Rugs for You and Your Pets

Make it easy for your dog to live in your home with a pet-friendly rug.

Pets are part of the family. Dogs, cats, and other animals share our houses and our lives. They therefore influence the decisions we make about decorating and furnishing our homes. This is especially true when it comes to rug-buying. Many pet lovers would rather live with bare floors than relegate their pets to the mud room or even worse — outdoors.

Whether it’s the musty odor a pet leaves behind, the inevitable accident during training, or the outright misbehavior that sometimes occurs, you need to consider the consequences of pet damage when you buy new rugs. The first line of defense for making your rugs — and your house — pet-proof is to consider the type of rug you lay on your floors.

Indoor/outdoor rugs come in a wide range of colors and styles now; they can complement almost any indoor decorating scheme. The beauty of an indoor/outdoor rug is that you can easily clean it when it gets dirty. Just take it outside, scrub it down with a mild detergent, and let it air-dry over a porch railing or clothesline. Niggling pet odors and accidental discharges disappear completely. Once it dries, you’ve got a rug that’s as good as new.

The weave on various kinds of rugs may undergo substantially more wear and tear than others when you have pets. Long nails and claws, for example, can get caught in hooked rugs. Simply by treading across a hooked rug, your cat or dog can create a snag or pull. Similarly, shag rugs and thick hand-tufted pieces, with pile that’s a quarter-inch high or longer, can catch long nails too. Your pet can pull out fibers inadvertently when trying to free itself. Instead of hooked or shag rugs, stick with flat, low pile to prevent this kind of wear.

If you prefer hand-knotted beauties on your floors (or if you’ve got other rugs you can clean), you must get to an accident as quickly as possible. Spot cleaners made by Capture® are ideal for such messes. Blot the cleaner on the spot with a wet sponge. Avoid rubbing or scraping, which can destroy the rug’s fibers and spread the mess. Use cold water so you don’t damage the rug’s color or wool fibers. Continue blotting with fresh cool water until the mess is gone.

If your pet marks a certain spot on a rug repeatedly, spray an enzyme-based neutralizer such as Nature’s Miracle® to remove any scent. You may not be able to smell anything, but the scent might be what keeps attracting your pet to the area.

For the best of both worlds (beauty and ease-of-use), we recommend a hand-knotted rug with a low pile. Rugs made of natural materials are the only ones you can have professionally cleaned. Once your pets have an accident on synthetic, machine-made rugs, they will never be pristine again. While you can certainly spot clean anywhere Spot made a spot, in the end, you may still be able to spot that spot. A thorough professional cleaning for your tufted or machine-made rugs just isn’t possible.

So if you have pets, your best bet is an all-natural, hand-knotted rug or an inexpensive indoor/outdoor rug. Even Spot will enjoy it.

A Braided Rug Renaissance

There’s no doubt about it: braided rugs are back! Rarely a day goes by without our samples being excitedly thumbed through. Perhaps it’s because, as Norma and Elizabeth Sturges—authors of The Braided Rug Book—put it, braided rugs represent “hearth, home, comfort, family, and love.” Isn’t it amazing that a simple rug can conjure up all of that?!

Braided Beginnings

In the early years, wooden floors of American homes were covered with straw or rush-woven mats. These primitive coverings didn’t contribute much to a home’s comfort or warmth. While European rugs were available beginning around 1750, only the wealthy could afford woolen imports, so the average American used the straw they had. Wool did become readily obtainable in the states in the early 1800s, and, around 1839, the power loom made commercially produced rugs available. However, these coverings were still too expensive for the general public. So, New England housewives got crafty. They already knew how to braid straw mats, why not try the technique with wool, they thought. And the braided rug was born.

Braided rugs were an extremely popular floor covering then, as they were more durable, warmer, and more decorative than their straw counterparts, all while remaining affordable options. Also called “rag rugs,” they could be created from leftover scraps of materials and even strips torn from old clothes and blankets.

It’s thought that the braided rug reached its height of popularity in the early 1900s, during the Arts and Crafts movement. The housing boom and its promotion of wall-to-wall carpeting that occurred after World War II brought their—as well as area rugs in general—decline. Unfortunately, the craft of rug braiding experienced a decline in popularity, too, leaving fewer expert rug braiders to carry on the long-standing folk art tradition.

