Thank you all for the wonderful comments and suggestions for Kim’s dining room.
Of course, there’s rarely just one way to do things. I could sit here for a month, drumming up different solutions.
However, there were a couple of comments regarding the advisability of putting in a seagrass rug in the dining room.
That inspired me to do a post about seagrass rugs.
Below are the comments from last Wednesday’s post:
“Hi, Laurel Love all of your suggestions except the rug.
Little Johnnie drops his plate, and the gravy goes everywhere. The baby is, of course, in his high chair and tips over his plate. Not good. Quite frankly, bringing or pulling a chair up to the table is difficult on a seagrass rug. have to stop the dinner, pull up the rug and take it outside and hose it down, then go in and wash the food off the floor, then everyone, “let’s go in the living room and eat. An excellent host/hostess would ignore it and entertain her/his guests. I want to be like the latter but not there yet.”
Maureen concurred with her regarding seagrass rugs.
After the floor is installed, find a wool rug with the beautiful colors in the wallpaper. I love seagrass rugs, but I agree with the person who described a gravy spill – it may not be easy to clean.
Earlier, Marilyn wrote this comment after reading 10 Decorating Questions with Difficult To Find Answers:
I did wall to wall seagrass in my last home and will do it again in this new home. I have two dogs: a lab and a brown dog. The seagrass took a beating and looked fantastic after ten years. True, it’s not soft, but the texture is fab.
Who’s right? Are seagrass rugs durable and nearly bullet-proof or a disaster waiting to happen?
Okay. I’ve talked about seagrass rugs numerous times in dozens of blog posts over the years, and they are one of my favorites and for good reason which I will be explaining.
Some of you may not know me very well and just see me as this aging blogger who likes interior design.
Well, for those who don’t realize, I had a real interior design business for 20+ years, worked for a decorator for four years, went to design school full-time for three years before all of that. Also, I was married for 26 years and raised two exceedingly, grimy little boys into adulthood.
Oh, and I had an adorable, highly destructive kitty, Peaches, who passed away in December 2014.
In other words. I’m a real interior designer who’s had a full life with a lot of experiences.
In addition, I’ve sold about 60 of these babies (seagrass rugs) to at least three dozen clients.
Now, for some of the stories they have shared with me:
One of my favorites is about the time the dog dragged the greasy, gravy-laden turkey carcass down from the table and feasted on it for 30 minutes on the seagrass rug. This was my former boss who’s entire shop had wall-to-wall seagrass, which always looked new. I had no problem sliding my reproduction Chippendale arm chair numerous times a day.
And, then there was the client whose cat barfed all over her seagrass rug.
Incidentally, cat folks, did you ever notice how they go running FOR the rug just before they upchuck?
My lovely client tried to show me the spots, but couldn’t find them.
Another client with four kids 16 and under, told me years later, after we did a seagrass rug in her family room, that it was her favorite rug in the house. The kids played, ate, and painted in that room, and the rug always cleaned up beautifully. Indeed, four years later, it looked like new.
All of my clients loved their seagrass rugs, and there was never one complaint, except one time, the weave came loose in one tiny area.
Normally, that wouldn’t have been a problem and still probably wouldn’t have been if it had been glued down immediately. However, the dog noticed the loose spot and from there had a good ol’ time when he was alone with the rug.
Seagrass rugs do have a latex backing that prevents unraveling, but something happened with this rug, and all it took was one loose spot for the dog to get in there. But that was the only time I ever knew of something going wrong with a seagrass rug.
Besides, seagrass rugs are great looking, stylish, and inexpensive.
Yes, you need a rug pad underneath your seagrass rugs and other rugs, as well.
I recommend a good felt pad, about a quarter-inch thick. This will add a touch of welcome cushioning and protect your floor as well.
Below are a few good ones I found.
(please click on individual images for more info.)
Okay. I hope I’m not coming across as a miss-know-it-all. I definitely don’t know it all, but I have had a lot of experience with area rugs and carpeting of all kinds. If you’re commenting on something and you disagree, please back it up with why.
While no fiber is ever “bullet-proof,” seagrass, in my experience, is as close as you can get.
That’s because seagrass grows in water and has a natural waxy coating that makes it impervious to whatever gets on it. Plus, it’s tough as nails.
Still don’t believe me?
There are two excellent blog posts written by two highly experienced interior designers.
Lauren Liess wrote this fantastic post about natural fiber rugs, including seagrass.
And, amazing Joni Webb of Cote De Texas is the gospel on seagrass rugs. You can read her gorgeous and highly informative post here.
Gosh, may I be excused? These gals say it all!
However, I have a few more things to say.
Like, what about using wool area rugs in a dining room?
Yes, absolutely. While completely different from seagrass, wool is a fantastic material to go under a dining room table. As most of you know, wool has natural lanolin in its fibers, and it’s the oily lanolin that protects the rug fibers from stains. But, best of all, the lanolin self-cleans the fibers.
