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Animal Skin Rugs - from Country to Urban Chic

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There are a number of decorating trends that have come and gone in a very brief period of time. One trend that simply doesn’t seem to fade away may be seen in the use of leather and animal skin to accent the home and provide functional benefits. The use of leather and/or animal skin rugs has been a useful way to provide functional benefits to a home since long before the advent of woven textiles. It has also a product that has retained its benefits in an age of synthetic fibers and coverings.


The Accents of Nature

Whether you’re decorating a rustic lodge surrounded by forest, made a home on the sweeping open range, or built a cozy, modern nest in a high rise apartment, animal hide can provide a pleasing and unique accent to your design scheme. A cowhide rug can display the natural markings of the animal or be dyed to match certain specifications, including mimicry of exotic animal markings.

Other types of animal hide can also provide both functional benefits and design accents. Sheepskin is not only warm, but also novel in texture and appearance. Cold winter nights were never so comfortable, curled up with a good book or movie, sheepskin offers warm, soft textures underfoot, as well as providing sound-normalizing properties in spaces with many hard surfaces.
Reindeer skins offer attractive and exotic points for any décor—toss them over a storage chest, the foot of your bed, or use them as an area rug in an entry way or family room.


Function First

Beyond their obvious decorative appeal, animal hide rugs offer a number of functional benefits. Cowhide, which can be dyed or natural, is hypoallergenic. Many individuals may suffer from the dust-catching nature of textile carpeting, but that doesn’t mean they have to suffer during the colder months with bare floors. As well, while modern industrial society has placed emphasis on selective animal products, such as meat, when you decorate with natural animal hides, you’re making use of more of the animal, which is a part of a being more ecologically conscious.

While many elect to use animal hides for floor coverings, they can also be specially treated to serve as blankets. Sheepskin makes an excellent blanket for your couch, to keep away the chill while you’re enjoying a good book on a chilly winter evening. As well, reindeer hides have been gaining in popularity. Long used by indigenous and Nordic cultures for their awesome insulating properties, reindeer hides offer superior protection from cold wood and stone floors or drafty homes. As well, when you snuggle beneath a reindeer throw rug, you can turn down the heat and save on your energy costs.


Unlike woven carpets or even moveable area rugs, animal skin is much easier to maintain. Simply pick it up and shake it free of dust outside. Because it is the hide of an animal, it can also be spot-cleaned in the same way you would wash a dog—no harsh chemicals needed. The only precaution you will want to observe with reindeer, if you decide it’s a perfect look for you, is to not store it near a major heat source. Reindeer are seasonal animals, shedding a heavy winter coat or a lighter summer coat, unlike sheep or cows. Your rug will begin to shed in intense heat. Beyond this small caution, such rugs and throws are ideal in any home—cost effective, eco-friendly, attractive, and unique. Pick your favorite today


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