What's the difference between an indoor rug and an outdoor rug?

What's the difference between an indoor rug and an outdoor rug?

Indoor rugs and outdoor rugs serve many of the same purposes: They help define a space, add to a design aesthetic, and feel good on your bare feet. 

But there are key differences between the two. Putting an outdoor rug indoors might work fine, depending on your decor. But an indoor rug placed outdoors is likely to be destroyed by sun and weather.

Let’s take a look at outdoor rugs vs. indoor rugs, how to tell the difference, and how to pick the right rug for your space.


What Is an Outdoor Rug? 

An outdoor rug, also known as an indoor-outdoor rug, is a rug specifically designed for outdoor use. Unlike indoor rugs, outdoor rugs are made from materials that can withstand exposure to various weather conditions and outdoor elements, such as polypropylene and polysilk. They are commonly used in outdoor living spaces, such as patios, decks, porches, and pool areas, to add to the style and comfort of these areas. 

Features of outdoor rugs

Weather-resistant materials. Outdoor rugs are typically made from synthetic materials that are designed to resist the effects of mother nature, such as moisture, mold and mildew, and fading caused by exposure to sunlight.

Easy to clean. These rugs are designed to be easier to clean and maintain, as they are likely to encounter dirt, debris, and spills from outdoor activities. Outdoor rugs can generally be cleaned with a garden hose and left to dry in the sun.

UV protection. The materials used in outdoor rugs are often treated to resist fading and damage from prolonged exposure to sunlight.

Quick-drying. Outdoor rugs are designed to dry quickly, ensuring they won't retain water and remain damp.

Mildew resistance. The materials used in outdoor rugs are often resistant to mildew growth, preventing unpleasant odors and maintaining a clean appearance.

Versatility. While primarily intended for outdoor use, outdoor rugs can also be used indoors, especially in high-traffic areas or spaces where spills are common, like kitchens or entryways.

More design options. Because outdoor rugs are made from synthetic fibers, they can be made with brighter colors and more interesting patterns than natural fiber rugs. 

What Is an Indoor Rug?   

An indoor rug is designed to be used in indoor areas such as a home or office. These rugs can be made from a wider variety of fibers, including wool, sisal, jute, seagrass, synthetic fibers, or a combination of these materials. Common types of indoor rugs include area rugs, which cover a specific area of the floor, and runners, which are long and narrow rugs designed for hallways and entryways. 

Features of indoor rugs

Decoration. Indoor rugs add style, color, and texture to a room's decor. These rugs come in various patterns and designs, allowing homeowners to choose a rug that complements the overall theme of their space.

Comfort. Indoor rugs provide a soft and comfortable surface for walking or sitting. They can be particularly useful in rooms with hard flooring surfaces like wood, tile, or concrete, and can make these spaces cozier and more inviting.

Noise reduction. One of the many practical benefits of indoor rugs is absorbing sound and reducing noise levels in a room. This makes them especially beneficial in rooms with high ceilings or hard surfaces that tend to amplify sound.

Warmth and insulation. Indoor rugs can provide an additional layer of insulation, helping to keep your indoor space warmer during colder months.

Floor protection. The flooring underneath indoor rugs is well protected from wear and tear, scratches, and stains, which is especially useful in high-traffic areas.

Indoor & Outdoor Rugs FAQs

Are indoor/outdoor rugs easy to clean? 

Indoor/Outdoor rugs are made from polypropylene synthetic fibers to resist moisture, stains and fading. Just spot-clean, shake or vacuum and/or wash with a hose and then hang to dry. You can drape them over your outdoor furniture for quick drying.

Do you need a rug pad outside?

An outdoor patio pad is highly recommended. It lets air circulate under the rug and helps the rug wear more evenly.

Can outdoor rugs be used inside?

The style and durable materials of indoor/outdoor rugs make them ideal for kitchens, dining rooms, and screened or three-season porches. Splashes and spills won’t hurt them. They are also great for high-traffic areas such as a hallway or entry.

Can indoor rugs be used outside?

No, indoor rugs are not made to withstand the elements – rain and sun – of the outdoors. The sun can fade them. The rain can cause watermarks and the fibers to disintegrate.

A Rug for Every Space 

Whether you’re looking for an indoor rug for your living room or an outdoor rug for your patio, you can find the best rug for your home among our wide selection of custom rugs.  

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