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HomeHomes
Published: Thursday, 6/15/2006

Al Fresco Living: The Rug-ged Story

The footpaths and walkways of our indoor living areas have long been adorned with warmth, softness and color due to the addition of rugs. It only makes sense that the trend toward outdoor or al fresco living spaces could benefit from the same attributes. Today, rugs for the out-of-doors are constructed and designed to be as beautiful as they are functional due to 21st century technology.

INNOVATION

For more than 4,000 years, rugs have been in existence and have adorned the interior spaces of caravans to castles, casabas to colonials. Adaptations have been made through the centuries to the basic rug and its uses, but one area has always been overlooked or treated with little design sense -- the outdoor spaces.

Previously, the thought of indoor/outdoor brought to mind visions of astro-turf or matted golf carpet to be applied to outdoor surfaces; but, hopefully, never to come in contact with anything but the bottoms of ones shoes.

The old indoor/outdoor concept has been revolutionized with the introduction of synthetic yarns with outdoor durability or performance yarn and the hand or feel of cotton-like softness, states Laurie Rudd, creative director for DuraCord rugs. This durability is coupled with custom designs to accommodate lounging even on our outdoor floor surfaces, continues Rudd. Sprawling on the floor has always been the most comfy seat inside the house. Now this option is available for outdoor rooms. From sunrooms to decks to patios, rugs are being designed to provide comfort and beauty of design while boasting weather resistance and fade resistance. Outdoor surfaces, previously cold or hard, now can be dressed to complete an inviting al fresco relaxation or entertainment area.

VARIETY

Outdoor rugs are a popular offering today for catalog retailers or specialty patio shops. Some designs are popping up in mass retailers alike. A vast array of styles for outdoor decorating has been designed to complement and coordinate with the long-lasting outdoor fabrics used in everything from furniture cushions to hammocks. The same color trends used today in interiors including pallets of neutral taupe to brights woven into intricate tapestry designs can be found in these durable floor coverings.

There seems to be no limit to what can be possible design-wise, states JR Pelletier, manager of Internet retailer, The Hammock Company, whose company is introducing designs with tropical to meandering stripe motifs. These al fresco rugs also come in a variety of sizes from as small as 4 feet by 6 feet to as large as 8 feet by 10 feet. Round styles are also available for complementing an outdoor dining set.

CONSTRUCTION AND CLEANING

Just as in any home products, differences in constructions for outdoor products can provide varied benefits and ultimately varied pricing. Outdoor rug designs are available in hand hooked or machine made constructions.

Craftsmen work on a pre-imprinted canvas to hand-hook the synthetic yarns into the premier designs for the rugs. These result in an added softness also, states Rudd. Due to the crafted construction, these rugs normally are found at a higher price than those constructed by machine. Machine construction produces a tight weave for greater detailing. With either construction, the use of durable, performance yarns is key to the long outdoor life of the rug. With these yarns, cleaning is also made easy. A mild detergent and thorough rinsing with a garden hose will remove most soil. Due to the color-fastness of the yarns, stains can be treated with a solution of part water and part bleach.

NO MORE ROUGHING IT

For many, al fresco living has conjured up thoughts of roughing it. That is no longer the case. Today, outdoor living can be as luxurious and as decorated as our spaces indoors.



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