It’s not too early to start thinking about spring, when the weather turns warmer and our fancy turns to thoughts of… dining al fresco! Whether you have an expansive deck or patio, or your outdoor space is restricted to a miniscule balcony, it’s possible to create a warm, welcoming space that invites relaxation. When it comes to designing our outdoor spaces, however, there is one area we tend not to think about – area rugs. Indoors, we’ll reach for an area rug to tie a space together or anchor and define a room. Outdoors? Well, that’s another story. But it doesn’t have to be!
Outdoor area rugs have come a long way and the options range from traditional materials like sisal and jute to modern creations made from recycled plastics that feel surprisingly soft. How can you use an outdoor rug?
Under the table - If you’ve got the space, anchor your table with a bold rug. Bonus: spills are easy to hose off!
Let’s talk - Create a conversation area by grouping chairs on an area rug. You’ll instantly feel cozier.
Add color - Expecially handy in small spaces, an area rug brings instant style and color to even the plainest of outdoor spaces.
Create zones - If your outdoor space is large, use rugs to create zones for different activities.
Go big - Boost the comfort level with a large-scale rug to make your outdoor space feel more luxurious. A covered patio quickly transforms into a functional living space with the addition of a big rug.
Lack space or budget for something big? A small rug is better than no rug. A great pattern and color will bring needed interest and softness to your outdoor space.
Take a walk - Got a narrow walkway connecting two areas of your patio or deck? Take a tip from interior designers and put in a runner to boost the warmth and connect the spaces.
But it’s a rug, and it’s outside. What about maintenance? Most outdoor rugs require very little upkeep. Most are made to be hosed off and dry quickly. To get the most out of your rug, all it takes is a few simple steps.
- Store it when not in use. If you have a covered area in a mild climate that may mean never. But if your rug is going to get snowed on, or be exposed to serious elements, give it a good wash at the end of the season, let it dry and then roll it up and store it.
- Clean it regularly. Outdoor rugs attract dirt, it’s just that simple. If you have a natural fiber rug, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning. For most plastic-based rugs, a mild soap and water solution applied with a soft brush will do the trick. Make sure to clean both sides and rinse well.
- Remove moss. Synthetic rugs are resistant to mold, but if you’re in a moist environment, moss or algae can quickly take hold. Washing your rugs, and drying them completely will help prevent moss growth, as will letting rugs air dry after a rainy spell. But if you do happen to get some moss, plain old vinegar and water, applied with a scrub brush and allowed to air dry will do the trick, and unlike bleach, it’s child, pet and planet friendly.