Silk, wool or viscose? The quality difference in rugs.

A rug is an investment in your space. The cozy acoustics created by the pile, the soft underfoot feeling as you kick off your shoes, and the eye catching lustre of the threads can add the edge to a beautiful interior in the way only quality can. So when looking for a high quality rug, material is one of your first considerations.

At RC+D, we have four main types: Silk rugs, Wool rugs, Bamboo Silk rugs or Blended rugs. The material, as well as the way it is made and the size, dictate the price point of a good quality rug.

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Found across the antique showrooms of the world, traditional and Oriental rugs and carpets fetch their coveted status for a reason. While also handknotted and therefore artisanal made, many antique and vintage rugs and carpets are made of pure silk, and reflect the beauty of rugs as an art investment as well as accessory. 

Silk is gathered from silk worms, either the bombix mori who eat only Mulberry leaves (Hence sometimes the name "Mulberry Silk") or wild silkworms. The silk spun from these worms is incredibly fine, and like wool able to hold up to 30% of its weight in water without feeling damp. True silk rugs will have a high knot count, which we cover in our Hand knotted or Hand tufted? blog post here and the lustre you would expect from such a stunning material - Another way to tell the difference between real silk and artificial is to rub it vigorously: Real silk will get warm, while artificial silk will stay cold!

Choosing a silk rug is definitely an investment, as there is no material quite like it. However, this luxury comes with a few considerations. For example, silk needs to be placed out of sunlight to prevent deterioration and fading, and shouldn't have heavy furniture placed upon it. For this reason, pure silk rugs are ideal for "showcase" pieces - placed in rooms with less foot traffic, and when allowed to stand alone they are a stylish asset to any modern home.


An environmentally conscious, hardy and beautiful material, wool rugs are our largest range for a reason. Sourcing from pure NZ and Himalayan wools, a high quality wool rug is an ideal asset to most spaces. Wool is clipped from sheep who are not only unharmed by this practice, but generally benefit from it, where it is then spun into a soft and hardy material. The lanolin found in wool that keeps the water off sheep prevents stains from penetrating the wool and also makes wool flame resistant: Perfect for children's rooms and high traffic areas.

Due to the organic shape of the threads, wool rugs also trap allergens from the air, where they can then be safely be vacuumed up. While less costly than silk, the price point of wool rugs is dependent on the quality of the wool - What may seem to be a bargain might actually be due only to the poor quality!



While relatively new, bamboo silk is taking the textile industry by storm and can be found in a range of soft furnishings, bedding and clothing. Made from the cellulose found in the pulp of bamboo, bamboo silk is an organic material sustainable from the start: Bamboo is naturally found across the globe, incredibly easy to grow with minimum watering, and creates a material delightfully soft and silky to touch.

This sustainable natural, and the relative ease of processing can make bamboo silk a great option for those seeking the feel and lustre of true silk but without the higher price point. Quality bamboo silk rugs can be dyed in a variety of colours, textures and pattern and last beautifully as an investment piece. 


Blending materials allows us to take the benefit of different modalities and combining them to make a beautiful rug with resistance, colour and softness to suit a wider range of needs. Our most common luxury blends are silk and wool, which allow the toughness of wool to allow the lustre of silk to be available in more highly trafficked areas. While you might have sought out a pure silk rug, a Silk Wool rug means your rug will keep it's beauty for longer, become more resistant to stains, and reduce the cost of your investment still with all the luxury and feel of silk.

For a more budget friendly option, our wool and cotton viscose blends offer the stain resistance of wool with the lower price point of cotton viscose while keeping a stunning modern rug pattern or colour. These blends are an ideal choice for when the budget won't stretch for a larger area rug, or if you frequently change your style. 


Related: The importance of Colour Theory in Interior Design