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Design principles are the same for indoor and outdoor rugs

July 16, 2013

Area RugWith people are trying to expand their homes' livable space, turning to a sun porch, patio or deck for an additional gathering spot makes sense. Outdoor kitchens, media systems and furnishings that look like they were plucked from a living room have become popular for outside use in recent years. The addition of stylish and durable indoor outdoor rugs, like Shaw Floors' Garden Craft collection, can give a beautiful finishing touch to an outdoor room design.

The color and fiber selection in outdoor rugs has broadened considerably as manufacturers like Shaw use all-weather materials that resist spills, mildew and fading from frequent sun exposure. The same finishes used for stain resistance and high-traffic interior rugs can tackle weather conditions outdoors.

Keep rugs in proportion
Although the weather-resistant properties demanded by the outdoors are important, area rugs used outside should also be chosen according to the same decorating principles that guide indoor home design.

Rugs can be the anchor that keeps the whole look in proportion. Choosing a rug that's too small for the patio may ruin the overall style that home decorators are trying to achieve. When a rug is too large for a small seating area, it may make the space look cramped rather than intimate.

A neutral rug can set off bolder colors used in patio cushions or a splashy patterned rug may become a focal point within the decorating scheme. Another good idea for fabrics used in patio decor is to layer textures by choosing a variety of materials for cushions, pillows and table linens that bring out the best in soft furnishings.

Consider furniture arrangement
Every room, whether indoors or outdoors, benefits from balance in furniture placement. According to, placing all of the furniture legs on a room-sized area rug creates a better arrangement. With smaller rugs, keeping the furniture legs off the floor covering generally creates a more pleasing look.

One exception may be how rugs are placed in relation to the patio table. When an outdoor rug is underneath a table, there should be at least 24 inches of the material coming out from the edge of the table on all sides. That way it's easier to maneuver chairs when they are pushed in or out because they won't get caught on the edge of the rug.

Arranging furniture before determining the size of a new rug makes it easier to see the best placement of the floor covering.