Choosing the Best Outdoor Rug - Bob Vila

Area Rugs Set Fashion Free in the Great Outdoors

Use outdoor rugs to extend comfortable living and gracious entertaining to your deck, patio, or porch.

Choosing an Outdoor Rug


Thanks to modern advances in fabrication, outdoor rugs have never featured more extensive design options. A favorite accent for extending comfortable living and gracious entertaining to decks, patios, and porches, durable outdoor rugs define space and add color, even as they keep dirt and grime from being tracked inside by feet or paws.

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The majority of outdoor rugs are manufactured using polypropylene, but nylon, polyester, and acrylic varieties are also available. “Polypropylene is an extruded, solution-dyed fiber, so it doesn’t absorb any liquid or stains,” explains Jonathan Witt, vice president of Oriental Weavers, one of the largest makers of outdoor rugs. “Our rugs are UV-treated to prevent fading after exposure to sunlight and are constructed of 100% polypropylene, which is naturally stain-resistant, mold-resistant, and mildew-resistant. You can wash them off with a hose and even apply bleach without damaging the color or design.”

Choosing an Outdoor Rug - Oriental Weavers Sphinx

Oriental Weavers' Sphinx Caspian Indoor/Outdoor Rug

Indoor/outdoor rugs are offered in a wide range of constructions, including handmade, machine-made, and braided styles:

  • Handmade styles, also known as hand-hooked rugs, are the most expensive. Offering the most color and design options, these range from $200 to $1,000 for a 5′ x 7′ size.
  • Machine-made rugs are created using power looms that simultaneously weave up to five different colors. A variety of intricate designs are commonly available, with pricing between $40 and $750 for a 5′ x 7′ rug.
  • Braided rugs are a traditional construction now made with polypropylene yarns. Rugs of this type are offered in flat-braided, cable-braided, or corded-and-stitched constructions. Prices are similar to those of machine-made rugs.

Most outdoor rugs are constructed with a backing material of either polypropylene or another synthetic fiber. Rugs backed in jute, a natural fiber, will not be as durable or mildew-resistant and will deteriorate over time. Braided rugs typically have no backing and are therefore reversible.

Indoor/outdoor rugs are offered in myriad designs, shapes, and colors. When choosing an area rug, keep in mind that darker colorations create a more intimate environment, while lighter shades make a small area seem more spacious. No matter the design and colors you select, you can certainly count on area rugs to make your outdoor living spaces more stylish!