Sisal Rugs: Style Meets Sustainability

Friday 16th Feb 2024 |

Sustainability is trending right now and for good reason. As humanity moves to more sustainable options in fuel, food and everything in between, eco-friendly options like sisal rugs are becoming extremely sought after.

However, due to the newness of this interest, many people are still unfamiliar with the alternatives available. Rugs in most people’s homes are synthetic in composition and have never heard of sisal. So let’s familiarise ourselves with sisal and discover what makes it one of the best materials in sustainable design.

What is a Sisal Rug?
Sisal is a type of plant fibre that is used in the production of many different things. Primarily sisal was used in the manufacture of rope. Coming from the Agava Sisalana (a cactus-type plant) it is extremely tough and durable. Since its discovery, it has made its way into many different products from carpets, rugs, rope, textiles, baskets, hats and many more.

Its various applications in many types of industries mean that Sisal’s global market size to over 1.2 billion dollars. Its popularity as a sustainable material is predicted to grow the market by over 5% over the next 7 years.

Sisal was not always used for flooring, however. Its use for carpets and rugs can be traced back to around the 19th century but the exact dates are unclear.

An Eco-Friendly Choice
The increasing availability and growing market are contributing factors to the popularity of sisal rugs. One of the main causes for this trend in interior design however is because of its sustainability.

As a plant-based product, the production of sisal is much more sustainable than that of synthetic fibres. Growing and farming sisal helps sequester CO2 and release oxygen. Because it is also completely renewable and natural this means that it does not add to the list of resources we use that will need replacing over time.

One of the best attributes of sisal is that it is biodegradable. Once the product has reached the end of its use it can easily be recycled and reintroduced to nature. This is in stark contrast to synthetic fibre rugs that often contain plastic and never biodegrade.

A Wide Variety of Customisable Sisal Rugs
Sisal rugs are a fantastic option for design projects due to the wide range of styles they come in. It is easier than ever to find massive varieties of woven patterns in this material. Herringbone patterns, chunky designs, and low-profile carpets are all available to find in sisal rugs.

Colour has to be one of the most interesting factors in sisal rug design. To keep these carpets natural they are coloured with vegetable dyes. The ability to do this means that there is never a shortage of colour options available to match any style.

Like any other type of rug sisal rugs can be finished with many types of borders or edges. Pairing the sisal carpet with a border when you create a custom sisal rug can be the most fun part. Contrasting colours, whipping on the edge to match or going for some funky match-ups mean that you get a personalised and truly unique look for whatever you design.

sisal rug

Aesthetic Versatility
A rug can be an easy way to change the feel and look of any room. One issue that is often overlooked when choosing a rug is how your taste can change over time. It is easy to select a rug that matches the room design you have now but when you want a refresh you might decide the rug no longer works in that room.

Rugs, especially sisal rugs are made to last for a long time so disposing of one after 5 years is a real waste. This is where a natural rug like sisal has a big advantage. The style of these rugs somehow manages to blend into virtually any style. They look equally fantastic in boho style design as they do in minimalistic, modern style.

Not many floorcoverings have such adaptability which is why sisal rugs particularly stand out for those who like regular change.

Although these rugs are easy to match with any style they are also often used in particular trends. One of which is in Scandinavian design, a style which has seen a boom in recent years. Scandinavian design much like sisal blends elements of country and modern style for a popular look. It is extremely common to find a natural rug in homes decorated in this style.

Durability Over Fast Fashion
Sustainable interior design may have seen an increase in prevalence but so has fast fashion. Fast fashion is when a product is produced to meet sudden changes in fashion trends. These products are often of low cost to produce and usually lacking in quality construction. This results in consumers buying and replacing items and an increasing rate. Most products made in this way are not sustainable or recyclable.

Fortunately, sisal rugs do not fall into this category. The material is strong and durable, lasting 10-15 years at least. As previously mentioned, the adaptability of their style also means that when you buy a sisal rug you won’t need to replace it for a long time. It is a little-known fact but sisal carpets and rugs last such a long time due to their heavy domestic durability rating. This means that this material can withstand heavy foot traffic and wear.

sisal rugs

Chemical-Free Flooring
Chemical sensitivities have been getting more press in recent years. The National Institute of Health has found that these conditions have increased over 300%.

To keep costs low, the flooring industry is one of many culprits in using harsh chemicals and compounds to reduce manufacturing costs. With more chemicals being added and an increase in people affected by those chemicals, it is important to find alternatives.

Luckily, this is another benefit of choosing natural carpets and rugs like sisal flooring. We briefly touched on it earlier but sisal carpets typically only use vegetable dyes to colour them. This means that if you want a vibrant coloured carpet in your home you can feel safe knowing the dye is not harmful to human health.

It is not just the colour that also can be produced without dangerous chemicals. Sisal carpets are naturally moth-proof as moths and their larvae do not eat the natural fibres. On top of this, they are also naturally fire retardant.

Both of these natural resistances mean that sisal rugs do not need to be sprayed with chemicals to achieve the same goal. With more research into VOCs (volatile organic compounds) being done every year we are discovering just how prevalent chemicals in common fixtures like carpets are. It is a relief for those who already suffer from chemical intolerances and those who want to avoid developing them that solutions like sisal rugs are available.

Other Ways to Incorporate Sisal in Design
Natural sisal rugs are great, and as we have shown have many benefits aesthetically, practically and for your health. But rugs are not the only form this material comes in.

Sisal carpets are the perfect solution for those who want a wall-to-wall fitted solution for their home. Another use case is to find a sisal staircase runner. Those interested in design pay a lot of attention to the rooms we spend most time in. But as this article on why you need a staircase runner shows we could do with showing some love to those forgotten pathways of our home. Aside from using sisal as a floor covering, we can think of one other interesting way to incorporate sisal carpet; mood board frames.

The picture below shows just how beautiful a mood board frame with these natural carpets can be. Simply put it in a deep-set frame and hang it on your wall. Nothing will tie your room together better than using a sample of the same product your rug is made from than a piece of wall art.

Rugs can be a great way to transform the home. With plenty of options in design and colour
sisal rugs can not only act as a stunning centrepiece in a room’s layout but will allow you to
sleep easily knowing you chose the most sustainable and healthy material for your home’s
interior design project.

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