Capel's Lou Webster examines one of her company's "shadowbox" braided rugs.


The indoor/outdoor rug segment continues to grow, and nowhere was that more evident than at the Atlanta International Area Rug Market held in July. While the semiannual market boasted a wide variety of looks, styles and textures among the 100-plus exhibitors, at least one prominent rug maker was taking an aggressive approach to the indoor/outdoor segment, greatly expanding its indoor/outdoor lines with eye-catching designs and patterns.

Capel was the manufacturer that was perhaps most intent on growing its indoor/outdoor business at the show. The company's showroom featured no less than seven new indoor/outdoor ranges that took full advantage of contemporary approaches to design. These included braided rugs in rectangular "shadowbox" patterns, Sunbrella fabric-bordered rugs that feature faux sisal fields, and a brightly colored addition to the Country Living collection called Mosaic.

According to Lou Webster, Capel's director of product development and design, indoor/outdoor looks are coming into their own. "The designs we're seeing run the gamut," she said. "Indoor/outdoor rugs are starting to follow the look of indoor schemes and designs."

For its part, Shaw Living showcased the Terrace indoor/outdoor rug collection at market. Originally unveiled at the beginning of the year, the four styles in the series feature contemporary and nature-inspired patterns including a vine-and-trellis themed rug called Laurel. Kim Barta, Shaw Living brand manager, said that indoor/outdoor looks "are a small segment but one that cannot be ignored."

"What we are doing is bringing indoor comfort to the deck and patio area with very durable, easy to care for rugs," she said. "The designs not only bring a warm feeling to the outdoor space, but they complement outdoor furniture as well."

Robin Reese (left) and Lynda Coffey of Atlanta's Bell Carpet Galleries attend the rug market looking for unique new products for their store.
Jeanette Williamson, an interior designer at Design Images & Gifts of Augusta, Ga., said she was at the market looking for "sophisticated products" and included indoor/outdoor rugs among them.

"I'm seeing a lot of people moving outdoor rugs indoors into their kitchen spaces," she said. "I also see people going for tribal-themed rugs and a lot of neutral-tone rugs."

Another rug professional, Lynda Coffey, said that indoor/outdoor rugs are becoming more popular as people continue to remodel their homes and, by extension, their patios. The president of Bell Carpet Galleries in Atlanta, Coffey said that indoor/outdoor rugs "are creating living spaces outdoors."

"I think we're going to see more organic looks in the future: sisal looks, grasses, vines and back to nature trends. What better place for those than outside?" she said.