Choosing the Material for Your Area Rugs Wool or Silk

How do you pick the best area rugs for your home? Before you start considering what designs or colors would be best, you can easily narrow down your choices by selecting which material you want first. Each material has its own advantages and limitations, and one material may not be the solution for every area you need to decorate.

When you shop for area rugs in Phoenix, pick a rug store that is upfront about what materials go into making their rugs. The staff at Alyshaan is always able to give you the details on every rug, including materials, knot count and more. If you encounter a rug store that won’t, be wary of purchasing your rugs there, as you may not be getting area rugs made of the materials you actually want.

Wool Area Rugs

wool rug

These natural fibers create area rugs that are both durable and beautiful. Wool area rugs are best suited for high traffic areas in your home or if you have children who may make a mess, as these area rugs can withstand the use. There are several grades of wool that can be used to make a designer area rug. Most tribal or nomadic style rugs are made from a combination of wool pile and wool base. But what makes the grades of wool different? Finer wool typically comes from sheep that are raised in high altitude areas, or is primarily from the neck and belly areas of a sheep. The other major factor is whether the wool is “live” or “dead.” Alyshaan only stocks area rugs made from live wool, which is sheared from a live animal. In contrast, dead wool is chemically removed from deceased animals, and it has no oils and is rough to the touch. Handmade wool area rugs tend to have a knot count of about 100-200 knots per inch, and it is fairly simple to clean (but don’t steam clean it). Look out for area rugs that appear to be made of wool but don’t explicitly say so — sometimes acrylic is used as a substitute because it is cheaper to produce. But the quality and durability is not as high as actual wool, so always ask what a rug is made of before purchasing.

Silk Area Rugs


These delicate area rugs are highly sought after for their quality and luxurious feel. Silk area rugs can have beautifully intricate designs and high knot counts of up to 1,200 knots per inch because of the fineness of the material. Since this is a delicate material, silk rugs are best for decoration and not heavy use — it won’t last as long in a high-traffic area of your home. When looking for rugs in Arizona, be wary of rugs made from “artificial silk” or “art silk.” Neither of those is actual silk; instead, it is likely either rayon or mercerized cotton. These silk substitutes will not be as long-lasting or as valuable as real silk area rugs. Whether you need wool area rugs or those made of silk, there are plenty of design and style options in either category.

By Allison Edrington

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