Outdoor areas seem to have become more important to the average homemaker in recent years. Among the many lessons we’ve collectively come to learn is the importance of taking pride in our own little plots and patches – nurturing them with a healthy spread of greenery and, of course, some stylish outdoor furniture.
Enter the ultimate all-rounder of open-air furnishings – the humble outdoor rug. Stylish, functional, and resistant to both water and UV rays – they’re a certified garden essential through the sunny seasons and beyond. Designed with a soft spongy texture, bright, vivid patterns, and cozy interior comfort for the open-air space – it’s easy to see why outdoor rugs have become a summer staple.
What Are Outdoor Rugs Made From?
If you’re looking for an outdoor rug, the first thing to decide is which material you’d like to go for. There’s a whole host of different fabric options out there, each coming with its own list of pros and cons. No single outdoor rug material rules them all, and which one is right for you will depend on your personal taste and practical needs.
Let’s look at some options.
Polypropylene is one of the most popular materials for outdoor rugs. It’s a thermoplastic that can be molded to create fibers, which are then woven to create a hard-wearing synthetic fabric. Polypropylene rugs offer stain resistance and weatherproof qualities. They are the top choice overall when it comes to durability – making them an ideal fit for any outdoor space.
Like most outdoor rug materials, polypropylene is UV ray-resistant, meaning you don’t have to worry about your rug’s good looks fading in the sun. Polypropylene is also fully waterproof, making it the winning outdoor rug fabric for those living in more showery climes.
Polypropylene rugs are not machine washable, however, and are only suitable for hand-cleaning with a damp cloth or a hose. Luckily, sand, grass, and other loose dirt will shake right off of a polypropylene rug. Also, a quick rinse or jet wash will sort out most stubborn markings with ease.
Because it’s a synthetic material that’s inexpensively mass-produced, polypropylene is often criticized for its negative environmental impact. However, many outlets have moved to produce recycled furnishings that derive their polypropylene from recycled bottles and other waste plastics, not leaving much in the way of downsides for this outdoor rug material.
A similarly popular material choice for outdoor rugs is polyester. Another synthetic fabric known for its resistance to water, stains, and fading – it’s not hard to see why polyester rugs make an appearance in many gardens and patios. They’re slightly softer and spongier than polypropylene rugs, meaning they’re a bit comfier underfoot, but may need hanging out to dry after periods of heavy rain due to increased absorption.
While not fully waterproof, polyester outdoor rugs are resistant to both water and UV rays – giving them great protection against splashes, spills, and fading in the strong summer sunshine.
Unlike polypropylene, polyester outdoor rugs are machine washable at cool temperatures of up to 30 degrees. Therefore, you can bring these rugs out for picnics at the park or beach.
Overall, both polypropylene and polyester make for great outdoor rug fabrics. They’re generally durable, fare well in any sort of weather, and offer low-maintenance and easy-to-clean upkeep.
What Size Outdoor Rug Do I Need?
Outdoor rugs come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. The right one for you depends entirely on your taste and practical requirements. If you’re working with a larger outdoor and want to fill it up with a sizeable area rug, look for something in the region of 180cm x 290cm. For smaller gardens, or if you just want something stylish to pop at the foot of your outdoor sofa, opt for something around 180cm x 120cm.
What’s The Difference Between Weatherproof And Waterproof?
While you’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise, weatherproof and waterproof are not the same thing. Depending on where you’re living and how wet the climate is, this seemingly minor detail can turn out to make a big difference and might be the deciding factor in which outdoor rug material you should go for.
Polypropylene rugs are generally waterproof, meaning that they’re specifically designed to be fully impervious to water. Whether they’re splashed, showered, soaked, or submerged, polypropylene outdoor rugs will not absorb water.
Polyester rugs, on the other hand, are generally designed to be weatherproof. This means that they’ll be able to withstand lower levels of water exposure, like showers, spills, and splashes. They are not, however, designed to be submerged in water or to tolerate heavy downpours and will need to be hung to dry in the sun after periods of heavy rainfall.
How To Style An Outdoor Rug
Now that you’ve become an expert in all things outdoor rugs – from materials to sizing, weatherproof properties, and more – it’s about time we moved on to the fun stuff: style.
There’s no shortage of pretty patterns and swanky designs out there for you to choose from, so it won’t be difficult to find a style that sweeps you off your feet.
However, it’s important to remember that your new outdoor rug is going to need to coordinate well with the rest of your outdoor furniture. A neon orange rug might look a bit misplaced in a muted monochrome scheme, for example, so pay attention to what decor you’re already working with.
If you’ve got tons of bright furniture and cushions in your garden, a more muted outdoor rug can work brilliantly to anchor your space and calm things down a bit. Similarly, if your current furnishings are looking a bit lifeless, introducing a pop of color with an outdoor rug will bring a fresh feel to your entire space.
Take note of the organic colors in your outdoor space too, and choose a rug that will either complement these or set up an interesting contrast. A bright pink rug will really pop on wooden decking or natural stone hues, while a neutral brown or beige rug will harmonize beautifully with natural tones of grass, leaves, and branches.