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Can Outdoor Rugs Be Used Indoors?

We’ve got a colorful outdoor rug in our kitchen – I’m looking at it right now while I write this – so I guess you can tell what my answer to this particular question will be.

Outdoor rugs can be used indoors. They are durable, weather and UV resistant, easy to clean and come in a host of great designs and colors, making them ideal in high footfall indoor areas like kitchens, hallways, bathrooms, and living rooms. Synthetic fibers mean they are also less prone to mold.

Let’s dive down into the subject of using outdoor rugs indoors in more detail, and discover why this is a good idea – and what rooms are best to put them in…

Can Outdoor Rugs Be Used Indoors?

Can I Use Outdoor Rugs Inside? (Main Reasons)

When we say, “outdoor rugs”, you may have a mental image stuck in your brain – Granny’s green AstroTurf under the rocking chairs on her front porch. But AstroTurf is long gone. Today the boundary between indoor rugs and outdoor rugs is blurry. Outdoor rugs come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. From vibrant to natural. Modern to classical.

If you’ve got kids and pets, it’s Mud Season all year long. Many outdoor rugs work better indoors than indoor rugs. That’s because outdoor rugs are tougher than most indoor ones. 

Outdoor rugs are durable. Many are made with fade-resistant synthetic fibers for high traffic areas. Often, the materials are treated for UV resistance. That means that your outdoor rug, left in full sunlight day after day, won’t fade like an indoor one will.

Outdoor rugs are engineered for wet areas. They are made from materials that won’t mold or mildew when it gets wet. If you do dishes, take baths, do laundry, or have slightly damp basement floors, then you’ll appreciate having a rug that doesn’t mildew. 

Outdoor rugs are easier to keep clean. Sure, it doesn’t rain inside your house. But if you have a toddler, you have unidentifiable wet stuff under the kitchen table. Or how about that new puppy? For super disgusting messes, you can take an outdoor rug outside, hose it down and disinfect it

Even if you don’t have a toddler or a puppy, with outdoor rugs, spills don’t soak in. Wine doesn’t set in and stain. You can just blot outdoor rugs clean. Or wait for the mud to dry and then vacuum it up.

Outdoor rugs are ideal in kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, entries, TV rooms, pool houses, sheds, mud rooms, in front of doggy doors, main doors, in kid’s rooms and in basements.

Outdoor rugs come in all shapes, styles, and colors. Yes, some outdoor rug designs can be a little wild. Wild colors and wild patterns. They may not go in all houses, but if your taste is on the bold side, then many outdoor rugs will be perfect for your home.

Or – you can go earthy. Some outdoor rugs are made with 100% natural materials in neutral colors. Made with jute, sisal and bamboo, neutral rugs work everywhere and go with everything. The natural fibers won’t be as mildew, stain or UV resistant as synthetic ones (like nylon or polypropylene) will, but the earthy colors and textures go with everything and natural fibers are a green choice.

Best of all, outdoor rugs are cheaper – much cheaper – than indoor ones. 

You’ll be surprised by the variety of these outdoor rugs.

Can I Put An Outdoor Rug in The Kitchen? 

Kitchens are the heart of the home. Humans, dogs, cats – everyone loves being in the kitchen. Kitchens are the most-loved room in the house, so – they get messy. The kitchen is a great space for an outdoor rug. Falling objects, heavy traffic, food, and drink spills all happen in a kitchen

Choose a runner under the kitchen sink and dishwasher. It’s always wet there. Pair it with a squishy pad so your feet and back don’t ache. Use another outdoor runner for the oven area.

Find a bright outdoor rug under the kitchen table or next to the island where food is prepared. Outdoor rugs make it easy to clean up the spills.

Sometimes kitchens can be a little drab. Brown cabinets with brown oak plank floors. Brighten up your kitchen with an outdoor rug with a colorful geometric print or bright, cheerful stripes. Get coordinating kitchen towels and oven mitts.

