Rugs are the perfect way to pull together a space—grounding a room while adding some color, pattern, or texture to the area. And this is just as true for an outdoor space as inside your home. You might not immediately think of putting a rug out on your patio—but it can really anchor a seating area and add a sense of coziness to the space.
But you don’t just want to use any old rug in an outdoor space. That’s why outdoor rugs exist. These affordable, stylish, and durable rugs are made to survive the outdoor elements while adding some softness underfoot.
What are indoor-outdoor rugs?
Indoor-outdoor rugs are area rugs that are designed for use outdoors—whether that’s on a patio, a balcony, a pool deck, or in an outdoor living or dining area. These rugs are more durable than the average rug and are built to withstand the elements. Many are mold and mildew-resistant so you don’t have to worry about them getting soaked in a thunderstorm.
What materials are they made of?
A majority of indoor-outdoor rugs are made of synthetic materials like polyester and polypropylene. These materials are very durable and stain-resistant, and they also come in a wide variety of colors and patterns. And many polypropylene rugs are also UV resistant, so their colors don’t fade in the sunlight.
Natural fiber rugs can be used as indoor-outdoor rugs as well. Jute, seagrass, and sisal are great choices for an open-air space, and they add lovely texture to any seating area. Like the synthetic materials listed above, these natural fiber rugs are super durable, with the added bonus that they’re made from sustainable (and sometimes even organic) materials. However, be aware that jute and sisal, specifically, should only be used in a covered porch or patio, since these materials are susceptible to mold and mildew and can be damaged by exposure to too much moisture. Seagrass, on the other hand, is water-resistant and non-absorbent, and can therefore handle the elements a bit better.
Can I use an outdoor rug inside?
Absolutely! (You may be surprised to find that a rug you already have at home is actually an indoor-outdoor rug!) While not all indoor rugs can be used outside, all outdoor rugs can be used indoors. However, you’ll typically want to use a rug pad with them indoors to add extra cushion underfoot, since most outdoor rugs are flatweaves.
What are indoor-outdoor rugs best for?
There are actually so many uses for these versatile rugs. As we mentioned, indoor-outdoor rugs can be used both inside and outside in many different areas. Wondering how to choose a rug for your home, whether inside or in an outdoor space? Here are a few scenarios where indoor-outdoor rugs are the perfect choice.
Homes With Kids and Pets
Indoor-outdoor rugs are great for homes with kids and pets (or clumsy adults) since they’re low maintenance and easy to clean. Juice (or red wine) spill? No problem. Spaghetti sauce accident? Just wipe it right off with some soap and a damp cloth.
Consider using these for dining room rugs, or in a playroom or kids room, where they can act as a safeguard against spills and food crumbs. Just make sure you pick an option that is soft enough for your kiddos to crawl around and play on. And if you have pets in the home, those paws and claws won’t be a problem with one of these rugs.
When you have a house full of kids or pets, you often have to do a bit more than spot cleaning. To give your indoor-outdoor rug a more thorough clean, simply take it outside and hose it down with some mild soap and scrub it out with a brush. Most are made of synthetic fibers, so it’s virtually impossible to ruin the rug with too much washing or scrubbing. You can also simply shake them out or give them a quick vacuum (minus the beater brush). Some can even be thrown in the laundry machine! Just be sure to look at the tag before trying this option.
Indoor-outdoor rugs are very durable and made of materials that can handle high-traffic areas. So, they’re perfect for use in the busiest areas of the home, like the entry or the family room. The materials they’re made of also resist moisture, stains, and fading which only adds to their durability.
Our favorite ways to use them? Lay down one or two indoor-outdoor runners in your kitchen, hallway, or bathroom—just make sure you keep them in place with rug pads!
Since most indoor-outdoor rugs are mold, mildew, and moisture resistant, this is a great type of rug to use in areas of your home that can get damp. We’re talking basements, laundry rooms, and bathrooms, especially!
We all know that stylish, made-to-last rugs are expensive. However, indoor-outdoor rugs happen to have a much wider range of affordable options. And the price range is usually based on the size of the rug rather than the weave or design.
Plus, they often look just as great as indoor rugs, so you can get a high-end look for way less. It’s actually surprising to see all the different stylish options for indoor-outdoor rugs on the market. There are endless options for you to choose from! Whether it’s a colorful traditional pattern, a super neutral and minimal design, or a bold geometric graphic piece, you’re bound to find one that suits your taste.
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Tips for caring for your indoor outdoor rug
While indoor-outdoor rugs are extremely low-maintenance, they do need a little TLC to keep them in tip-top shape. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.
Clean up spills immediately. As with any rug or upholstery, you don’t want to leave a spill sitting on a rug. Though many indoor-outdoor rugs are stain-resistant and easy to clean, if a liquid sits on it for too long it can create a mark or stain.
Clean regularly. Whether you’re using one of these babies inside or outside, you’ll want to vacuum or shake them out from time to time to keep dirt from building up in the fibers, which can shorten the life of these rugs. Leaf blowers are also great for cleaning up dirt and debris when used outside!
Use a rug pad. Placing a rug pad underneath an indoor-outdoor rug will not only add a bit more cushion underfoot, but will also keep the weave looking nice and help with air circulation under the rug. If you decide to place a rug pad under a rug outside, consider one with a moisture barrier or one that’s specifically designed for use outside, since regular rug pads aren’t mold- or mildew-resistant like your indoor-outdoor rug!
If they get wet, hang them up to dry. While they can handle the rain, they’ll feel better underfoot if they get to dry out. No one wants to walk on a soggy rug, after all! Drape them over your patio furniture for quick drying.
Store them at the end of the season. If you live in an area with cold weather, you’ll want to make sure to roll up and store your outdoor rug before winter hits. Just make sure to give it a good cleaning before rolling it up and storing it!
Think an indoor-outdoor rug might be the right choice for your home? Check out our picks of the best indoor-outdoor rugs for 2021. Here are our favorites.