The best way to maintain your wool rugs is regular vacuuming and only spot cleaning, if necessary. Once every year or two, turn the rug upside down and vacuum the underside. Then, vacuum the front side. After that, take the rug outside in the mid-day sun in the summer months. Set a timer for three hours and then bring it inside. Your rug will now be clean and fresh.
If you wish to destroy your wool area rug, have it dry cleaned every year.
It will rob the fibers of their natural lanolin, and in no time, the beautiful rug will not be self-cleaning, and the fibers will be dry and brittle.
Back to our seagrass rugs.
One of my favorite brands for all-natural fiber rugs, including seagrass rugs, is Fibreworks. This is one of over 30 favorite sources in Laurel’s Rolodex.
Above is a Fibreworks seagrass with a fabric border with a mitered corner.
Fibreworks is to the trade only. However, Fibreworks rugs are sell rugs at Pottery Barn in custom sizes.
And, if you’re interested in some gorgeous custom sisal rugs (see above) from Fibreworks, you can find those at Williams-Sonoma Home.
Wait, Laurel. I thought you said never to do a sisal rug.
Yes, I did, and you can read all about it here.
And, also in this one-week earlier post.
However, many of you will recall after visiting the talented Lotte Meister, who has several sisal rugs, she convinced me that sisal was not to be feared as she has one in her dining room and most other rooms as well.
Above and below is from a custom installation of two seagrass rugs we did with cut-outs.
I made a little boo-boo with this one, but they came back and fixed it.
Above is the living room rug, and below is the dining room after it was fixed.
You can see more of this lovely home I worked on in 2014-15 here.
In the palette portion of the Laurel Home Paint Collection, there are seagrass rugs in many of the mood boards.
The board above is from one of the 12 bonus boards created the following year. You can see the bonus boards here.
However, there are 40 more in the palette portion of the Paint and Palette Collection.
The bottom line here is that I would not recommend a seagrass rug for a client or a reader for their dining room if I didn’t think it was practical.
And, I wouldn’t hesitate to put a seagrass rug in a dining room for one second.
Still, if you have firsthand experience with a seagrass rug that has not performed well, please let us know and also what the circumstances were and the remedy, if there is one.
That way, we can all learn from each other.
Below is a widget with some of my favorite seagrass and sisal rugs. Some are custom and some are program sizes.
There’s a beautiful seagrass rug available in extra long lengths with a serged binding if you don’t want the fabric border.
By the way, in addition to seagrass and sisal, I love jute too for area rugs, as well. It is also a practical and durable fiber.
PS: Please check out the newly updated HOT SALES. Some fantastic sales are going on this Martin Luther King weekend!
by Laurel Bern
I was all set to purchase 2 Ruggable rugs for the living room and entry because they can go in the washing machine, and then I read this! We have two big dogs,one which has regular accidents, and it is always on our big 9 x 12 rug! We are talking, nasty, disgusting accidents!
We have been through a few rugs and I am tired of having nasty rugs and wasting money and energy. Reading about the seagrass is intriguing, but I am having a really hard time understanding/believing that it is truly ‘cleanable.’
Do you or any of your other readers have any thoughts about Ruggable rugs versus seagrass? Thank you so much for blog! I have been thoroughly enjoying it and am learning so much!
Hi Laurel, I’m new at this, so bear with me. Where or what company would you direct me to purchase a seagrass 5×8 area rug? Can you help?
Thank you, adeline
I paid a fortune for a custom sisal years ago. It was ruined in under 5 years:
Now I have 2 Seagrass that I adore and I’m about to buy a 3rd. I splurged on a thick pad and it was a good decision. My advice is do it and avoid sisal
You do not have to have seagrass installed. It can be used as an area rug. Heed Laurel’s advice though and use with a felt pad.
I enjoy your blog and read it regularly. I would love to try a seagrass rug in my living room. The main thing that held me back was the durability question but I am encouraged. Also, another blog I enjoy is ladolcevita.blog and she has sisal rugs treated by a company called Fiber Seal and she says it seals sisal rugs and they are impervious to stains. This was information I was not aware of either.
Sisal – I guess my main issue with sisal is that I’ve trained my cats to scratch that instead of the regular rugs or my furniture upholstry. Plus it is even less comfy than walking on seagrass barefoot. Meanwhile, I am considering replacing the entryway carpet I have now, with seagrass…
I’m pro-sea grass. I needed cheap, because I have a lot of house to do, which is what compelled me to buy my first. I’m up to three. I have 6 destructive kids, and two dogs. They wear like iron. They clean beautifully. They protect my hardwood floors. They are work with modern or traditional decor. And, they layer beautifully under other rugs. The only “con” is that they smell a bit (only at first), and they are not soft, but neither were my hard wood floors (and I’m saving on pedicures!).
