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Inspiration13 min read

What To Look For When Shopping For Outdoor Rugs

What To Look For When Shopping For Outdoor Rugs

If you’re looking for a simple yet effective way to tie your outdoor space together and create a sophisticated, professionally styled feel, outdoor rugs could be the answer.

Besides looking incredible, outdoor rugs can bring functionality and warmth to your backyard. But how can you be sure to buy the best rug to suit your space, and what should you look for when shopping for one?

We’ve compiled our favorite tips to help you find the perfect addition to your backyard seating or dining area. Keep reading to learn about the benefits of outdoor rugs, how to style them, and more!

Benefits Of Outdoor Rugs

Kid playing with legos on an outdoor rug
Outer 1188 Eco-Friendly Outdoor Rug

They Help Define Your Space

Outdoor rugs are the simplest way to bring a bit of definition to your backyard.

By adding an outdoor rug to your seating or dining area, you can create zones that serve various purposes. Nothing helps tie your outdoor space together like the perfect outdoor rug.

They Can Bring Warmth To Your Backyard

Whether you’re looking to add some warmth for bare feet or create a comfortable setting for the kids to play on, outdoor rugs can bring the cozy feeling of a living room outside.

They’re Stylish And Timeless

Outdoor rugs add a sense of timelessness and style to your outdoor space. They instantly add a “put-together” feel to your home and can even give the impression that your home was professionally styled.

They’re also easy to switch out, so if you’re feeling a little festive or you’re just in the mood for a change, your outdoor space could have a whole new look and feel within minutes.

What To Look For When Shopping For Outdoor Rugs

Large outdoor rugs for outdoor living space
Outer 1188 Eco-Friendly Outdoor Rug

Is It The Right Size And Shape For Your Space?

The first question to ask yourself when shopping for your new outdoor rug is whether it’s the right size and shape for your space.

Before you begin your search, be sure to measure the space where your rug will go so you know your total square footage. Once you know the exact measurements of your space, you can start looking for a rug that fits perfectly.

Consider what kind of furniture you’ll be adding to the space, too. If you’re planning on using your rug to spruce up your outdoor dining area, for example, you’ll want enough room to comfortably pull out the dining chairs on top of the rug.

If it’s a seating area you’re styling, it’s a good idea to choose a rug that will be bigger than your furniture. This can help keep your outdoor space looking proportionate rather than cramped.

Thankfully, every style of Outer rug comes in multiple sizes, so you can save yourself the disappointment of finding your favorite only to discover it doesn’t come in the size you need.

Is It Specially Designed To Live Outdoors?

Now you’re ready to start tracking down your perfect outdoor rug! The keyword here is outdoor — your new rug needs to be specially designed to live outside.

Why? Indoor rugs, as stylish as they might look, simply aren’t made of the durable materials needed to survive outdoor living. While it might be tempting to risk it and buy an indoor rug for outdoor use, we highly recommend against it.

Due to the very nature of living outdoors, your outdoor rug will likely get dirtier much faster than any rugs you have inside your home. On top of the usual spills and messes, you’ve got the added factor of dirt, water, UV rays, and the potential for mold and stains.

All Outer rugs are built to be just as lifeproof and durable as our sofas and sectionals. Thanks to the materials they’re created from (more on that in a second!), they’re naturally stain-resistant and won’t fade in the sun.

Our rugs are also designed to help disguise dirt. The dithering effect and herringbone pattern of our weave helps to keep your outdoor rug looking great all year round (and minimizes how often you’ll need to clean it — a major plus!).

Is It Sustainably Made?

Eco-Friendly outdoor rugs by Outer
Outer 1188 Eco-Friendly Outdoor Rug

A question many buyers might not think of centers around sustainability — what is my new rug actually made of and where do those materials come from?

Most rugs are made from low-grade virgin synthetic fibers which often don’t have much regulation around them when it comes to safety. We wanted to do our part for the planet by ensuring all Outer furniture, including our rugs, is eco-friendly and sustainably made.

