Curran and sisalcarpet.com have been in the custom rug business for a long time and a great majority of our customers lump all of the natural fibers (sisal, seagrass, coir, jute and abaca) into one category, referring to them all as sisal. Yes, they are all made from plant fibers, but they are all quite different.
In this post, we will explain the differences between sisal and jute, as well as the differences between seagrass, coir and abaca. We will also help you pick the best natural fiber rug for your space, needs and lifestyle.
Where Do These Natural Plant Fibers Come from?
Coir is made from coconut husks. Seagrass is just as it sounds—grass harvested from the sea or near the sea. Sisal is woven from the long leaves of the agave sisalana plant. Jute is a bast fiber because it comes from the stem as opposed to the leaves of the corchorus plant. Abaca is handwoven from the fibers of the banana tree leaves.
Sisal rugs are by far the most popular natural fiber rug we sell. Sisal is durable and has a muted, organic beauty that blends with many design styles. These rugs come in a variety of styles and structures, from classic bouclé to herringbone. Sisal fibers dye well, resulting in neutral hues that range from deep browns to grays to bright beiges.
Sisal is great for living rooms, hallway runners, offices, and bedrooms. It has a coarseness that some people object to but others enjoy. We don’t recommend sisal for areas that get wet, like bathrooms or laundry rooms.
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Seagrass rugs come in a handful of designs and only in one color—green—which ages over time into a toasty brown. A seagrass rug or carpet is the least expensive option of the plant fibers and is very popular with our design clients. Seagrass’ knots, shade variations and texture create a rug with a unique, rustic look.
Seagrass has long been a favorite for wall-to-wall installations in living rooms, offices or as a stair runner. Seagrass is welcome in any room of the house except bathrooms or any humid environment because it is susceptible to mold and mildew.
Sisal vs. Seagrass
If you are trying to decide between a seagrass rug or a sisal rug, here are some key considerations:
- Durability: both fibers are durable, with sisal taking a slight advantage.
- Variety: sisal has more variety in regards to pattern and color than seagrass.
- Style: both sisal and seagrass bring organic beauty to any space and blend effortlessly with decor styles like minimalism, boho chic, traditional, transitional, japandi or scandinavian.
- Stain Resistance: seagrass is more resistant to staining than sisal.
Coir is incredibly durable, but very rough underfoot and only comes in a few styles and colors. We usually recommend this weave for commercial use or residential customers who want something “bullet proof.” Our Contract Coir is perfect for high-traffic applications such as retail stores, boutique shops, office environments or busy residential spaces like staircases or entryways. It is also available in easy-to-install tiles.
Jute is the softest of our natural plant fibers. Jute rugs have earthy tones and a subtle sheen. Most of the jute rugs we carry are hand-crafted and have a rustic yet beautiful chunkiness. Jute is quite durable but not as durable as sisal or coir. A jute area rug is a wonderful accent piece in a living room or office.
Jute vs. Sisal
Jute and sisal are comparable in many ways, with jute being softer but sisal having more variety and stronger fibers.
- Durability: jute can handle light to moderate traffic and sisal stands up to heavy traffic.
- Variety: sisal wins with more variety in regards to colorways, but both jute and sisal have interesting pattern options like bouclé, chevron or basketweave.
- Style: sisal and jute rugs have design versatility and complement many design styles.
- Stain Resistance: jute and sisal are both prone to staining, so we recommend a stain prevention application like sisal-guard.
Abaca fibers have an elegant, glossy shine and are quite thick, creating texturally as well as visually captivating rugs. Our Abaca rug is soft underfoot and has a metallic tonal quality. The weaving process creates a stunning braided edge. An abaca rug is a show-stopper in living rooms, bedrooms, lofts, offices and other gathering spaces.
Which natural fiber rug is best for you? It all depends on your lifestyle, your design style and the rug’s location. If you still aren’t sure, our Rug Buying Guide – Everything You Need To Know is a deep dive into rug materials, rug placement, how to order a custom rug online and more. Our amazing customer service team is also available to help guide you on your purchase.