How To Use Outdoor Area Rugs

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Outdoor area rugs

Southern Charm Collection – Indoor/Outdoor “Tan” from BuildDirect.

Can you use area rugs outdoors? Of course you can! Here are some ideas and tips on how to choose and place your outdoor area rug.


Area rugs are useful pieces of décor that can help tie a room together, define space, and add some sassy style. Nowadays, we find them in every room, including the bathroom! (It’s really cool in the bathroom, and trendy, actually.)

But have you ever considered putting an area rug outdoors? Patios and decks can benefit from the use of outdoor area rugs for many different reasons. Let’s have a look.

Softness and texture with outdoor area rugs

multi-color-southern charm collection area rugs

Southern Charm Collection of area rugs from BuildDirect – “Multicolor 8’x10′”

Patios and decks don’t necessarily lend themselves to softness. Stone and wood may be beautiful, but underfoot they can before harsh and uncomfortable. It’s also difficult to add visual variety to a wood deck, for example.

A beautiful area rug under your outdoor seating and sofa can help make your time outdoor more comfortable. Kick off your shoes and don’t be afraid of scraping your skin on the deck or patio stones.

The softness of the rug also adds some visual texture. It can remind you of the softness of grass or sand. Don’t underestimate the power of a nice rug to make your outdoor space appear more beautiful!

Define areas on your patio with outdoor area rugs

Just as with indoor rugs, you can use outdoor rugs to define different areas on your patio. Use a colorful rug for the kid’s play area, and a more adult one around the grown-ups’ conversation space.

To define different areas, make sure that the furniture highlights the space you want to make: conversation seating, for example, should be formed at the edges of the rug. You can look at examples of large indoor and outdoor spaces and how area rugs are used to define for inspiration.

If you have a particularly large patio, don’t be afraid to use several area rugs of different colors: one for the lounging/sunbathing area, one for the conversation/eating area, and others as needed. Play with shapes and sizes.

Some rules to keep in mind: at least the front legs of your seating should sit on the rug, if not the entire sofa/seating. Don’t get a rug that’s just big enough for the table; the size of the surrounding furniture will make it look too small by comparison, and you’ll lose the effect you’re trying to achieve.

Moss green outdoor area rugs

Indoor/outdoor area rugs “moss green” from BuildDirect.

Also, choose the pattern according to the type of furniture. Repeated patterns can be obscured by larger furniture, but you don’t want to hide more whimsical patterns with unique or asymmetrical design. If you go with the latter, choose an airy, see-through design for your table, and sit your furniture on the edge of the rug.

Create continuity between indoor and outdoor spaces

Most outdoor rugs can actually be used indoors as well, so you can easily use two of the same area rug (or similar colors/patterns) to create a sense of continuity and harmony between your living room and your patio.

This is especially helpful for homes with wall-to-ceiling doors and windows between inside and outside. You can create a visual link by setting similar furniture and accessories, including the rug. This helps make your living space one that crosses over the indoor/outdoor divide

You can still create a visual continuity with two different rugs that use the same tone or similar patterns. If you choose a flower rug inside, get something similar for outdoors as well. Stick to similar sizes; two sitting areas of the same overall size will look “partnered” and create more continuity.

An outdoor living space

More and more, outdoor furniture is able to extend the comfort of an indoor living room outside. Cushioned conversation sets and table options worthy of your dining room make it easier than ever to spend more time outside.

Outdoor area rugs should be part of your decor strategy. Use them to add softness, define different spaces and areas, and create continuity between indoors and outdoors. You’ll find your space appears a lot more thoughtfully designed and attracts a lot more compliments!

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