This month, Design 101 is dedicated to fabrics, so we wanted to start with the fabrics that are the most fun: Outdoor Fabrics! Summer is here and it's time to put the finishing touches on your outdoor furniture!
Types of Outdoor Fabric
- Solution-dyed Acrylic: You might have heard of fabrics like Sunbrella, which fit into this catagory. They hold up well in the sun, repels water, won't mold or mildew, and resists wrinkling. It can be washed in the washing machine. They also hold true to their color because the fabric fibers are dyed before they're woven into fabric. Acrylics are used for everything from awnings and umbrellas, to furniture cushions and pillows. You can even find acrylic outdoor drapery fabric.
- Acrylic-coated Polyester: Similar in appearance and durability to acrylic, this fabric is often used for boats and cars. It can be screen printed with fade-resistent and weather-resistent dyes.
- Acrylic-coated Polyester-Coton Blends: This fabric is a combination of man-made and natural fibers, so it's hand is softer and it maintains a high level of durability (but might not take rough and tough as well as 100% acrylic).
- Vinyl-coated Fabrics: You'll recognize this fabric on large canopies and commercial awnings, with it's slick and glossy finish that is fully waterproof.
Qualities of Outdoor Fabrics
- Water and Mildew Resistance: Most outdoor fabrics are made with a protective coating, so that they repel water, moisture, mold, and mildew. The coating is often a finish that is applied to the fabric, so if you clean the fabric often, or sit in it regularly, the fabric will still reflect normal wear or use.
- Fading: Over time, outdoor fabrics can fade. Especially dark colors such as black, navy blue, and dark brown. If you are using dark or vibrant colors, consider storing cushions away from the direct rays of the sun when not in use.
What to Look for when Shopping for Outdoor Fabrics
When shopping in-store, or online, look for the following keywords:
- Indoor/Outdoor Fabric
- Outdoor Fabric
- All-weather Fabric
- Waterproof Fabric
- Weather-proof or Weather-resistant Fabric
If you're a regular reader of our blog, you know that we often take outdoor fabrics indoors. Because they are durable and resistant to mold and mildew, outdoor fabrics can be terrific on indoor upholstery in humid environments, homes with pets, and homes with allergy sufferers. One of our favorite options? Restoration Hardware has a terrific line of outdoor sofas that we like to use in family rooms!
We love low maintenance.