Sisal and jute rugs are like the white T-shirts of the design world. Thanks to their neutral color palette and natural fibers, they layer quite well with almost any décor. “Throw them over large rugs or under smaller ones to add depth, warmth, and texture,” says designer Leanne Ford. “Mix them with antiques and neutral colors or with jewel tones and lots of pattern,” says designer Lauren Ashley Allan. Whichever direction you go, “they’re an easy way to add an imperfect touch to a room,” adds Decorilla lead designer Devin Shaffer.
Another standout feature: “They’re budget friendly compared to most other styles of rugs,” says Ford. Many picks on this list are under $600 for an eight-by-ten-foot rug, and you don’t necessarily need to pay more than that to get something great looking. In terms of where to place them, “They can be mixed and moved between main rooms or secondary rooms such as bedrooms,” says Allan. “There is a lot of flexibility with these rugs, which can either be dressed up or dressed down.” To help you choose the right natural-fiber rug for your home, we’ve laid out the differences between sisal, jute, and abaca rugs, and we also asked Shaffer, Ford, Allan, and 13 other décor experts and interior designers about their favorites. Read on for their picks and advice on how best to incorporate the rugs into your décor scheme.
Best overall sisal | Best light-colored sisal | Best customizable sisal | Best (less expensive) customizable sisal | Best dark customizable sisal | Best customizable sisal-wool blend | Best overall jute | Best chunky jute | Best braided jute | Best jute with border | Best patterned jute | Best vintage-patterned jute | Best patterned jute-wool blend | Best colorful jute-cotton blend | Best patterned jute-cotton blend | Best abaca
What we’re looking for
Material: As far as choosing between area rugs made from sisal, jute, and other natural fibers such as abaca, the experts we spoke with say to consider the space you’ll use them in — for aesthetics, of course, but also because certain fibers may be better in certain locations. “Generally speaking, sisal rugs,” which are made from the fibers of the agave plant, “are a bit more durable than jute rugs, so they’re good for high-traffic areas of the home,” according to prop stylist Cat Dash. Allan agrees, and because she says sisal rugs are the most durable of the group and have a tighter weave than the others, she likes to use them on the stairs as a runner.
Rugs made from jute (which comes from the stem of the jute plant) or abaca fibers (which come from the abaca plant), on the other hand, are usually softer to the touch, making them “more comfortable for bare feet, so there’s a trade off,” Dash says. Jute rugs have a softer feel, which makes them a bit more pliable than sisal but also less durable and harder to clean. That’s why the experts say they work better in low-traffic spaces such as bedrooms as opposed to hallways and living areas. Allan’s preference is for rugs made out of jute because of its overall lighter color, texture, and sheen, but she recommends always requesting samples to make sure your choice isn’t too scratchy.
If you’re looking for a “chunkier, more textural surface,” Allan recommends abaca, which is a thicker fiber with a bit of sheen. Similarly to jute rugs, they feel soft underfoot and are not as durable as sisal, working better in medium- to low-traffic areas of the home. If you like the look of these rugs but are nervous about their feel (even after trying a sample), consider one that’s blended with a softer material such as cotton or wool, which would take the edge off a bit.
Style: The rugs come in a variety of styles and color options no matter the fiber you choose. You can certainly go for a plain-woven or hand-braided rug, but some come with fringe while others come with patterns like checkers or a more traditional motif. And as mentioned above, sisal will generally have a more tightly woven look, while jute and abaca will be a little chunkier.
Customization options: Another benefit of natural-fiber rugs is their customizability. Because of the plain weave of many of these rugs, they come in various preset sizes, but some allow for even further customization by letting you choose specifications including dimensions and trim.
Best overall sisal rug
Sisal | Tightly woven | Solid | Five colors available
While rugs made of sisal, jute, and other natural fibers can look very similar, sisal rugs are made with a harder weave and are thus more durable than other natural-fiber rugs, Dash explains, making them great for places like hallways and living areas. This sisal rug from Crate & Barrel comes recommended by two of our experts. Modsy design-operations director Tara Smith likes that its more textured boucle weave “elevates this rug a step above your standard sisal.” Available in several neutral shades, she adds that it’s durable “yet sophisticated enough to go in any high-traffic area of your home.” Shea particularly likes it for layering, saying it’s “a great rug to have as a foundation in a living or family room, and can be layered with a kilim or vintage Turkish rug to injecting a little color into a space.” Sizes start at two by three feet with a starting price of $70.
