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5 Best Rug Materials for High Traffic Areas

5 Best Rug Materials for High Traffic Areas

Let’s talk about high traffic home areas: the kitchen, living room, kids room and mudroom. These are the areas that get the most wear and tear from constant foot traffic. In my house, it’s definitely the living room/playroom.

When looking for a rug that can really deliver durability, the material is going to be the key. But what’s the difference between all of them? How do you choose? What materials are best and which should be avoided? We’re here to help. Check out our 5 best rug material picks for those areas that get the most love.  

1. Wool

One of the most durable materials out there, wool is a popular choice for many. It’s definitely more of an investment, but they will last longer. Instead of having to change it up and/or buy a new rug every few years, a wool rug really is worth the money. 

Another feature that makes this material a good choice is how soft it is, making it a dream for bare feet. The fibers are resilient, repel stains and are good at keeping dirt at a minimum. It doesn’t harbor dust mites or encourage bacterial growth, making it a good one for those with allergies.  

Overall, it’s a great material to choose for not only durability but for allergy-sensitive and texture-seeking buyers.  

2. Nylon

If looking for a rug with bright colors and patterns, nylon might be the one for you. It’s resistant to dirt and spills, making it ideal for those with pets or little ones running around. Like wool, it’s soft to the touch, a plus for those looking for something more cost-effective than wool with a similar feel.   

Parents would be in good hands with a nylon rug. Not only is it soft for little crawlers and spill-resistant, but it’s also fairly easy to clean. Originally, nylon rugs were made to mimic the look of silk rugs, but much more low maintenance. For a high-quality rug with so many benefits, a nylon material might be the ticket.  

3. Polypropylene

For an almost indestructible material and one that can be used inside and outside, check out rugs made out of polypropylene. Stain and mildew resistant, easy to clean and affordable, this material is a tough one to beat. It’s also surprisingly soft to the touch.  

You can use a rug made of this material outside by the pool or a room in the house that tends to get a lot of sunshine. Polypropylene holds its color well and won’t fade in the sun. Another plus is that it’s non-toxic, making it safe for pets.  

4. Cotton

Not as durable as polypropylene or nylon, we still recommend a cotton rug material for high traffic areas. Because it’s flat woven and doesn’t have a high pile, it’s pretty easy to clean. Throw it in the wash, let it air dry outdoors and it’ll be good as new.  

Cotton rugs are a popular choice because of their versatility. With so many sizes, colors, patterns, and pile heights, the options are endless. While it won’t be a rug that will get passed down through generations, it’s still a functional and stylish option.  

5. Natural Fiber: Jute, Sisal and Seagrass

Our final recommendation is rugs made of natural fiber like jute, sisal, or seagrass. The fibers are spun together into weaves or braids that not only add stylish points but also durability. Note that they aren’t as soft as wool or cotton, which can be a drawback for some.  

Jute is a fiber made from a plant of the same name and is the most popular plant fiber after cotton. Sisal is a fiber made from the Mexican agave plant and seagrass is made from dried grasses that grow under the ocean near India. Seagrass is typically tougher than jute, which is why you see a lot of welcome mats made from this material.  

What natural fiber rugs lack in softness, they gain in eco-friendliness. They are biodegradable and renewable, as well as easy to clean.  


In choosing the perfect rug for your high traffic area, the material really is everything. Avoid plush rugs like shag or fur, as they will matte and prove to be difficult to clean. Silk and viscose are super soft and luxurious, so save those for decor purposes and not as much for high traffic areas. Lastly, be aware of a thick pile height. Rugs with a pile height of 0.75” or more are considered plush and therefore not the best choice.  

One simple step that can extend the life of any rug you buy is the pad underneath. Most rugs don’t wear out from the top, but actually from the bottom where the knots rub against the floor. A pad works as a shock absorber and also helps hold the rug in place.  

Finding a beautiful rug can really liven up the space in your house. With endless options and a variety of materials, we hope this guide helps you find the perfect rug for your room.  

Refresh Your Room

Decorate your space with an area rug in the size, material and pattern you’re looking for.

About The Author

Sandra Lee

Sandra Lee is a blogger, amateur photographer and freelance writer for parenting publications such as Red Tricycle and Mommy Nearest. Hailing from Texas and living in the Bay Area, she writes about life with two kids, beauty finds, food and all things motherhood on her blog, Coffee in the Middle. As a bilingual Mexican and Italian woman, she’s committed to teaching her kids about diversity, the Spanish language and the love of different cultures. When she’s not chasing the little ones around, she’s either baking up something delicious, taking a yoga class or writing.

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