How to Choose the Best Outdoor Rug

How to Choose the Best Outdoor Rug

Looking to buy an outdoor rug but don’t know where to begin? Outdoor area rugs are showing up everywhere as people start to use their outdoor spaces more like living rooms and not just as a plain, grassy back yard.  

You might never have considered using a rug on your patio, porch or outdoor space, but it can really make the space feel much more cozy.  It’s so nice to put your bare feet down onto a rug when you’re having a drink outside or hosting a get together.  A rug really does make the space feel like another living room — one with fresh air and sun!

If you’ve never purchased an outdoor rug this post will give you tips on where to get your indoor/outdoor rug.  I’ll also share my strategy for keeping them clean, choosing the right size and dispel some rumors about outdoor rugs.   

What Size Outdoor Rug Should I Get?

The size rug you should buy depends on the furniture on your patio, deck or porch.  It’s better if you buy your outdoor furniture before you choose a rug.  Just like in your living room, the size of the rug depends on where the furniture goes.  

The outdoor rug should be large enough enough that all of the legs of the furniture fit on the rug.  The rug anchors the sitting area together.  If you space is really large, consider two rugs. One in each sitting area.

A rug anchors the furniture and makes it feel more like a room.  Since outdoor area rugs are so inexpensive, go big.  Get the biggest rug you can fit.  There’s not a huge price difference between a 4×6 and an 8×10 since they are made of synthetic materials.  

Are Outdoor Patio Rugs A Good Idea?

Whether or not you should use an outdoor rug depends on a few things.  First, is the space where you are putting the outdoor rug covered by a patio, umbrella or pergola? 

Your space doesn’t have to be covered to keep a rug outside.  BUT the rugs tend to look better for longer when they aren’t out in the open. They also require less cleaning.

We had an outdoor rug in our uncovered couryard for years and it never faded or showed any signs of wear, but I did have to sweep it often.  Your rug will LOOK wet when it gets rained on, but they dry out pretty quickly.  

I think they ARE a great idea whether your space is covered or not because they make your outdoor area feel more like an outdoor living room. 

Do Outdoor Rugs Get Moldy?

Outdoor rugs can get moldy if they are wet for long periods of time and the weather is warm.  Mold needs a temperature of 70 degrees or higher to grow. 

If your rug stays dry most of the time and you don’t live in a very moist environment you should have no problem with mold.  If you notice everything on your front porch gets moldy during a certain time of year, the rug will likely be no exception. 

Some of the outdoor are rugs are treated to make them water and mildew resistant.  Check the label on your outdoor rug before you buy it if mold is a problem in your area.  

How Do I Choose An Outdoor Area Rug?

Outdoor rugs are pretty inexpensive.  The best way to choose one is to limit the vast number of choices by color.  Choose a color that contrasts with the outside of your house, but doesn’t match it.  For example, if you have a grey house and you get a grey rug, it doesn’t add as much warmth to your outdoor space. 

The second factor to consider is size.  It’s pretty similar to how you choose the right size area rug for a living room.  If you have outdoor seating, chairs or a sofa, you want the legs of the furniture to all be able to sit on the rug.  Not all the legs have to fit, but the front legs of chairs and a sofa should fit onto the rug. 

Since they are pretty inexpensive, bigger can be better.  You can get almost any size for less than $200. 

Is It Better To Get a Solid Rug or One With Pattern?

Pattern can help to hide dirt and debris.  I prefer a patterned outdoor area rug because it looks cleaner, even though it might not be.  Keep in mind that bright colors can fade with time. 

I also like to get a patterned rug because you might be reluctant to go for a loud rug inside, but outside is a whole new ball game.  You can buy something more wild and fun that doesn’t have to last a long time if you get tired of the bold pattern.  

What Is the Best Type of Outdoor Rug?

The best outdoor rugs are made of plastic or polypropylene.  This material can stand up to the elements and is easy to clean.  The biggest downside of this type of material is that it doesn’t hold up very well in high-traffic areas like hallways or kitchens. 

