After spying the chevron-adorned patio rug used in the setting for Meghan and Harry’s Oprah interview, it appears this summer will be all about upholstering outdoor areas.
But don’t panic if you can’t get your hands on that particular style (we couldn’t either), because some of our favourite retailers have come to the rescue with their own versions.
The material of choice for outdoor rugs is polypropylene, a waterproof and hardwearing material that can be subjected to different manufacturing techniques to give it a textured look and a softer feel. For example, thinner threads of polypropylene can be used to create a rug with a texture that looks and feels more like wool but is easier to care for.
“Polypropylene is a manmade fibre often used for outdoor products because it’s a weatherproof material that is affordable, durable and easy to maintain,” says Daniel Prendergast, design director at The Rug Seller. “Many natural materials, such as jute and hemp, can also be used outdoors and are brilliant for adding a paired back feel to a garden, but are less durable than manmade materials.”
Wondering about the best way to maintain your outdoor rug? Nick Acaster, owner of Rugs Direct, says the care label should always be your first port of call. “Cleaning recommendations differ so we always suggest checking the care label,” he says.
“Most outdoor rugs can be cleaned with a brush, a hose and some washing-up liquid. To ensure full cleanliness, you’ll need to clean both sides of the rug then let it dry naturally outside in the sun.”
A quick disclaimer: this assignment, which required hours of lounging around, wasn’t the toughest we’ve undertaken, but one we approached with dedication. In all seriousness, we put every rug to the test, considering factors such as comfort and durability, but also paying close attention to how easy they were to maintain and whether finishing treatments – such as ones designed to offer protection from UV light – had been applied, as well as the overall appearance.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
Joe Browns marvellous multi-purpose rug
Dimensions: 120cm x 170cm and 160cm x 230cm
All too often outdoor rugs seem restricted to repetitive designs, with zig-zags being a, ahem, repeat offender. Not so with this one, which has a pretty leaf print and feels wonderfully thick, despite being made of 100 per cent polypropylene. It looked just as great in our hallway as it did in our garden, and has a soft hessian-like feel to ramp up the comfort. The rug’s thickness also seemed to give it more stability – some of the outdoor rugs we tested would require a non-slip liner if they were to be used on certain surfaces (such as marble), but this one wasn’t going anywhere.
Buy now £70.00, Joebrowns.co.uk
Dunelm diamond indoor outdoor rug
Dimensions: 133cm x 185cm
Sceptical that anything made almost entirely from polypropylene (in this case, 88 per cent polypropylene and 12 per cent polyester) can look and feel like a real rug? Dunelm’s style kicks that misconception to the curb, thanks to the use of different thicknesses of material – thicker strands for the darker sections and thinner ones for the paler areas, which feel wonderfully soft. This subtle variation in texture gives the rug a more authentic look – there’s none of the shininess associated with polypropylene, and a slimline trim adds a final touch.
Buy now £30.00, Dunelm.com
K by Kelly Hoppen geometric indoor outdoor reversible rug
Dimensions: 80cm x 150cm, 120cm x 170cm and 160cm x 230cm
We were amazed by the appearance of this outdoor rug. It’s surprisingly thick, looks and feels like wool and it’s reversible – flip it over to reveal an inverted image. The best bit? It’s available in three colourways (beige/cream, charcoal/neutral and dark grey/light grey), so if you’re feeling flush, we suggest splashing out on more than one and adding a dash of coordinating couture to your home, perhaps linking the indoor and outdoor areas by using the same rug but in different shades. For us, it arrived promptly before adorning our patio.
Buy now £45.00, Qvcuk.com
B&M outdoor rug
Dimensions: 180cm x 120cm
This monochrome masterpiece, which is 100 per cent polypropylene, wouldn’t look out of place in our favourite home interiors magazine. It’s another rug that relies on different thickness of polypropylene to enhance its realism – we’d be perfectly happy to roll this out next to the fireplace as well as on our patio, and although it’s not described as reversible, both sides look equally stylish. A thick trim enhances its durability, and we appreciated the inclusion of a care guide, albeit one which simply points out that the best way to clean this rug is by hosing it down. Brilliant.
Do note that this product is only available in stores.
