A large sheepskin area rug will add comfort, style and luxury to your home. Choosing and placing your rug may require a little thought, but you won't regret the investment of time and energy. Here are a few tips to make the decision process a little easier...
How do I choose a large sheepskin rug?
When choosing your sheepskin rug, you will no doubt have many questions such as - where do I find a large sheepskin rug? How do I know it's natural sheepskin (as opposed to faux fur)? How do I know the sheepskin is good quality? Just how large is large?
Products made from pure sheepskin are fairly popular these days, so you shouldn't have to search too hard to find an area rug. The trick is to ensure you purchase a quality rug that not only looks great in your living room (or lounge/bedroom/dining room) but also stands the test of time.
My best tip? Choose a genuine sheepskin rug - as opposed to faux sheepskin . You really can't go wrong. Natural sheepskin looks infinitely more beautiful for starters. The light play beautifully with the fibres and pile, while faux sheepskin tends to lack the same richness and texture. Naturally occurring oils in real sheepskin will also help keep your rug clean, soft and supple without you having to work too hard.
Look for a sheepskin rug that has been made sustainably. Good quality sheepskin is durable, long-lasting and 100% bio-degradable. Check out these large sheepskin area rugs made from pure New Zealand wool.
Take a good look a the spaces in your home and decide where you want to place your sheepskin rug. No doubt you'll have a good idea of what you are trying to achieve - is it a rug for your living room to draw people in and make it feel cosy for example? Or is it a rug for your bedroom, providing warmth and comfort under your feet first thing in the morning? Whatever or wherever it is, consider also the following:
- Rug size - a large rug anchors your room and defines the space. Apply the 'bigger is better' rule and aim for largest sheepskin rug you can afford. You won't regret it.
- Rug shape -try to match your large sheepskin rug to the shape of your room. Visual symmetry maintains a sense of balance and will help pull the room together to feel more cohesive.
- Colour - sheepskin rugs are usually available in muted, earthy tones - white, cream, grey or brown. But you can also find bolder and more modern colours like burgundy, pink or green if that's what you prefer.
- Pile height - long wool sheepskin rugs bring a sense of luxury to your space, while a short wool rug is better suited to an everyday space with lots of activity. Read more about the characteristics of wool lengths and pile height here.
- Finally, sunlight. Like all natural products, sheepskin is not a fan of harsh sun. Over time the UV rays will cause your rug to discolour or fade. So take a look around the room you intend to place your rug in and take note of the sunlight - where does it fall over the course of a day?
Is a sheepskin rug breathable?
Yes! Unlike synthetic or faux sheepskin, a genuine sheepskin rug can actually breathe. Without getting too technical, air flows freely and continuously through the wool fibres, some of which gets trapped to create little pockets of air. These little pockets of air help to regulate your body temperature, keeping you warm and toasty on a winter's night, or cooling you down in the height of summer.
How do you clean a sheepskin rug naturally?
After investing in a beautiful sheepskin rug made from the real thing (pure wool) you will of course want to care for it and keep it looking good without using any harsh chemicals.
The very best thing you can do is establish a regular maintenance routine from the outset and stick to it. You don't need fancy gadgets - even if your rug is ivory white these three simple steps will suffice:
- Vacuum - once a week give your sheepskin rug a good vacuum. Use a plain suction unit, no revolving/rotating/ turbo/ beater bar attachments as these can damage the wool fibres of your rug.
- Shake - regularly give your sheepskin rug a good shake outside (plump that pile!)
- Spot clean - deal with any spills or marks as soon as they happen by
- Blotting up any liquid with a dry cloth.
- Then spot cleaning with a damp cloth that has been soaked in warm water. No need for detergent at this point. Dab the wool gently without rubbing too hard.
- If you have a particularly stubborn stain, try adding a dash of gentle dishwashing liquid to the water and continuing to gently dab the wool fibres of your rug.
If the mark still won't budge, refer to my stain removal guide.
Can you put a sheepskin rug in the washing machine?
Say you have sheepskin rug in your living room that is looking a bit worse for wear. You might be tempted to throw it in the machine to spruce it up a bit. But beware - while the wool itself will love a good wash and will emerge super soft and silky, the backing of your sheepskin rug will not.
Often sheepskin rugs are backed with suede, which should be dry cleaned only. Be sure to check! Bear in mind too, your large sheepskin rug might not actually fit in your washing machine.
After all of that, if you still want to machine wash your sheepskin rug, then refer to my care and maintenance instructions for helpful tips.
How do you keep a large sheepskin area rug from going flat?
Hands down the best thing you can do is follow a regular care routine for your sheepskin rug right from the get-go. That way your rug shouldn't be prone to flattening down. A weekly going over with a vacuum will work wonders.
Pile height makes difference too. Say you have a long wool area rug placed in your living room which sees a lot of everyday action, you might find the sheepskin fibres do flatten down a bit. Try shaking your rug outside more often, that alone should be enough to restore a bit of lift.
You can also try brushing a long wool sheepskin rug. Use a wire brush, like a pet comb. If the fibres look a bit 'frizzy' afterwards, just spray lightly with water and scrunch them with your hand. If you have a short wool sheepskin rug on the other hand, the shorter pile means it shouldn't ever need to be brushed.
A large sheepskin area rug is an investment piece that will last you a lifetime. Do your research and ensure you purchase a sheepskin rug made from good quality natural sheepskin (go New Zealand!) and establish a good care routine from the outset. Ensure your area rug sits well in your space and is large enough to accommodate your furniture and anchor your room.