Silk vs. Viscose - Custom Area Rugs

Fiber Content for Commercial & Hospitality Area Rugs - Silk and Viscose Options

Custom area rugs can be produced with a variety of materials which include silk and viscose. These can be substitutes or additions to other materials within a rug.  Let's quickly analyze the pro's and con's of using silk and/or viscose. Silk and Viscose have seemingly similar exteriors, but the actual production methods for both are largely different.  Silk is extracted from the cocoons of "silkworms", while Viscose is made from a wood pulp.  Viscose is sometimes referred to as "artificial silk", which is actually untrue since wood pulp is a naturally occurring material.  Silk production is a tedious process, involving details such as the temperature of the cocoons and the diet of the silkworms.  Silk is known for containing low conductivity, which makes it useful when woven into clothes, and also known for having a soft luster.

Viscose was invented as an alternative to reduce costs and the difficulty that comes with the production of silk. When comparing the materials to the naked eye, they look extremely similar making it very difficult to tell them apart, especially for the average person.

When deciding on which material to use, each fiber has it's own advantages and disadvantages.  One is not superior to the other, and will depend on how and where it is used.  Below is a pro and con list specifically for area rugs.  However, Royal American Carpets specializes in the area rugs for hospitality market, and we strongly recommend to use a combination of either wool & silk, or wool & viscose, depending on budget. Using a dominant percentage of wool will increase the durability of the rug, and you can still add in wonderful design effects from either of these 2 materials.


  • Known as one of the strongest natural fibers, maintaining its fiber strength for a substantial amount of time

  • Soft texture not being slippery

  • Unique refraction of light when viewed at different angles

  • Natural Fiber (environmentally friendly)

  • Has good moisture regain when wet

  • Adds substantial costs due to the time-consuming production process

  • Weakened when exposed to sunlight

  • Shows footprints easily

  • Proper cleaning methods are required


  • Excellent substitute to reduce costs and resemble silk

  • Depending on the materials added during production, it can be more susceptible to dyes

  • Crushes easier (especially under heavy furniture)

  • Weakened when exposed to sunlight

  • Contributes to air and water pollution