The Homeowner Buyers Guide to Outdoor Rugs
Are you preparing to spend more time outside this season? Discover the best ways to add colour and indoor comfort underfoot on your deck, porch, or patio with our outdoor rugs.
As the seasons heat up, we all take advantage of longer days and warmer temperatures by dining al fresco. Bringing leisure time activities onto decks, patios, and in the garden. As more hours are spent out of the house, it’s only natural to embrace this outdoor space as an extra living room.
One of the fastest ways to add colour, style and a little bit of indoor comfort is through an outdoor rug. Much as it does in interior design, a rug can tie together a collection of open-air furnishings and exteriors.
An outdoor rug needs to withstand different types of natural environment. Thanks to modern advances in fabrication, outdoor rugs now feature a better range in durability and design. You only need to know what qualities to look for in these textiles. When shopping for the best outdoor rug, keep these key considerations in mind to help narrow the vast majority of options. Ahead, we even have a handful of top picks to start your shopping trip!
When shopping for any rug, you’ll see the marketplace categorised into two types of materials: synthetic and natural fibres.
Synthetic fibres are favoured for their combination of vibrant colour, durability, and resistance to fading, mildew and mould. The majority of these outdoor rugs are manufactured using polypropylene, but nylon, polyester, polypropylene and acrylic varieties are also available, each with its own set of pros and cons.
•Polypropylene, is an extruded, solution-dyed fibre that doesn’t absorb any liquid or stains. Many indoor-outdoor options are constructed of 100% polypropylene. Some of the benefits of polypropylene include it being naturally stain-resistant, mould-resistant, and mildew-resistant. They then UV-treate it to prevent fading after exposure to sunlight.
• Acrylic is the most similar in appearance to natural fibres, featuring a soft finish that feels cushiony underfoot. Acrylic absorbs and releases moisture readily, which makes it resistant to mould and mildew. The product also dyes well and is fairly colourfast and stain-resistant.
• Polyester offers a number of positive attributes, including vivid colouration that is resistant to fading and many stains. Polyester is vulnerable to oil-based stains, however, and also can shed or mat down in high-traffic areas.
Bamboo, sisal, hemp, jute and seagrass rugs all are made from natural fibres and are inherently eco-friendly as sustainable materials. Natural rugs feel soft and luxurious underfoot and though they dye well, often are used to bring in hues and textures that complement the outdoor space.
For more information on Natural Rugs check out our Ultimate Guide To Natural Fibre Rugs.
Indoor/outdoor rugs are offered in a wide range of constructions, so it’s good to know the terminology before your begin shopping. The three labels you’ll see the most often are hand-hooked, machine-made and braided styles.
• Hand-hooked rugs, which feature a short handmade pile, are the most expensive options due to the higher-quality materials and the additional time that goes into manufacturing these types of rugs. These come in the most colourful design options.
• Machine-made rugs are manufactured more quickly and efficiently via power looms that simultaneously weave several different colours. A variety of designs come out of this manufacturing process. To keep the price point affordable for consumers, these machine-made rugs tend to have less detailing and more basic materials than hand-hooked rugs.
• Flatweave rugs—including flat-braided, corded-and-stitched, and kilim style rugs—have no pile. Instead of tufting, these outdoor rugs are made by either knotting or weaving polypropylene yarns together into a textile with less cushion.
Most outdoor rugs are constructed with a backing material of either polypropylene or another synthetic fibre; rugs backed in jute, a natural fibre, will not be as durable. Flatweave rugs, though, typically have no backing and are therefore reversible.
Colours and Colourfastness
Both synthetic and natural fibre outdoor rugs come in a variety of colours and patterns. Geometrics, stripes and medallions are among the most popular styles, but there are also bold florals, tropical looks, and novelty designs available.
Woven patterns being the most prevalent due to the designs’ superior colourfastness and durability. Indeed, the best outdoor rugs are labelled ‘solution-dyed’, meaning the colour was actually added to the chemicals used to create the fibre rather than having the yarns dyed after they were made.
This method ensures that the rug is resistant to fading – a special concern for outdoor rugs, which often have very little shade from the sun. This superior colourfastness also helps solution-dyed rugs resist stains hold up better to cleaning than rugs coloured through other methods of dyeing, like yarn-dyeing and piece-dyeing.
When choosing a rug, keep in mind that darker colourations create a more intimate environment. Where as lighter shades make a small area seem more spacious. No matter the design and colours you select, you can certainly count on rugs to make your outdoor living spaces more stylish!
