Adding an outdoor rug is one of the easiest, most interesting ways to spice up your outside space. And these additions to your patio decor also tend to be very affordable.
Just as they do inside your home, an outdoor mat serves a number of purposes in your yard.
It can tie together an outdoor grouping (like the type we discuss in our review of the best small space furniture), add color to an otherwise bland space, and offer warmth and a softer feel under your feet.
Mats also offer protection against hot cement or wood surfaces.
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The nicest thing about outdoor rugs is that they come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, from small welcome mats to those large enough for a family-sized patio table and chairs.
Have you ever wished that you could add an extra room to your house? Choosing the right shapes and colors will provide a seamless flow between the interior and exterior of your home, in effect extending your living area.
Like any decorating choice, buying an outdoor rug requires a bit of planning. What material should you choose? How do you pick a color? Which shape will work in your space?
The good news is that we have the answers to all those questions, as well as a few product recommendations. Chances are, one of these might just prove to be the perfect pick for your patio!
Here are 7 of our absolute favorites:
- Plow & Hearth Indoor/Outdoor Rainbow Stripe Hooked Rug
- Fab Habitat Reversible Rug
- Mad Mats Oriental Turkish Indoor/Outdoor Floor Mat
- Highland Dunes Ellyson Brown Indoor/Outdoor Area Rug
- Best Choice Products Natural Bamboo Area Rug
- Lark Manor Orris Sand Indoor/Outdoor Area Rug
- Unique Loom Casual Solid Color Flatweave Rug
Not sure which will be best for your outdoor grouping? These tips can help you to make the right choice:
Our 7 Favorite Outdoor Rugs
Here are seven of the most popular outdoor mats on the market. One is sure to be the crowning touch for your patio grouping.
1. Plow & Hearth Indoor/Outdoor Rainbow Stripe Hooked Rug
This could be the perfect option: durable, easy to care for, and with a half-inch thickness that results in a soft foot-feel that really brings the indoors outside.
The bright, cheerful stripes in primary colors will evoke summer year-round.
It’s made from hooked polypropylene, which is weather and fade-resistant, and very easy to clean. It’s also a great choice for heavy traffic areas, as it’s extremely durable.
It comes in four sizes: a large 8’x10’, 5’x7’5”, 3’5”x5’5”, and a comparatively diminutive 24”x42” option that’s perfect for small spaces.
Placing it on your patio with a pad underneath is recommended. Outdoor slip-free pads are available from Plow & Hearth are available in several sizes, and they can be cut to size to fit your selection.
2. Fab Habitat Reversible Rug
The only downside to the Plow & Hearth Rainbow Stripe is that it’s a bit on the pricey side. If you’re on a budget, Fab Habitat is a fabulous alternative.
Made from recycled plastic, these striped rugs are also bright and attractive, although not quite as thick as the previous offering from Plow & Hearth – they feel more like mats underfoot.
But that doesn’t mean they’re uncomfortable, and owners say they feel smooth and pleasant.
These mats are mold and mildew-resistant, and you can just hose them off if you have a spill. Best of all, they’re reversible, so if one side fades after a year or so, just flip it over for a slightly different look.
They come in eight striped color options to match your decor with a selection of five rectangular sizes – 3’x5’, 4’x6’, 5’x8’, 6’x9’, or 8’x10’ – as well as an 8-foot-round size.
The jute carrier bag that’s included with purchase means you can also pack up your rug to take with you on camping trips, or even to the beach.
3. Mad Mats Oriental Turkish Indoor/Outdoor Floor Mat
I personally own several products from Mad Mats, and I love them. They are bright and fun, with a vast selection of patterns and colors available, including this Turkish-inspired design.
Made of 100-percent recycled polypropylene with polyester/nylon ribbon edging, I can attest that they hold up very well to even brutal summers and winters (yes, we have both where I live).
I also love that they’re reversible. After a couple of years of desert sun they do fade, so I just flip them over and know I have a couple more years of use.
However, if your Mad Mat doesn’t hold up quite as well as mine have proven to, they come with a one-year color guarantee.
They are very simple to care for: just hose them down and let them dry. Since these products are breathable and won’t trap moisture, there’s nothing to worry about in terms of mildew or mold growth.
