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There are many fibers used today to create fine quality area rugs. Following is a summary of the most popular materials courtesy of Shaw Living:
Semi-worsted New Zealand wool is the most popular natural fiber used to create area rugs. It is durable, soft and easily dyed. Wool has been used for centuries to create the finest carpets and rugs.
Nylon has been a popular choice for years in broadloom carpet. It is now being used effectively in rug manufacturing. Nylon has the capability and versatility necessary to make synthetic rugs look like antique masterpieces. With attributes such as easy cleaning and superior wear, nylon provides a classic look at an excellent price.
Huge manufacturing breakthroughs in fiber technology have moved olefin to the forefront of both broadloom and rug manufacturing. Many collections of rugs take advantage of olefin's durability, stain resistance and affordable cost. An olefin rug can give you a luxurious look at a very reasonable price. (The generic name for olefin is polypropylene.)
Sisal, seagrass, raffia, abacca and bamboo have become very popular in the past 10 years. These rugs are hand-made in places like Indonesia, India and China. They offer a cool, casual and tropical look that goes great in many contemporary settings.
There is not a "right" fiber for your area rugs. And there are a number of other questions you need to ask yourself before making your purchase decision. A great place to start is Rugs Direct, where you can view a wide variety of area-rug colors and designs in every fiber available.