Mastering Materials: Wool, Silk, Bamboo Silk and Hemp Rugs
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Mastering Materials: Wool, Silk, Bamboo Silk and Hemp Rugs

An essential factor in choosing the most appropriate rug for your space is becoming aware of the different material choices and the associated properties of each. Wool, silk, bamboo and hemp rugs, as well as blends of each fabric type, each impart their own unique aspects of style, texture, shine, durability, feel, function and ambience to a space. Because material choices offer so many distinguished and complex elements, there are endless options for your design palette and vision. The Tufenkian experts have compiled a guide to help you understand the elements of the four most common rug material types so you can select the piece that encompasses your idea of the perfect room.

Rug Materials


Properties, Functions and Features

Wool is known for its stain resistance, long-term appearance retention, and texture recovery. Offering the perfect combination of strength and comfort, wool is one of the most popular and practical material choices. Wool is known as the ‘safest’ choice for the home, as its natural lanolin repels water and staining. Additionally, wool is the only fiber that naturally resists flaming. Interestingly enough, wool naturally helps stabilize the relative humidity by absorbing or releasing moisture accordingly. It is non-allergenic and excellent in high-traffic areas of the home, or for families with youngsters and pets.

Herding sheep in Nepal

Style and Design Elements

Tufenkian hand-knotted wool rugs offer the ideal mix of warmth, beauty and durability. Wool is versatile enough to lend itself to vibrant colors and bold design elements that compliment your unique style. Far superior to synthetics, a wool carpet can lighten up a room with its warm texture and bright colors.

Wool rugs are perfect for any space, especially heavily trafficked areas. Strong enough to withstand the tests of time, 100% wool and wool blends are structured to retain their shape throughout the years, proving a valuable investment to your home’s décor.

Browse 100% Wool Rugs


Properties, Functions and Features

Silk is one of the strongest natural fibers that, if maintained properly, can make for a life-long investment. Because of silk’s strength, skilled artisans can masterfully weave striking geometric patterns with three to four times as many knots as other fabric types.

The tight weave allows for more densely packed fibers, resulting in more detailed patterns and more vibrant and lively shades of color. Fiber strength allows the rugs to hold their shape and appearance for many years. It is not as elastic or resistant as wool, making it important to keep up with regular maintenance. The ultra-fine material is often sought-after for statement pieces that will not be subjected to harsh wear and tear, making it a beautiful addition to special spaces that aren’t used regularly.

Style and Design Elements

The most valuable of all carpets, 100% silk rugs are prized for their delicate, graceful appearance, visually striking impact, thin and flexible texture, and fluid and lustrous sheen.

Silk rugs and carpets can transform your space from mundane to extraordinary. The sheen offered by this fabric is unmatched and lends a striking sophistication that exudes luxury. 

Silk’s unique luster creates ever-changing variations in reflection and shifting shades of hues based on light source, shadows, angles and time of day. Silk rugs truly create a dynamic presence all their own, providing elegant, timeless beauty, quality, and unique artisan craftsmanship.

Silk Rug Blends: The Best of Both Worlds

Many designers and homeowners want the sophisticated look and luxurious feel of silk but worry that it’s not quite as durable as other fabric choices. Blended with fibers of wool, bamboo silk, hemp, and others, silk rug blends offer a rich and radiant look that functions with the strength and durability of the fabric with which its blended. 

Browse 100% Silk Rugs

Browse Silk Rug Blends

Bamboo Silk

Properties, Functions and Features

Bamboo silk is similar to traditional silk in look and feel but is a more sustainable and lower-cost alternative. Traditional silk rugs are delicate and often more expensive than bamboo silk rugs. Made from mulberry silkworms raised in captivity, a traditional silk rug is often considered a luxury. The material has been used for thousands of years. Though their soil retention and wear is not as good as wool or natural silk, Tufenkian’s bamboo silk rugs receive a special finish which enhances performance. These types of carpets should be cleaned by a professional. Bamboo silk is fairly new. The material is more affordable than traditional silk, which comes in handy if you want a big rug. Bamboo silk is a superior type of viscose because it is made from bamboo fiber rather than wood or other materials. It also has hypoallergenic and antimicrobial properties. These rugs hold color well and are good for the planet.

GOOD TO KNOW: Tufenkian is one of the most prominent users of bamboo silk, as social and environmental sustainability is something with which we strongly identify. Learn more about the Tufenkian Foundation: Rebuild. Restore. Revive.

Style and Design Elements 

Bamboo silk rugs are exceptionally attractive and decorative carpets that bring warmth to a space and enhance a room. By combining the more delicate silk with the more durable bamboo, this rug blend still offers much of the desirable qualities of silk rugs, including the brilliant sheen and reflective properties that offer a luxury look and feel. 

Browse 100% Bamboo Silk Rugs 

Browse Bamboo Silk Rug Blends 


Properties, Functions and Features

Hemp, or industrial hemp, is a botanical class of cannabis specifically designed for industrial or medicinal use. Along with bamboo, hemp is one of the fastest growing plants on earth, making it a highly sustainable fabric choice. Source: WikipediaHemp is often used with wool to keep the lines of the design rigid, all while preserving the durability and low maintenance of the piece. Like wool, hemp has wonderful texture recovery and will withstand the test of time within the home - no matter how much usage to which it is exposed. Hemp is still a popular, durable and eco-friendly "super fiber" that is used in creating both 100% hemp rugs as well as blends containing wool or a mix of natural fibers. Just as one finds with cotton, a hemp rug breathes well. Because the fabric resists mildew and absorbs moisture, a hemp area rug is a great choice for a hot or humid climate. Fabrics made from pure hemp are also hypo-allergenic and thus non-irritating to the skin apart from being more tactile in terms of texture. A hemp rug is an eco-friendly choice using less water than needed for production of cotton, the most common fiber used in the foundation of rugs. A hemp area rug might be composed of 100% hemp products but is commonly blended with other organic fibers, such as flax, cotton, linen, viscose, or natural silk. Hemp rugs are eight times stronger than cotton rugs, and one only has to think of the use of hemp rope in sailing, construction, farming and many other uses to recognize it as one of the toughest fibers we depend on for many duties.

Style and Design Elements 

Hemp rugs favor towards more of a golden-brown appearance, yet function and respond a lot like linen rugs. The color of a hemp carpet softens with age and each washing. Rustic, durable, warm and textured, hemp can lend an aspect of balance and softness to an otherwise masculine design space that favors clean lines and structured elements. Browse Hemp Rug Blends

Shanghai Hemp area rug in a bedroom

There’s much to consider in terms of function, durability, design and style when going through the design process of choosing your home’s ideal rugs. Knowing the properties of the four most common types of rug materials helps you curate pieces that speak to your soul while also matching the needs of your lifestyle.

UP NEXT: What’s the Best Rug Material for My Home?Tufenkian rugs are made from the finest materials available. We produce most of our designs from sheep's wool harvested from the Himalayas and Caucasus Mountains. We offer 100% wool, silk, and bamboo silk rugs and rugs with silk, bamboo silk, hemp, linen, and mohair blends.

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