We believe that pretty much any space in your home can benefit from a rug. And this philosophy extends to the great outdoors, too! The right rug has the potential to transform your outdoor spaces into your own personal oasis, whether you have a sprawling deck with room for a party or a small balcony with room for two. Get inspired with our ultimate guide to choosing the perfect outdoor rug below.
Common Types of Outdoor Rugs
Most outdoor rugs have a protective outer coating to stave off the effects of fading from the sun and damage from getting wet. Some protective coatings can help minimize the growth of mold. However, we recommend cleaning your outdoor rugs to keep them mold-free and looking their best! Outdoor rugs can feature a variety of materials, including polypropylene, polyester, jute, and nylon.
Polypropylene is a synthetic fiber that is most popular in outdoor rugs. Resistant to UV rays, polypropylene also protects against stains, offering you a low maintenance option! Jute is one of our favorite natural fibers that you can use as an outdoor rug if placed under a covered deck or porch area—but avoid getting it wet as they do best in cool, dry environments.
Before selecting an outdoor rug size and style, consider where you’ll be placing the rug. If it will sit under a covered overhang, you have more flexibility with styles that aren’t suitable for long periods in the rain. If the rug will be exposed to weather, opt for a durable synthetic material, such as polypropylene.
How to Choose Your Outdoor Rug Size
When choosing the size of your outdoor rug, consider the space available to you, and what you’ll be using it for.
Even the smallest spaces can benefit from an outdoor rug! Many of our outdoor styles are available in runners, which are the perfect size for adding to slim balconies or patios. If you’re working with a little bit larger of an area, our sizes around 5’ x 8’ and below are great for framing small sitting areas and creating that intimate, indoor-decorating feel.
For outdoor areas with more space, such as patios and decks, a large outdoor rug works best to tie the space together and make an indoors-style living room. Large rugs such as a 6 ’x 9’ and above are our go-tos when working with oversized outdoor spaces!
Once you’ve determined how much space you have, you’ll also want to consider how you’ll be using your outdoor space, and what furniture will play a part in the overall design. For outdoor dining spaces, we recommend a large enough rug that comfortably fit under the table and chairs, allowing extra space so the chairs remain on it even when pushed away from the table.
Our rules of thumb from our Rug Size Guide also apply when choosing an outdoor rug for an outdoor lounge space: Choose a size that allows all four feet of the furniture to rest comfortably on the rug if possible! When working with smaller outdoor spaces, such as a small balcony or nook, opt for a runner or small rug that can support the furniture layout while not overwhelming the design.
How to Choose Your Outdoor Rug Style
An outdoor space allows you the freedom to experiment with different decor themes without worrying about the way the rest of your home is styled. Since your patio, porch, balcony, or other outdoor area is likely only used a few months of the year, it’s nice to make it feel special. You can do this by choosing an outdoor rug in a pattern that suits your theme.
Some of our favorite outdoor rug styles include:
- Pops of Color: How pretty is this blue rug, which perfectly complements the natural colors of the patio look above? While we love an earthy tone outside for that reason, any hue will do on the patio. So have fun with it! Bring in something bold to really punch it up, or tie the rug in with the rest of your outdoor textiles like @simplymicheleb and her chic blue hues.
- Bold and Graphic: Sometimes, a more statement look is what you’re going after. And the easiest way to accomplish that in your outdoor spaces is with a bold and graphic rug. From oversize stripes to geometric Moroccan diamonds, our collection is filled with styles that will roll out a major punch.
- Chic and Subdued: If you’re not a bolder-is-better kind of decorator, a softer, more textural pattern for an outdoor rug will add just as much character and charm. We love the thoughtful, sophisticated look the above styles bring to their respective spaces—proof that simple and subdued can make a big impact!
- Boho Vibes: In our view, boho rugs were made for the outdoors. Their free-spirited style pairs perfectly with the neutral look of outdoor furniture—and not to mention any plants and other natural elements in the area! Try out a Moroccan-inspired or medallion style to bring the beautifully bohemian look to your outdoor setup.
Caring for Your Outdoor Rug
While dirt and unexpected weather are a natural part of the outdoors, we still recommend cleaning your outdoor rugs from time to time to extend their lifespan and keep them looking fresh year-round. Here are some ways to clean your outdoor rug:
Shake it: Holding one corner, shake the rug vigorously to chase away dirt and debris. If your rug is too large to hold up by one corner, hang it over a fence and strike it with a broom handle.
Vacuum: Every few weeks, it’s a good idea to run a vacuum cleaner over the top and underside of outdoor rugs. This removes the surface dirt and debris and loosens any packed dirt. After vacuuming, you can shake it out before placing it back on the floor.
Sweep: Your vacuum cleaner might not have a cord long enough, so you can always swiftly and aggressively sweep it. You want to sweep both sides and shake it after you’re done to remove any remaining debris that you knocked loose.
Spot-clean wet stains: If you spill wine or some other type of liquid on your rug, use a dry cloth and blot the liquid until it’s absorbed.
Spot-clean dry stains: Using a sponge or cloth, dip it into a mixture of water and a mild detergent. Gently clean the area with a sponge or cloth. Rinse the sponge out frequently and keep gently blotting until the stain is gone. Rinse all the detergent away with water and allow the rug to dry.
Wash the rug: Yes, you can wash the entire outdoor rug. It’s best to do this on a sunny, breezy day. Here’s how:
- Vacuum, sweep, or shake off any loose dirt and debris.
- Using a hose or bucket, wet the rug. Mix water and a rug cleaner or mild detergent.
- With a soft brush, scrub the soap mixture into the rug.
- Let the soap mixture sit for around 10 minutes.
- Rinse the rug clean, making sure that the rinse water runs clear.
- The rug should lie flat while drying.
Remove mold and mildew: If you find mold or mildew on your rug, there are two methods available for cleaning:
- Bleach method: Sweep, vacuum, or shake the rug to remove loose dirt and debris. On your driveway or another large surface, spray the rug with a mixture of bleach and water, and then rinse it thoroughly. Leave it in the sun to dry.
- Vinegar and baking soda method: If the rug isn’t safe for bleach, you can use baking soda and vinegar. After clearing the dirt and debris, sprinkle the area with baking soda. Next, fill a spray bottle with vinegar and spray the affected area. Leave it to soak for a few minutes. You may notice it bubbling, and this is fine. Afterward, rinse it thoroughly and leave it in the sun to dry.