Outdoor Slipcovers vs. Replacement Cushions: What Do You Need?

We’re heading into Spring and looking forward to the next six months of warmer weather and time spent outdoors. This has many of us thinking about how to best set up our patio for maximum enjoyment from March through August. While your climate may vary, you’re planning to power wash the deck, repot a few plants, clean patio furniture, and refresh the outdoor cushions — or use outdoor slipcovers. 

After a few years of wear and tear, you’re ready to make a change with your patio upholstery. 

You might be wondering whether picking up all-new cushions or having outdoor slipcovers made is the way to go. We have a few ideas on how to choose a solution that is best for you and your outdoor needs. Let’s dive into the options that will help you make the most of your time outside this Spring and Summer.

When It’s Time To Start Fresh

Replacing all of your outdoor cushions can feel a bit wasteful. While we believe in making the most of your items at home, we know there is a time a place for when to update your outdoor cushions. If you’re experiencing any of the following, it might be time to replace your patio upholstery:

  • Your cushions cannot seem to dry out.
  • There is a foul odor coming from your cushions.
  • The existing textile has not kept water out, and mold has grown inside the cushion.
  • Your once full cushions are now floppy, misshapen, or flat.
  • The original shape of your cushions no longer works with your existing furniture or desired design aesthetic.

The Pros Of Having Outdoor Slipcovers

If you’re like us, you enjoy switching out textiles seasonally and updating your decor as your style preferences change. There can be a number of advantages to switching to slipcovered cushions. Which one of the following reasons most resonates with you and your patio needs?

  • Going for slipcovered cushions allows you to update the design of the textile without needing to throw out the cushion filler. This is more sustainable and provides flexibility for any design lover.
  • Having the option to quickly remove a slipcover each season to clean them is a significant bonus.
  • Enjoy multiple cushion textile designs without having to store two or three times the amount of cushions. All you need is to keep the covers stored away until it’s time to switch them out.

How To Care For Your Outdoor Slipcovers

We understand the investment you make for your patio space when you purchase slipcovers. There are many things you can do to ensure the longevity of your outdoor furniture. Here are a few cleaning and care practices to use in order to make the most of your materials:

  • Specify textiles that are meant for the outdoors. A few details to look for when selecting the material are bacteria and mildew resistant, fade-resistant, water-resistant, stain-resistant, and most importantly, a performance fabric. These are not required in order to have nice outdoor textiles, but they ensure your fabric will last longer.
  • Chlorine, stains, and sun are known to break down textiles over time. Just because you have protection on the material doesn’t mean you shouldn’t rinse off your patio upholstery after a weekend of fun outdoors. This is most important at the end and beginning of each warm season, but the more frequently you do, the better. 
  • During the cooler months, it’s important to store your materials out of the elements. Cold snow or ice can cause hardening, cracking, and pooling of the material. If you can, place the items in a shed or closet for the season. 

Ways To Have Fun With Slipcovered Patio Cushions

We’ve covered the many advantages to having slipcovered patio cushions but let’s talk about the fun part: options! If you’re someone who gets sick of their bedspread every six months or so and likes to switch things up, this is for you!

Having the ability to change your outdoor cushions whenever means that you can have an endless number of interesting prints, colors, and designs to decorate your patio! If you live in a warmer climate and can keep your outdoor cushions outside all year long, then this would make decorating seasonally so fun!

Imagine if you could have seasonal or even holiday-themed outdoor cushions for anytime a guest comes over? If you can enjoy the outdoors most days of the year, you might as well take advantage and have fun with the patio decor. Zipping up a patio cushion is more accessible than getting a new duvet cover on your comforter. 

If we lived somewhere with fantastic weather, we would invest in fun material prints for our patio furniture. These are a few exciting ideas we’ve dreamed up.

  • If you live in a warm climate and enjoy outdoor weather all year, you should bring your Christmas patio decor outdoors! Imagine pine trees or present wrapped prints. You would be the most festive house on the block!
  • Anyone who loves to host outdoor parties would greatly benefit from a variety of cushion covers. Have a kid’s birthday party one week and then a charity dinner the next? These two events lend themselves to different design styles. It’s not as fun to choose one cushion color for every occasion.
  • Someone with kids would enjoy having different prints and colors based on their children’s preferences. You could even mix and match if you’re feeling adventurous!

Replacement Outdoor Cushions Are For You If:

We get it; the idea of switching out cushion covers may not appeal to everyone. You’re probably someone who cares more about function than style and wants a high-quality material that’s going to last a long time. 

If you’re in the market for a high-quality outdoor textile, be sure to check out the Performance Outdoor Fabric section on our website. 

We’ve categorized this group of materials together based on their specification details which include things like fade resistance, stain resistance, and water repellency. These qualifications make a huge difference when you’re upholstering cushions that will be outdoors.

Part of having success with replacement cushions is to take good care of them. When you don’t have the convenience of zipping off a cover to wash and let the inside cushion lay in the sun, you have to be more diligent with care. 

If you frequently use your cushions then it’s important to rinse them off and leave them to dry in the sun. When a cushion is entirely soaked, this can take some time, so be patient and flip the cushions every few hours until completely dry.

At the end of your outdoor season, we recommend storing the cushions away to prolong the life of the material. If you’re not concerned about this and prefer a no-fuss setup, then that’s ok too! Just remember the fabric you have on your cushions will make all the difference in these scenarios. 

Q & A

Question: What is the best way to store outdoor slipcovers in the off-season? 

Answer: We recommend you store your slipcovers each season by first removing them from your patio cushions and washing them. Once they are clean, go ahead and fold them and store them neatly. If you cannot keep them inside, we suggest keeping them in a plastic box or bag. 

Question: How do you know if your outdoor cushions need to be replaced?

Answer: We created a list above on How To Know When To Start Fresh for reference. As a rule of thumb, if you’re questioning the state of your cushion insert, chances are it needs a second look. If, after you read this article, you decide to switch to slipcovers, this is the perfect time to update your upholstery filler too. 

Question: What outdoor fabric colors or prints are trending for 2022?

Answer: Subtle design is out, and contrast is in! Gone are the days of muted tones and minimal patterns. We have been seeing a lot of cobalt blue and bright orange for Summer 2022. Our current favorite pattern for patio upholstery is abstract or retro designs.

Question: What are the perks of having replacement outdoor cushions?

Answer: The advantage of having outdoor replacement cushions is that they can be seen as low-maintenance. You don’t have the option to remove the covers to wash, so you’re able to simply hose them off outside. When they reach the end of their life, you don’t purchase cushion covers; you simply throw them away and replace them. 

Question: What is the advantage of having outdoor slipcover cushions?

Answer: Outdoor cushions deal with a lot of wear and tear from water and the sun. When you can easily remove the cover, you can allow your cushion to dry quickly after getting wet. Having an easy-to-remove cover makes getting out stains and washing much more manageable. This will prolong the life of your cushions because they will not sit in water for extended periods of time. 

The Final Verdict

We’re happy to report that there is no right or wrong when it comes to outdoor cushions, only options! 

Our goal is to always provide ideas to consider before making your next textile purchase. When it comes to outdoor furniture, you’re either looking for a versatile option that is slightly more high maintenance or a simple solution for outdoor slipcovers. 

So which one will you choose this Spring? Let us know what you think, and be sure to stay on top of the care and keep up with your cushions, so they last a long time!

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