Here’s some other kitchen rug tips. If you don’t have time to clean up spills and dog hair daily, patterned rugs are better at camouflage than solid rugs. Also, the deeper the pile, the harder it is to clean up – flat or low-pile rugs are better for messes.

Can I Use An Outdoor Rug in The Living Room?

Yup. Outdoor rugs work well in living rooms. Outdoor rugs are surprisingly soft. Or you can create textural contrast by stacking plush rugs on top of low-pile ones

If you don’t like the feel of natural fibers like sisal or bamboo on your bare feet, consider softer fibers like polypropylene, or polyethylene terephthalate (P.E.T.). P.E.T. is a wool alternative made of recycled products and can itself be recycled. 

Consider stacking rugs. Layering rugs is trending. Pair up a natural, flat, neutral colored sisal rug on bottom with a smaller, color-coordinated deep pile shag rug on top. 

Try some contrasting textures and colors. If you just have smaller rugs, try overlapping them. Since outdoor rugs are so much more affordable, you can have several to alternate seasonally. 

Can I Put An Outdoor Rug in The Bathroom?

A bathroom is an excellent choice for an outdoor rug. An outdoor rug won’t mildew, and it will dry much faster than an ordinary bathroom rug.

Consider getting an outdoor rug with a sticky back so it won’t slip on a bathroom floor. If you just can’t resist a rug that is a little slippy, consider getting a rug pad.

Outdoor rug indoors

What’s The Difference Between Outdoor & Indoor Rugs?

The main differences between indoor and outdoor rugs are the durability, weather-resistance, ease of cleaning and design.

Indoor rugs are made of natural materials like silk, cotton, and wool. Indoor rugs are so soft, they don’t stand up well to heavy traffic. Soft and luxurious indoor rugs work well in low-traffic areas, like adult bedrooms.

While heirloom quality rugs can last a lifetime, they are high maintenance. They are difficult to clean. In fact, many must be dry-cleaned. Indoor rugs don’t work well in areas where there’s food, like dining rooms or kitchens.

Many indoor rugs are naturally dyed into light or pastel colors. Indoor rugs will fade in a sunny spot, like in front of a window.

Outdoor rug materials are durable and weatherproof. Often, they are made from synthetic materials like polypropylene, nylon, or polyester. Polypropylene fibers are 100% UV resistant. Polypropylene fibers are extruded as colored strands so the strands are vibrantly colored and will stay that way under the brightest sunshine.

Used to be, outdoor rugs had bright, colorful modern designs. You could spot an outdoor rug a mile away just by the screamingly colorful geometric designs. Now, outdoor rugs come in all colors and designs. Sure, there’s geometric and modern but there are also traditional designs. 

What Types of Outdoor Rugs Work Well Indoors?

Outdoor rugs come in all shapes, sizes, and styles, so finding one that’s perfect for your space will be easy

If you have a large space, like a living room, consider stacking your rugs. Try layering a larger flat, neutral sisal rug under a smaller, vibrantly colored rug. Place the smaller rug under the front two feet of a chair or under a coffee table.

Have some high-traffic stairs that suffer from constant wear and mud? Try an outdoor runner up your problem stairs. Or place an outdoor runner in front of the front door. It will clean up easily, so your entry always looks good.

Do you have a mudroom? Or a doggie door? Outdoor rugs aren’t all 8 feet by 10 feet. They come in small sizes that are perfect for small spaces like mudrooms, doggie doors, and laundry rooms.Check out these outdoor rug ideas.


There’s such a variety of styles, designs, colors and materials available now with outdoor rugs – that you, your friends and family will hardly even notice you’re using one indoors.

The added benefits of them being more durable, easy to clean and UV/weather resistant all mean that your outdoor rug will last much longer than a comparable indoor version.

So what’s not to like? We’re not suggesting you use an outdoor rug in every indoor room – but they certainly have their uses if you put them in those higher footfall areas such as hallways, kitchens, laundry rooms and bathrooms.

Mark H.

Homeowner and property investor Mark H. aspires to bring you the very best outdoor living content, based on his years of experience managing outside spaces. Read more >