This pattern is available in four colors, with rectangular options measuring 4’x6’, 5’x8’, or 6’x9’.
4. Highland Dunes Ellyson Brown Indoor/Outdoor Area Rug
If you’d prefer a mat made from natural fibers, the jute and sisal Ellyson Brown from Highland Dunes brings a classic, organic look to your space.
It’s handwoven in India, and has a natural, almost unfinished appearance that owners say adds to its organic charm.
At 0.8 inches, this is thick enough to offer a bit of cushioning underfoot. In fact, some owners say it’s thicker than they thought it would be, and their door will not open over it, so keep that in mind.
It comes in one color, a light brown as is common with jute. Seven sizes are available: 2’x3’, 2’5”x4’, 4’x6’, 5’x8’, 8’x10’, 9’x12’, and a more narrow 2’5”x8’ runner.
5. Best Choice Products Natural Bamboo Area Rug
For a natural-looking choice that’s thinner, with a smooth, cool feel that’s more like a synthetic fiber, bamboo is a great option.
This bamboo mat is an eco-friendly choice, made from kiln-dried bamboo with a polyester border to prevent fraying and stretching. The backing is non-skid, so it’s safe to use without a pad.
It’s very easy to clean, and it doesn’t easily stain, either. Just wipe of any spills. Owners say this product holds up particularly well to heavy foot traffic.
It comes in only one size – 5’x8’.
6. Lark Manor Orris Sand Indoor/Outdoor Area Rug
Made from synthetic polypropylene, this floor covering is made to look like a jute and sisal blend. This not only makes it easier to care for than real jute, it helps the product to keep its shape better than natural materials, perfect if you prefer a more structured look.
It’s made in Egypt, and woven via a power loom manufacturing method that results in a soft, smooth texture that’s comfortable underfoot.
If you just love a neutral, understated, or rustic vibe, this one’s for you. The solid color and muted design also mean it will work well in furniture groupings that feature patterned cushions, or where you already have a blast of colors.
It comes in a variety of sizes and shapes: rectangular options measuring 1’9”x3’9”, 2’5”x4’5”, 3’7”x5’6”, 6’7”x9’6”, 7’10”x10’10”, 8’6”x13’, a more narrow 2’3”x7’6” runner, or a 7’10” round.
The manufacturer recommends using a pad with this mat, to prevent slipping. This product comes with a 30-day money back guarantee.
7. Unique Loom Casual Solid Color Flatweave Rug
These offerings from Unique Loom provide another more muted selection in a range of eight colors.
They’re solid colors, technically, but a close look shows shades of the same color within the weave of each. For example, the rust red is actually a mix of rust red and beige, while the aquamarine is a combination of aquamarine and beige.
These blends provide a more complex, interesting appearance that evokes a more natural texture. This product is not trimmed, either, so that also adds to its casual, organic vibe.
And yet, it’s made from polypropylene, so you can scrub it, leave it in the sun for a couple of years, run a marching band over it – whatever, it’ll hold up.
This floor covering comes in seven sizes: rectangular options measuring 4’x6’, 5’x8’, 6’x9’, 7’x10’, 8’x11’, 9’x12’, and a narrow runner measuring 2’x6’. The product is manufactured in Turkey and includes a limited lifetime warranty.
How to Choose the Best Outdoor Rug for Your Living Space
Now that we’ve laid out seven of our favorite options (maybe “rolled out” would be more appropriate to say?) let’s delve a little deeper into the features of the products available.
We’ll go over what makes a given outdoor floor covering a top pick for your space, from materials and available shapes and colors to safety and care.
Since an outdoor rug will live in the sun and rain, and possibly snow (yes, I leave mine out all winter), it needs to be very durable and weather resistant.
Here are the most common materials for these types of mats:
This is probably your best choice, in general, as synthetic mats offer a lot of advantages.
They’re very affordable, tend to be very durable, come in a wide range of bright colors and patterns, and are lightweight and easy to maintain.
Just shake it out, vacuum it, or hose it off.
The four main materials used in synthetic mats are polypropylene (also called olefin), polyester, plastic, and nylon. Some are comprised of a blend of two or more of these materials.
Before most of the synthetic materials that are so ubiquitous today ever came along, outdoor rugs were made from natural materials like jute, hemp, bamboo, and sisal.
