By Jessi Minneci
Adding a durable, outdoor rug to your patio, porch, deck, breezeway, or gazebo is a fashionable way to spice up the area. After all, you may have completely revamped your outdoor space – splurging on waterproof lounge chairs, a dining set, and entertainment system – yet something still seems to be missing. An outdoor rug may be just the thing to tie your living space together and make it an extension of your cozy, interior space. But what outdoor rugs are able to get wet? Which materials and makes will withstand varying weather conditions? What are the differences between outdoor and indoor rugs?
Just like indoor area rugs, outdoor rugs are both functional and stylish. Unlike indoor rugs, however, outdoor rugs are typically made of materials that will hold through various conditions and resist stains and fading. Follow this guide to find the perfect outdoor rug for your home.
Natural Fiber Outdoor Rugs
Natural fibers such as bamboo, jute, or sisal are strong, sound-absorbent, sustainable, and will add lots of texture and personality to your outdoor space. They are also naturally renewable and sustainable, but keep in mind that the construction of an outdoor rug is important as it will determine the durability of the rug.
Bamboo outdoor rugs are usually flat wooden mats that create an organic, warm look and fit easily with casual and coastal living. When it comes to a bamboo rug, you always want to catch spills as soon as possible and blot intensely – one of its cons is that it can stain.
Jute outdoor rugs are made from the same materials used to make burlap, and they’re so soft that it almost feels like wool. However, the softness means it’s also the one of the least durable, making it ideal for a covered patio or breezeway.
Made from the sisalana, or agave, sisal fibers are the most resilient of the natural fiber group. Because of its increased durability, sisal also fairs well in high traffic areas and would make for a great option as an outdoor rug on an uncovered deck or concrete patio. Sisal fibers are coarse, so they’re not the most comfortable. They’re also prone to becoming slippery when overly saturated with water.
Something to note about natural fiber rugs, regardless of which material you prefer: Natural rugs can be prone to mildew or get destroyed if exposed to too much moisture. Because of their natural, renewable makeup, they also tend to break down faster than something that’s synthetic.
Synthetic Outdoor Rugs
Synthetic outdoor rugs can last season after season without much wear and tear. Because they are more “manufactured,” synthetic rugs also tend to come in a wider variety of vibrant colors (although most natural materials can also be dyed).
Polypropylene outdoor rugs (also known as olefin) are made from a synthetic fiber 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. Furthermore, it will not grow mold or mildew when exposed to water – strengthening its durability.
Acrylic outdoor rugs offer a texture similar to wool, with stain-resistant qualities. Acrylic absorbs and releases moisture quickly, thus allowing the fabric to "breathe." It’s also resilient, retains its shape, and resists shrinkage and wrinkles.
When it comes to exposure to other outdoor elements, such as sunlight, you will want to invest in a synthetic rug that’s 100-percent UV-stabilized. With the addition of these stabilizers, synthetic rugs won't fade from sunlight.
Outdoor rugs made from synthetic materials are also typically light-weight; so you can easily roll them up to move them around. Synthetic rugs are often less expensive than natural materials as well. If you’re looking for an affordable yet reliable waterproof and mold resistant outdoor rug, synthetic may be the answer to your prayers.
Choosing the most reliable rug is crucial to tying together the look and feel of your outdoor area. Before making a decision on the rug that’s best for you, ask yourself how you intend to use it throughout the year. If you’re dead set on going for something more natural, consider the amount of sunlight and water exposure the outdoor rug will endure. If you’re in the market for something more long-lasting and family friendly, a synthetic outdoor rug may be a better investment
You can bring together all types of spaces with a rug, and there's no better spot than the outdoors to define a space with one. Outdoor rugs further draw the eye to the area you’ve styled and also connect your interior design with your outdoor living space.
Images used with permission, courtesy of www.shutterstock.com and www.dreamstime.com