I emailed you a few months back about my Dining Room and your help was awesome (Paint for Amy's Dining Room). I knew I hated the skimpy chair rail and my husband and I finally ripped it down last weekend and custom built a new board & batton type molding. I haven't painted the new moulding yet (or the walls above it), but I wanted to attach some pictures of our DIY handiwork :)
Thanks for your e-mail- it's nice to see that someone out there is hearing my rant.
I would love to give you a little class on natural fiber rugs. I actually wrote a paper on these in college many years ago -so forgive me if I start sounding like a textbook- it is all terribly interesting to me. ;)
Seagrass rugs are just that- rugs woven from seagrass. They are a natural fiber and are considered earth friendly and "green." The grass itself is non-porous- making them resistant to staining, and a naturally durable fiber. The fiber is also inherently smooth, with a bit of a sheen. This makes it comfortable to walk on with bare feet. Seagrass is the rug for you if stain-resistance is your top priority.
Sisal is a term that is widely used- in the same way that we might refer to a tissue as a Kleenex. What- though is a true sisal rug? Sisal is a fiber that is extruded from the Agave plant, which grows in areas of Brazil and Africa. It is then spun into a yarn of types. By nature, the material is smooth, flame retardant and long lasting, making it a good material for flooring. It is also considered an earth friendly material. Sisal is the product for you if durability is the top priority.
Mountaingrass rugs are similar to seagrass rugs, in that they too are woven from natural grasses. They are simply different grasses. Mountain grass is less smooth- but still naturally durable and strong. They have more texture to them, which you might describe as more earthy. They are also a different color- leaning toward your coppery browns. This grass is grown in the mountains of China, and sometimes known as Hemp.
Jute rugs are made from Jute plants. The shiny green stalks are soaked for about 20 days before the fibers are extracted, and the material is spun into a yarn that can be made into rugs.
The rugs are typically not backed, and are reversible, for extended wear.
You mentioned in your e-mail that you wanted the plushest/ softest rug. That would be wool.
To get a more traditional sisal look in wool- you can also find sisal/ wool blends. Another combination you will find is a cotton/ wool blend. Cotton adds softness, but reduces durability and stain resistance. It will also typically reduce the price.
Also consider the tightness of the weave and the density of the fiber. These rugs can range widely in price, and give you a lot of design bang for your buck. Check out the beautiful rugs in the living area on this post- about the movie The Holiday.
In addition to the classic natural fibers, a similar look can also be found in polypropylene and nylon. These man-made materials are practical, soft to the touch, and don't have stray fibers. They are perfect for indoor outdoor rug options, but certainly lack the earthy texture of the natural material.
There. Was that too text-booky? Did anyone fall asleep out there? This is one of those decisions where my husband would think they are all exactly the same- but oh no, they are not. I applaud you for looking into into it!
Have a great day!