Rag Rugs Rise Again

Trends come and go, and despite going out of fashion in the 60s, braided rugs are now back on the scene. In fact, since many are taking a “green” approach to furnishing their homes and are opting for area rugs over carpeting—which can negatively affect indoor air quality—rugs in general are experiencing a rise in popularity. Just as they were in the 1800s, rag rugs are durable, comfortable, and affordable choices. They’re reversible and can be made of a myriad of materials—from chenille to cotton and acrylic to wool. They’re also, as mentioned in the opening paragraph of this post, symbolic of a simpler time.

We’ve Got You (Well, Really Your Floor) Covered

Rug & Home carries braided rugs by Colonial Mills, a Rhode Island manufacturer who is the leader in braided rugs and who blends old-school craftsmanship with innovative design.  Their braided rugs are 100% U.S.A. designed and manufactured, plus, their styles and designs are fashion-forward with colors and patterns to coordinate with today’s home decors.  You’ll find samples for almost every braided rug in their product line in our stores, and our design associates are happy to go through them with you to help find and order the best option. While you may begrudge the ordering process (and we don’t blame you; it’s nice to leave with a new purchase in-hand), we offer our braided rugs this way so you can get exactly the size, colors and materials needed for your space. And because it’s Rug & Home, you can get them for 30% off the suggested retail price!

Big On Braids?

We’d love to hear why you’re single-handedly helping bring braided rugs back in style. Do you choose them for durability? Their cottage feel? Their symbolism? Comment here! Or, email us photos of braided rugs in your home, and we’ll upload them to our customer Facebook album!

Sources: We consulted a variety of sources for this post. A Google search of “The History of Braided Rugs” brings up many articles. If you’re interested in learning the craft of braiding rugs, check out the book we mentioned published by local publisher Lark Books: The Braided Rug Book by Norma and Elizabeth Sturges, which also includes a detailed history of the craft. You can read a preview HERE.

Indoor/Outdoor Rugs

Q: I hear a lot about how “indestructible” indoor/outdoor rugs are, but I’m skeptical that one could really hold up on my patio. What exactly makes an indoor/outdoor rug suitable for exposure to the elements? – Suzie from Greenwood, SC

A: Nowadays, you don’t have to flip far in a design magazine before you’ll find a feature on an outdoor room, and homeowners and renters alike are doing some amazing things in the world of exterior design. In fact, people aren’t just creating comfortable sitting spaces on their patios, they’re even creating full outdoor kitchens—range, refrigerator, bar…the whole nine yards! Just as area rugs play an important role in the design and function of your indoor space, so can they too in you outdoor room.

Indoor/outdoor rugs come in a variety of designs, from traditional to contemporary. Today, the majority of these rugs are constructed of either synthetic polypropylene or polyacrylic fibers that are made to withstand almost anything Mother Nature could throw at them. Polypropylene is a plastic that can easily be dyed and turned into a fiber (it’s also often referred to as olefin). As a plastic, it’s rugged, durable, and resists permanent stains. Unlike nylon, a comparable fiber found in rugs for indoor use only, it doesn’t soak up water, making it mildew-resistant. Rugs hand-tufted with a polyacrylic pile are also mildew-resistant, yet they offer the look and feel of a wool rug (typically at a lower price point). These synthetic fibers can also be dyed with a solution that is colorfast and resists bleaching and fading. In other words, sun and rain are no match for them!

Of course, you want to allow the opportunity for both sides of your outdoor rug to dry, whether it’s wet from rain or a quick hose-off. While these rugs can resist mold, mildew would surely put up a good fight with a rug left completely saturated for a lengthy period of time.

Because of their durability and stain- and wear-resistance, these rugs are often used in high-traffic areas inside the home as well. As mentioned above, polypropylene has a feel similar to nylon, and tufted polyacrylic pile mimics wool, providing a soft, yet strong option for rooms like your kitchen, living room, or bathroom.

This summer, find indoor/outdoor rugs to fit your style and space at any of our locations. Or, CLICK HERE to shop indoor/outdoor rugs online.