How to choose the perfect outdoor rug

21 January, 2015

Outdoor rugs: They're eye-catching, elaborate and sold nearly everywhere – but buying one can be truly terrifying. Are they difficult to maintain? What if it rains? Is it really, truly necessary to have a rug outside, of all places? They can seem pretty risky at first glance, but committing to an outdoor rug doesn't have to be so scary. In fact, when you pick the right one, it can make all the difference between a pretty patio and a true outdoor room. Here's how to do it:

Measure it
First things first: Figure out exactly how big of an outdoor rug you're going to need, taking your outdoor furniture into account. To best unify a space with sofas, you'll want the rug to disappear beneath the front edges without coming out the back. Contrary to popular belief, rugs that are completely visible in the middle of a seating area will make your patio look smaller, not larger. This rule is different with patio dining tables, of course – you'll simply want the rug to be large enough that the chairs can be pushed back without falling off the back. 

Choose the right material
The second thing to consider? The material. While natural materials like bamboo, hemp and jute are super durable, they are prone to mold and mildew. If you live in a particularly wet climate, opt for a synthetic material like polyester or nylon instead. Not only are they quick to dry, they're incredibly easy to clean. Two additional qualities to look for in your dream rug: UV resistance and a non-slip back.

Keep it covered
Ideally, your outdoor rug should go under an area of your porch or patio, but we know that's not always possible. If it's going to be exposed to the elements, the best solution is to watch the weather. If you know a big thunderstorm or blizzard is coming, be sure to roll up your rug and bring it inside. Actually, it's a good idea to bring it indoors during the winter regardless of precipitation – most outdoor rugs simply weren't made to withstand freezing temps. 

Play with color
One of the best things about outdoor rugs is how much color they can add to an outdoor space, so have some fun! Take into consideration the color of your outdoor furniture as well as the design scheme of your home's interior – a well-chosen rug will often pull together both, creating an outdoor room that seamlessly integrates with the rest of the house. 

Make sure it lies flat
The last thing you want is to lay your rug down on your patio and then constantly trip over the edges. The best way to mitigate the risk? Check out how flush the rug is to the ground when you're in the store or check with the retailer first if you're purchasing online. 

See? Outdoor rugs really aren't that high-maintenance. The most important thing to keep in mind is durability, when it comes down to it – and not spilling your happy hour martini, of course.