is a warmer color than seagrass, more amber, doesn't have the smell and also has the same durability as seagrass. It's been my favorite and will continue to be until I can invest in nicer orientals.

    I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving in your new home!

  24. Steve, I forgot to mention the divots - one of my complaints as well! I'll look for the mountain grass, it sounds wonderful.

    Kathleen, Not sure about natural fibers and dogs. Our dog mostly snoozed on the wool orientals.

    Anna, The ceilings are normal height downstairs but lower upstairs. It doesn't bother me at 5'7" but my husband has to remember to duck here and there. I have to say that he's not happy about that.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you all. Best, Catherine

  25. Happy Thanksgiving from us over the border!
    Love the mirror you got at Restore! We love frequent that Restore here!
    I am glad for all the information on rugs. Thank you!

  26. What a difference from even a few weeks ago in the dining room. Things are coming along! The information about the divots and scent of the rugs is helpful. Very much looking forward to seeing how the room comes together.

    Take care, Em

  27. After seeing your great great grandmother's couch reupholstered, I wonder why anyone would ever buy a new couch if they could have something this beautiful and well-made. This turned out gorgeous!

  28. I have found the same problem with sisal rugs staining from water. Here is a helpful hint, although a bit high maintenance, use a hairdryer to dry the spots when wet and they won't stain! I love your blog and your style. Thank you for sharing with us. And I love your twin news, as I had fraternal boys in February :) Your ability to have such healthy, big babies was an inspiration and very encouraging while awaiting their arrival.

  29. Seagrass is AMAZING! I've spilled red wine so many times on ours and you can't even tell!

  30. Buy Simple Green from the automotive dept at Walmart. It's magic and will get ANY stain out of anything! We've used it on our carpet when our 2 year old took her older sisters lip stick and mascara and made a Picasso themed room. Just spray Simple Green on the rug and rub with a rag. You can also spray a stain and wash in your washer.


Thank you for leaving your thoughts. Kind regards, Catherine

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