Thursday, March 6, 2014

Outdoor Fabrics Come Inside…Slipcovering and Upholstering with Indoor Outdoor Fabrics

 Outdoor fabrics are no longer stiff or rough  as they once were and often they can't even be distinguished from indoor fabrics.The current buzz word   “performance fabric” best encapsulates the genre. Crafted to last performance fabrics are as durable as they are beautiful. Their was a time when most of the outdoor fabric offerings were distinguished by fish or coral, and were only offered in tropical Lilly Pulitzer like colorways. The range of colors and patterns are now so on trend that they are completely indistinguishable from their “indoor only” counterparts.
As most of you know I am a huge fan of slipcovers.  If you have dogs, kids, live in the country, are worried about fading (the list is endless) you might want to consider a “performance fabric”. I  am currently having off white slipcovers made for my family room loveseats. I have this little guy who likes to do this…and then shake…
Hence, I am using a budget friendly sunbrella fabric called Sailcloth Shell (a recent introduction from the Richard Frinier collection).  One of my loveseats sits  right in front of the window.  I love to keep the window shades open but in the past have had to close them during the heat of the day to protect the fabric. Sailcloth looks a lot like the Perennials linen weave (which I love)  at less than 1/2 the price.
Sunbrella 32000-0000 Sailcloth Shell 54" Furniture Fabric
via Sailrite
I am also covering some new dining chairs in the sunbrella canvas flax (another recent introduction)  found here

I am going to have Trish Banner at monogram the chairs with an off white three letter monogram  for a tone on tone look. She has already experimented with the H isn’t it fabulous?

I am a big proponent of choosing solid colors for  major furniture pieces. Restoration Hardware has multiple offerings for their major upholstered pieces and Pottery Barn has also jumped on the bandwagon.

Richard Frinier’s  new Sunbrella collection for Pindler is very textural without overpowering the senses

Color and pattern can be added with accessories and pillows easily changed when you tire of them.  There are a myriad of graphic patterns now available in performance fabrics. The wonderful John Robshaw just launched a fabulous new outdoor pillow collection this week,17 

Mumtaz Decorative PillowShweta Decorative Pillow
Tehmina Decorative PillowVipin Decorative Pillow

If you are a blue fan, Brunschig’s new Gaston & Daniela Collection,
or Cowtan and Tout’s are sure to please.  Cowtan is really good about keeping plenty of stock in their collections which is so helpful.

Osborne and Little’s Ionia Collection strikes a bohemian cord
Osborne & Little Outdoor/indoor fabrics - Ionia
These pillows in Kravet Soleil will look great indoors or out.

And Pierre Frey’s recently  introduced  Boussac Outdoor-Indoor California collection will definately bring the outdoors in.
 new outdoor fabrics
In the past year I have used indoor outdoor fabrics in a least four homes and I expect the trend to continue. How about you? Would you like the luxury of not having to worry about dirty paws, wine spills or sun protection? Have you used Performance Fabrics in your home?


  1. Thank you so much - all best to you this year! - Catherine and Richard Frinier

    1. You are welcome! Can't wait to get my slipcovers!

  2. I have never thought about outdoor fabric for inside but it makes sense. I agree that solid colour is ideal for major furniture pieces. It's then so easy to transform the room with accessories. Fabulous cushions here. I've just purchased a couple of similar graphic print ones from the newly opened West Elm in London.

  3. I have 4 dogs and have reupholstered 2 sofas with the higher end outdoor fabric. It really is suitable for dogs and children. I want to try the Perennials Linen on my dining room chairs next. Love all the new patterns!

    1. You can absolutely launder sunbrella. Check out this link Most of the time you can clean spills with a wet rag. I highly recommend performance fabrics to young families (and old families like us with crazy dogs!!). I have outdoor curtains at the lake that have been up for four years and have been laundered once. They get grease etc. from the grill. Outdoor Fabrics Central often has sales, does price matching, and has great service if you are looking for price friendly fabrics. I covered my dining room chairs and my sofas with sunbrella fabrics. I will post them on the blog once the magazine article is published. I hope this helps. Good Luck and thank you so much for reading the blog!

  4. Thanks for the reminder,,,,I've watched outdoor fabrics improve over the years. You've shown some beautiful examples,,,,,I must remember that the next upholstery project I do for the dining room.

  5. I have never tried them indoors, but I think it is a great idea, especially now that the "hand" has improved so much.

  6. When my kids were smaller, I came up with this great idea too of using outdoor pillows for my throw pillows - it was a lifesaver! I could easily wipe off smudges galore in a snap and the designs weren't too shabby either! Can't wait to see your seat and chairs Cindy!

  7. cindy i love this post, soooo informative, and that new sunbrella collection is killer! thank you. this post will be bookmarked

  8. This is very helpful…thanks so much Cindy! Love the monogram.

  9. Great idea Cindy....especially in a family room with children!

  10. I've been looking into having a slipcover made in a sunbrella fabric for our sofa. We have kids age 6 and 3. My question is, can you machine wash sunbrella fabric? What about shrinkage?
    Any insight would be super helpful! Thanks!


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