How to Choose the Softest Rugs

Understanding different rug material is key to finding the softest rugs for your home

Area rug in a room

In addition to selecting an area rug for its beauty, it is worthwhile to take into account how soft the rug is going to feel under your feet. This guide will educate you on the softness of different rug materials as you search for the softest area rug.

Natural Rug Materials

natural rug in environmental setting

There are many natural rug materials that are prized for their soft feel. Wool is considered to be the epitome of a fluffy rug, with the added advantage of high durability with the proper care.

MATERIAL BENEFITS DISADVANTAGES

Wool Rug

Strong fibers, insulates well, allows quick cleanup of spills

Subject to fading in strong sunlight, not good for high humidity

Silk Rug

Elegant look, easy to dye, retains vivid color, finely detailed

Must be professionally cleaned, shows footprints easily

Cotton Rug

Easy to clean, very affordable

Shows wear more quickly than other fibers, mostly available in flat-weave designs

Jute Rug

Very strong fibers, highly durable, works in most decor, most renewably obtained

Neutral colors only

Hide Rug

Unique look, easy to clean

Cannot be used in humid areas, can have a higher cost

Synthetic Rug Materials

A synthetic rug surrounded by seating

Modern synthetic rugs are machine-loomed and the process is heavily dependent upon computer programming. As such, synthetic rug fibers can be spun to create rugs that mimic a number of different fibers. A well-made, high-quality synthetic area rug today can take on the same softness as a natural fiber rug with the advantage of better stain resistance and longer life. Synthetic rugs are available at a wide range of price points, making them highly accessible.

Synthetic area rugs are mainly made from olefin, polyester and nylon. Of these, polypropylene rugs, also known as olefin, is the most popular fiber. In addition to its durability and affordability, olefin is excellent at repelling both moisture and stains. Most importantly, olefin fibers have a softness comparable to that of wool. 

Rug Structure

Multiple rugs of different styles displayed on top of one another

The structure of an area rug often has much to do with how soft it will feel underfoot, particularly the style of yarn (or pile,) and its height. Rugs are woven with loops of yarn attached to backing which are then either left intact for a loop pile or shorn, creating a “cut” pile. These piles can be of varying heights as well. Cut pile rugs are typically softer feeling than loop pile, and the longer the strands, the plusher the rug will feel.

Once you have decided on the softest rug material for your new rug, consult our other guides to help you select the right type of rug, buy an appropriately sized rug for your space, and clean your rug effectively to get years of enjoyment out of the purchase.