I am ok with seagrass/sisal in the sense that they are practical and work with almost anything, but I also think hand-knotted, wool rugs are more elegant than natural fiber and imprint a more individual style. I like seagrass in wall to wall applications popular in English country decor or the nice custom cuts in the pictures above where they cover almost all of the room, but those are the pricey versions, equivalent in price to wool rugs really. I did have a seagrass rug once (cheap version from Overstock) in our dining room, but when our small dog died I bought a vintage inexpensive Kilim and it looked awesome. Now I have moved the Kilim into my study and got a nice oriental rug (Mamlouk type, if any rug aficionados here) and it just lifted the whole room to an entirely different level, I wish I’d done it sooner! Vacuuming was easier with the seagrass because I could go from the wood floor to the rug with the same brush head, now I have to change, so it’s more cumbersome, but it’s really worth the extra pain, I love how elegant it looks and how the rug anchors everything together. As for cleaning, I did not have any accidents on either, but we don’t walk with shoes in the house and the dog was small, so it’s mainly just vacuuming dust. I have wool rugs in all the other rooms, a mix of new and vintage ones. You can find them at all price points really and the choices are endless. I also like the aspect of them being made by a skilled artisan’s hands, a real person behind the product, as opposed to something out of a factory from China. To circle back, in Kim’s dining room, I’d do a nice, cream Oushak with soft tones and minimal pattern, like the one in Laurel’s bedroom, I think it would look great on top of dark floors, the dark table on top of it and the Chinoiserie wallpaper. I’d also go big to enlarge the room, 8×10 at least but maybe even a 9×12 if it fits.
I put wall to wall seagrass in my basement 15 years ago. Puppies, old dogs, cat, teenagers (parties)… You can use anything to clean up messes – I’ve even used bleach. I had a sisal rug that stained and I got rid of it in less than 5 years. Seagrass is rough on bare feet, and if doing wall to wall the seams can fray (because of my cat). I recommend seagrass to everyone!!
Hi Ladies and Laurel,
I have had two sisal rugs over 30 years in my dining room and had them polyeurethaned with 3 coats non yellowing formula. My first rug was a hand painted pattern and it lasted for 18 years and the new one has been down for the last 8 years. Let the food dry up use o fork and vacuum. I use Simple solution on dog stains and it works! Been very happy with my sisal!
I never had a seagrass rug but wanted to throw in my vote in support of the wool rugs. I am from the rug-making area and we have our rugs everywhere – dining room, living room, baby’s room, whatever. Wool is hair so it washes off beautifully. And you are absolutely correct: never ever ever have your wool rugs dry-cleaned. Which dry cleaner would even take them?? Vacuum them regularly and have them professionally cleaned once a year (that means a professional rug cleaner outfit who will wash them in ice cold water and special gentle soap for you). They should last for generations – as they already did!
Where are the TVs! My husband, kids, and even I won’t spend more than ten minutes in a room without a TV!
Seagrass in Florida, with humidity & insect invasions: Looking for advice please. Anyone have experience with seagrass in Florida? Thx!
i learned about sisal rugs the hard way after ordering a leather bound custom size one for our family room. The dog felt ignored one evening and peed on it and the stain remains to this day. Even water stains sisal. But fortunately I have small Persian rugs to cover it. In our mountain house Jute rugs have been great. Not a fan of seagrass appearance (I think of Triscuits every time). Hands down Persian rugs are the best at hiding everything and last forever.
Well, I can’t tell you anything about seagrass…but I CAN tell you that one of the recommendations I paid for in an e-Design session was a SISAL rug…and it was GORGEOUS…and just as the designer had said, really pulled things together.
Unfortunately, the designer obviously didn’t have a dog who has never met a rug she didn’t want to leave her mark on…or a lot of plants…because despite my mentioning that, it wasn’t taken into account…and soon after I dropped a cool $400 and change for a tiny little sisal rug from Pottery Barn, my teeny tiny 7 pound dog found the new rug, and christened it in her own, teeny tiny way. Now, a 7 pound dog doesn’t pee MUCH…but mind is a traveling pee-er…which means…she pees as she squats and walks, undulating her hips and in a serpentine path. And my lovely linen colored rug permanently had a lovely little acid yellow spot the size of a grapefruit…with a long wavy tail trailing away from it about a foot and a half. It looks rather like a yellow sperm…
Undaunted, I turned the rug around, hiding the pee stain under the couch…and bought a long doggie fence to block off that section of my open floor plan loft.
And all was well for a while…until the day my brand new humidifier (a requirement for for the fussy plants I grow), decided to leak all over the counter…and down onto the floor…causing the rug to *ripple* like mad. And when I say “ripple”—I mean EXACTLY the way paper does, when it gets wet. Over an area about 2’x 2x.
And since I can’t turn the rug around due to the pee stain…and you can’t undo a rippled sisal rug (trust me—I scoured online sources for DAYS, unwilling to give up!)—it’s now rolled up in a corner of that same room…with me unwilling to throw that $400 thing away—but unable to use it.
