How to Select a Black and White Outdoor Rug

by balconyboss
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black and white striped rug on a balcony
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Choosing a black and white outdoor rug might seem easy, but it can be overwhelming. Do you just use an indoor rug, what material works best, and how do you choose the right pattern?

We’re here to help you narrow down your choices by explaining how to select a black and white outdoor rug. We’ll also pay special attention to balcony spaces!

Why Black and White Rugs?

Black and white rugs have the advantage of being easy to style and so work with different balcony aesthetics. You can easily use a black and white rug in modern, Scandi, and boho styles and more.

Also, black and white is pretty timeless. Regardless of whether you follow interior design trends, black and white looks good with almost any passing trend. Considering a rug can be a pricey investment, this is a big bonus.

How to Select a Black and White Outdoor Rug

Making your way through this list should help you get a firmer idea of what specific product you’re after.

Indoor or Outdoor Rug?

If your balcony is uncovered, it’s best to choose a specific outdoor rug (or an indoor/outdoor rug). Generally, they’re made from water-resistant materials, meaning they’ll last longer. Also, some have UV resistance, so won’t fade. While this is less of a problem with black and white than with color, it’s still a useful feature.

Covered balconies have a bit more freedom, providing you’re confident the rug won’t get (and stay) wet. Indoor rugs aren’t as hardy, so you could be wasting money unless you’re confident it’ll last.

However, you’ll have more choice of styles with indoor rugs. It’s up to you whether this is worth choosing one that might not last as long.

Best for covered balconies: indoor rugs

Best for uncovered balconies/patios: outdoor rugs


Next comes material. Natural rug materials include cotton, wool, jute, sisal and bamboo. Synthetic materials include polyester, nylon and polypropylene.

Things like bamboo, jute, and sisal work well in boho and modern style balconies, whereas synthetic materials can work in any style.

However, synthetic materials are cheaper, have better weather resistance, and are good at mimicking natural materials. For example, you could find a polyester rug that feels like wool for a fraction of the price.

You’ll mainly want to avoid cotton and wool for your black and white outdoor rug. While they’re great materials for rugs, they’re expensive and don’t go great outdoors. If you’ve ever gotten wool clothes wet, you’ll know why.

You could get away with a cotton rug on a covered balcony, but synthetic materials are better for high-traffic areas.

Best overall: synthetic materials


A black and white outdoor rug will, by definition, have a pattern. Even simple stripes are a pattern. As such, it’s worth thinking about what pattern will work best for your balcony.

First, if you have busy patterns on your furniture or accessories, a simple patterned rug would be best. Even on a boho style balcony, where clashing patterns are a thing, a busy rug would be too distracting.

Here are some patterns and where they’d work best.


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This is a broad category that includes anything with triangles, lines, shapes, and so on. You can use a geometric black and white outdoor rug as part of modern, boho and Scandi styles. Geometric can also look good in small spaces.


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Stripy rugs can work well on long balconies, as they elongate the space. As a result, they also work well on small balconies. Big, bold stripes are suitable for modern styles while thin stripes would look best in boho or vintage styles.


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Flowery patterns are hit-and-miss. They can look very busy in small spaces(like in the above example), so are better suited to large balconies. Avoid them if you have a modern or Scandi aesthetic, but they can work in boho style balconies. Flower pattern rugs can be difficult to style if you’re not sure what you’re doing.


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Much like geometric patterns, a checkered black and white outdoor rug would look most at home on a modern style balcony. However, like flower patterns, they’re better suited to larger spaces.

Balcony Size

The size of your balcony will influence what kind of pattern works best on your black and white outdoor rug. As a general rule, bold, large patterns work best in small spaces. Conversely, smaller, busier patterns can be better in large spaces.

This isn’t always the case, though. Sometimes, the opposite can be true. You must also consider existing patterns and what overall look you’re going for.

Also, think about the size of your balcony. Providing it doesn’t curl at the edges, bigger is better than smaller. Choosing a rug size that’s too small is a common problem in interior design.

But, it depends on surrounding furniture and whether (and how much) floor you want exposed. Try to avoid more than 8 inches of space between a rug and surrounding items.

Best for small balconies: big, bold patterns

Best for large balconies: any pattern type (if styled properly)


Once you’ve checked off all the above, you can think about a budget for your black and white outdoor rug. There’s no single answer, as it depends on what you’re willing to spend.

You could find an inexpensive outdoor rug for $50 or spend hundreds on a high-end product. Some tips include:

  • Don’t spend loads if you have kids or pets
  • That said, be willing to stretch your budget for the perfect piece
  • A well-maintained rug can easily last a decade, so get your money’s worth
  • Synthetic materials will usually last longer than natural, particularly outdoors

Final Thoughts on Black and White Rugs

Hopefully, this guide will help you choose the perfect black and white outdoor rug. In theory, working down the list in order should result in a couple of well-considered options that are perfect for your balcony.

Regardless of how you choose your black and white outdoor rug, happy hunting!