Stunning and Sturdy - Outdoor Fabric

Pop with Prints

Fab LloydFlanders Mackinac2014 003

There is a design revolution outside. No longer do we set a couple of deck chairs covered in canvas on the patio and call it a day. According to Stephanie Saltonstall, co-owner of Summer House Furnishings, “You can find a huge variety of fabrics that are soft or textured in amazing colors and patterns. You would never know they are outdoor fabrics.” And that is revolutionary: indoor design moves outdoors—today there exists a whole class of outdoor fabrics that is long-lasting, mildew resistant, and gorgeous.

Lloyd Flanders, Mackinac Collection |

Fab eggchairs duralee

Sexy and Strong

Whether you are covering a white wicker rocker or a more modern design, you can get playful with colors and patterns outdoors. Add a pop of color with a bright, geometric accent pillow or go full-on fabulous by mixing colors and patterns. Saltonstall recommends, “When mixing patterns, make sure they complement each other, and try varying the scale and size of the patterns.” It is also important to bring fabrics you are considering into your outdoor space. “To see how the colors and textures go with stone or wood tones as well as the color of your house, request fabric swatches and bring them home.”

Thomas Paul for Duralee |


Wonderful and Whimsical

Fab MacKenzieChilds

There are remarkable advances in outdoor furniture. Durable and easy-to-clean materials in styles from elegant to lively are all available. While many of the new fabrics are almost bulletproof, they tend to be more expensive. Saltonstall says, “Outdoor fabrics often have a higher price tag, but they last longer, so in the long run they may be more economical.” While you can use soap and water with many outdoor fabrics, be sure to check the care tag before cleaning. To increase the longevity of your fabrics and furniture, as well as protect them from pollen and birds, you can also cover them when not in use.

Mackenzie-Childs, Sunflower Outdoor Chair |

Fab Sunbrella SereneSpotSolid and Sophisticated

With many clients looking for fabrics that will stand up to pets, young children, and lots of entertaining, Saltonstall says, “One of the most frequent requests is to find beautiful performance fabrics, so we often recommend the use of ‘outdoor’ fabrics indoors.” She suggests that when choosing outdoor fabrics, consider the visual flow from indoors to out. “Think of adding pops of color with pillows or accessories. Also, if you like to change things up, choose a neutral color for the base and go bold with colorful graphic pillows and accessories that you can change or replace with little cost and effort.”

Sunbrella, Spectrum Carbon and Rayure Denim |

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