So…if you DON’T have dogs who might pee on a rug (and let’s be real—sooner or later, most dogs will have at least ONE accident!)…and you are able to place it somewhere that water can’t possibly get to it—then sure, buy one. They’re pretty. They’re fresh and contemporary. And if you’re a tidy grownup like myself, the odds of ever spilling anything on it that’s liquid are slim to none.
But if you have a dog who might pee…or it’s anywhere near water (even if the water is in a brand spanking new humidifier that might break, as mine did)—DON’T DO IT!!! 🙁
And that’s my cautionary tale. 😛
I am a retired designer. I think seagrass is like a lot of other things: you either love it or you don’t. I am in the latter category. As one with allergies, it makes me sneeze! I also don’t like the look or feel of it everywhere. I have one in my studio in the area where the traffic is heaviest. It definitely stands up to heavy traffic. But I just have never cared for it inside a home.
I love my seagrass rugs! I have cleaned many spills from dogs, toddlers and adults and never is there a stain to be found. I love the texture as well. ! Even though I am a fan of sisal and jute also, I find seagrass to be much more durable and stain resistant. I just bought two more seagrass rugs this past week for our second home. I know they will last for years!
Hi Laurel, I have had a seagrass rug for over 15 years in my dining room and it looks like new! Through out the years I’ve had many parties and cats upchucking on it. I figured out that scraping the surface of the sea grass to remove most of the spills and chunks and then letting the rest dry before using a wire/or tooth brush to remove the residue really works! It drys with no stains! I love it! Thanks!
I like both seagrass and sisal. The sisal rug in my living room has held up well for four years. I do wish it was seagrass, which seems plush in comparison. But the sisal serves. No problems with keeping clean, even with two cats.
Also, I highly recommend hairball remedy for kitties. Not all of them have completely bad or unhealthy ingredients. Richard’s Organics makes a chicken flavored one with no petroleum. Tomlyn and Vetoquinol brands have petroleum, but are good, too. One cat needs a daily dose for medical reasons; second cat doesn’t want to feel left out. 4 years old and 2 years old, neither has ever barfed up a hairball.
I balked when the vet prescribed the goop; but I’ve changed my mind about it. It’s simple, cheap, effective and could’ve saved my household from a lot of feline discomfort and human labor over the last 25 years…
9 year old and 3 year old in the house. I will not do any rugs in dining room until they’re older. Especially now, we eat 3 meals a day at the table and do homeschool/art projects there. I sweep up a pile of stuff from under the table every day, not to mention at least once a day, someone spills an entire glass of something. We have a strict only-food-at-the-table policy, so the pretty, soft lovely rugs go in the other rooms. The only thing I’d ever do is one of those chilewich, woven vinyl rugs, which are not so attractive, but wear like steel.
Hi, Cutie! You’re right! You’re right as rain! Been doing your job for thirty-seven years and I just gotta say, you’re right-eeeeeee-ooooo, Missy! But, you know what, if you want to have something NICE you gotta take care of it!
Now, Laurel, should you read this post, I gotta tell you
That I ❤️Your CHUTZPAH! You’re just a doll!
Add me to the “I love sea grass” camp.
I had one in my living room for almost 10 years. The only part that got dirty was the binding tape around the perimeter. Foot traffic in certain areas soiled it.
Love my seagrass rug! Cleans up easily, no problems. When new it had a strong hay smell which made my husband happy. He’s a farm boy and it reminded him of long summer days harvesting in the hatfields growing up.
I am frankly baffled by this seemingly universal love of seagrass rugs in dining rooms here…and wall to wall use? Yikes! I suppose it could depend on the texture or style of the seagrass, but I have had challenging experiences with it. I have 3 boys, and we used to have a beautiful seagrass rug under the dining room table. Over the years, and after several dumped bowls of baby food (peas, sweet potato, spinach & potato…) or pasta, or spit up, it actually started to smell. It is very, very difficult to get all of the spillage out of the nubs and weave without literally lifting the rug and spraying it out, which is challenging. Second, our old Bronx cat, Noki, once had a giant upchuck on the rug, and again, it was a nightmare removing the vomit and hair smeared yellowy substance from the rugs chunky fibers. Ugh. Finally, when we got our dog Molly a few years back, she had a bout of doggie diarrhea, some of which ended up on the rug, and slipped in between the chunky grass fibers. At that point, after trying to thoroughly (enough) clean it, we gave up. The rug got rolled up and placed on the NYC curb. We replaced with a thick wool rug which is MUCH easier to clean, as anything that gets spilled or dumped on it, doesn’t slip in and hide behind heavy seagrass layers/fibers (or grass, jute etc.) I do love seagrass, but keep it in my office or the library, layered under a Persian rug.
