How to Buy an Animal Skin Rug

Handmade Dorian Cowhide from Cowhide by NuLoom

An animal skin rug is great for any homeowner who wants to change up their look without having to remodel. As you’ve probably already guessed, an animal skin rug isn’t a cheap investment. Buying an animal skin rug takes careful consideration. Since you’re going to be investing a lot of money, you want to make sure you choose one that’s durable and looks great in your home.

But, there are a lot of options when it comes to buying an animal skin rug. How do you know which one to choose? If you’re confused, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s how to buy an animal skin rug.

Benefits of Buying an Animal Skin Rug

APP-1002 from Appalachian by Surya

What exactly makes animal skin rugs worth the money? For one thing, the beauty of an animal skin rug simple can’t be beaten by an imitator. While synthetic rugs are certainly nice and come with their own benefits, there’s something unique and eye-catching about an animal skin rug. Plus, when you buy an animal skin rug, you are truly buying a unique item. Even two animal skin rugs from the same manufacturer will have slightly different patterns, colors, texture, and length.

Another benefit of an animal skin rug is its durability. There is perhaps no material that’s more durable than leather. In fact, animal skin rugs are borderline indestructible. These rugs can survive an endless amount of foot traffic, pet chewing, and dirt. At the same time, animal skin rugs are also pliable and soft. You really get the best of both worlds with an animal skin rug.

Animal skin rugs are also completely natural. You never have to worry about them being filled with nasty chemical dyes or fragrances. Plus, they’re naturally hypoallergenicAlso, we can’t forget about how easy these rugs are to maintain. Most dust and stains can be cleaned with a damp cloth.

Last but not least, animal skin rugs can add an incredible amount of artistry and character to any room. There are very few decor items that make as loud of a statement as animal skin rugs.

How to Buy an Animal Skin Rug

SHS121M from Sheep Skin by Safavieh

When purchasing an animal skin rug, it’s important to keep the following in mind.

Color and Markings

There’s a huge variety of colors and patterns to choose from. You can buy your animal skin rug in one solid color, tri-colored, dyed, speckled, or salt-and-pepper. The great thing about animal skin rugs is that their natural colors are all neutrals. This means you shouldn’t fret too much about the color, as you’ll be able to find a way to work it into your decor.

After you decide on the color, you need to consider what markings, you want.

  • Spotted: If you want to add a Western flair to a room, a spotted rug is the way to go. Spotted rugs are perhaps the most traditional of patterns.
  • Brindle: Brindle rugs have a patchy, stripy pattern to them, and they also come in a variety of colors. You can find brindle-patterned animal skin rugs in both dark and light hues. These rugs look very sophisticated and look especially great in dining rooms and home offices.
  • Speckled: Speckled rugs have a dappling pattern that remains consistent throughout the rug. They have a unique look that works well in both modern and rustic homes.
  • Acid Wash/Stencil: Acid/stenciled rugs are considered specialty animal skin rugs. These rugs have a more exotic look, and they’re great for anyone who wants an animal skin rug outside of the neutral color range.

Size, Shape, and Hair Length

The size of your animal skin rug will largely depend on the size of the animal. If you want a small rug, you’ll need to buy a rug that’s made from a small animal, like a sheep. If you want a large rug, you’ll need to buy one that’s made from a large animal, like a cow or a bear. Before you start shopping, figure out what size of rug will fit in your space. Keep in mind that you may want extra space between the rug and the wall, as a rug bunched up against a wall will look tacky. In general, you’ll want a few inches of space around each side of the rug.

The shape of the rug will not be entirely uniform throughout. You’re not going to find an animal skin rug that forms a perfect circle or square. The amorphous shape of the rug is something that needs to be kept in mind.

Once you have the size and the shape figured out, it’s time to move onto hair length. Typically, you’ll have very little control over hair length, but the difference isn’t usually significant. Chances are, you won’t notice it once you lay the rug out.

Source and Quality

Where your animal skin rug comes from can make a huge difference. In general, rugs from Argentina, Colombia, Brazil, and France are considered to be the gold standard of animal skin rugs. This is because these areas use special oils and chrome salts to tan the rugs and prevent them from becoming coarse. Plus, if maintaining ethical standards is important to you, manufacturers from these areas only use humane skin from the dairy and meat industry.

Regardless of where your rug comes from, it’s still very important to test the quality before you decide to keep it. There are a few things you can do to test the quality of your rug.

  • The Bunch Test: This involves bunching up the rug and slowly letting it unroll. If it’s a high-quality rug, it’ll easily unroll without any wrinkles.
  • Smell Test: The rug should smell like genuine leather
  • Sight Test: The rug should have a healthy sheen to it

Displaying Your Animal Skin Rug

Handmade Dorian Cowhide from Cowhide by NuLoom

There are a lot of great ways to display your animal skin rug. These include:

Cozy Comfort Zone

Do you have a favorite spot that you love lounging in or curling up with a good book? If you’re looking to add an extra dash of coziness to this special space, place your animal skin rug there. If you don’t already have a go-to cozy spot in your home, your animal skin rug gives you the perfect chance to create one.

Contrasting Simplicity

Minimalistic, simple design is “in” right now and for good reason. Minimalism breeds tranquility and relaxation while still looking sophisticated and classy. Just because your home has a minimalist style doesn’t mean you can’t add a pop here and there. This is where an animal skin rug comes in. An animal skin rug creates the perfect contrast to any minimalist or Scandinavian room. These rugs look especially great on wood floors. If you have a white floor, you can buy an animal skin rug in a unique color to add a pop to the room.   

Maintaining Your Animal Skin Rug

SHS211A from Sheep Skin by Safavieh

Animal skin rugs are extremely durable, but that doesn’t mean they don’t require maintenance. The best way to maintain your animal skin rug is to vacuum it on a regular basis. When vacuuming, make sure you move the vacuum in the direction of the fur. Instead of vacuuming, you can also brush the material. Just be sure to buy a brush that’s specifically made to be used on animal skin rugs.

If you accidentally spill something on your animal skin rug, you’ll want to be sure to wipe it up immediately using a damp cloth. Just like vacuuming, make sure you wipe in the direction of the hair. If it’s a tougher spill, apply some mild detergent to a damp cloth. Lastly, keep your animal skin rug dry and away from heat. Heat can easily warp the fur.

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