5 Patio Favourites, According to our Customers
The wide variety of outdoor rug styles available means that you can customise your floor décor to match virtually any decorating scheme. To show you exactly what we mean, we’ve rounded up five of the best outdoor rugs that meet our standards of durability and design as well as won over some of our consumers.
Hug Rug Reversible Woven Rugs 120x170cm (£125.00)
To set the foundation for a modern- maybe even funky-style, consider the reversible two-tone design of the Reversible Woven rug. Woven from recycled plastic bottles, the 120x170cm herringbone rug is still soft enough for bare feet! Unsurprisingly, the durable, fade-proof, mildew-resistant, and low-maintenance surface is a crowd pleaser. Available at The Rug Seller in rugs, cushions and throws.
Plaza Indoor/Outdoor Rugs 152x230cm (£99.00)
Featuring a classic diamond pattern the Plaza Rugs are loved for the quality, beauty and elegance it brings to indoor-outdoor areas. Thanks to a power-loomed construction, this rug blends premium quality polypropylene synthetic fibres with a low-pile sisal. Creating a look for the best of both worlds: stain and fade resistance with natural softness. With this sophisticated design available in five neutral colour schemes, you might find yourself tempted to pick up a couple for use indoors and out. Available on The Rug Seller.
Patio Flatweave Indoor/Outdoor Rugs 200x290cm (£119.00)
Showcasing a monochrome geometric pattern in bold contrasting shades the Patio rug is a striking statement piece. It is available in two colourways – black and white (as pictured) or white and black. Constructed of durable polypropylene and water-resistant, you can count on the minimalistic style staying put in rain or shine. If dirt begins to dull it, simply rinse off with a hose! Plus, a latex/polyester backing helps the rug stay in place underfoot. Available at The Rug Seller.
Piatto Flatweave Indoor/Outdoor Rugs 160x230cm (£110.00)
This geometric rug features an attractive, but no overpowering design of geometrics fit for any transitional space. Don’t worry if there’s no sky blue in your outdoor living room; you can find a similar design and colour (including a silver or natural). Constructed of durable polypropylene synthetic fibres that are treated to resist stains and mildew, the product can handle the elements out on a patio or heavy foot traffic indoors. Available at The Rug Seller.
Outdoor Border Indoor/Outdoor Rugs 150x230cm (£90.00)
Showcasing simplistic design, this rug is a beautiful addition to indoor and outdoor areas. Constructed of 100 percent polypropylene from recycled bottles, milk jugs, and other plastic packaging, the indoor/outdoor rug is stain and mildew resistant. It has been treated to protect it from UV rays so much so that it comes with a one-year guarantee. Now for the tough decision: which of the four colour combinations to choose? Available at The Rug Seller.
Caring for Your Outdoor Rug
Outdoor rugs are relatively low maintenance, but like indoor rugs, care is required if you want them to last. Utilising rug pads for your outside rug is also suggested. Rug pads help to prolong the life of rugs because they act as a buffer between the rug and the surface it’s on top of, protecting both. Pads also prevent slippage making the rug safer to use.
Vacuuming is also suggested for your outdoor rug since it prevents dirt from building up. Like most rugs, make sure to remove your vacuum beater bar before vacuuming. If it’s easier, a broom is another great way to get the dirt off outdoor rugs as is a hard shake or even a leaf blower.
When spills occur, clean them up quickly, letting them sit too long can lead to lasting damage. Most outdoor rugs can be thrown in a washing machine or rinsed with a hose pipe, but you should always check the cleaning tag on your outdoor rug before getting it wet.
While outdoor rugs can handle Mother Nature, when the weather turns and temperatures dip below freezing, it’s best to clean and store your outdoor rugs. When storing, make sure to roll your rug with the bottom facing out.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are outdoor rugs made of?
Are outdoor rugs waterproof?
Not all outdoor rugs are waterproof. However, some materials are better for wet weather than others. Polypropylene outdoor rugs (also known as olefin) are made from a synthetic fibre and works well in conditions with high moisture and heavy foot traffic. Because of its ability to absorb, polypropylene makes for a great waterproof outdoor rug. As it will not grow mould or mildew when exposed to water – strengthening its durability.
Can I use a normal, indoor rug outside?
No, indoor rugs are not made to withstand the elements – rain and sun – of the outdoors. The sun can fade them. The rain can cause watermarks and the fibres to disintegrate.
Now that you know the ins and outs of outdoor rugs, slip off your shoes and sink those toes into your trendy and functional outdoor rug while you enjoy some fresh air.
Wondering how you could style an outdoor rug into your garden? Check out our Outdoor Style Guide: How to Create A Stylish Outdoor Space