Chances are, if your outdoor space feels like it’s unfinished or lacking, it needs a rug. Just as a rug can do for any room in your house, a rug can ground a space, make it cozier, and turn any outdoor area into a “room.”
While indoor rugs can be made from soft chenille or delicate vintage fibers, outdoor rugs need to be composed of materials that can literally weather a few storms. A good chunk of the outdoor rugs on the market are made from synthetic fibers and materials, like plastic, rubber, or polyester, because they’re extremely weather resistant, won’t fade in the sun nearly as much as a rug made from natural materials, and can usually be rinsed off with a garden hose or power washer or tossed in the washing machine and hung dry. That said, if you have an enclosed patio, a raised porch, or a mostly covered deck, you can absolutely spring for a rug made with more traditional materials like wool, cotton, or jute — you’ll just want to be sure to keep it mostly out of the elements, and spot clean as needed or give it a good shake out from time to time.
Outdoor rugs certainly don’t have to be confined to a nautical or farmhouse aesthetic, either — there are tons of options that don’t feature anchors or look straight out of an HGTV renovation. We spoke to interior designers, editors, and stylists to find many options to suit a range of styles and budgets. All of our picks come in several sizes; we’ve listed them by price for a five-foot-by-eight-foot rug (or the closest available size) for ease of comparison.
Best indoor-outdoor rugs under $150
Your backyard can mirror the stateliness of a brownstone dining room with a convincing Turkish/Persian rug. “I found this detailed Persian-inspired woven rug that you won’t believe is outdoor friendly,” says Aja Aktay, home curator and senior designer for Crate & Barrel. “Squint your eyes and you’ll think you’re standing on a 200-year-old antique. The colors are magnificent and it’s easy to hose off when it needs a quick cleaning.” It’s actually hand-woven with recycled plastic fibers, so it’s not far off in construction from the real thing; it’s just fadeproof and UV-protected.
Emily Sermons of Shoebox Designs says that getting this indoor-outdoor rug from Loloi was one of the best decisions she made for her small Charleston balcony. “We keep our French doors open constantly,” she adds, so “having a rug outside really makes it feel like we are bringing the outdoors inside. I love the intricate pattern, and the neutral color palette goes with anything.” In case you were worried about its weather resistance, Sermons assures me that this rug has been through its fair share of rain storms, and still looks and feels great.
“When I first discovered Trish’s art, my jaw dropped,” says Shannon Muldoon, managing director of Studio52 at Food52 and Brooklyn backyard aficionado. “It’s so unique and colorful and fits right in with my style.” Trish Anderson is a fiber artist who makes vibrantly hued, drippy, splattery wool rugs, but also has a line of floor mats that are screen printed with her signature designs. “The screen printing process allows me to have a versatile mat that is pretty weatherproof with the beauty of her wool designs,” Muldoon says. “It’s perfect and adds so much life to any porch or backyard.”
Best indoor-outdoor rugs under $350
According to Overstock style director Amber Dunford, “many people feel more comfortable going bold when it comes to their outdoor rugs,” even if they’re more reserved when it comes to decorating an interior. The “brighter, more saturated colors of this rug tend to harmonize nicely with the vibrant florals and greenery found in many climates, so they’re a popular choice when your goal is to integrate your outdoor area with the surrounding terrain.”
Hosing your rug off outside has its perks, but a machine-washable one is almost as convenient. Ruggable has been perfecting the machine-washable rug for some time, but their Re-Jute line is a relatively new offering that mimics the woven natural fibers of a jute rug — just without all the shedding, unraveling, and inability to be deep cleaned. I’m a particular fan of the new checkerboard Re-Jute rug, which reminds me of a Victorian entryway. Having owned one of these rugs myself, I can attest that they do, in fact, come clean in the wash and retain their shape.
Best indoor-outdoor rugs under $750
Annie Selke has long been a respected name in rugs, a favorite of both designers and homeowners alike. Gideon Mendelson, founder and creative director of the Mendelson Group, loves this collection because “the designs are beautiful, they’re soft on the feet and easy to clean.” They come in four vibrant colors if you’re aiming for a bright backyard sitting area, as well as four more muted tones if you’re a neutral lover.
Given the durability of indoor/outdoor rugs, they’re a smart choice for high traffic areas that take a beating. Nelson recommends McGee & Co’s rugs for “entryways, as runners in the kitchen, or a front porch” for some understated pattern.
Speaking of Annie Selke, Anna Baraness and Kristin Tarsi, founders of and partners at Studio AK, especially love the company’s Samson rug — part of the Bunny Williams collection — because it has a delicate neutral pattern, comes in several colors and sizes, and “you can’t beat the price.”
Sometimes a rug is more about pulling an area together than standing out on its own, so if you’re looking for a low-key (but high quality) piece to bring some in some warmth, Laura Pankonien, founder of the interior design firm the Pankonien Group, recommends this fringed Serena and Lily number. “We love to use a neutral indoor-outdoor rug in shades of gray-blue, flax, and tan,” she says, so that they “tie in seamlessly with our interiors.” Jessica Nelson of Jessica Nelson Design also loves using Serena & Lily’s rugs: “We use them often in living rooms of families with little kids,” she says, since they can hold up to heavy traffic.
Best splurge-worthy indoor-outdoor rugs
Aktay has loved these Pappelina outdoor rugs for some time, as “the ADA and Belle styles add just the right touch of pattern without getting too busy.” Aside from this almost turflike green plaid rug, the Swedish brand has a range of geometric and classic patterns, muted and vibrant color palettes, and plenty of solid colors as well, if that’s more your speed. Plus, Aja says, “the nontoxic material is totally low maintenance — just hose it off and let it dry in the sun.”
Editor’s note: Pappelina lists all prices in euros, so the price shown below is an approximate conversion to U.S. dollars.
“We absolutely love rugs from Restoration Hardware,” says Brittany Farinas, CEO and creative director of interior design firm House of One, and these rugs in particular are made with finely twisted polypropylene yarn, so they’re resistant to stains and fading. They also come in five neutral tones, so they’re perfect for layering under a bolder rug, and can be easily rinsed with a hose and left to air dry.
Arati Menon, the global director of digital at Condé Nast Traveler, is a self-proclaimed rug hound. “I buy (and then store) them feverishly,” she says, “and I buy these from a range of places, on my travels or from Etsy. But closer to home, I’ve been seduced by Tantuvi’s handwoven rugs, which dip into the rich, varied tones of the Indian palette, coupled with more modern geometric patterns.” The brand’s Kulfi collection, named for a creamy frozen Indian dessert, is a particular favorite of hers. “They’re perfect for layering, yes, but also for throwing into functional spaces like the kitchen and bathroom for an immediate jolt of energy.” The brand suggests vacuuming and spot cleaning as needed with a mild soap and a soft brush, so these beauties are best for a space that’s not subject to rain-battering or sun-boiling.
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