Rugs give a room character, protect wood flooring, or provide a cosy place for our fur babies to recline. Whether for aesthetic or practical reasons, it’s always best to look for a rug that’s consciously and sustainably made.
What to Look for in a Sustainable Rug
Rugs come in a variety of shapes, sizes, textures, and materials. With the endless choices available, you’re sure to find one that’s not only to your liking but is eco-friendly too. Here’s what to look for in an ideal eco-friendly rug:
1. Natural fibers. If you’re looking for nontoxic rugs, go for natural fibres like wool, jute, sisal, bamboo, and organic cotton.
2. Nontoxic backing and underlay pads. Inspect the backing and underlaying pads, and make sure that they use natural latex, jute, and wool instead of toxic, VOC-emitting materials. It is important to inspect the backings and underlaying pads to make sure that they are also made from untreated natural materials to avoid off-gassing.
3. Green Certifications. Certifications assure you the rugs you’re about to purchase are made from renewable resources and recycled materials. Accreditations from certifying bodies also prove makers have taken steps to reduce pollutants and waste from the manufacturing process. Some certifications you need to look for are the following:
- GoodWeave and RugMark Foundation
- Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)
- Scientific Certification Systems (SCS)
- SMART Sustainable Flooring
- Carpet and Rug Institute
Our Top Picks for Stylish and Sustainable Rug Brands
In a world full of synthetic fibres, there are plenty of natural rug alternatives just waiting to be discovered. Here are some of the high-quality rug brands we’ve found online that are worth checking out.
1. Hook & Loom
Hook & Loom truly lives up to its promise of making “attractive, affordable, and earth-friendly rugs.” This natural fibre rug maker is known for its unique loom technique that allows it to avoid using toxic and harmful chemicals commonly found in other hooked rugs. Each rug is made by handweaving loops of freshly spun 100%-recycled Eco Cotton on a loom, without using latex backing or adhesives or flame retardants. You can be sure Hook & Loom rugs are durable, soft, and eco-friendly.
This brand is one of our favourites, and if our fur babies could talk, we’re sure they’d say the same thing too! LOOMY’s rugs and carpets are ethically handwoven and are environmentally-friendly, both in production and disposal. Their products are made from sustainable materials, including wool, cotton, silk, jute, and upcycled polyester from plastic bottles.
As a socially responsible brand that cares about the entire life cycle of its products, LOOMY makes rugs that are designed to decompose in less than two years. Even the packaging their rugs comes in is biodegradable. Sara Weaver, the brains behind LOOMY, said in a Forbes article that these rugs are created in sustainably-powered factories approved by Global Recycling Standards
Lorena Canals established her namesake company in 1990 and has since made a name for herself producing and designing luxurious yet practical rugs and textile accessories. Lorena Canal rugs are made from either 100% cotton or wool, using natural, nontoxic dyes. All rugs are machine-washable to boot, making them perfect for busy parents with kids.
The brand is famous for its quality products that are made of only the best raw, natural materials. Lorena Canals is also a socially responsible employer, having two factories in India employing 170 artisans, mostly women. In 2008, the company launched the Sakûla Project. Part of the proceeds from the company’s sales goes to funding scholarships for children in northern India.
If you’re looking for rugs and doormats that’ll feel right at home in your minimalist abod, check out Parachute’s catalogue. This California-based brand makes artisanal hand-woven rugs made from all-natural fibres without toxic chemicals or additives.
Parachute partners with an Indian Fair Trade facility in Panipat, known as “the City of Weavers.” Each Parachute rug is completed through the expertise of multiple artisans, each one assigned to a specific task: hand-separating the wool, dyeing it, and finishing it using traditional looms. The entire rug-making process takes up to four weeks to finish.
Part of the brand’s mission is also to give back to the community, which is why they’ve partnered with a manufacturer that provides education for its workers’ children and job opportunities for their spouses.
If you’re looking to upgrade the look of your living space with richly patterned rugs, look no further than this brand founded by friends Carly Nance and Rachel Bentley.
The Citizenry’s designs are globally inspired, with each design reflecting the rich artistry of each region it features.
Beyond the lush patterns and eye-catching designs, however, we’re even bigger fans of this brand’s commitment to being socially conscious. Instead of mass-marketing, The Citizenry comes out with limited pieces in each of its capsule collection.
The brand also proudly espouses ethical labour practices such as fair wages, grant-giving, and providing safe workspaces for its artisans. The love and care they give their artisans and designers show in the quality of their handwoven rugs.
If you’re looking for organic, nontoxic rugs for your nursery or playroom, give this brand a look-see.
Under the Nile is an organic and ethical baby clothing, toys, and accessories maker. In an effort to reduce their manufacturing waste, they expanded their line to making rugs from leftover clothing scraps. Made from the same luxurious GOTS-certified Egyptian cotton their baby clothes and linen come in, these rugs are luxuriously soft, durable, and, best of all, 100% safe for your little tots to roll around in—no BPA, PVC, toxic chemical flame retardants, bleach, or metal-based dyes.
Under the Nile’s rugs and play mats are made in fair trade factories in Europe that provide livelihood to women. With each purchase, you help the brand further its mission of promoting child welfare, environmental responsibility, and gender equality.
Committed to supporting your eco-friendly lifestyle, VivaTerra’s home essentials line is designed for the socially and environmentally conscious. This includes the company’s lineup of artisan-made indoor and outdoor rugs crafted from recycled and all-natural materials, which include handwoven cotton, wool, seagrass, and jute.
One of our favourites is VivaTerra’s collection handwoven recycled rubber indoor/outdoor rugs. Sustainably made in India from recycled tube rubber, these versatile floor covers make a great addition to any part of your living space.
8. West Elm
This modern furniture and home furnishing company ticks a lot of boxes on our checklist. West Elm uses sustainably sourced materials, is Fair Trade certified, and employs artisans who lovingly weave its rugs by hand. The brand also offers a wide selection of natural fibre rugs in artful colours and patterns. From sisal to jute to hemp and even seagrass, there’s sure to be a West Elm rug that’s perfect for your home.
Thinking of giving your room a makeover anytime soon? Upgrading your living space’s look is as easy as adding an area rug to your floor. And with all the eco-friendly rug brands out in the market, you’re sure to find one that’s perfect for your home.
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