A Guide to Mixing Outdoor Fabrics & Rugs

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Creating a Cool Summer Look

As soon as the frost melts and the weather warms up, it’s time to take it outside. Why not make the most of the season by moving your family room outdoors? Create a cool, comfortable setting for family and friends to talk, eat and sit a spell.

No matter how large or small your outdoor area may be, you can create the perfect retreat to enjoy all year long — or at least until the first snow falls.

We like to start with mixing in color and texture. It can be as simple as adding a pretty planter and a couple of pillows to a bench, porch swing or rocker. But if you have the space, why not go all out with a rug and curtains, too? It makes all the difference.

For inspiration, we’ve pulled together a few of our favorite looks this season to help guide you in creating your perfect outdoor room.

Restful Neutrals

Mix in soft neutrals like gray, taupe and tan to create a serene setting that invites restful repose. The selection of patterns in easy hues ensures the basic color combination is never boring.

Monterey Indoor/Outdoor Rug in Gray

Amalfi Loveseat with Tan Cushions

Ballard Indoor/Outdoor Curtains in Solid Sand

The Toulon Planter

Outdoor Fabrics:

  1. Basketweave Oatmeal Easy Care Fabric
  2. Celeste Taupe Easy Care Fabric
  3. Canvas Taupe Sunbrella® Fabric
  4. Leopard Tan Easy Care Fabric

 

Earthy Escape

Easy earth tones like the greens and browns here turn your porch or patio into a natural extension of the great outdoors. We love pairing stripes with florals and other fun patterns for a chic, classic look.

Navarre Indoor/Outdoor Rug

Macau Furniture

Tripoli Console

Ballard Indoor/Outdoor Brown Stripe Drapery Panels

Outdoor Fabrics:

  1. Catana Floral Chocolate Fabric
  2. Solid Green Sunbrella® Fabric
  3. Domino Brown and Sand Sunbrella® Fabric
  4. Leopard Green Easy Care Fabric

 

Seascape Setting

Whether you have a pool or wish you had one, these spa blues and browns are relaxing complements to an outdoor summer setting. Keeping the upholstery a solid color means you can quickly and easily change your look with new pillows.

Heirloom Bordered Indoor/Outdoor Rug Chocolate

Corsica Seating – Spa with Chocolate Cording

Ballard Indoor/Outdoor Curtains in Spa

Outdoor Fabrics:

  1. Catalina Spa Easy Care Fabric
  2. Arden Chocolate Easy Care Fabric
  3. Spa Blue Sunbrella® Fabric
  4. Canvas Brown Sunbrella® Fabric

 

Simple & Sophisticated

Black and white is quite simply a timeless color combination we never tire of. It also makes it easy to mix and match if coordinating colors is not your thing! Just remember to use plenty of patterns to keep it interesting and fresh.

Seagrove All-Weather Indoor/Outdoor Rug – Black

Macau Furniture

Garden Seat

Ballard Indoor/Outdoor Sheers – Snowy White

Outdoor Fabrics:

  1. Canopy Stripe Black & Sand Sunbrella® Fabric
  2. Sinclair Damask Black Easy Care Fabric
  3. Arden Black Easy Care Fabric
  4. Solid Green Sunbrella® Fabric

 

Mediterranean Flair

Kick up the color quotient with the warm and inviting hues of the Mediterranean: reds, greens and golds. Accentuate the look with bright blooms in colorful planters.

Pompey Indoor/Outdoor Rug

Brisbane Chaise

Beauclaire Anduze Planter

Ballard Indoor/Outdoor Curtains in Red or Green

Outdoor Fabric:

  1. Mediterranean Floral Easy Care Fabric
  2. Solid Red Sunbrella® Fabric
  3. Solid Green Sunbrella® Fabric
  4. Canopy Stripe Red Sunbrella® Fabric

 

Classic & Cool

Nothing says summer like navy blue. Whether in a crisp solid or ticking stripe, it exudes cool comfort on the hottest of days. Navy pairs well with greens and florals for a relaxing setting.

St. Tropez Indoor/Outdoor Rug

Café Table and Chair – Green

Terra Cotta Lady Planter

Ballard Indoor/Outdoor Sheers

Outdoor Fabrics:

  1. Sanibel Floral Easy Care Fabric
  2. Ticking Stripe Navy Easy Care Fabric
  3. Canvas Azure Sunbrella® Fabric
  4. Solid Green Sunbrella® Fabric

 

More tips for successful outdoor decorating:

  • Define seating and dining areas with a rug.
  • Use cushions and throw pillows to add color and create comfortable seating.
  • Consider hanging curtains to define an area, add shade and create privacy.
  • Use all-weather fabrics for durability, fade-resistance and waterproofing.
  • If you have a large porch, arrange seating into intimate, conversational groups.
  • Add personality by accessorizing your space — lanterns, statuary, planters, birdcages, mirrors and candles are all great ideas.
  • Add interest with texture, such as wicker, woven rugs, ceramic garden stool, woven baskets, terra cotta planters, wood pieces, pillows, etc.
  • During periods when you’re not using your porch, store cushions and pillows to keep them in good condition.
 
