January 27, 2020

Natural Floor Coverings

Getting Enough Fiber?

Cover your floor naturally with sisal, hemp or jute

By Diane Benson Harrington

Anywhere Plus CambridgeLighten up your room with a natural sisal rug.
Weary of the boring statement that traditional plush carpeting makes?  Then turn your attention to natural floor coverings—sisal, seagrass, hemp and other plant fibers. The quality and design options,have come a long way in the past few years.
“It’s definitely a niche, but it’s growing. Stores and catalogs like Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware that are carrying sisal have upped the visibility,” says Marissa Nolen of SisalCarpet.com, a Seattle-based, internet-only business. Smith + Noble, which formerly focused entirely on window treatments, has branched out to include sisal, too. The company’s new Rug Studio catalog has a large selection of rugs woven not only of sisal, but of hemp, mountain grass, and even bamboo.
Texture is natural fiber‘s charm.
“I think the consumer became tired of seeing just a plush nylon carpet. They wanted more design interest,” says Larry Hedrick, Smith + Noble’s director of merchandise/flooring. “Part of the charm of natural fiber is that it gives you texture and design interest without becoming too busy. People get too scared of putting a heavily patterned rug with a heavily patterned sofa or window treatment. Natural fibers solve the problem.”
Sisal and other natural-fiber rugs also give rooms instant warmth as well as design options that allow for either casual or formal looks. In past years, sisal and coir rugs might have designs painted on top. Now, the trend is more with colored weaves (wines, mochas, sapphires and other hues) and different borders—cotton, tapestry, even leather.