Considerations for Outdoor Fabric Selection

There is a reason why most outdoor furniture on the market comes in muted or neutral tones: it goes with any location and decor if the fabric is neutral-toned. Likewise, pale colors tend to fade much less easily, resulting in a suitable and reliable finish. But what about all the other colors and patterns out there? 

Outdoor fabric has many different applications, and by considering the area where the fabric will be used, the theme of your outdoor areas, and the colors and fabrics of your preference, you can choose a fabric to use to your heart’s content. 

5 Considerations When It Comes to Outdoor Fabric Selections

There are a few great guiding principles that will help you choose the best outdoor fabric for your lifestyle and preference. 

Fabric Durability 

When you’re spending a substantial amount on outdoor furnishings, you want to be sure the fabric will last. Durability refers to the rub resistance as well as the UV protection and colorfastness. 

Outdoor fabric is exposed to the elements, so buying something that is also mold-resistant is a great idea. Fabric with a protective UV coating can be a good investment, but naturally weatherproof fabrics like linen and canvas are still a great choice. 

Fabric Pattern

It’s a simple truth that our eyes are drawn to brightly patterned fabrics, but we also tire of these easily. Instead, a muted pattern that is not too busy and rhythmic will be a much sounder choice as you will not tire of it so easily. Stripes, geometrics, and soothing ombre or color bleed patterns are ideal for your poolside chairs and canvas recliners. 

Avoid fabrics with a raised texture as these rub through much more easily, and ribbed fabrics tend to collect dust and give insects a sheltered spot to start burrowing into the seat cushions.  

Fabric Tonality and Color

Colors and their tonal quality have a great influence on the fade resistance of outdoor fabrics. If you choose a bright color, it will fade faster as darker pigments tend to dilute and fade much easier than lighter or paler ones.

While pale to mid-tone colors do fade, the difference is less visible so your furniture items will look great for longer. If you opt for darker tone colors, your furniture will quickly have sunlines that will become unsightly. 

Maintenance and Cleaning of Fabric

Your outdoor fabrics will require frequent cleaning as the elements will deposit dust, particles, rain, and other debris on your seats and awnings. Regularly cleaning these fabrics will ensure your furniture and awnings remain in better condition for longer. 

Start with a daily dusting to remove any foreign particles that the wind may have deposited. Furniture items such as a swing set or sled chair that aren’t used often can be covered with a protective covering to ensure less dirt can settle on them and keep the UV exposure to a minimum. 

Once a week, you can use the brush extension of your vacuum cleaner to vacuum the seats to further remove dirt and any buildup from forming. You can opt to brush down awnings with a smooth bristled broom. 

Once a month, it is a good idea to wash seats and awnings with a washing attachment to your wet-dry vacuum cleaner or to hose awnings with the garden hosepipe. Avoid using a powerful setting that could damage the fabric. 

Allow the seats to dry fully, and if necessary, you can coat the fabric with a spray-on stain-proofing spray. 

Fabric Fade Resistance 

Outdoor fabrics will fade. How much they fade is up to you. By spraying the fabric with a UV protective layer, keeping your upholstery out of direct sunlight as much as possible, and using the right choice of fabric, you can greatly delay the fading process and have great-looking fabrics for many years to come. 

Cover your outdoor furniture when not in use, or remove loose seat cushions when you are not outdoors. The less sun exposure your outdoor fabrics receive, the longer they will last. 

Benefits of Different Outdoor Fabrics

Finally, the choice of outdoor fabric type will make a huge difference to the fade resistance, waterproofing, and general durability. There are several types of fabric that are suitable for different outdoor purposes. 

Solution-Dyed Acrylic Fabrics

An example of these types of fabric is Sunbrella fabric, which is soft and well-ventilated for a cool summer feel. During the manufacturing process, pigment and liquid acrylics are bonded and the yarn is spun to produce a textile surface. Use solution-dyed fabrics for seating, large cushions, outdoor ottomans, and lounger chairs. 

PVC Mesh Fabrics

Known as sling fabrics with a woven mesh texture, these fabrics include PVC, vinyl-coated polyester, and spun olefin or acrylic. The rougher texture is often used for wicker chairs and chaise lounges. 

Polyester Fabrics

For a light and soft fabric, polyester is a great choice. The fabric is mostly used for bright scatter cushions and outdoor drapery. Polyester dyes usually have a waterproof pigment, which makes the fabric safe for use in areas with rain. The affordability of this fabric also contributes to making it a great option to add to your outdoor ensemble. 

Canvas Fabrics

Canvas is essentially a blended fabric that has elements from polyester, other textiles, and acrylic as well as natural fibers of cotton and linen to create a durable, thickly woven fabric that is suitable for heavy sun, rain, wind, and other elements. Choose canvas for umbrella coverings, awnings, and heavy-duty sofa covers. 

Which Colors Are Best for Outdoor Fabrics?

Finally, while browsing outdoor fabrics, it may become quite overwhelming to decide what colors to choose. So, here are the top choices and what each will offer your outdoor seating area:

White or Cream Colors 

These neutral colors are great foundation choices to base your color scheme on. With a solid beige seat, you can easily liven things up with some colorful scatter cushions, or you can choose to include a few other base tone decorative elements. 

As a bonus, neutral-toned outdoor fabrics are also easier to repair if they should rip or develop an unsightly mark that you need to cut away. 

Green Shades 

If you like something a little more colorful than white or beige, then green is the way to go. Instead of thinking leaf green, opt for a seafoam green or a mint green that can create a muted backdrop to your seating area. With pale green as a color choice, the seating area will be cooler in summer, which can make a warm area much more inviting. 

Blue and Gray Shades

Blues, striped white and gray, and gray tones all create a cool ocean-side sensation that would be ideal for a beach house theme. As a bonus, these tones don’t fade as easily as darker colors, and these pale blue and gray shades are more resilient to stains and UV damage than other colors are. 

The Final Outdoor Fabrics

Give your outdoor fabrics due consideration to help you choose the best type, color, tone, and pattern that will suit your home and garden spaces. It’s not only about the UV protection factor or the overall feel—your outdoor fabrics need to be durable, easy to care for, and affordable too. For more information on outdoor fabrics for upholstery, awnings, drapery, and cushions, speak to the excellent team at Kovi Fabrics for great stock ideas and massive discounts too.

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