How to Decorate Team

How to Decorate Team

We enjoy spending days interacting with How to Decorate readers. From answering Design Dilemmas to writing How To articles and working with guest designers, our passion is to provide informative and accurate resources to help people solve their design problems.

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91 Comments

  1. Reply

    Jennifer

    July 13, 2017
     

    I want cabana stripe cushions for my white, wicker rockers. Our overall color palette is browns and blacks and warmer tones — but I’m worried the black and sand will look too flat/dirty against the white wicker and that the black and white (which I know is more of an ivory) will have a better overall look. Any advice? I am looking for a classic, clean look overall.

    • Reply

      Annika Dupree

      July 17, 2017
       

      Jennifer,
      We’d love to help you make the right choice for your seat cushions! We offer a free design service in which our in-house interior designers help pick out furniture, fabric, accessories, etc. Just send in your question here along with a picture of the space and a designer will reach out to you with a solution!

  2. Reply

    Judy Muirhead

    June 7, 2017
     

    What outdoor rug would you recommend for black wicker furniture with kiwi trellis sunbrella cushions? I like aqua, turquoise, pinks. I have a red brick patio. What size rug for a three-seater sofa, two chairs, two ottomans, coffee table and side table?

    • Reply

      Annika Dupree

      June 8, 2017
       

      Judy,
      We’d love to help you with picking out a rug! We offer a free design service in which our interior designers pick out furniture,fabric, and accessories! Just send your question and a picture of the space here, and a designer will get in touch with your design plan!

  3. Reply

    Mary Stanford

    November 2, 2016
     

    I am sending picture of front porch. I have grey floor and guilford green house with black shutters and black door and white swing. I would like pillows for swing and a rug and accent chair and planters. Any ideas please!!

  4. Reply

    Sheila

    May 12, 2015
     

    I purchased new Sunbrella Blue cushions for patio furniture and cannot find rugs to match.
    I need 2 rugs, one for dinning area and one for seating area. Furniture is a taupe/grey metal.

    Thanks.

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      July 31, 2015
       

      Hi Sheila,
      We can definitely help you pick some rugs to match your cushions! Simply complete this form (don’t forget to include photos and measurements!), and our design team will contact you with a plan and next steps!
      The How to Decorate Team

  5. Reply

    Ava

    March 28, 2014
     

    I would love to purchase, either by the yard or in finished pillows, the Catana Floral Chocolate fabric displayed under ‘A Guide to Mixing Outdoor Fabrics and Rugs’, ‘Earthy Escape’, but I can’t find it offered online or in your catalog. Please tell me it isn’t discontinued!

    • Reply

      How to Decorate Team

      April 3, 2014
       

      Hi Ava,

      Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, we no longer sell the Catana Floral fabric. We do have two fabric options that have a similar look to them, our Augustine Amber fabric and our Fiona in Brown.

      Happy Decorating,
      The How to Decorate Team

  6. Reply

    AnAhitA

    September 19, 2013
     

    My Living Room is L shaped it has a Huge Fireplace 2 large windows flanking it , with is 12 by 23 very narrow then I have entry door Help no wall space at all..lost for furniture placement

  7. Reply

    AnAhitA

    September 19, 2013
     

    I love them all , so difficult to choose

  8. Reply

    Annabelle

    June 26, 2013
     

    I have a long, narrow three-season sunroom. I have a chaise and rocking chair in one area, and would like to place Capri chairs to create a second seating area. Should I put matching rugs in both areas, or can I mix as long as they are the same size and palette? (I’m thinking the Marina in Mocha and the Chevron in black/sand–would these coordinate? Or should I just go with two Marinas?) Thanks.

    • Miriam Leuthold
      Reply

      Miriam

      July 2, 2013
       

      In most cases, mixing different patterned rugs work great if they are in the same palette. In reference to the rugs you mentioned, we recommend pairing the Chevron Stripe – black/sand with the Marina Black … but using two Marina Rugs of the same color is always a safe choice.

  9. Miriam Leuthold
    Reply

    Miriam

    May 14, 2013
     

    Heather: We suggest allowing the colors of your umbrella to be dominant and then add small doses of black and green to the palette. Consider mixing Catana Floral – Chocolate, Newport Stripe Sunbrella, Arden Chocolate and Green with your umbrella. Use these fabrics on cushions and pillows. Add black pillow fringe to the Catana Floral or Green as an echo of the woven chair. Switch out the red cushion for Sunbrella Sand and repeat one of the patterned fabrics for a pillow. Our Turin Brown rug is a good option since it already has a mix of your existing colors.
    The Style Studio Team

  10. Reply

    Heather

    May 10, 2013
     

    I need advice on bringing together what I already have, with new items on large concrete slab surrounding inground pool. On one side of patio is glass table/4 brown frame chairs/umberella (with what is causing the problem for me-sand,taupe,brown stripped fabric). On the other side a black woven chair set with sold red cushions. Lastly a wrought iron glider bench, that can be placed on patio or deck. I want to tie the 2 or 3 spaces together! Would like color and other patterns.

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