The Environmental Benefits of Natural Area Rugs

by Concierge Matcher on November 10, 2010

area rugsMore homeowners these days are taking advantage of eco-friendly options when it comes to decorating. Everything from the kind of paint used on walls, fabric in window treatments, and upholstery on furniture has been implemented. One of the quickest, easiest, and oftentimes, less expensive options are using natural area rugs.

Natural area rugs are any rug made from natural fibers. Most times these are renewable plant fibers and are easily the most popular types of fiber for rugs today. The choice of plant fibers are bamboo, sisal, sea grass, hemp, and jute to name a few. All these fibers are considered sustainable since they can all be grown over and over. As opposed to synthetic fiber rugs that require exhaustible resources to manufacture, natural fiber rugs are a much better eco-friendly choice for floor coverings.

Whatever fiber your natural rug is made from, they all have certain characteristics that will help dictate what rooms are best to place them in. For example, most area rugs made from plant fibers will soak up liquids so it’s important to not place them where spills are likely to occur. A rug made from sea grass is an exception to this rule. Since sea grass is grown and harvested in saltwater marshes, the fiber is more likely to resist stains. If a family member suffers from allergies or asthma, a natural rug in their bedroom would be a much better option than a synthetic rug. Synthetic fibers are sometimes treated or dyed using chemicals that can trigger allergies.

Bamboo is becoming one of the most popular natural fibers used in rugs today. Bamboo is highly renewable and grows faster than any other woody grass on the planet. When crafted into rugs, its natural earth tone brown color does well to compliment older hardwood floors. It’s naturally stain resistant and usually can be wiped clean with a damp, clean cloth. Because of its wood-looking characteristic and different shades of colors, some owners have even used these rugs to decorate outdoor living spaces such as patios and decks.

The oldest natural fiber used by man is wool. While it doesn’t come from a plant it is still considered renewable and environmentally friendly. For centuries, wool was the only fiber used to craft lavishly designed rugs. Persian and other Oriental rugs were all made exclusively from wool and still are to this day. Some of the oldest rugs from Persia and the Orient, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, were handmade from wool. Wool is warm, soft, and durable. If properly cared form, these rugs can last long enough to be passed down as family heirlooms. It has the added benefit of being biodegradable, hypoallergenic, and non-toxic. Its quality helps to discourage the growth of bacteria and traps indoor air contaminants in its fibers, thus making it a natural air filter.

With “going green” and become eco-friendly becoming more popular these days, many people struggle with knowing where to begin. Using natural fiber area rugs in home decoration is a great first step. These floor covering are easy to obtain, quick to place, and inexpensive.

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