When you hear the words paper rugs, what comes to mind? If you’re first reaction is “What the heck is a paper rug?” you’re not alone. But these area rugs—yes, they’re actually made of paper—are so cool, so sleek and Japanese-chic, that we just had to share.
Dash & Albert’s new paper rugs were inspired by tatami, or mats traditionally made by covering a rice straw core with a woven-rush top. The West first got a dose of tatami as floor decor with the 1980 miniseries Shogun, which sparked interest in clean-lined, minimalist Asian decorating.
Tatami, which are believed to have originated during the Nara period (710-794) in Japan, were originally considered a luxury of the nobility, but by the 17th century had spread throughout the country until they became a common design element in Japanese homes. While they’ve since declined in popularity, many modern Japanese homes still contain a room or two with tatami flooring.
The new paper rugs are made from virgin kraft paper sourced from sustainable, regenerated forests. First, the paper is transformed into durable yarn by high-speed twisting onto spools. Afterward, the yarn—which can be dyed a variety of colors, or left in its naturally beautiful, shades-of-sand state—is woven into specific patterns to create the rugs.
The rugs are then treated for water and stain resistance. We love their subtle graphic look, which meshes seamlessly with a variety of décor styles without overwhelming the space. We’re also crazy for paper rugs’ thoroughly modern sensibility, despite their retro roots.
Paper rugs aren’t recommended for high-traffic areas, but they can be vacuumed and even gently cleaned. To air them, avoid shaking, and simply lay out on a flat surface, like a table. Liquid spills should be mopped up quickly with a soft cloth, and stains can be treated with a small amount of milk cleaning solution and lukewarm water. Food or stuck-on stains can be very carefully scraped off with the flat of a butter knife or a plastic putty knife, as long as you’re mindful of not cutting into the twine. Because they require a bit of special care, paper rugs aren’t for everyone, but they do make a pretty fabulous statement about the timelessness of great design.