How did we do it? We sourced 100% recycled plastic to create our outdoor rugs — the same kind found in soda and water bottles. Our rugs help divert plastic from ending up in landfills and oceans!  

The “1188” in our 1188 Eco-Friendly Outdoor Rugs isn’t just a quirky name — it actually represents the number of plastic bottles used to make each Outer outdoor rug.

Depending on the size of rug you choose, you’ll see a different number attached to the name — 441 for our 5x8 size, 882 for our 8x10, and 1188 for our 9x12. Our hope is that these numbers serve as a reminder around the bigger conversation of sustainability.

Rugs that are safe for the environment means they’re also safe for your family — it’s a win-win!

Is It Easy To Clean?

We don’t want to ruin the excitement of buying your new outdoor rug by mentioning cleaning, but let’s face it — your rug is going to need some TLC at some point.

Just how much cleaning your rug requires comes down to which one you purchase, so choose wisely!

Unlike indoor rugs, which tend to soak up spills in the blink of an eye, outdoor rugs are generally better at repelling messes, dirt, and stains. Any rug that you’ll have to scrub regularly just to keep it looking new isn’t the rug for you.

We want Outer rugs to live long, happy lives, so we put them to the test to make sure they’re easy to clean. From deep vacuuming to high-pressure washing, our outdoor rugs can stand up to just about any type of cleaning.

Fortunately, they don’t require much — just a quick vacuum followed by a spot clean with some detergent and water does the trick.

Tips For Styling Your Outdoor Rug

Wicker outdoor furniture with grey and cream colored cushions and pillows
Outer Wicker Outdoor Sofa - 3 Seat

Opt For Neutral Tones

When it comes to purchasing outdoor rugs and furniture, we recommend choosing neutral tones that will allow your staple items to remain timeless and pairable with a variety of colors.

Each of our 1188 Eco-Friendly Outdoor Rugs — which come in Pebble Gray, Seashell Gray, and Sand Dune — were thoughtfully designed in neutral colors so your new rug will look incredible no matter which other shades you pair it with.

Experiment with colorful accessories instead of bright rugs or furniture, and they’ll last you for many years to come without going out of style.

Pair Your Rug With Comfortable Furniture

Speaking of furniture, no outdoor space is complete without a comfortable place to sit! Just like your outdoor rug, we recommend choosing neutral-toned outdoor furniture that’s also stain-resistant to keep your space fresh and ready to use.

For small spaces, options like our 3-Seater Teak Outdoor Sofa or our Wicker Outdoor Loveseat offer just the right amount of seating for entertaining family and friends.

For larger backyards, our 6-Seater Teak Outdoor U Sectional or a lounge set like our Wicker Outdoor Sofa with Armchairs each offer tons of spacious seating for those long afternoons by the pool.

All Outer sofas, sectionals, and armchairs have two neutral color options available to pair perfectly with your outdoor rug. It’s totally foolproof styling, even for those who are new to the world of outdoor spaces!

Add Cozy Accessories

After you’ve chosen your outdoor furniture and laid down your new outdoor rug, the final touches for your outdoor space can be added.

We love fire pits to add even more warmth and functionality to outdoor spaces, not to mention they create an incredible focal point in your backyard seating area.

Bring in some oversized floor cushions to sit on your outdoor rug (a big hit with the kids), along with a few cozy blankets and soft pillows for your couch, and you’re ready to enjoy your outdoor space!

Give The Illusion Of More Space

Teak outdoor furniture on a large outdoor rug
Outer Teak Outdoor Sofa with Armchairs - 5 Seat

Regardless of the size of the outdoor rug you choose, there’s one sure-fire trick to stretch the footprint and create the illusion of more space.

When positioning your sofa, loveseat, or sectional, your first inclination may be to put all four legs on the rug. But doing so creates a space under the furniture that never gets used — few people will see it, let alone walk, play, or lie down on it.

And, in some cases, that’s a lot of lost square footage. For example, our three-seat Teak Outdoor Sofa measures 2.87 feet (34.4 inches) deep by 8.16 feet (97.9 inches) long. That works out to almost 23.5 square feet underneath the sofa.

