The world of rugs is incredibly diverse. All sorts of styles co-habit specialist rug shops like so many fish in the sea.

Okay, perhaps there aren’t quite as many styles of rugs out there as there are species of ocean critters, but there’s a good number and the variations are often fairly minute. Nevertheless, it’s these minute differences that have such a big impact when it comes to your interior design.

Fishing out the right rug is a matter of being attuned to the differences – recognising what will flourish in the environment you’ve created at home, what will prove a disruptive influence and what will simply die and need replacing before even having a chance to settle in.

For the moment, let’s focus on one of the differences you’ll encounter on your rug search. You’re bound to have a choice between rugs that are completely man-made and rugs that are much closer to nature. Material differences like these are hardly immaterial where décor is concerned.

Skins and pelts

There are some seriously attractive reasons to go with skins or pelts in your property. These rugs have a very natural feel about them – as you would expect given where they come. Sheepskin rugs are the most common but other skins and pelts are available. Cowhides, springbok, reindeer – all sorts of mammals with rich, luxurious coats have contributed them to people’s interior design.

The incredible softness of skins and pelts is their main appeal. However, they also add texture to the room in a visual capacity, preventing things from feeling too smooth, too neat and too square. Some skins can be found in standard rectangular sizes, but they offer you the chance to mix things up with less regular shapes.

These rugs are versatile too, fitting into modern and traditional settings with ease. You can even find them in a variety of colours, although don’t expect anything in terms of patterning.

Synthetic rugs

One downside to sheepskin rugs is the fact that they are difficult to clean and you need to be very careful about how you treat them. Moreover, if you are not that good at keeping your living room or bedroom tidy then the appearance and texture of sheepskin rugs might make things worse.

Synthetic rugs can often be machine washed and they usually retain a sense of neatness even when surrounded by chaos. They are regular in dimensions and diverse in colour. They also give you the option of introducing patterns to your living spaces – geometric patterns, traditional patterns, curvilinear patterns, art deco patterns, modern art patterns, floral patterns, fun patterns and so on.

So, synthetic rugs offer more in the way of choice even if specific examples don’t have the versatility of skins. For all that, some synthetic rugs mimic sheepskin rugs. Shaggy rugs, for example, come close to the texture and style of soft skins without surrendering their easy-care credentials. The only problem is that for fans of sheepskin rugs, close is not close enough…