It’s the Golden Age for outdoor living, and all-weather textiles have never been softer, stronger, or more stylish.

By Marisa Spyker
June 12, 2020
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Call it a symptom of cabin fever, but outdoor living spaces have never been more appealing. Whether it’s a fully outfitted open-air living room or a cozy daybed perched on a second-floor balcony, alfresco hangouts are the new indoor living room. And while the appeal certainly lies in the fresh air, you can also blame the irresistibility of soft and stylish outdoor fabrics.

Thanks to improvements in comfort and durability, all-weather textiles don’t come with the caveats their predecessors did decades ago. Typically spun from solution-dyed acrylic fibers, the fabrics are able to stand up to the elements while still being porous enough to maintain some flexibility.

But what should you look for when buying outdoor fabrics?

“For the most part, your best option is a water-resistant fabric that is breathable and resistant to the small amount of water it encounters,” says David Dean, Director of Research & Development at Sunbrella. “A water-resistant fabric will also allow the furniture to dry out quickly if it gets wet.” According to Dean, water-resistant fabrics are softer and more breathable than waterproof options, making them ideal for most patios that see an average amount of rain per year.

Another important quality to look for in fabrics is UV-resistance, which’ll protect them from fading in the harshest afternoon sun. “Although fabrics are UV-resistant, it’s never a bad idea to consider adding shade to your outdoor space for extra sun protection for other elements in your furniture, such as the frame, foam, and stitching,” says Dean.

Aside from covering, how else should you care for your outdoor fabrics? “For easy maintenance of your Sunbrella patio furniture fabrics, spray a solution of water and mild soap and use a soft bristle brush to clean,” says Dean. “Rinse thoroughly until soap residue is gone and allow the fabric to air dry. No elbow grease needed.”

Durability all-stars? Check. But what about style? Fortunately, all-weather fabrics these days are available in virtually every color, pattern, and texture (think linen and tweed) as their indoor counterparts. Here, we gathered up 10 beauties we’re currently contemplating for our outdoor pillows, cushions, draperies, and beyond.

Credit: Courtesy of Ballard Designs

Lisbon Citrus Sunbrella Performance Fabric; ballarddesigns.com

Credit: Courtesy of Holly Hunt

Great Outdoors Bali Net Fabric in Silverfish; hollyhunt.com

Credit: Courtesy of Perennials

Perfect Setting Fabric in Lavender; perennialsfabrics.com

Credit: Courtesy of Sunbrella

Danube Ikat Stripe Fabric in Aqua; sunbrella.com

Credit: Courtesy of Kravet

Pompano Fabric in Navy; kravet.com

Credit: Courtesy of Perennials

Tides Fabric in Conch; perennialsfabrics.com

Daintree Floral Fabric in Ebony; ralphlaurenhome.com

Credit: Courtesy of Sunbrella

West Palm Woven Fabric in Kiwi on White; sunbrella.com

Credit: Courtesy of Martyn Lawrence Bullard Design

Senja Performance Fabric in Slate; martynlawrencebullard.com

Credit: Courtesy of Perennials

Dapper Fabric in Dragonfly; perennialsfabrics.com