Outdoor Furniture and Rug Ideas

Michelle Radcliff
Patio seating outdoors

Give your outdoor living space a designer feel by accessorizing your patio furniture with a stylish outdoor rug. Specialized synthetic fabric makes outdoor rugs durable enough to withstand harsh outdoor elements while looking attractive enough to be used indoors as well.

Furniture Frame Materials and Styles

Consider the furniture inside your home and choose outdoor pieces with similar lines, finishes, or designs. For example, the clean, straight lines of teak outdoor furniture complements minimalist, contemporary, or modern settings. Scrolling wrought iron furniture has a very traditional look while furniture made from aluminum or recycled plastic can be designed to look modern, transitional, or rustic like pine and cedar furniture.

Wood

Common types of wood for outdoor furniture include teak, cedar, pine, and eucalyptus. Teak is an extremely durable tropical hardwood resistant to rotting, warping, insects, shrinkage and swelling. Teak is the priciest wood and can be left untreated to age to a silvery gray or sealed to retain its golden honey color. Eucalyptus is a more budget friendly tropical hardwood with natural resistance to moisture damage and insects. Cedar and pressure-treated pine also age to a silvery gray when left untreated with cedar being the more expensive option.

  • Patio Productions has a large selection of outdoor teak furniture including dining sets, club chairs and sofas, occasional tables, chaise lounges and bar furniture. Be prepared for a considerable investment -- a seven piece dining set costs $2899, a chaise lounge costs $782, and a club chair costs $879.
  • Plow and Hearth has eucalyptus outdoor furniture including dining sets, benches, bar sets, occasional tables, chaise lounges, and seating sets. Get a five piece dining set for $558.99, a bench for $159, or a four piece seating set for $699.
  • DutchCrafters offers inexpensive outdoor pine furniture such as Adirondack chairs starting at $94, wooden benches at $152. and picnic tables as low as $126. They also carry cedar options like a kids' outdoor furniture table set for $182 and a bistro table set is $549.

Metal

Furniture made from wrought iron is durable and heavy; it will never blow away in a wind storm. Look for a powder-coated finish which protects it from rust and use paint for minor touch ups.

Aluminum furniture is inexpensive, lightweight, and durable as it won't rust or fade and is also available with powder coated finishes. Steel furniture is heavier than aluminum but lighter than wrought iron. Metal furniture can get hot when sitting in the sunlight, making cushions upholstered in fade-resistant outdoor fabric a smart investment.

  • Today's Patio offers a wide range of wrought iron, aluminum, and cast aluminum furniture collections in both contemporary and traditional designs, including romantic, Old World style dining sets and transitional cushioned seating sets. You must call 1-800-457-0305 for pricing information.
  • Didriks has contemporary stainless steel outdoor furniture that includes the Equinox Collection, which combines teak and marine grade stainless steel on dining tables and chairs starting at $699, the more modern aesthetic of the Mercury Collection that includes the deep seating steel furniture starting at $1862, and the slightly lower priced Quattro Collection with stackable stainless steel chairs at $539.

Plastic, Polymer, and Resin

Plastic furniture is lightweight, stackable and requires little maintenance. If you live a green lifestyle, recycled plastic furniture made from high density polyethylene keeps milk cartons, shampoo bottles and other plastic containers out of landfills. Resin is a high quality plastic that is resistant to stains, moisture, mildew and insects and won't crack, peel or fade. High-quality plastic furniture is heavier than lesser quality plastic furniture and is built to withstand harsh outdoor elements.

  • OutdoorPolyFurniture.com offers recycled plastic furniture made from high-density polyethylene combined with stainless steel hardware. Find everything from traditional Adirondack style chairs in multiple colors starting at $229, outdoor dining tables starting at $399, and garden armchairs starting at $286.
  • Kmart offers inexpensive plastic patio furniture with chairs and side tables as low as $8.99. For something a little more durable, go with resin or PVC pieces such as a side table with hidden storage for $35 and matching love seat for $100.

Wicker and Rattan

Wicker is a type of woven furniture made from rattan, willow, reed, rush, grasses or synthetic resins. Wicker made from natural materials has a very organic feel yet still suits a variety of styles, from contemporary to tropical, coastal, rustic and country settings. Natural or rattan wicker should only be used on enclosed porches and sunrooms as it can quickly deteriorate if left exposed to outdoor elements. Synthetic wicker made from PVC or polythylene can be used outdoors and mimics the look of natural or painted wicker and rattan.

  • Chair King has multitudes of synthetic wicker furniture collections in both traditional and contemporary designs. The La Jolla seven piece dining set features transitional oversized wicker dining chairs and a trestle dining table for $3499 or go with the laid back look of the Antibes four piece seating set for $2999. Furniture can also be purchased by individual pieces.
  • American Rattan offers dozens of styles of indoor rattan and wicker furniture for sunrooms and enclosed porches and has a large selection of synthetic wicker for outdoor use. Find four piece outdoor seating sets as low as $699.