I’m going to add a few more thoughts. The fabric binding gets dirty and is not that easy to keep clean. I need to buy another rug, and I will definitely buy the one with the serged edges. In my Tahoe house, I have seagrass under the dining room table. There has never been a problem with moving the chairs or damaging the rug with a chair.
I’ve owned seagrass rugs for over 30 years. When I was younger, I laid my seagrass rug on the wood floors without a pad. The latex backing dried out and produced a powder underneath the rug; vacuuming that was a pain. For my new house, I found a latex-free seagrass rug on Overstock. On the back it has a very thin fabric-like lining with teeny little bumps inlaid to produce a non-skid backing. In my old age, I have learned to use a pad under all my rugs; and you should too. As far as seagrass and maintenance are concerned – seriously! I’ve had a puppy pee and poop and vomit on the rugs. I’ve had cats puke on the rugs. And, I’ve had tipsy friends spill their wine on the rugs. Every little spot can be removed with soapy water, and a bristle brush (necessary for cleaning the grooves and crevases). You will not see a single stain on my rugs. The only thing that caused me to toss one of my seagrass rugs was the dog picking and chewing on a bit of seagrass fiber and succeeding in unraveling a patch. I should have tried to glue it back down, but I never thought of doing that. But heck, for the price, I just tossed it and bought another one.
We have seagrass rugs in a few spots in our home including one layered under another rug in front of our kitchen sink. For years I had one in the dining room. We have six kids but no pets, because six kids 😳😉 we have enough running around. We did have two major spills and one child throw up on the dining rug and it cleaned up just fine. Water and mild soap, outside to dry in the sun. I do spray the fabric binding with scotchguard every so often. Just lay a towel over the sea grass area to protect from overspray although I doubt it would discolor the sea grass. All bought on Amazon or Home Depot actually. The binding is not as professional but they fit our budget until the kids are older and I’ll do custom size sea grass.
Had to laugh- Our brand new Chris-Craft 24’launch has Seagrass carpet/mats!
Works very well in Marine applications-also works in houses-they’ve been installing for years! Love that Green Dining room…..
Had to laugh- Our brand new Chris-Craft 24’launch has Seagrass carpet/mats!
Works very well in Marine applications-also works in houses-they’ve been installing for years! Love that Green Dining room…..
I’ve noticed that too with both my rug pads. I’m pretty sure it’s the pads expanding with use. Both mine are under wool rugs. If only trimming the pads wasn’t such a pain!
I love my sea grass rug but it keeps shrinking! I’m surprised not to see this mentioned in these comments. Unlucky me, I guess. This is a decent quality latex-backed rug beneath a heavy dining room table and over a good felt pad. I have already had to trim the pad once because it was peeking out and just noticed it’s time for another buzz.
Interesting post! I’ve been designing my homes in San Jose and Tahoe for about 20 years and I started off loving Sea Grass for rugs but now recommend in limited areas. The reasons are for dirt, allergies primarily. I now gravitate to cotton, wool and silk. But I love the look and for the right home and appropriate underlayment it is a good option. But for legos, Tahoe snow, red clay dirt tracked through these homes etc I end up really sticking to the basics. Hope this helps.
Thank you – this is so helpful. I am designing and we are building a new home in Idaho and seagrass is definitely in my plans.
You recommended the seagrass for our DR and it made an immediate change for the better in that room! 4 Grandkids and it still looks like new. Very happy with this choice.
That…is hysterical! No. I know it wasn’t funny at the time but I used to have that same dog. He was housebroken till we moved to a brand new home and then…he wasn’t. Had dog door but when I got home from work there would usually be a puddle next to the floor length drapes on the wood floor. I finally changed out the drapes and bought washable linen panels so I didn’t flip out anymore. No clue why he suddenly enjoyed looking out that patio door and then using the bathroom. Husband almost lost it but I reminded him that I cleaned it up and washed the drapes so just get over it.
I’ve had a semi-antique persian under a dining table as well as a new thick wool rug and have had mostly good experience. Cleaning well-made wool rugs isn’t that hard but if I still had a toddler in the house a rug would not be my choice. I think we have to be realistic with our furniture and decor. Lots of glass candle holders and vases may be lovely in a home with adults or older teens but not so fab with a crawling baby.
As someone with 3 cats who’s had both sisal and seagrass rugs for the past 25 years, my two cents is this: seagrass with backing is nearly indestructible. Yup, cats always upchuck on it. They sharpen their claws on it. If you live in a humid climate you may notice a smell not unlike hay, which I find pleasant, but you might not. As for sisal. Never again. It was the 1st natural fiber rug I purchased. It was destroyed in less than 6 mos. Water stains it irreversibly. Just as an FYI, the Fibreworks rugs available at Pottery Barn do not have those lovely, clean, mitered corners. There are vendors available to the public that offer mitered. They are 50-200% more expensive than regular lapped cotton binding.
