Home Decorating Try This on for Sisal: Rugs for Layering

Try This on for Sisal: Rugs for Layering

Ask an interior designer about his or her go-to décor items, and the short list will almost certainly include sisal rugs. The “workhorses of a great home design,” as Annie calls them, sisal rugs are neutral, all-natural, durable and long-lasting, and sophisticated yet earthy. They also have beautiful texture, making them the ideal foundation pieces for a room. And while they’re lovely on their own, we’re especially smitten with these area rugs because they’re a breeze to layer with other floor toppers, from bright colors to stunning neutral patterns. But we’ll get to that in a second. . . .


First, a little background. Sisal is derived from the Agave sislana plant, a fast-growing cactus that’s widely cultivated for its long green leaves. The leaves produce tough fibers that can be made into a variety of products, from baskets to rugs, rope, twine, and even nearly indestructible scratching posts for cats. The fibers are enhanced with vegetable dyes, then spun and twisted into yarns. The yarns are set on jacquard looms and woven into tight, dimensional patterns with textural pop.


Remove outlet, move painting down


To give you a closer look at how easy it is to layer sisal rugs with other area rugs, we took the same rug—Dash & Albert’s Diamond Natural—and styled it three ways.




In the first example, we went all neutral, pairing it with a plush, dense, hand-knotted wool rug. If you joined us for our series on how to mix patterns, you probably remember that this follows Annie’s rule of combining rugs with both similar color palettes and with the same theme—in this case, geometrics. It’s a simple yet statement-making approach, and has a decidedly upscale, lush look.




In the second example, we added a bit of color to the equation, mixing our tan and stone neutrals with a bright red indoor/outdoor rug in a classic zigzag pattern. The camel in the top rug echoes the hue of the sisal rug underneath, and we picked up this color again in several of the pillows and the braided pouf. It’s a preppy, stars-and-stripes-y effect that transitions perfectly into spring and summer.




For the final look, we again went retro with a chipper indoor/outdoor, Americana star-bedecked area rug. But if vintage is your thing, you could go in dozens of directions here, pairing the sisal rug with a colorful kilim or dhurrie, a lightweight boho cotton rug, or a toe-tickling hooked cotton rug. Almost anything goes when you’ve got such a great foundation to work with.


For even more tips on mixing and matching rugs, check out Annie’s tips on how to layer rugs like a pro.

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Sara Bailey April 30, 2015 at 5:29 pm

How can you clean Sisal rugs. I was told they could not be clean by local
rug cleaning people. Is this so?

Fresh American May 1, 2015 at 8:32 am

Hi, Sara! Sisal rugs can indeed be professionally cleaned, though you’ll most likely need to roll up the rug and take it to the cleaners’, as home steaming is not recommended. Sisal rugs can also be maintained pretty easily at home. Vacuum regularly, with the standard floorhead only (no rotating brushes!) and rotate the rug several times a year to help the fibers wear evenly. Dry spots can be removed by scraping carefully with a plastic putty knife from the outer edges toward the middle of the spot. Wet spots should first be blotted with paper towels or a clean, dry cloth, then gently cleaned with a damp (not wet!) cloth and mild detergent; always spot test in an inconspicuous place first.

Rosanne Costa March 4, 2019 at 10:49 pm

Hi! I have a question about the photograph of the dog sitting on a sisal rug in front of dark blue painted woodwork and doors. Do you know the paint color or brand of the blue paint?
Thank you.

Nicole May 13, 2019 at 1:48 pm

Hi Rosanne! Unfortunately this image was shot at someone’s home, and we don’t have the information for the paint that was on the walls. We agree that it looks gorgeous!


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