Decor Snob Interior Design Ideas and Inspiration
What Is a Sisal Rug?

By Blake Lockwood | Curated by Blake Lockwood | Reviewed by Blake Lockwood

Blake Lockwood, the seasoned interior designer behind Decor Snob, has made a name for himself with over 30 years of industry experience. As a member of esteemed associations such as the NCIDQ, CIDA, NAAB, and CCIDC, he upholds high standards in his work.  His content is always people-first, reliable, and engaging.

Sisal area rug

With the many styles and options of rugs for sale, it can seem impossible for homeowners like you to discover the one that will offer the best look and feel. Of course, you need a rug that fits with the style of your home. You also want a rug that’s constructed with the right quality of fiber and craftsmanship within your budget. When considering a new rug, one of the most important things to keep in mind is the rug’s materials. One of the most popular is known as a sisal rug. So, what is a sisal rug? And are sisal rugs good and durable?

Sisal rugs are composed of natural fibers, which create an earthy, outdoor atmosphere wherever they’re used. Because of the natural fibers, sisal rugs tend to be incredibly durable, very easy to clean, and look good in practically any room (and even outdoor spaces!).

Sisal rugs are often less expensive than other varieties, like tufted rugs or jute rugs. But the price of a sisal rug will vary greatly depending on its size. Smaller sisal rugs are usually much cheaper. Specifically, can get a small sisal rug for as little as $25, or a much larger, higher quality sisal rug for about $1,000.

Many other elements can, and should, be considered regarding sisal rugs. But not many resources exist that explain the basics in a way that’s understandable, clear, and helpful. Because of that, we’ve scoured the internet, done the hard research, and have all your sisal rug questions and answers below.

What’s a Sisal Rug?

To find out whether a sisal rug is the best option for you and your home, let’s take a moment to understand what a sisal rug is, how they’re made, and what differentiates them from the many types of rugs or carpets available today. First of all, let’s answer the main question: what’s a sisal rug?

Sisal rugs are made from a natural fiber that comes from Agave Sisalana (where the word sisal comes from), which is a tropical plant. You can think of it like a massively overgrown succulent of the type popular with millennials these days – guilty as charged!

Natural Area Rugs 100% Natural Fiber Handmade Talas, Redish Dark Brown Sisal Rug

The Agave Sisalana’s leaves are all hand-harvested, then the fibers get left out to dry in the heat of the sun. After it is harvested from the ground and processed for usage, sisal fibers can be as long as three feet. Not quite the right size for a kitchen windowsill…

Due to their fibrous nature, sisal rugs usually have a very long shelf life (or, should I say, floor life). These strong fibers can even be utilized for rope and twine, meaning that they are also incredibly durable, though they are not water resistant like sea grass rugs, or stain resistant, so be sure to clean up any spills as quickly as possible.

One thing that stands about sisal rugs is their texture and “eye feel”. In other words, you can tell that sisal rugs are earth-like, rough-hewn, and organic-feeling by sight, without even touching them. Naturally, this makes them a fan favorite for interior decorators, interior designers, and homeowners or renters that have a more earthy aesthetic or sensibility.

atural Area Rugs 100% Natural Fiber Handmade Osaka, BeigeGold Sisal Rug

Another popular aspect of sisal rugs also comes by way of their origin. Since they have a naturally fibrous and biodegradable plant composition at their core, it makes sense that environmentally conscious designers and homeowners love to make use of them in their spaces.

In summary, sisal rugs are made from Agave Sisalana, hand-harvested and sun-dried, then woven into the necessary rug pattern. They’re earthy, organic, and have a rougher style and appearance than some other varieties, such as tufted rugs or jute rugs. Because of their makeup, they are also popular with outdoorsy and eco-friendly homes.

Are Sisal Rugs Soft?

Given everything we now know about sisal rugs, it’s also important to consider them from another angle – apart from their origin, appearance, and fibrous construction. Another majorly important question concerns their texture.

Safavieh Natural Fiber Collection NF141B Tiger Paw Weave Maize and Linen Sisal Area Rug

Are sisal rugs soft? The simple answer to this question is No: Sisal rugs are not generally thought of as soft.

Why are sisal rugs not soft? For the same reason that they look and feel earthy and outdoorsy. The plant used to make them is strong and rough, and is also used in the making of rope, twine, and other similar products that need to be super durable and stand the test of time. So, it stands to reason that this would not necessarily be the softest material in the world, and that’s exactly right.

