Decorating Ideas

In Praise of Indoor/Outdoor Rugs

In Praise of Indoor/Outdoor Rugs
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On the One Kings Lane website we call them outdoor rugs, but these floor coverings are too good to be used exclusively outdoors. I speak from experience: Three of these low-maintenance beauties grace the living room and hallways of our co-op, while our hand-knotted wool Persian rug is relegated to our bedroom, where it is more often than not rolled up and out of the way.

There are three main reasons for this: Augie, our 15-year-old dog whose bladder control isn’t what it used to be; Nibbler, our 8-year-old dog with a delicate digestive system whose hobby is shedding; and my husband, who knocked over a bottle of beer on our first date and maintains his spilling prowess all these years later. Thanks to outdoor rugs, however, I can still live my style without having to find new homes for the dogs or my husband.

The Benefits of Outdoor Rugs

Among the many reasons to love outdoor rugs—or as I prefer to call them, indoor/outdoor rugs:

• They really are easy to clean. Most rugs made for outdoor use are designed to be hosed clean. So if, say, someone spills a blueberry smoothie on it indoors, all you have to do is wipe up the mess, pour water or seltzer over it, and blot. Yes, even blueberry smoothies (several of them) did not stain our rugs. We’ve also found that stain and odors removers designed specifically for dog messes work beautifully as well.

• They’re surprisingly comfortable underfoot. Gone are the days when outdoor rugs were closer in texture to Astroturf than to wool or cotton. Of my three rugs, two feel like sisal, and one reminds me of a braided cotton rug. We walk barefoot on them all the time.

Not only are indoor/outdoor rugs durable enough for a playroom, but they’re also now soft enough for kids (and adults) to sprawl out on. Photo by Leslie Unruh.

Not only are indoor/outdoor rugs durable enough for a playroom, but they’re also now soft enough for kids (and adults) to sprawl out on. Photo by Leslie Unruh.

No need to be wary of serving red wine when you have an outdoor rug in the dining area. Photo by David Land

No need to be wary of serving red wine when you have an outdoor rug in the dining area. Photo by David Land

• They come in nearly as many styles and colors as indoor rugs. Need proof of the style cred of indoor/outdoor rugs? Stark Studio Rugs now offers an assortment that is easily as chic as its indoor-only offerings. So does Dash & Albert. Solids, stripes, animal prints, rugs with tribal and Persian motifs, rugs with faux abrash… If you haven’t browsed indoor/outdoor rugs for a while, you might be surprised by the variety.

• They don’t fade in the sun. Feel free to place one of these rugs by a window and to leave the curtains open all summer long; it will maintain its color.

• They’re very affordable. It’s true that an indoor/outdoor rug will not last long enough to become a family heirloom that way a hand-knotted Oushak or a Persian silk rug might. But because these stain-resistant all-weather rugs are appreciably less expensive, you can afford to replace them after a handful of years. This makes them ideal not only for mudrooms, hallways, kids’ rooms, and other high-traffic areas but also for people who like to change their furnishings frequently.

Even a boldly colored all-weather rug like this one won’t fade from exposure to sunshine. The Payson is similar to this rug. Photo by Nicole LaMotte

Even a boldly colored all-weather rug like this one won’t fade from exposure to sunshine. The Payson is similar to this rug. Photo by Nicole LaMotte

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