Are sheepskin area rugs worth the money?
For some people, area rugs are simply a means of protecting a hardwood floor or providing a cushion from a hard surface. For others, an area rug can be a unique design anchor and a modern piece of art. So what makes some rugs worth a much higher price than others? An expensive rug will generally be made out of high-quality wool, silk, or other natural fibres, where a more moderately priced rug is often made out of synthetics. When it comes to a designer rug made from sheepskin, it may have a high price, but it is a high quality product. The first thing to check with designer rugs is the quality of the wool—namely, the wool density, loft, and length, and the colour and feel of the wool. Premium sheepskin adds luxurious comfort wherever it's displayed and is plush to the touch with a wonderfully soft, silky feel. The feeling of luxury under your feet is something everyone should experience in their home, and the quality is definitely worth the price tag.
Above: Designer Floor Rug, Short Wool 12mm, 2.0 x 3.0m (Pisa)
What makes sheepskin a high quality rug material?
Sheepskin has many great qualities that make it one of the best materials to choose for designer rugs and sets it apart from other materials. When you think of luxury rugs you may think of oriental hand knotted or hand tufted designer rugs, but sheepskin rugs should absolutely be considered in that same category. Some of the reasons you might want to purchase a rug made from such a high quality material for your home includes the fact sheepskin rugs are:
- soft and smooth to touch
- lightweight and supple
- hypoallergenic design
- flame retardant, and
The naturally occurring oils in the fleece keep it feeling soft and silky, and in contrast to synthetic rugs, sheepskin rugs do not hold any static charge. There is a wide selection of colours and designs available to suit both modern or contemporary spaces, and the right style can add a touch of traditional luxury to any home.
Should designer sheepskin rugs be used in high traffic areas?
There are many factors that should be considered when choosing a rug for a high traffic area. It needs to be a durable and hardwearing design, as well as easy to clean and of course, nice to walk on! When you are going to place luxury or designer rugs in high traffic areas in your home, you may want to get rug that is functional as well as decorative. Compared to most other materials, sheepskin will have more cushion and will be more comfortable to stand or walk on.
When it comes to high traffic rooms, it pays to avoid some options:
- Plush Rugs: Whether they are shag, fur, or just have plush embellishments, plush designer rugs are known for matting and being overly difficult to clean and maintain.
- Rugs made from silk: Silk is a delicate material that also comes with a high price tag. Although it looks beautiful, it is fragile and can wear down easily from heavy foot traffic.
- Rugs with a thick pile height: Typically designer rugs with a thick pile height are plush, and as mentioned above, plush is not an ideal material for high traffic area rugs.
Instead of those, consider getting a luxury rug made from a resilient material like wool or sheepskin. You may have to pay a higher price upfront but it is more likely to last much longer!
Above: Designer Floor Rug, Short Wool 12mm, 2.0 x 3.0m (Dublin Bay)
Design, colour and pattern are also important considerations in rug selection. There is no point in buying long-lasting designer rugs if they are going to be easily stained by foot traffic. That means no whites or ivory colours, and no dark solid colours that show up the dirt easily. Your best bet is to go with a mixed colour selection or pattern somewhere in between with a design that will camouflage general use, pet hair, spills and dirt.
How do you choose a rug size?
While an area rug helps to define a space and unifies your home, it should also be beautiful and enhance your decor, tying in colours and designs and softening hard surfaces. Choosing an area rug that is the correct size can be a challenging experience, and there are some simple steps to help you find the perfect sized piece for your home.
Many people fall into the trap of choosing a rug that is too small. The main reason for this is that high quality, long lasting area rugs that will stand the test of time are generally more expensive, and the bigger they are, the higher the price. A quality rug the right size and style for your space will last you years, so it is worth the investment, even if the price tag is high.
Bigger is Better
The larger your rug, the larger the room will appear (and vice versa), another great reason why size really does matter when it comes to rugs. A few inches can make all the difference between the rug pulling everything together or making it feel disjointed.
Read the Room
When choosing rug size and orientation, make sure your selection is proportional to the design space, eg. large rugs for large rooms, and placed to mirror its dimensions, so a rug in a long room would be placed lengthwise.
Visualize the Final Look
Use painter's tape to mock the rug placement before you buy. This is an easy way to find out if you have the right fit from every vantage point.
Above: Designer Floor Rug, Extra Long Wool 60-80mm Round 2.5m diameter (Minaret)
How big of a rug should I get for my living room?
Above: Designer Floor Rug, Short Wool 12mm, Moa (Dublin Bay)
A living room rug should ground the room, and to do this you should have at least the front two legs of your chairs and couches on the rug.
By running the rug under the furniture it unites the setting, and can also add the illusion of a larger space. Dining room rugs need to big enough for the back legs of the chairs to be completely on the rug when they’re pulled out.
The living room shape should help you choose the rug size and orientation to make the space look larger and feel connected. There are three main layout options that work well:
- All legs resting on the rug. This layout is the best choice for anchoring a living room for any grouping that floats (not sitting against a wall). You will find that placing all furniture on the rug will unify the pieces and create a defined seating area.
- Just the front legs on the rug. You will find this option can work especially well when one edge of the grouping is against a wall. For a cohesive look, choose a designer rug size that allows for only the front legs of every piece of furniture in the grouping to be on the rug.
- All furniture – except for the coffee table – off the rug. Perfect for small or narrow spaces, this layout plays off the room's scale to create space and make it feel larger. To get the proportions right, base the rug size on the interior dimensions of your seating area – and not just the coffee table – so it fills the negative space created by your furniture grouping.
How about my bedroom?
A well placed area rug is the perfect addition to the bedroom and can add a touch of luxury and style. As the focal point of the bedroom, the bed should be the base for rug placement. This will add to defining the space also give your feet an amazingly soft spot to land each morning - a truly wonderful experience!
How far should a rug go under a bed?
In the bedroom you want the rug to run beneath the bottom two thirds of the bed, at least. You want it to be big enough so that you can step on to it when you get out of bed.
How do you keep a designer sheepskin rug soft?
New sheepskin is super soft, fluffy and cosy. The simplest way to maintain the natural texture of sheepskin is purchasing a wire sheepskin brush. These brushes not only keep your sheepskin tangle-free and ensure it looks full, they can also be used to remove most dirt. The dense pile of sheepskin means that dirt can be gently brushed out to avoid washing your sheepskin and risking the backing shrinking. The wool will remain springy and soft with regular brushing and reducing unnecessary washing. It is also a good idea to air your sheepskin on a cool day out of direct sunlight to help it remain soft and luxurious. Although most of the time, a gentle brush will remove dirt from your sheepskin, sometimes it is necessary to wash it.
How often should designer rugs be professionally cleaned?
Sheepskin rugs are durable and robust. Like anything, if you take proper care of it right from the start, you will extend its life and keep it looking good for longer. This means:
- Vacuuming weekly with a plain suction vacuum cleaner.
- Regularly shaking your rug outside.
- Sponging small spills with a damp cloth - the sooner the better!
- Occasional brushing of a long wool rug (not required for short wool rugs)
- Avoiding exposure to strong direct sunlight.
- Keeping dry - do not store your sheepskin in damp or wet conditions.
The unique structure of wool gives it a natural durability and robustness, helping it to repel and release dirt easily. This means your sheepskin products don't actually need to be washed as regularly as you might think. If there are specific areas or stains that need to be targeted try a spot clean before anything else, and if you feel your sheepskin product still needs further cleaning then consider having it dry cleaned.
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