If you place all four legs on the outdoor rug, you’ll lose all that precious square footage. Instead, place just the front legs of the furniture on the rug, and enjoy the maximum footprint that the floorcovering has to offer.

Style Inspiration From Coast To Coast

Not sure how to arrange and decorate around your outdoor rug? We’re here to help! Here are some coast-to-coast style options that can’t be beat.

So-Cal Soothing

Aluminum outdoor furniture on top of an outdoor rug
Outer Aluminum Outdoor Armless Loveseat and Chair


If relaxing in a simple, uncluttered space is your idea of soothing, this design esthetic might be just your thing.

Start at the bottom with an Outer Eco-Friendly Outdoor Rug in Sand Dune Beige and work your way up by adding clean lines and monochrome colors to this warm and inviting outdoor living space.

If less is more than enough, this is the style for you.

Utah Contemporary

Wicker patio furniture
Outer Wicker Outdoor Sofa with Armless Chair

If your home is blessed with active kids who seem to get bigger every day, a contemporary look can be just the trick to keep your space looking timeless — even while those who use it change and grow.

The colors in our outdoor rugs reflect the classic colors of nature and offer blue and white hues, stripes, and distressed accessories for a style that fits any decor.

Add to that the wicker frame on Outer’s signature sofa to create a contemporary oasis in Utah, Indiana, Oregon, or wherever you call home.

East Coast Rooftop Chic

Wicker couches on rooftop patio
Outer Wicker Outdoor Sofas

Who said outdoor spaces have to be on the ground? Look hard enough, and you’ll be sure to find an attractive and relaxing “patio” or “deck” a hundred or more feet in the air.

Rooftop gathering places are some of the most dramatic spaces we’ve ever seen. And it’s all made possible by Outer’s outdoor furniture and an east-coast-rooftop-chic sensibility.

Start with an Outer Eco-Friendly Outdoor Rug in Pebble Grey and top it off with the elegant and sophisticated look and feel of an aluminum loveseat or sectional.

Add in a teak coffee table and a wicker chair for a splash of nature amidst the metal surroundings, and you’ve got a style that’s as timeless as the city around you.

Miami Mid-Century Modern

Aluminum outdoor furniture
Outer Aluminum Outdoor Sofa with Armchairs - 5 Seat

At Outer, the geometric patterns of mid-century modern design come in all shapes and sizes. From statement tables and chairs to cozy throws, we’ve got what you need to create an oasis anywhere.

And it all starts with the foundation: an Outer Outdoor Rug in Seashell Grey. The reds, greys, whites, and blacks woven right into this floorcovering pair nicely with the color scheme that has made Miami famous.

You don’t have to travel to The Sunshine State to enjoy this appealing style. You can create your own — wherever you live — with furniture and decor from Outer.

California Casual

Woman sitting on a loveseat on a rooftop patio near a pool
Outer Aluminum Outdoor Loveseat

Rich textiles, comfortable furniture, and eclectic accents are hallmarks of California’s laid-back style. The subtle colors and design of our outdoor rugs allow you to layer colors and cozy fabrics to your heart’s content.

Feel free to add a little more of everything. Plant wall? Check. Funky side table? Done. Mix and match to your heart’s content to enjoy the California casual style all year long.

Georgia Modern Classical

Wicker outdoor furniture surrounding a fire pit
Outer Wicker Outdoor Sofa with Armless Chairs - 5 Seat

An outdoor sofa and a fire pit table are relaxing. An outdoor sofa and fire pit table with a matching rug is backyard heaven.

You can create a floor-to-seat Georgia Modern Classical esthetic by combining an Outer outdoor rug — in any of the three attractive styles — with a monochrome color palette in aluminum and wicker for an atmosphere of sophistication worthy of the best indoor living room.

How To Care For Your Outdoor Rug

1) Clean Your Rug Regularly

An outdoor rug will get dirty. It’s inevitable.