Best light-colored sisal rug
Sisal | Tightly woven | Solid | Two colors available
Three of our experts suggest turning to Pottery Barn for sisal rugs with two specifically naming this — in the linen color — as a solid choice. Alessandra Wood, vice-president of style at Modsy, says the neutral shade makes it “the perfect rug for layering” beneath a more colorful rug. Interior designer Becky Shea agrees. “I’ve used this sisal rug a number of times, and it’s never done me wrong,” she says. “It looks beautiful on its own or layered in a space. It’s also surprisingly soft.” Shea says it’s a great option for those looking for “that laid back, California-cool vibe in your space even on the East Coast.” In addition to the linen color our experts like, the rug is available in a darker tweed. At the moment, there are only two sizes available in the linen, the smaller being three by five feet, which goes for $149.
Best customizable sisal rug
Sisal | Tightly woven | Solid | Three colors available | Customizable
Jessie Schuster, the principal of Jessica Schuster Design, also turns to Pottery Barn for sisal rugs, saying this one is ideal if you’re looking for a rug you can customize for any space. It’s pure sisal, available in Toffee, Mocha, and Sand colorways, and a great option “if you’re on a budget,” she says. “They are a nice quality, and you can customize the size within a short lead time.”
Best (less expensive) customizable sisal rug
Sisal | Tightly woven | Solid | Three colors available | Customizable
For another customizable option, Smith suggests this one from West Elm. She particularly likes that the “chunky weave and natural fiber adds the perfect amount of organic texture to a space.” It’s available in a classic warm tone or more modern-looking Chrome and Muslin colorways.
Best dark customizable sisal rug
Sisal | Tightly woven | Solid | Five colors available | Customizable
Williams Sonoma makes a customizable sisal rug that came recommended by Seyie Putsure of the Los Angeles–based Seyie Design. She likes this one’s “cool, slightly gray undertone,” saying it would work well in a contemporary home. In addition to its size, you can customize the binding on the rug by choosing from a serged, linen, or leather-bound edge. Putsure prefers linen or smooth leather to give it a more tailored look. “I would use it in a den or a study,” she says.
Best customizable blended sisal-wool rug
Sisal-wool blend | Chunky | Three colors available | Customizable
Interior designer Elaine Griffin’s go-to source for sisal rugs is Sisal Rugs Direct. She likes it “for the variety and customization options” and the fact that the rugs are “totally reasonably priced.” A favorite is this wool and sisal rug in the Beach colorway. Griffin says the texture brings “zest underfoot” with the wool providing a bit of softness. The rug would “brighten even the saddest dark space,” she adds. In addition to choosing the dimensions of the rug, you also pick from three other colors, select a rug border (and the color of that border), and even customize the shape.
Best overall jute rug
Jute | Chunky | Solid
This all-jute rug from Ikea came recommended by two of our experts — Tammy Price of the Los Angeles–based Fragments Identity and Dash — for its affordability. It’s Dash’s go-to because “it’s super-versatile and works all over the house,” she says. “I generally use this one as a layering piece and put a smaller rug with an interesting pattern over it. I actually have it in my living room with a vintage Persian rug layered on top.” The rug is available in three sizes; the smaller one is four feet four inches by six feet five inches and goes for $70.
Best chunky jute rug
Jute | Chunky | Solid, tasseled | Eight colors | Customizable
Interior designer Jamie Drake of the Manhattan-based firm Drake/Anderson told us he prefers the minimalism of “the most natural and basic jute rugs,” suggesting this chunky, fringed style as another affordable option. New York Magazine deputy editor Alexis Swerdloff is a fan after buying the rug for her own home. It looks more expensive than it is thanks to its handwoven design and the varied tones of the undyed natural fibers. This style starts at $36 for a rug that’s two by three feet.
Best braided jute rug
Jute | Chunky | Solid
For something a little heftier, Dash recommends this braided jute rug from World Market, saying the “braided weave makes it feel more elevated and unique” than your average natural-fiber rug. “This one can stand on its own and brings an earthy, textual element to the room where you’re using it,” she says, adding that it would complement other natural materials such as wood and linen. This rug’s smallest size is two and a half by eight feet, which goes for $45.
