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Make Your Outdoor Seating More Fun This Summer

Updated: Jul 19, 2020

2020 has certainly been quite a year! I always try to find the silver linings, and despite the scary news and uncertainties of this ever-changing pandemic scenario, one thing has turned out to be a positive for my family and that is more quality time together at home.

Hopefully, you have some form of outdoor seating in your dwelling and you can extend your living quarters to the outdoors. I try to sit outside as much as possible while I can, as I remind myself of N.J.'s erratic Falls and Winters that will be here before we know it. As an interior designer, I relish in all things visual, so it will come of no surprise that outdoor furniture is a "thing" I dissect (in a good way). It used to be that outdoor performance fabrics were predictably bright, bold, and either solid or wide stripes. But no more! yay!

Thanks to partnerships with Sunbrella, Inside Out, and a handful of fabric vendors, now your outdoor fabric can do the heavy lifting to identify your outdoor style!

Sunbrella is the most recognized brand for outdoor fabric, and as the name gives away, perfect for handling the sun! It has its origins in the early '60s with uses in awnings and boating materials. It is fade and UV resistant, water and stain-resistant, mildew resistant, and very easy to wash if needed. It has a 5-year limited warranty, made in the U.S.A., and has met certifications for safety on chemical emissions.

A very recent newcomer to the outdoor performance scene is Inside Out Fabric. It too hails the same characteristics as Sunbrella, and also made in the U.S.A. It does not, however, have certifications, and is warrantied for 3 years. As the name suggests, it can be used inside or out. You may be wondering what you would do with a fabric like this indoors, but it comes in handy if you have a pool and you've got a spot in your home where everyone congregates after they've been swimming, say your kitchen perhaps or a pool house? The sun resistance also comes in handy in protecting your furniture or accent pillows if you're seating is placed under a very sunny window. You'd be surprised how much the sun can fade your indoor investments.

As a designer, my goal is for the "setting" to tell a story or create a destination. What do I mean? Well, perhaps you want your outdoor space to feel like you're on vacation in a quaint little New England coast town, or you want to recreate your trip out to Sedona. You may be thinking "this is a little overboard" on the designing front. But there is actual psychology to design and colors, textures, and layout of a space. I will be writing a post about design psychology in the near future, so make sure to subscribe to my website, and give me a follow on my Instagram account

Vacations or trips typically bring us a sense of joy and lasting memories; feel-good emotions you want to experience over and over again. By having a little reminder of this in your own backyard, you are creating a happy spot for yourself. It can even be a destination you have on your bucket list. It may be a while before it's safe to travel, so why not recreate that place? I bet it would be a lot of fun, and distracting as well.

There are endless possibilities for end-use on these fabrics. Here are a few of my personal favorites from Pindler and Thibaut:

If you're looking to replace your existing cushion covers, and your inserts are in good condition, it's quite simple. Your local upholsterer can make you new covers, all they need are the measurements. Measure the width, depth, and height of each cushion. Also important is how your cushion is finished- is it knife edge or self welted? The knife-edge is a simple clean seam, like a pillowcase. Self-welt or cording is that thick ropey looking finish at all the cushion edges. Don't feel you have to copy your existing cover design, you are starting new. But the welt is very important because it requires extra yardage and needs to be calculated in your total yardage. And that's my next point. Fabric is sold by the yard, and a standard fabric roll is between 53"-55". Lots of math going on here, but once you get the hang of it becomes easy. You can usually get a rough quote by providing the upholsterer with measurements and fabric information. One other quick note on patterns; the repeat of the pattern will affect the yardage you need. What is a repeat? Well, every pattern has a set size, and that pattern repeats on a fabric bolt. That part is actually a little tricky, but no need to worry about that. Just make sure you relay this info to the upholsterer.

If you live in an apartment and do not have an outdoor space, you can still make use of this awesome performance fabric! How about a fun seat cushion that you can carry with you to the park? or a roll-out cushion pad to lay on outdoors? Or maybe you want to make yourself a custom beach blanket? Anything is possible.

If you're interested in purchasing any of the pictured fabrics, have questions, or want to learn more, send me a DM, email, or call. I'd be happy to help you out!

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