In fact, a rug can hold as much as four times its weight in dirt. That’s a lot! And because of the way they’re made, you might never notice.

Keep your outdoor rug as clean as possible by vacuuming up the dirt every couple of weeks. Of course, it certainly won’t hurt if you do it more often, too.

Depending on the climate where you live, it can also be helpful to push the larger and lighter dirt, sand, and leaves off your rug with a leaf blower before you vacuum. Even a stiff-bristled broom works wonders and lightens the load for your vacuum.

Want your rug as clean as possible? We discuss deep cleaning later on, but you can get a head start by taking a few minutes every day to use a leaf blower or a bristle broom to give your rug a quick brush-down before use.

Then, when it comes time to vacuum in a week or so, there will be less debris to deal with.

2) Spot-Treat As Needed

Stains will happen — especially a deck or patio. Outdoor rugs are meant for family fun: cookouts, game nights, relaxing together, or just playing with your little one.

With that family fun, though, come mustard, ketchup, juice, wine, beer, grease, grass, and other substances that can wreak havoc on the appearance of your rug. Even the ash from your fire pit can discolor your floorcovering.

Don’t fret! In many instances, you might not even notice the stain thanks to the pattern and the colors woven into the rug itself.

But, if the stain is visible, you can spot-treat with a rag, water, and your choice of detergent (dish soap or laundry soap work well). You can even attack the stain with a cleaning brush or toothbrush to get out all the grime.

There are plenty of options for spot-treating your outdoor rug. Try several different ways and see what works best for you.

3) Hang Your Rug Out To Dry

Another inevitability when it comes to outdoor rugs is moisture. Whether it’s dew, rain, snow, or back-to-back pool parties, water can accumulate in and under the floorcovering, where it can cause all manner of problems.

The two most common issues to be concerned with are mildew growth and damage to the surface underneath.

Though they’re designed to resist mildew, an outdoor rug that stays wet for a prolonged period is more susceptible to fungal growth than a dry one.

And, while a wet rug on a stone or concrete patio may not be much of an issue, a wet rug on a wooden deck could cause the pressure-treated lumber to degrade faster than usual.

You can eliminate both of these problems in one fell swoop by hanging your outdoor rug over a fence or clothesline to dry. If possible, do so on a sunny, breezy day to maximize the drying potential.

Even on a cloudy day, removing your rug from its usual spot and hanging it somewhere else will allow the surface underneath to dry and moisture inside the weave to evaporate.

You don’t have to do this every day, but if you’ve experienced several days of rain or heavy, wet foot traffic, it’s best to hang your rug out to dry when the rain stops or the parties are finally over.

4) Deep Clean Once A Year

To prolong the longevity of your outdoor rug, deep clean the whole thing once a year.

If you store your patio furniture in the fall, consider a thorough rug cleaning before packing everything away. Just make sure the carpet dries completely first.

If you live in a climate where you can enjoy your outdoor rug year-round, pick a warm spring day and deep clean the floor covering before the summer fun to come.

What’s the best way to get that deep-down clean you’re looking for? Here’s a step-by-step process:

  1. Blow off debris with a leaf blower or sweep with a stiff-bristle broom
  2. Vacuum the rug to get the deep-down dirt
  3. Hang the rug on a fence or clothesline and power wash both sides to remove the dirt that the vacuum couldn’t get

If possible, it’s best to perform this last step on a warm, windy day so the rug can dry quickly.

Uplevel Your Outdoor Space With Outer

Family playing cards on outdoor rug
Outer 1188 Eco-Friendly Outdoor Rug

Outdoor rugs are a great way to bring life back outside and recreate that cozy living room feeling right in your own backyard.

Be sure to make your rug selection based on our key questions outlined above, including whether your new rug fits your space, whether it’s sustainably made, and of course, whether it’s specially designed to withstand outdoor living.

From our range of outdoor rugs in neutral tones to our durable (and incredibly comfortable) sofas and sectionals, you can’t go wrong by making the eco-friendly choice to level up your outdoor space with Outer!