Love your blog. However my experience with a seagrass rug is different.. I bought from a high end design store. The rug has 2 small pulls after 3 yeats and we can’t pull chairs onto it easily. it’s in the dining room which makes it awkward.. once someone sit they are in for the dinner.. It does absorb spills very well, ( grandkids) Do I like it? yes, but it has limitations.
I have the Pottery Barn Fibreworks seagrass runner in my back entry hall and yes, my cat uses it to scratch, but it still looks brand new!! I am amazed! I will be buying more seagrass.
Was trying to reply to Suzy Bloemker that I agree 100%, but it came out as a separate post instead of a reply.
Gotta LOVE autofill! Somedays, one could use wall to wall Seagrams!
I don’t remember the brand I had – it was years ago – but I found it impossible to clean/dry the floor beneath my seagrass rug. It allowed the spill to go straight through, so the problem wasn’t so much cleaning the seagrass, but to clean/dry my beautiful wooden floor beneath.
So timely! Does this all apply to using on stairs? I am looking for a durable, cleanable, warm neutral material to have installed on my stairs which are currently carpeted.
Reading this post at three in the a.m., I howled out loud nearly waking the neighborhood about cats barfing on seagrass rugs. Being the caretaker of three is one of many reasons I use natural fiber rugs. Have yet to discover anything that does not wipe up off of them, which I have used in all rooms of my residences.Absolutely love following you Laurel… thank you.
I don’t like them because they are boring to look at and not soft like wool. That’s it.
Wall to wall sea grass is not commonly used here in Toronto but I also would love to use it on my stairs and second floor. But I’ve heard that it can be slippery on stairs and has a distinctive smell.
Thank you for reminding your readers that you have education and experience. I know you probably felt funny about expressing your expertise, but in today’s world, the younger folks seem to think that anyone not of their age is a doofus. I am 66 and full of life and professional experience which is ignored by my relatives. Keep up the good, old work and we all love your blog.
I am sooooo elated you did a blog post on this, Laurel! After you suggested a seagrass rug for my dining room I was on board until I saw the negative comments on them. Now I’m back on board. But how in the world do you clean them…as in keep the dust out? I have no kids at home anymore : ( and no pets and a pretty clean husband. It’s dust I have a problem with. Oh, and BTW, I plan on getting that robotic vacuum cleaner you suggested a couple weeks ago.
Do cats use the sea grass rug like a scratching post?
I had a sisal rug once but couldn’t convince my dog it wasn’t grass. He peed on it repeatedly (he had been housebroken for years) and I had to get rid of it after only a few weeks.
What are your thoughts on wall to wall Seagrams for heavy traffic area. We own a dry cleaners in Madison, MS. We currently have ugly commercial carpet in the call area that has been there 25 years.
Thanks for the great post! One CAN clean a seagrass rug- my elderly dog had a very “unfortunate”, “widespread” incident on mine. I hauled it outside, let “it” dry, swept it, bleached it, hosed it off and let it dry in the sun several days and it looked great. I realize some might not want to go to those lengths, but it can be done.
I love sea grass too but it is so hard to clean! You are right every cat I have ever had goes right to the rug and throws up! I have thrown out more rugs than I care to remember. The only thing that works now are some of the indoor/outdoor rugs which are easy to clean. Never a sea grass rug again.
Thank you for teaching me something Laurel! I too wasn’t aware that there were grand differences between seagrass, sisal and jute. Muchas gracias, chica!
I LUV Seagrass – and in fact have 2 rooms that are Wall-to-Wall seagrass for over 15 years. They have held up beautifully 🙂 Wouldn’t hesitate to use it again.
My cats ruined the cheap carpeting in the living room, and I before I got new carpeting, I read about why they like to throw up on carpets. Cats don’t enjoy vomiting (could have fooled me); it stresses them. When they need to vomit, they look for comfort anywhere they can find it. Not only does carpet feel great under their paws, it gives them something to grip onto while they’re being sick.
I put a runner right outside the living room, and now they hurl on the cheap runner (60 bucks at Pottery Barn) and mostly refrain from being sick on my new living room carpeting.
I have jute rugs in our dining and living rooms and have found them easy to maintain but I may try Seagrass next time. I’ve seen braided rush rugs in English magazine which look beautiful, though I understand you have to mist them regularly to keep them from being brittle.
Thank you for this informative post as always. I wanted to install wall to wall seagrass on my stairs, upstairs hallway, and a bedroom, but I was discouraged by our local and reputable carpet vendor. Seagrass isn’t used in Chicagoland apparently. I LOVE the look, but I still am concerned about the dust settling in it. On another note, could you do a post on upholstery 101? I am reupholstering two antique French chairs for one not liking the double-welt everyone is recommending. And do you recall the fabric you used on the slipper chairs in the living room photo with the hydrangeas? So pretty!