And these options are still around.
They’re not as easy-care as synthetic mats, nor are they as durable, but they generally feel softer and more plush under your feet.
Natural fibers tend to absorb moisture more readily, so you might want to consider keeping them in an area that’s covered, rather than out in the open, such as under a pergola or on a covered porch.
Because so many of today’s synthetic mats come in very bright and complex colors and patterns, it’s important to choose wisely when adding one to your outdoor furniture grouping.
In addition to the obvious consideration of matching your decor, you also need to think about where you live, and where the mat will be located when choosing a color.
Darker hues are best for urban environments, and if the mat will be placed in a high traffic area where people – especially kids – might be tromping through damp or muddy ground and then across your brand new rug.
Keep in mind that dark shades may fade with time, depending on the material and sun exposure.
Lighter colors can be used in spots where heavy foot traffic is not a consideration. They also will help brighten up an area that doesn’t get a lot of light.
Just like interior rugs, their outdoor counterparts come in an almost unlimited variety of shapes.
Choosing the right one requires studying your existing layout and determining how you want to group your furniture.
If you’re trying to tie together a conversation area, like those we discuss in our separate review of small space patio furniture, choose a mat that complements the space you have.
Square or rectangular options are the best choices for these types of groupings, but the floor covering that you choose should be large enough that at least the front legs of the larger pieces of furniture touch the surface.
If you have an outdoor coffee table, it should be able to fit on the rug with plenty of room left over so it doesn’t look skimpy. About two extra feet of border space is recommended by most experts.
Round tables look nice on a round or oval rug, but again, be sure the pieces all fit, even when the chairs are pulled out.
If you don’t have furniture weighing down your mat, it’s important to properly secure it so you don’t have to worry about slipping when you step on it.
This is particularly important if your selected floor covering is located in an area where it could get wet, such as by the pool.
Rug pads tend to be inexpensive and are easy to cut to size. The Wayfair Basics Outdoor Rug Pad is available in a variety of rectangular sizes, as well as round and runner options that can be cut to fit.
When you are sizing your non-slip pad, trim it smaller than the area of your floor covering to leave a one-inch border around all sides of your rug before positioning it in place.
Secure corners and edges with double-sided indoor/outdoor carpet tape so that people don’t trip, and so your floor coverings won’t blow out of place, or fold over in the wind.
Just be sure that whatever surface you’re applying it to is clean before you stick it into place. Read the manufacturer’s instructions, and do a spot test if you’re iffy on whether the surface that you’re applying it to might become damaged (renters beware!).
As we’ve already discussed, most of the synthetic outdoor floor coverings available today are very simple to care for. Just shake them out, vacuum them, or hose them down.
If you need to disinfect, most can withstand a diluted bleach solution without any unwanted effect on the color.
Rugs made from natural materials can be vacuumed, just keep in mind that turning off your brush roll or using a hand tool is recommended. They should be hung to dry if they become saturated, to avoid mold or mildew developing.
Most manufacturers recommend storing your outdoor mats during the winter if you live in a cold climate.
Having said that, where I live, the winters are long and bleak. I leave mine out so I can see something bright and pretty (when it’s not covered with snow, that is). Personally, I’d rather replace them more often and enjoy that bit of color than keep them stored away for several months of the year.
The Right Rug Can Brighten Up Your Yard
Whether you use it on a patio, deck, or balcony, or tuck it under a tree to make a pretty reading nook, adding an outdoor mat to your space can be a fun way to pull together an airy grouping.
Adding a simple, durable floor covering is also one of the most affordable decor options for your outside spaces.
Have you done any decorating with an outdoor rug? How did you use it to enhance your yard or patio? Tell us in the comments below!
And for more of our outdoor furniture buying guides, be sure to take a look at some of these:
- 15 of the Best Porch Swings for Your Outdoor Space
- Made in the Shade: The 7 Best Patio Umbrellas You Can Buy
- 11 Best Benches for Enjoying a Fresh Garden View
Photos by Gretchen Heber © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Product photos via Plow & Hearth, Fab Habitat, Mad Mats, Highland Dunes, Best Choice Products, Lark Manor, and Unique Loom. Uncredited photos: Shutterstock. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.