All that being said, there is an option for people that want a softer version of the sisal rug: the wool sisal rug.

What is a wool sisal rug? A wool sisal rug is a rug constructed with both sisal and wool materials. As wool is harvested from sheep and other soft-coated animals, this makes the rug both very durable and considerably softer than a standard sisal rug made without the use of wool.

As you might expect, sisal rugs and wool sisal rugs alike look great in virtually all rooms of the house, both interior and exterior, and they work very well in high traffic areas. If you’re looking for a rug that fits with a more organic and eco-friendly design appeal, a sisal rug would be a great addition to your home.

Which Is Better: Jute or Sisal Rugs?

You might wonder what alternatives exist to sisal rugs. It’s a great question, because there are so many options in the rug world. But one of the best alternative options to sisal rugs is a jute rug.

nuLOOM Natura Collection Chunky Loop Jute Rug

What are jute rugs? Jute rugs are made of natural fibers that come for Corchorus, which is another tropical plant like Agave Sisalana, making it also very sustainable and environmentally friendly. Unlike sisal natural fibers, jute is soaked in water after harvesting instead of drying out. This allows for easier fiber separation and a softer end product.

Jute rugs end up being very soft, which makes them quite different from sisal rugs or even wool sisal rugs. In fact, many consider jute to be one of the softest types of rug around (perfect for bare feet!). For this reason, people love to use jute rugs to create a soft, homey feel that’s cozy and light.

So, sisal rugs tend to be stronger and rougher, while jute rugs tend to be softer and gentler. That is the primary distinction between the two, but it makes all the difference in the world, especially if you’re asking the question, “Which is better: jute or sisal rugs?”

Safavieh Palm Beach Collection PAB321D Silver Sisal & Jute Area Rug

As with many questions like this, there isn’t one answer for every home. The question should really be, “Which is better for me: jute or sisal rugs?”

The answer to that question boils down to just a few factors, the most important of which is arguably the overall feel and texture. In terms of appearance and look, you can usually get whatever patterns or designs you want on all types of rugs. So, again, it has mostly to do with the feeling that the rug provides on your bare feet and whether it fits in with your overall aesthetic sensibility and design motif.

If you’re on the fence about which is better, sisal or jute rugs, then ask yourself this question: “Do I want a softer or harder rug in this particular room?” For indoor spaces in suburban environments (think bedroom, living room, or dining room), you might opt for a softer jute rug. On the other hand, outdoor spaces (such as a porch or patio) might require a firmer, more durable material like a sisal rug. And, lastly, some design motifs simply look better with the earthier feel of a sisal rug or the gentle composition of a jute rug.

Safavieh Palm Beach Collection PAB322D Silver Sisal & Jute Area Rug

At the end of the day, the choice is up to you and your interior decorator or designer between jute and sisal. There is no wrong choice, only the one that makes your space look and function the best that it can for you and your family’s wants and needs.


We’ve gone over quite a lot on the topic of sisal rugs and jute rugs here. Here are the main points to remember when you look at sisal rugs or jute rugs for your home:

  1. Sisal rugs are composed of strong natural fibers from a rough tropical plant.
  2. The sisal fibers make it incredibly durable and long-lasting.
  3. With a sisal rug, you can expect it to work well in any room, even high traffic areas.
  4. Wool sisal rugs are an alternative option if you want a softer version of the sisal rug.
  5. Jute rugs are made of a softer natural plant material, look gentle, and feel cozy.

Make sure to consider these main points, and you will absolutely find the right sisal rug or jute rug for your home or outdoor space in no time.

Photo: Safavieh NF150B-8 Natural Fiber Collection Abstract Area Rug, 8' x 10', Black/Ivory Sisal
Photo: atural Area Rugs 100% Natural Fiber Handmade Osaka, BeigeGold Sisal Rug
Photo: Safavieh Natural Fiber Collection NF141B Tiger Paw Weave Maize and Linen Sisal Area Rug
Photo: nuLOOM Natura Collection Chunky Loop Jute Rug
Photo: Safavieh Palm Beach Collection PAB321D Silver Sisal & Jute Area Rug
Photo: Safavieh Palm Beach Collection PAB322D Silver Sisal & Jute Area Rug

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