I have a nice hand knotted wool runner in my kitchen directly nest to my bank of cupboards and kitchen sink. We cook a lot and our kitchen is small so this rug gets hit with everything. In the past I had jute rugs and although they stayed in place nicely because of the rubber backing, it was near impossible to keep them clean and they are definitely not stain resistant. They suck up anything that comes their way. Even after washing in a tub, the stains would never completely come out. Not so with the hand knotted rug. It does get dirty too, but because of the the patterning, it tends not to show as much and about once a year, I wash it in my bathtub with mild soap, rinse well, and hang to dry and its as good as new. I know runners are popular in kitchens, so I thought I’d share my experience with rugs in kitchens.
Ps, I could really use one of your humorous blogs – you’ve had a few over the years that made me fall off my chair laughting. Hope you are enjoying your new home.
I think the answer to this question is a big “it depends”; Mostly on the weave, structure and quality of the sea grass to begin with. Not of course, “depends on the quality” should go without saying, as that is true for just about everything. But if you’re on a tight budget, and view seagrass as your place to save, and buy a cheap one, it may not be the best option. I put one in our dining room which was backed with a felted sort of material with latex dots. Not sure if that is standard for higher quality seagrass. We were a little house-poor at the time just having moved, and the blame for buying a crummy one was 100% on me. We have three kids and two dogs, and one of the dogs (not sure which one!) took to peeing on a corner of it. That felt backing was the undoing of the whole situation. It held in the moisture which then trapped in the pad and started to eat at our hardwood finish. It was also a 9×12 rug and pretty heavy, so hard to clean the underside felt every time there was a pee pee. Even with a wet vac style bissel rug cleaner. And configuring a complicated towel layer situation underneath the spot to try to absorb the moisture every time was getting annoying and not working. The weave was also not super tight and little bits of food would get mashed into the crevasses. So away it went and I replaced with a waterproof rug pad and an indoor-outdoor which cleans much more easily and looks great. I loved the texture of the seagrass but husband and kids complained. We’ve had more pee accidents and even a bad #2 on this one and it’s much easier to clean. Interestingly the pee accidents are not as frequent- I’m wondering if the dogs liked the natural aspect/smell of the rug? So moral of the story, I wouldn’t rule it out for a future space, but I’d be very careful with evaluating the structure of the rug and make sure the backing and pad could also hold up to liquid abuse!
For other rugs, we had a jute that a cat repeatedly vomited on and that was near impossible to get clean without leaving a mark. Seagrass yes, sisal maybe, jute no. I have wool rugs pretty much everywhere else and I love them for durability with kids and dogs. The key is a good Persian knotted rug, not one with canvas backing. Finding them at estate sales and on classifieds for great prices, then paying for professional cleaning, is often still less expensive than a large new rug of any material. Many of our rugs are in pictures on my Instagram account @1933tudorrevival
I love rugs, and love your blog Laurel!!!
Wow – I just figured out that seagrass and sisal rugs are not the same! I used to use the words interchangeablely. After some research, it looks like seagrass rugs are a lot more resistant to moisture and more easily cleaned with a damp cloth unlike sisal which will absorb a stain. Who knew? Well, I guess you did Laurel… thanks 😉
Love my Seagrass rug in LR. However. I had the canvas border glued on instead of stitched and it refuses to stay attached in the heavily trafficked areas. I’m afraid someone is going to trip! Can you please help??
Laurel, Love your Blog but even more your sass and way with expressing yourself. I have several cats and a super shedder dog. I love, love, love natural fiber rugs but have found that the polypropelyne copies are a dream. They wash and never fade and wear like iron. Have you ever mentioned them in your blog?
I love the wool rug in picture. Any you can suggest like that
I have has sisal and jute rugs. After a year they were ruined by anything liquid. It took a while to find an alternative. . I’ve traded them in for indoor/outdoor rugs that look exactly like sisal but will not be ruined by water, wine, gravy or anything wet. They can be cleaned easily. I’ve had them for a few years and the look like new. I have cats and they have not shredded them etc. I would never buy a sisal rug again.
I do love your blog and your sense of sarcasm. So true; the dogs really do make a run for the rugs when they need to hurl! Of all the blogs I subscribe to, yours is the only one I NEVER delete. Can’t miss it.
Another seagrass fan here! In a busy household with two kids and a lab, they are great. We have them in our dining and family rooms. Liquid spills blot up easily.
The one major incident we had was when the aforementioned lab got sick on the family room. Poor girl tried to Wake us up but we couldn’t get her outside in time. It was a mess. I tried to scrub one spot and immediately knew that would set the stain. So we covered it with towels til morning, took the whole rug outside, and hosed it down, then let it dry. Good as new.
Hello Laurel and fellow readers!!
