Sheepskin rugs and cushions are one of our favourite items. But before you invest in a sheepskin, here’s what you should know…
Sheepskins are perfect for cooler months. Full of ‘hygge’ texture and warmth, they bring dimension to your décor. They’re also a popular choice for babies’ tummy time, offering a soft spot for little ones on the floor.
But buying a sheepskin isn’t as simple as picking one with a nice pattern or pile. Here’s what you need to know before you make a choice.
How are sheepskins made?
The skins are taken as a by-product of the meat industry, which reduces waste from the animal by making it into something beautiful that might otherwise be thrown away.
They’re then processed through certified tanneries and factories to make sure the hides are of the best quality before they get to you.
There are many different breed types
Because sheepskin rugs and cushions are made from natural materials, every piece is different and depends on the breed it was taken from.
Icelandic sheepskins are a popular choice for those who want a classic, Scandinavian look. The texture is smooth and soft – perfect for running your fingers through!
They’re characterised by a pelt of long and short hairs, giving it an organic feel full of texture.
Mongolian sheepskins are great for making a style statement in your living area or bedroom.
The fur is easily identified by its naturally crimped texture which gives it a point of difference to other sheepskins.
Shorn vs. long-haired
The length of the rug pile depends on when it was taken or how it was finished by the manufacturer. Some sheepskins have a shorter pile (like goatskins) and others are brushed out and lusciously long.
Consider practicality when choosing a pile length on a sheepskin. Do you want the rug to be decorative only or do you want to throw it down on the floor?
For those who get a little squeamish when it comes to hides, a faux sheepskin is the ideal option.
Usually made from polyester or acrylic (super soft and silky!), faux furs are made to look just like the real thing without the animalism attached.
Patterns and sizes will vary
It might seem obvious, but it’s important to remember that real, natural sheepskins and hides will vary from animal to animal.
The rug you see online will be different to what you receive. The quality will be the same. But the spotty pattern, the tone of brown, and the general size won’t be exactly like the picture.
But that’s the fantastic thing about buying a real sheepskin! You get a totally unique, one-of-a-kind product. And that’s special.
Colour dyes may transfer
It’s generally safe to assume that you shouldn’t put a bright pink sheepskin on your white leather lounge. It might look amazing, but you just never know!
Consider the colour and practical use of the hide you want. You might be better off buying an all-natural hide with no colour dyes, or getting a protective mat for underneath.
How to look after your sheepskin
Most important: don’t put your sheepskin through the washing machine. Keep the hide away from strong sunlight as this can make the fibres brittle and damage the colour.
You shouldn’t really need to clean it often, but you can blot spills or (very) gently brush it with a pet brush. Let the hide dry naturally out of the sun.
If you do want to give your sheepskin a deeper cleanse, it’s best to go to a professional dry cleaner.