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How To Choose The Perfect Outdoor Rug

Y’all know I love entertaining and spending time outdoors? More and more people are creating cozy outdoor living spaces in order to provide a safe environment for friends and family to gather. I love using rugs to define my outdoor spaces.

Today I’m sharing How To Choose The Perfect Outdoor Rug for your outdoor spaces such as porches, decks and front doors. A simple rug can completely transform an open space into a cozy conversation area or the perfect dining space. However, there are a few things to consider before purchasing a new rug. In addition to the color and design, it’s important to consider the size, materials, purpose and designated location.

Porch outdoor rug ideas

Last years rug will be perfect around the pool this summer. Rotating rugs to new areas will allow you to prolong the usefulness of your rug and make the purchase worthwhile.

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How Do You Choose The Design And Color Scheme?

This is the first thing most people think about when choosing a rug because it’s the fun part. You will want to consider your overall color choices and fabric patterns when making this decision. A neutral rug will allow for any combination of materials in cushions, pillows and tableware – so it’s always a safe choice. However, there are so many fun rug choices out there and if you are good at mixing patterns, just go for it.

Create a outdoor seating area with porch rug

Since my cushions are a solid color, it’s easy to add fun patterned rug like this one.

You can see this rug and more here.

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Now, let’s talk about the serious decisions when choosing an outdoor rug.

What Are The Suggested Outdoor Rug Materials?

There are so many beautiful options for outdoor rugs, however you do need to consider the environment that your rug will be exposed to prior to making a purchase.

Almost all quality outdoor rugs are made from materials that are water resistant as well as resistant to mold, mildew and fading. They can withstand being exposed to the elements such as sun, rain, snow, etc. However, there are a few things to consider if the rug is exposed with no protection (such as a roof, screens, canopy or an overhang).

If you are purchasing a rug for an open area, consider a light weight, little to no pile rug made from 100% synthetic fibers. The synthetic fibers, such as Polypropylene (Olefin), Polyester and Nylon will not absorb water as easily, and therefore will last longer in an exposed area.

Outdoor Rug for pool area

If you plan to use your rug in a covered area, you will still want to choose a rug made for outdoors. These areas are still exposed to moisture, sun and possibly mold issues. However, you can choose a softer, hand hooked, medium pile rug safely, since it will not be exposed to direct rain water. .

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What Size Outdoor Rug Do I Need?

Outdoor rugs are available in a multitude of sizes and shapes. In order to choose the right size rug, here are a few rules of thumb.

To create a seating area on a porch or deck

If you are purchasing a rug to create a seating area, you first should consider the furniture arrangement. Then, measure out the space for all the seating and tables. A good rule of thumb is the size should allow front legs of each chair or sofa to rest on the rug, at a minimum. If the rug is in a confined space, such as porch rug, allow 12-24 inches between the wall and the rug.

Materials for outdoor rugs

To see more of this Outdoor Area – see 9 Outdoor Dining Ideas .

The Perfect Outdoor Rug For Dining Area

When choosing an outdoor rug for a round table, a round rug works best. A round rug should be approximately 30-48 inches larger than the tabletop. However, depending on the space, a square rug will also look nice. Oval and rectangle tables will show best on a rectangle shaped rug.

Outdoor Rug on Pier

This outdoor dining – Memories of Mom Tablescape, was created for Mother’s Day last year.

Regardless of the rug shape, you want to allow for chairs to be pulled away from the table comfortably without falling off the rug. When in doubt, allow 24 inches from the edge of the table top, in all directions to be safe. Since outdoor tables and chairs vary, if you already own them, pull a chair away from the table to allow for comfortable exit and measure the distance.

How To Choose An Outdoor Rug For Entry Doors

A typical outdoor rug for a front door is 18×30 and is appropriate for a standard door. To make a bolder statement, choose a larger size, 24 by 36 or so, to completely fill the doorway.

Because I have a deep porch and french doors, I chose a porch rug that is 43″ by 67″. To appear large enough, the rug should cover the width of the doorway at least to the door frame.

Spring Porch with outdoor rug ideas

This year the front porch rug is neutral in color and is a low pile durable option for the front door. This rug is available in multiple colors that you can view here. You can view the Summer Porch Tour here.

Can You Use Indoor Rugs – Outdoors?

What if you want to use an indoor rug, temporarily outdoors?

I have used this inexpensive rug, you see below, in many places inside and out. It’s light weight and easy to move around, however it’s not an outdoor rug. I used it on my porch for Valentines Day and it was outside for a couple of weeks.

In order to protect the rug, spray it with Rust-oleum Never Wet. I use this product on pillows, rugs, table runner’s, etc. Any fabric item that is not recommended for outdoor use.

Valentines Outdoor Porch Rug

Wipe Your Feet

One other consideration at the entry doors is do you need a decorative rug or a functional rug? A functional rug will be made from materials designed to trap the dirt and prevent it from entering your home. Most rug descriptions will determine the effectiveness of the rug for trapping dirt.

Last summer’s patriotic view included this bold pattern rug from Boutique Rugs which is great pattern for a porch rug.

Outdoor Porch Rug for a Patriotic Porch

You can see how to keep your porch looking fresh all summer these Summertime Porch Tips

Final Tips To Prolong The Life Of Your Outdoor Rugs

As an outdoor entertaining enthusiast, I have several outdoor rugs that I have used for several years. Although outdoor rugs are more durable, I still care for them by storing in the off season.

In addition, after a heavy rain, I will hang the rugs to dry. Doing so will definitely prolong the life of your rug, which allows you to use the rugs in different outdoor areas. Rotating your rugs and using them in different outdoor spaces, will make the purchase worthwhile for several season.

I hope these tips help you to choose a rug to create a fun outdoor living area.

Thanks so much for stopping by. I appreciate your comments.

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Outdoor Rugs for pool area
Outdoor Rug on Pier
Patriotic Porch Rug

Click to view – Boutique Rugs listed below are eligible for a 60% discount with code: PONDS60


Friday 3rd of June 2022

Great choices Rachel. I tend to purchase cheap rugs and regret it every dang year. Most of the time I forget to roll the one up on the front porch at the farmhouse when we leave. So when we get back there it's either in one of the pastures ruined or ruined from the rain, wind and nasty bugs. I'm going your route next time! Thanks for the tips.


Friday 3rd of June 2022

Thanks Cindy, I think you will be happy.

Kim | Shiplap and Shells

Saturday 19th of June 2021

I never realized how many rugs you have had in your outdoor spaces Rachel. They are all beautiful. I just love your style.

Saturday 19th of June 2021

Kim, Thanks so much!


Tuesday 15th of June 2021

What great tips, Rachel! I love how outdoor rugs make those spaces look like "rooms"!

Wednesday 16th of June 2021

Chloe, I agree. Thanks for stopping by today.

Marlene Stephenson

Tuesday 15th of June 2021

Love your areas and the rugs really add to them, thanks for these tips, pinned.

Wednesday 16th of June 2021

Marlene, I really appreciate you for stopping by today.


Tuesday 15th of June 2021

I love outdoor area rugs they really bring a space together don’t they? Can’t wait to see the renovation!

Wednesday 16th of June 2021

Stacy, I really appreciate your support.