By Andrea Lillo
Eco-friendly fibers are not new to the rug category, but now that eco-savvy consumers shop more frequently online across all home furnishings categories, calling out products' green features can only be a good thing.
An online search at the sites of several specialty retailers found that what they called "natural fiber" rugs were generally made of such materials as sisal, seagrass, jute, hemp, and abaca. Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn, and Crate & Barrel grouped these types of rugs under a natural-fiber label, while West Elm used a logo to identify them on its site.
Restoration Hardware's Web site included sisal, hemp, wool/sisal and seagrass fibers within its Natural Rugs section under its Rug tab. Six styles are offered, each in several earthy colorways. Its sisal and seagrass items also had several colored borders as well, while a new braided hemp rug was borderless. The information page for each item included romance copy, as well as details, sizes available and product shots as well as room images for some of them. They ranged in price from $169 for a braided hemp rug runner to a 10-by-14 wool sisal rug, on sale for $1,399.
Pottery Barn offered visitors several ways to find natural-fiber rugs, one of which was through its Materials tab within the Rug & Window's Rug section. This natural-fibers section had 14 area rug styles in sisal, jute, chenille, chenille/jute and wool/jute, and some had several colorways.
Pottery Barn also includes an Earth-Friendly section under the Ideas & Inspiration heading, found within several of its product categories. The Earth-Friendly section for rugs and windows contained nine jute rugs, four coir doormats and a drape.
On each product page, Pottery Barn provides a list of details on the rug--divided by overview, dimensions and details and shipping info--and $25 swatches are also available. Customers are also able to leave reviews of each product, and do. One interesting touch was a two-and-a-half minute video link included within the copy for the PB Essential jute rug, which showed how the rug was produced. Within the Earth-Friendly rug section, retail prices ranged from $69 for a 3-by-5 PB Essential jute rug or Natural Diamond jute rug to $599 for a 9-by-12 Patchwork jute rug (a size and style that qualified it for in-home delivery as well).
West Elm's site doesn't break out natural fiber rugs from its other floor coverings, but does call them out with its green elm tree label, which signifies product is "either responsibly produced, certified organic, recycled, rapidly renewable, or non toxic." (A separate page called We Care, under the We Love top tab, explains its dedication to eco-responsibility.) Out of the 24 rug styles available, four had this logo: a jute boucle rug, a jute diamond, a jute leather and a wool/cotton blend rug called Sweater. Prices for those rugs ranged from $24 for a 2-by-3 jute diamond rug or jute boucle rug to $599 for the 9-by-12 Sweater rug. The only rug pad available was an eco-friendly one, made of plant-based oils.
Crate & Barrel includes sisal, abaca and a jute/sisal/poly blend in its Natural Fibers section, within the rugs group under Decorating & Accessories. Four styles are available in several colorways, as well as two eco-friendly rug pads. On each product page, romance copy along with product and shipping details is given as well as straight product shots and room shots. Customers can also leave product reviews. Samples of some of the styles can be obtained from stores for a fee, which is refunded when the sample is returned. Retail prices range from $29.95 for a 2-by-3 Sisal Almond rug to $799 for 9-by-12 Lanao rug, which is made of abaca.