Outdoor Furniture Upholstery
When shopping for your backyard, patio, or porch, there are a few things you will want to consider in regards to furniture.
Outdoor furniture is not the same as the furniture you may use to outfit the inside of your home. The biggest thing that this comes down to is the fabrics, or the upholstery, that is used for outdoor versus indoor furniture.
- Outdoor Furniture Upholstery
- What Is Upholstery?
- Best Outdoor Furniture Upholstery Options
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Upholstery?
So, what exactly is upholstery, anyway? Upholstery is the fabric or material that is used for furniture. For example, with indoor furniture, some popular upholstery options are velvet, leather, or microsuede. Upholstery can contain different fibers– synthetic or organic fibers, or even a blend of both!
Synthetic fibers are man made and made from synthetic materials, often some type of microplastic. These fibers are typically formed through chemical processes.
Organic fibers, however, are fibers that are made from natural materials, such as cotton or wool. Upholstery fabric is often chemically treated during the fabric manufacturing process to waterproof it for outdoor use as well.
Best Outdoor Furniture Upholstery Options
When it comes to upholstery options, there is no one size fits all. You should do your research on the different types of upholstery fabrics out on the market so that you can determine which is best for your furniture and your needs.
Depending on your location, common weather occurrences, the use of the outdoor furniture, and more, one fabric option may be better for you than another.
For example, a sunny climate that does not experience the changing of the seasons will be fine for lighter upholstery options and have less need for stain and water resistant materials.
Polyester Based Upholstery Fabrics
Polyester is a synthetic fiber, and can be treated in order to make it water resistant or waterproof. Polyester based fabrics are cost effective and come in many different options in regards to textures, colors, and prints.
This upholstery choice is usually medium weight and fairly easy to sew. If you are shopping for a polyester based fabric, you should be sure to check to see that it is labeled for outdoor use.
However, polyester based fabrics are not the most durable upholstery options. They may fade when exposed to direct sunlight for too long, and can also stain. Typically, it is recommended that furniture or cushions made from these fabrics be brought inside when not in use.
Polyester is a good choice for small additions to your outdoor furniture, such as cushions or throw pillows.
Acrylic or Olefin Upholstery Fabrics
Acrylic and olefin fabrics are fairly similar. These, like polyester options, are also synthetic fibers. However, they are a more durable option than polyester is.
If you choose a solution dyed option, you will not have to bring these cushions or furniture pieces indoors like you may have to do with polyester upholstery, because they can stand up to hours of direct sunlight. These fabrics come in options of differing weights, from medium to very heavy weight. Due to these different weight options, these fabrics are also more resistant to abrasion, wear, and tear.
These fabrics, however, come in fewer color or print options than polyester, so, depending on the aesthetics of your space, it may be harder to find an option that works for you.
They are also more expensive upholstery options than polyester fabric. Many home decorators choose to combine the best of both worlds by blending acrylic or olefin fabric choices with polyester. For example, you could use acrylic fabric for solids and bigger pieces, such as seat cushions, and then use polyester for smaller details such as throw pillows to add more personality to the area.
PVC mesh is another synthetic fabric option, and it is the most heavy duty option on this list. Unlike polyester, it does not need to be brought inside while not in use, as it is made from plastics and is also waterproof. Because it is made of plastics, it is much more durable as well, and can easily withstand most of the elements.
It is often used for furniture options such as sling style furniture or pool chairs, and has a basket like weave. Water can pass through this mesh fabric, and it dries quickly. It also is fairly fade resistant.
PVC mesh is best suited for being stretched over a metal or wooden frame. It does not require cushioning, so it is suited for very specific styles and purposes of outdoor furniture. For example, this fabric choice would not be a good fit for a sofa cushion or pillows, as this would negate its quick dry and water permeating properties.
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of fabric is best for outdoor furniture?
When it comes to outdoor furniture, you should use fabrics that are stain resistant or will not become damaged by water or weather. Some of the best fabrics for outdoor furniture are synthetic fabrics such as polyester, acrylic, olefin, and textilene.
What is the fabric on outdoor chairs called?
Outdoor chairs usually use sturdy outdoor fabrics. These include brands such as Sunbrella, which is one of the most popular outdoor fabric brands. The types of outdoor fabrics that are commonly used on outdoor chairs include polyester and acrylic. Another great, durable option is canvas.
What is the longest lasting material for outdoor furniture?
One of the longest lasting and most durable outdoor furniture fabrics is PVC mesh fabric. This is a more plastic-y material and is best suited for furniture such as pool or patio chairs. This material is also water resistant, so will not be affected by the elements.
What is outdoor upholstery?
Outdoor upholstery is the fabric and soft materials that are used on outdoor furniture such as patio chairs, sofas, or other lounge furniture. The outdoor upholstery fabric used for this furniture can be made from a variety of fibers, including synthetic and organic fibers.
Most outdoor textiles are also treated with chemicals during manufacturing in order to make them waterproof or water resistant.