Outdoor Lifestyle: Rain or Shine
By Andrea Lillo
As the backyard has evolved to become a sophisticated living space, the indoor/outdoor rug category has also transformed, giving consumers the looks that complement the stylish outdoor furniture now available. But though they are manufactured to weather the storm, literally, outside the home, the overwhelming majority of these rugs are used indoors, manufacturers say, where they weather kitchen spills, dog messes and more.
Between the new fashionable looks and its easy-care maintenance, this category is gaining ground for manufacturers.
"The indoor/outdoor is the hottest category right now," said Aaron Gray, marketing director at Oriental Weavers--so much so that the company has started ranking the top 40 sellers in the category. The company already tallies its top 40 sellers across all of its lines, and six indoor/outdoor patterns are currently on the list, he said.
"People spend $10,000 on outdoor furniture, why would they then spend $79 on a cheap rug?" said Roy Evans, vice president of sales and marketing, cmi. The company has a wide range of indoor/outdoor rugs, including ones made under its license with Sunbrella. Because the Sunbrella fabric uses a solution-dyed acrylic, the product has a three-year, no color fade warranty. "It's the Cadillac of outdoor rugs."
The term indoor/outdoor doesn't even mean outdoor anymore, said designer Liora Manne. Now, "it means easy-care, practical, all-year-round rugs." Designing for Trans-Ocean and Lamontage, Manne has been in the indoor/outdoor category for years, and "it's grown so much." She has since expanded into other categories for outdoor use, such as mats and decorative pillows. One of her newest designs is the Zig Zag Stripe, shown, a classic design in new colorways to appeal to contemporary tastes. In her Seville collection, it's available in four colors.
At the recent Las Vegas Market, Capel debuted its latest indoor/outdoor collection, called Thailand, made in Belgium of olefin. In its Capel Anywhere group of indoor/outdoor rugs, the new line consists of three patterns and two colorways, and has "a very aggressive price point," said Tami Watras, vice-president, product and creative, Capel.
"We'll always be in this category," Watras said. "It's a very popular area for us."
Couristan first launched its indoor/outdoor division more than ten years ago, and it's "remained a substantial part of our business, even throughout the recession years," said Larry Mahurter, vice president of marketing/advertising. "The indoor/outdoor category has evolved a great deal in recent years. As a company we have expanded our product assortment working from the everyday flatweaves, to hand-hooked, cut-pile and tapestry constructions."
Among Surya's newest indoor/outdoor introductions is the Storm collection, shown, hand hooked of polypropylene in China.
New collections from Oriental Weavers include Bali, a machine-woven polypropylene group with colors that are on trend with fabrics in today's market, such as cool grays and blues and pops of bright gold. "We're building on fashionable, five-color looks in addition to basic neutral colors," Gray said.
At this month's New York Home Fashions Market, Balta US will debut Prisma, which uses a proprietary weaving technology that allows each rug to offer more color options and greater textural weaving capabilities.
"Prisma is unlike anything we have ever created in our flatwoven rug offering," said Patrick Moyer, president of sales/marketing for Balta Rugs. "This new construction allows us to offer greater detail, patterns and more vibrant color offerings because of the unique yarn processing system."
At the summer markets, Safavieh bolstered its outdoor category, with an expanded rug offering as well as new categories such as patio sets and outdoor accent pillows. Rug introductions include the new Four Seasons handhooked collection, which has large loops creating painterly floral motifs from traditional chintz designs to suzani patterns, and Veranda, shown, a version of the company's sisal-look Courtyard collection that features a large loop and soft hand in 15 transitional and contemporary patterns.