Buy now £10.00, Bmstores.co.uk
The Rug Seller tropicana indoor outdoor rug
Dimensions: 120cm x 170cm, 160cm x 235cm and 200cm x 280cm
Take a walk on the wild side with this beautiful rug, which has a botanical design and is made from 100 per cent polypropylene. It’s thicker than many of the other outdoor rugs we tested, and we’d have no qualms about leaving this outdoors overnight. It’s incredibly easy to clean (a quick wipe with a damp cloth put paid to a tomato-juice stain), and it was one of the few outdoor rugs with a hardwearing, non-slip liner on the underside.
Buy now £46.00, Therugseller.co.uk
Think Rugs Santa Monica white black rug
Dimensions: 120cm x 170cm, 160cm x 230cm and 200cm x 290cm
For reasons we’re not quite sure of, many outdoor rugs seem to have similar geometric designs, but this one has a funky star print. What’s more, it’s been cleverly given a textured look, lending it the appearance of a woollen rug, rather one made from 100 per cent polypropylene. With a 2mm pile height, it’s a little on the thin side, but the sturdy weave means it’s still incredibly durable. Its largest version, which covers a whopping 200cm x 290cm, is one of the biggest outdoor rugs we’ve come across.
Buy now £69.99, Rugsdirect.co.uk
Fab Hab cusco outdoor rug in blue
Dimensions: 120cm x 180cm
Another bright, bold rug, this joyful burst of Aztec-themed blue will instantly liven up any outdoor space. It’s a brilliant option for those prone to forgetfulness, because leaving it outside won’t be a problem – it’s resistant to UV light, mould and mildew and can be left outdoors all year round. Its handy carry bag earns it another big tick, as does the material – it’s made from discarded plastic straws.
Buy now £59.95, Cuckooland.com
Dunelm Milan indoor outdoor rug
Dimensions: 120cm x 170cm, 160cm x 230cm and 200cm x 290cm
This beautiful polypropylene rug is crying out to be unrolled on a palm-tree-adorned balcony overlooking an Italian piazza. Failing that, it will look just as good on your pot-plant-covered patio. Available in four muted colourways, it looks and feels like a proper rug, with a hessian-like thickness and a heavy-duty underside that keeps it in place and protects it from wear and tear.
Buy now £69.00, Dunelm.com
17 Stories alizey flatweave rug
Dimensions: 80cm x 150cm, 120cm x 170cm, 140cm x 200cm, 160cm x 230cm and 200cm x 290cm
This beautiful garden rug is available in a wide range of colours and sizes, making it ideal for anyone who’s a fan of the “outdoor rooms” trend – giving different areas of the garden different looks using various items of decor. The polypropylene yarn used for this rug is incredibly tough, so it’s perfect for high-traffic areas such as patios, and it’s also got a certain amount of grip, eliminating the need for a rug gripper if you’re using it on smooth surfaces.
Buy now £29.99, Wayfair.co.uk
Beaumont summer bounty pool and rubber ring vinyl floor mat
Dimensions: 99cm x 150cm
No pool? No problem. The next best thing is a pool-adorned rug for your patio or garden. This one’s made of PVC, so although it lacks the woven feel of a polypropylene rug, it’s incredibly durable and non-slip, with the ultra-bold design boasting a UV finish that will ensure the colours stay bright. It’s also incredibly easy to clean – unlike a pool.
Buy now £110.00, Amara.com
Carpetright county sunburst blue circle rug
Dimensions: 133cm diameter
This glorious sunburst rug has a beautiful design that wouldn’t look out of place in a Marrakesh bazaar. The 100 per cent polypropylene pile has been woven in a way that gives it a lustrous look and feel, and it’s got a wonderful thickness that makes it for ideal rough ground.
Buy now £69.99, Carpetright.co.uk
The verdict: Outdoor rugs
Joe Browns’s marvellous multi-purpose rug is the rug all gardens should have – a leaf-adorned work of art that has plenty of thickness and is one of the most durable, stain-resistant outdoor rugs we’ve come across.
Dunelm’s diamond indoor outdoor rug pairs a welcome splash of colour with an innovative manufacturing technique that has given this rug a wool-like feel, while QVC’s K by Kelly Hoppen geometric indoor outdoor reversible rug will provide the plainest of patios with an instant style upgrade.
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