Adding an outdoor area rug to your outdoor room makes a big impact on the space. Visually, outdoor rugs take an outdoor room to another level of “outerior” design that rivals the indoor rooms of your home. Architecturally, they help define a space, which is often necessary in an outdoor room that does not have walls or other architectural features to define it. Practically, they add warmth and softness under foot and encourage the use of your outdoor room even in cooler temperatures.
In terms of materials, the best yarn for outdoor rugs is propylene, also known as olefin. This is a man-made fiber that naturally resists mildew and moisture retention. It is fade resistant, however, some manufacturers add UV stabilizers to insure extra long life against the sun’s strong rays.
The best quality outdoor rugs are constructed with both warp ((longitudinal, lengthwise threads) and weft (yarn that is inserted over-and-under the warp threads) fibers being polypropylene. This gives the longest life to the rug when exposed to the weather. Outdoor rugs that are only partially constructed of polypropylene are less enduring.
Another thing to look for when considering an outdoor rug is whether there is a backing on the reverse side. Outdoor rugs with a backing are better used in a covered area as they will typically hold more moisture and, therefore, take longer to dry when they get soaked. Outdoor rugs should not be used with a pad underneath. Adding a pad will hold moisture and contribute to mildew growth.
- Best yarn is polypropylene/olefin
- Man-made fiber that resists mildew, moisture retention and is fade resistant
- Addition of UV stabilizers insures extra protection against sun’s rays
- Rugs with backing hold more moisture and take longer to dry so are better used in covered area
- Do not use pad underneath. It will hold moisture contributing to mildew growth
Sizes available for outdoor rugs are quite varied, with many outdoor area rug specialists offering these rugs in the same size range as indoor rugs. Everything from a small doormat to a 9’ x 12’, or larger, can be found in outdoor rugs. A variety of shapes can also be found: rectangular (the most common), square, round, runners, and a few amorphous shapes, such as that of an animal hide
For a dining area an outdoor rug should extend at least 3’ beyond chairs. While a small mat may be a good choice for a doorway, and a runner for an area such as a long space in an outdoor kitchen, there is much flexibility in selecting a rug to fit a seating group. You can choose a large rug that sits under the entire furniture grouping, or you can choose a small 4’ x 6’ that just gives some color, texture and softness to an area and allows for feet to rest comfortably when sitting.
- Outdoor rug specialists offer rugs in same size range as indoor rugs
- Many shapes available
- For dining area rug should extend at least 3’ beyond chairs
- In a seating area, size is not critical and many sizes will typically work depending on the look desired.
Care and Maintenance
Beyond comfort and beauty, the best feature of an outdoor area rug is the servicability. These outdoor rugs can be hosed off and left in the sun to dry. A little mild soap and water, if necessary, will take care of most dirt. In fact, outdoor rugs are so resistant to traffic and dirt that many are finding their way inside the house.
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