Best jute rug with border
Jute | Chunky | Patterned, tasseled | 3 colors
Three of our experts — Schuster, Putsure, and Dash — recommend Serena & Lily (another designer favorite) as a place to find jute rugs along with others made of natural fibers. For something with a little more personality, Dash recommends this rug with an inner border that she says “feels almost preppy” but is counterbalanced by its natural weave, which “keeps it from veering towards stuffy.” She adds that it would lend a “pulled-together yet unfussy vibe” to any room. This style starts at $88 for a two-by-three-foot rug.
Best patterned jute rug
Jute | Chunky | Patterned
Architect and interior designer Maria Augusta Louro of the New York– and Brazil-based firm Guta Louro says she likes to incorporate natural-fiber rugs in her projects because of their durability. She’s also a fan of such rugs for their “earthy tones and rustic characteristics,” telling us this jute rug ups the aesthetic ante because its interwoven trellis design makes it look like pricer wool and silk rugs. The smallest size is two by three feet and goes for $98.
Best vintage-patterned jute rug
Jute | Chunky | Patterned, tasseled
While many rugs made of natural fibers have a relaxed air about them, this one has a more traditional look thanks to its vintage-inspired pattern. It’s a favorite of Shaffer’s, who loves the combination of natural fibers with a more traditional motif, which, according to him, add up to something magically imperfect.
Best patterned blended jute-wool rug
Jute-wool | Chunky | Patterned, tasseled
“This rug is a beautiful take on a tonal checkerboard pattern,” says Allan. And because it’s 50 percent wool, it feels more plush underfoot than a pure jute rug. It’s “warm, edited, and beautifully imperfect,” according to Allan, who suggests putting it in a family or living room, hearth, or even a dining room if you want to add “a subtle textural backdrop” to that space.
Best colorful blended jute-cotton rug
Jute-cotton | Chunky | Patterned, tasseled
Justina Blakeney, the owner of Jungalow (a favorite Black-owned décor business), designed this rug in collaboration with Loloi, a rug company that interior designer Leah Alexander loves for its “variety, dependability, and for featuring collections from a diverse group of makers.” It’s made of a cotton-jute blend and has a raised trellis design on a dusty green backing, allowing a subtle layer of color to peek through. “The jute rugs by Justina Blakeney are gorgeous, understated, and hardworking,” Alexander adds. The smallest size is five feet by seven feet six inches and goes for $599.
Best patterned blended jute-cotton rug
Jute-cotton | Chunky | Patterned
Jess Cooney of the New England–based Jess Cooney Interiors recommends this Dash and Albert rug, which has a bolder pattern and is made with a jute-cotton blend, so it’s softer on bare feet. She says the tribal-inspired pattern makes it a little more interesting than a basic jute rug, but it’s still versatile enough to work in many spaces. The smallest size is three by five feet and costs $140.
Best abaca rug
Abaca | Chunky | Solid | Two colors
Echoing the sentiments of our other experts, designer Aerin Lauder says she turns to natural-fiber rugs to “instantly provide a neutral look that is practical and elevated.” Her favorite is this abaca rug from Williams Sonoma (for which she designed the Aerin Collection by Williams Sonoma, but this rug is not from that line). “I think that the tones and texture are perfect in any space,” Lauder says. “The rug provides a natural yet comfortable and effortless feel.” Sizes start at three by ten feet, which goes for $460.
Some more rugs we've written about
• Leah Alexander, interior designer
• Lauren Ashley Allan, interior designer
• Jess Cooney, Jess Cooney Interiors
• Cat Dash, prop stylist
• Jamie Drake, Drake/Anderson
• Leanne Ford, interior designer
• Elaine Griffin, interior designer
• Aerin Lauder, designer
• Maria Augusta Louro, architect and interior designer
• Tammy Price, Fragments Identity
• Seyie Putsure, Seyie Design
• Devin Shaffer, lead designer Decorilla
• Jessie Schuster, principal of Jessica Schuster Design
• Tara Smith, director of design operations at Modsy
• Becky Shea, interior designer
• Alessandra Wood, vice-president of style at Modsy
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