Outdoor Rugs for Small Spaces

Updated: Dec 13, 2021

Who's ready for long summer days and alfresco dining??? We are!

To add comfort, colour, and style to your outdoor space, including an outdoor rug in the design is an absolute must!



When designing a small outdoor space, the rug acts much like a frame around a painting, creating the ultimate finishing touch to your furniture selection. We use the rug to enhance the visual connection between the indoor and outdoor spaces, adding to the sense of flow and increasing your home's living space. They are also a great way to cover up unsightly concrete slabs and are a more economical way to hide these features.


Selecting the right size and style for your space.


Adding an outdoor rug to your small garden space allows you to bring your character and personality into your design that outdoor furniture might not provide. Rugs come in a vast range of colours and patterns that can be chosen based on the overall theme of your design, e.g., tropical, coastal, botanical, contemporary, natural.

Left scroll: Outdoor rugs come in a wide range of colours and styles (all rugs from irugs.co.nz).


What size rug should you choose for your outdoor dining area?

When selecting a table rug, the general rule of thumb is to have around 60-75cm of rug extending from under the table in all directions to allow room for the chairs. So you take the dimensions of your table and add about 1-1.5m to the width and length to get your minimum rug dimensions.

Right: The image shows various rug layouts that work well under a table and chairs.


What size rug should you choose for your outdoor seating area?

Ideally, all your important seating furniture should have at least the front legs resting on the rug, as you can see in the below images. Even if you have a small two-seater chat set or a couple of chairs, the same rules apply. You'll want to be sure the front legs of the chairs are sitting on the rug.


The most common rug sizes that we find on the market are 160x230cm and 200x300cm. However, large-scale online retailers like Irugs and Miss Amara have a wider selection of shapes and sizes.


Material options for outdoor rugs.


Today's modern fabrication technologies have allowed outdoor rugs to offer unprecedented durability and design variety and offer a strikingly similar appearance to natural fibers.

The most common and most durable fibers that we find on the outdoor rug market are heat-set Polypropylene (olefin) and polyester (PET). Both have eco-friendly versions made from recycled plastic bottles.


The vast majority of outdoor rugs are made out of Polypropylene, an extruded, solution-dyed fiber that doesn't absorb any liquid or stains. It is naturally stain-resistant, mold-resistant, and mildew-resistant. It is often designed to resemble sisal/jute, as it offers a very similar look and feel to these natural fibers. Polypropylene is the less absorbent of the two, so it tends to be better suited to total outdoor, year-round exposure.


Above: from left to right starting from the top - Mulberi Summit rug in deep blue from $519, Limon Hokitika Royal Palm from $315, Mulberi High Tide in rope from $415, Mulberi Reef rug in charcoal from $565, Miss Amara Mika grey braided oval rug from $342, Alladin Rugs Terrace Urban rug in grey from $274, Alladin Rugs Terrace Deise Trellis rug in blue from $274, Mulberi Starboard rope rug from $415, Irugs Botanical rug in beige from $314.


PET (polyester) rugs offer many benefits, including vivid colors that won't fade and resistance to stains. It can be woven to resemble cotton and wool fibers and can be beautifully soft underfoot. However, polyester is more susceptible to oil-based stains and can pill or mat in high-traffic areas. Polyester rugs tend to show wear and tear sooner, with the fibers coming undone into frayed edges after enough use. As it is slightly more absorbent than Polypropylene, PET rugs tend to be better suited to rain-protected outdoor areas, and we don't recommend leaving them out all year round.


Above: from left to right - Miss Amara Abstract Tribal rug in green and orange from $304, Mulberi Orekei rug in leaf green from $749, Miss Amara Halie rug from $317.


Care and maintenance tips.


An outdoor rug will generally build up dirt, dust, moss, and mold when left outside all year round.

To keep it looking clean throughout the summer months, give it a vacuum or a sweep every couple of weeks and remove any spots and spills with soapy water. If it needs a more rigorous clean, say at the end of winter when it may have built up moss and mold, you can spray on a cleaner like Wet and Forget and scrub with a soft brush. Or give it a good spray with a water blaster like we have below. It's quite a satisfying process!



Our designers are specialists in small urban gardens, terraced housing, balconies, and decks. If you are thinking about transforming your outdoor space, don't hesitate to get in touch for a free, no-obligation consultation.


Have you read the other blog posts in our Summer Series? Check them out here:

Outdoor Furniture for Small Spaces

Shade Solutions for Small Gardens


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