Sisal rugs were on the tip of the green iceberg, and for good reason: they balance a natural look with good wear resistance. They're affordable, too, especially compared to other rug choices, and what they lack in softness, they make up for in visual impact.
Caveats include a scratchy texture and absolutely no resistance to liquid stains: there's nothing more nerve-racking than a tipsy guest with a glass of red wine on a new sisal rug. And while we see them in dining rooms all the time, we think there are better choices if there's going to be food around regularly.
Our latest check found several good values -- especially if you like aqua or orange.
Crate and Barrel has a number of sisal rug options. The simplest is shown above, without a border, in a pleasing, muted palette. Regular prices range from $29 to $459, but if you like aqua, you're in luck: an 8' x 10' is $139 plus shipping. As of this writing, other sizes are available.
Sisal Rugs Direct is bit different: they cut and bind rugs to order. A 6' x 9' rug with a simple canvas binding is $240, but the real advantage is that you can get the size you need and exactly the rug you want: say, the cognac color sisal shown above, plus a black leather binding. (And the Wall Street Journal claim on their site? It's for real. We were dubious and tracked it down in a WSJ archive.)
If you've bought a sisal rug, where did you get it? How was the purchase experience -- and the rug?