Most of us don’t walk on our outdoor rugs every single day.  This makes the polypropylene ideal for outdoor spaces.  You can also buy recycled plastic rugs.  These are great if you want to reduce your impact on the environment. 

Best Outdoor Area Rugs 2020

My favorite places to find outdoor rugs are Target, Walmart, Amazon and Overstock.   Many outdoor area rugs can be used indoors as well.  They don’t have to be used outside.  Most of them are labeled indoor/outdoor rug.  They can work inside as long as you like the feel of them.  They aren’t normally plush and have a low pile.  

If you choose to use them indoors they can be used in high-traffic areas, but they don’t last as long as some of the more natural fibers like wool. 

Safavieh is a rug maker that makes high quality rugs.  They have a big selection of rugs available at Amazon.  The great thing about shopping for a rug on Amazon is that there is so much selection, and that they ship fast. 

How to Clean Indoor Rugs

Outdoor rugs are easy to clean because most of them are really made of plastic (polypropylene).  They don’t feel like plastic to your feet, but they are.

The best way to clean your rug depends on how dirty it is.  If it just has a little bit of dirt, leaves or debris you can sweep it clean.  It’s a good idea to pull the rug up and sweep underneath, too.  Depending on the season, you may want to sweep it off once a week or once a month.  In Texas, there’s a lot more sweeping in the spring and fall. 

If your rug is a little dirtier you can squirt it off using a hose with a pressure head attached.  If it’s really dirty you can power wash it. 

Should I Roll Up My Outdoor Rug For Winter?

This depends on the climate where you live.  In Texas I leave my rug out all year long.  We rarely get freezing, wet weather.  If I lived in Minnesota, or any place with snow on the ground for long periods of time, I recommend rolling up your rug for winter.

Do Outdoor Rugs Fade?

Whether or not your area rug fades depends on the manufacturer.  However, I’ve owned outdoor rugs from Amazon, Target and World Market and none of them have faded.  This holds true even if they are left in an uncovered space.  

It never hurts to read the reviews if you are buying from a manufacturer that you’ve never heard of, but since they are made of plastic they don’t tend to fade.  

You can buy rugs that are UV-resistant, which will make them less likely to fade if they will be in a very sunny space.  

Are Outdoor Rugs Waterproof?  

If the rug is made of polypropylene it is waterproof.  This doesn’t mean that they don’t get wet but they don’t get ruined by water.  

There are rugs that are advertised as “moisture-proof”.  These rugs have a backing that prevents the water from pooling.  

Can I Use An Outdoor Rug On A Deck?

You can use an outdoor rug on top of a wood deck. However, if the rug remains wet for long periods of time it can be damaging to the deck. You might want to consider rolling the rug up or hanging it over the railing to dry if it gets wet.

If possible try to stick to very thin rugs that hold less water. Recycled plastic rugs tend to retain the least amount of water.

How Long Do Outdoor Rugs Last?

How long your outdoor rug will last depends on the manufacturer and the material.  I left my outdoor rug outside for four years, two covered and two uncovered and it didn’t change much.  

If the rug has a tight weave it will hold up better and longer.  There are some very loose weave rugs at Home Depot and Lowes that don’t last as long.  Flat weave and tight weave rugs hold up longer.  

How long it will last also depends on where the rug lives.  A rug exposed to the elements every day will not last as long as one in a covered space.  

Door Mat Vs. Outdoor Rug

Outdoor rugs are different from door mats.  Door mats are usually made of a material that is designed to help remove debris before you enter the house.  People rub their feet on the mat.  

Indoor/outdoor area rugs are completely different both in the look and feel and the purpose.  Mats are usually made of coir or rope.  

Enjoy Your Outdoor Space

Now that you know all the ins and outs of outdoor rugs, try one out for yourself.  Once you sit on a patio with a rug you will not want to go back.

This post was written by Andrea, the creator of Design Morsels. If you want more ideas about decorating your outdoor spaces so they feel more like a room come visit my blog Design Morsels.

Our home and garden obsessed writers and editors choose every product we review. We may earn money if you buy from a link. Read our full disclosure policy.


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