Tips on Buying Outdoor Furniture

Outdoor furniture should complement the architectural style of your home just like indoor furniture does. If your budget limits the selection of frame materials, opt for a frame color that matches the exterior your house to keep a cohesive look. Other things to consider include:

  • Scale - Outdoor furniture should be properly sized to fit the area it's being used in. Oversized pieces or large groupings used on a small patio or porch overwhelm the space making it feel cramped and uncomfortable.
  • Function - Determine how you plan to use the furniture. Will you be entertaining large groups of people or primarily just family and a few friends? Do you need conversational seating only or will you also be frequently dining outdoors?
  • Location - Will the furniture have protection from direct sunlight under a covered porch or patio or will it be out on an open deck or patio, by a swimming pool, or in a yard with direct exposure to sun and rain?

Outdoor Rug Options

An outdoor rug anchoring your patio furniture brings a sense of indoor comfort and style to your outdoor living space. As with outdoor furniture, the location of the rug and its intended use should be considered when making a selection on material.

Materials

Rugs made from natural materials such as jute, sisal, bamboo or cork should only be used in sunrooms or enclosed porches. Rugs that are permanent outdoor fixtures exposed to the sun and harsh weather should be made from 100% polypropylene, which is resistant to mold and mildew. This type of rug can be cleaned with a mild detergent, scrub brush and water hose while still maintaining its shape and size.

Manufactured under brand names such as Olefin or DuraCord, polypropylene is a solution dyed fiber, making it both stain and fade resistant, so the rug retains its color. Rugs made from polypropylene come in dozens of styles and are so stylish and attractive, they are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.

Shopping Options

  • Frontgate offers an elegant selection of indoor/outdoor polypropylene rugs with medallion and trellis patterns, floral and geometric patterns and more. prices vary by size and pattern, starting as low as $29 for a 2' x 3.7' rug or $79 for a 4' x 5.7' rug and up for larger sizes.
  • Wayfair has thousands of indoor/outdoor rugs to choose from in practically any style, including polypropylene braided rugs, ikat, trellis, floral, coastal, tropical, zigzags, stripes and other attractive patterns in dozens of colors. Prices start as low as $19 for a 2 ft. by 3.7 ft. rug or $138.99 for a 7.10 ft. by 10.10 ft. rug and up for larger sizes.

Kids Outdoor Rugs

Whether it's for an outdoor playhouse, clubhouse, treehouse or designated play area on the patio or in the backyard, indoor/outdoor rugs made from polypropylene stand up well to hard use. The stain resistant fibers can take on spills from Kool-Aid or chocolate milk while providing a soft surface for sitting, laying and bare feet. Add a whimsical touch to outdoor play areas with bold stripes, zigzags, or fun animal prints such as zebra.

  • Shades of Light has indoor/outdoor rugs for kids, such as Ziggy Chevron and Hooked Zebra, starting at $44 for a 2' x 3' rug. These rugs are mixed in with indoor-only rugs, so read the product information carefully before making a selection.

Rugs from Polypropylene

Outdoor rugs specifically designed for kids can be difficult to find -- just remember to look for the indoor/outdoor label on rugs with bold colors and graphics made from 100 percent polypropylene.

These stores carry polypropylene rug options even if they aren't necessarily labeled for indoor/outdoor use.

  • Hayneedle offers kids' rugs made from polypropylene in bold colors and fun patterns such as flowers, zebra stripes, puzzle pieces, sea creatures, hearts, and peace signs and more. Prices start at $28 for a 2.5' x 4' rug.
  • Floors USA has a small selection of kids' polypropylene rugs for both boys and girls with themes like sports, animals, and princesses. Prices start at $55 for 2.7' x 4' rug or $109 for 3.11' x 5.3' rug.

Pairing Outdoor Rugs and Furniture

Use outdoor furniture and rugs to create inviting outdoor livings spaces you'll want to spend a lot of time in. Outdoor rugs should also be sized to work with your furniture. When placing a rug under an outdoor dining table, the rug should be large enough to accommodate the chairs being pulled out to sit in. The back legs of the chair should still be firmly on the rug to ensure a comfortable seat that sits level in front and back.

Coordinate Scroll Design

Coordinate the colors in the rug with the frame or cushion colors of outdoor furniture. Scrolling designs on wrought iron chairs can be repeated on a rug pattern for a unified traditional setting. Dress up plain furniture with an ornamental rug design or use a solid colored rug under patterned outdoor fabrics to avoid too many competing patterns.

Coordinating rug and furniture design
Coordinating scroll design

Tropical Appeal

Earth tones of brown and tan on wicker and wood furniture blend naturally with shades of earthy green on cushions. Inspire a tropical or Mediterranean feel by mixing in warm golds and brilliant reds. A multicolored braided rug brings in an eclectic twist.

Tropical appeal
Tropical appeal

Minimalist Monochrome

For a simple, contemporary minimalist approach, use a light colored rug with a dark border in monochromatic colors that match the furniture. Neutral colors such as gray, tan, brown, beige and taupe create a serene, relaxing setting with timeless appeal.

Minimalist monochrome
Minimalist monochrome

Outdoor Living in Style

No matter what your home and decorating style may be, investing in quality outdoor furniture and rugs can bring you many years of enjoyable outdoor living with family and friends.

Outdoor Furniture and Rug Ideas