Sorry in advance if I’m being too literal here, but hoping you can clarify something for me please. At the very end of the post Laurel mentions that jute rugs are great as area rugs. The word area rug is the key here. Can I do sea grass as an area rug or does this require installation? For example thinking about doing sawgrass under the dining room table and also in a small area in my living room. Does that work with a rug mat or do I have to have it professionally installed? Thanks for entertaining this dumb question!!
You are absolutely right! I live on a small farm with 3 boys and lots of mud. I had a seagrass rug in my foyer that held up beautifully for years even with them trampling dirt all over it. Eventually the border fabric got gross and didn’t come clean anymore but the seagrass remained in perfect condition.
You are so right about seagrass! I have had the same seagrass rugs for years with both an older dog and now two crazy puppies (their names are Barnum and Bailey to give you an idea of what a “circus” it is around here!) and the rugs look good as new. However, all it took was one doggy throw-up on our old sisal rug to create a permanent round spot that refused to leave. So, seagrass yay…..sisal nay. 😊
I’m 100% in the Sea grass camp myself.
I’m just not giving my grand baby any gravy 😉
Although she does have a plate that sticks to the high chair tray
Lots of things have a small price to pay, like hand washing the silver.
It’s worth it!
In life what ever you gain you must lose something!
You just have to deciide what proportion you accept.
I read an interview with Bunny Williams (in Southern Living, I think) where she gave advice on where to splurge and where to save. She said her best advice was to do seagrass rugs because they are inexpensive and look fantastic. If it works for Bunny, it works for me.
I currently have seagrass rugs in a living room (large custom size with a wool rug layered over it), TV room, and bedroom. They all look great after years of use. The only thing I would say is that I personally prefer a softer rug underfoot in a bedroom, but I do love the look of it so much that it just might be worth the tradeoff.
O.K., Laurel, I have been trying to avoid making this comment, but you have forced me into it:
“You’ve gotta seagrass every night, or you can’t seagrass at all!”
There was an old song that went, “You gotta see your Mama, every night, or you can’t see Mama at all!” George Burns and Groucho Marx often used to dine together, and when Burns ordered the sea bass, Groucho drove him crazy by always singing, “You’ve gotta sea bass, every night, or you can’t sea bass at all.” One night Burns was eating alone, so he thought it was safe to order the sea bass. However, the waiter had been bribed to reply, “You’ve gotta sea bass, every night, etc.”
Every time you mention seagrass you make me think of this corny story.
p.s. For grass (or any other) rugs, I would get one of those small Bissel carpet/upholstery cleaners, which work by vacuuming the suds out, not rubbing it in.
I have had seagrass in my homeu for just under 20 years. i first had it in the lounge and loved it so much, against the advice I receved that it would be too slippery and hazardous, I then installed it on seveal flights of stairs. It survives the rigours of family life, pets, children and have never become slippery as I was warned. I would noy hesitate to use it again in heavy trafficked areas of the home. It survives almost total neglect and still looks good BUT it is not completely stain proof. Over 20 years I have found 3 things difficult to deal with on seagrass. 1. Toothpaste 2. Coffee and 3 (the worst) red wine. You must act immediatley with all 3.
I love seagrass. I’ve had it in most rooms over three homes in the last 25+ years. It is forgiving in every way. Jute and sisal are different in my experience. It’s true seagrass that is so easy to live with and good-looking, too.
I found that seagrass can be rough underfoot. At home I usually don’t wear shoes. The rug texture was so uncomfortable on the bottom of my feet. Ouch! It also gave me a couple of splinters. Not a fan.
Thank you, Laurel. I learned more than I ever thought possible about seagrass, sisal, look-alike wool rugs. I like the casual feel they bring to a home.
Jute. No a thousand times no. Jute is a very common allergen 🙁 I am terribly allergic to jute (even just trying to use twine or jute string or burlap in the garden and I am sneezing miserably and face itching). Evidently a lot of other people figure out they are allergic to jute after getting a new rug. No experience with seagrass, it looks really nice though.
And how exactly do you clean the sea grass rugs? Can you use a steam machine or something?
I bought a sea grass rug that you recommended and it’s been pretty great! I have a two year old, two labs, and a cat that give it a beating. The only issue was my fault- I pulled the couch backwards over the edge and the fabric edging came unstitched where one of the get caught. So I hot glued that sucker back together and turned it 180 so it’s under a piece of furniture. So far the glue has held up fine; it’s been about 9 months. I would 100% buy it again.
OMGOSH I have seagrass everywhere even the bathroom and my 4 yr old grandson….well, you can imagine the bathroom seagrass has taken a beating from him! No worries, it cleans up beautifully. I have an Oushak wool rug that was very costly in our familly room that
I had to have cleaned and the clieaning was ridiculously expensive…..I wish I had just gotten the seagrass instead and used a smaller Oushak over it…..it would have been much more interesting and a lot less expensive. Next time we move…..seagrass everywhere!
“Incidentally, cat folks, did you ever notice how they go running FOR the rug just before they upchuck?”
They’re avoiding the splashback effect.