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101 Reasons to use Outdoor Fabrics Inside

Updated on November 24, 2014

101 Reasons to buy "Outdoor" Fabric"

Textile Education 101

Working with a Professional Interior Designer, will most likely streamline this entire process, but for those consumers who want to be a few steps ahead of the mainstream, we are going to discuss, "Textile Education 101." The photos that are posted in this article are primarily to show a current installation, using "outdoor fabric" on interior applications.

Fibers and textiles, don't look like they used to, 10 or 15 years ago. It's incredible to understand the capabilities and specifications, which the textile industry has made possible. Industries like the airlines and hotels are forced to meet such high standards, to keep the consumer safe and comfortable.

Safety is required to help eliminate fire and health problems. Codes have been established, to help the consumer understand what expectations to have about the products we buy. The labels manufactures provide are required by the US Government. All products which are sold have these manufactures' labels. They advise us consumers, as to the contents which a product is made.

The tags indicate “how to care for the product” and “life expectancy.” Along with care and maintenance advice, there usually is an explanation of warranty. Most representatives, including a knowledgeable sales person, should be able to advise the consumer, as to the best choice to make, when buying something.

In this case, it is very important to define the purpose of the fabric. For example, How will the fabric need to perform? Then, it becomes easier to determine which fabrics are suited to achieve this function.

Let’s just back up a bit, to understand the history behind “Outdoor Fabrics” and what they were originally designed to do. The main purpose of the outdoor fabric was to resist water. They were designed to hold up and retain their color in extreme conditions of moisture and long hours of direct sunlight.

Companies, like Sunbrella, became recognizable brands in the marketplace. They designed fabrics which could be used for outdoor furniture, awnings, for the marine industry and many similar applications. For years, these fabrics were appreciated for the specific challenges, which they were successfully able to undergo.

Today, it's very difficult to see or feel the difference between a textile that is classified for “outdoor” application, and one which can only be used, inside. The photo with a close-up of the window covering, is specifically to illustrate an outdoor fabric being used on an interior application. The “hand” as we call it, is significantly very soft, and extremely pliable. No one would visually be able to distinguish this fabric from a silk or a polyester.

Polyester, rayon and nylon fabrics, all used to make us cringe. But, that's not so today. The main concept to understand, in regards to textile application, is to be familiar with the consumer labels attached to everything we buy. It is a good idea to know what to look for? And, it certainly doesn’t hurt to understand what these labels mean.

“Solution dyed” is the buzz word today. When the fabric is solution dyed, it can undergo extreme conditions in both inside and outside applications. I can honestly say, that solution dyed fabrics, are Pet friendly, Kid friendly and even Clorox friendly. "Solution-dyed" means it will not fade in direct sunlight. You can wipe the textile, all the way through, with products like Clorox. And, it will not change the integrity of the fabric. This is pretty cool, as far as, this Mom can say.

There are many manufactures that are producing textiles, both fabrics and carpets, which will meet the conditions to be sold for outdoor application. These fabrics and carpets, definitely add value to our purchases for our homes and offices. Check out Kravet Soliel fabrics, Perennials’ Fabrics, and Sunbrella. Most of the larger fabric manufacturers, have a portion of product that is specifically designed to withstand difficult situations. Some fabrics are made which don't look like they can withstand very wet conditions, and extreme conditions of direct sunlight.

Fabrics which are classified as “solution dyed,” and/or "outdoor fabrics," are definitely worth becoming familiar with. If you're working with an Interior Designer, or any member of "the trade,” discuss this type of construction with them. They should be able to direct you to many manufacturers, which offer products, at all different price levels.

These fabrics significantly add more value. They are easier to keep clean and they will retain the original color under much more difficult situations. It's worthwhile to look into this product type, before selecting a new fabric to reupholster an old piece of furniture.

And, I wouldn’t consider buying new, without exhausting the possibility that there is a fabric, in the right color and with the specific texture, which defines the look you're trying to achieve.

If there are any specific questions, regarding manufacturers that produce solution dyed textiles, or you need to know more about fiber contents and what is suitable for an installation, please forward specific questions to me. I would enjoy directing you, to viable solutions, for your fabric needs. My email address is posted below.

High End Outdoor fabric Shops

Amazingly, Restoration Hardware has the best high end product selection of any of the retail stores and they do offer a discount if you're working with an Interior Designer. Trade accounts are only offered by using the on line store.

Lately, we've been discussing different companies that manufacture solution dyed fabrics and Perennials Outdoor Fabrics are my very favorite. Our firm has recently completed an entire project with almost all "outdoor fabrics." These fabrics offer customer's added value, as they are constructed to withstand extreme conditions, specifically, outdoor environments so the fabrics need to hold up in very wet conditions, as well as excessive exposure to sunlight.

By using the fabrics which are specified for outdoor use, you definitely are getting more value for the dollars which are spent on manufacturing the window coverings or the expense involved in upholstering a sofa which is used in the family room or any furniture which gets a lot of heavy use. Perennials Fabrics have an enormous selection of so many different textures and colors. There are enough chenille's to select from, as well as velvets, and some very nice patterns and textures.

The reason we decided to use water resistant fabrics on this mountain home in Colorado, was to help the clients' window coverings be able to withstand the extreme conditions of Mountain life. The client had wanted to insure that afternoon storms, which do pop up unexpectedly in the Sierra's, would not ruin their home if they loaned their home to friends and family.

I thought it was an incredible idea and decided we would do as many things on the project, as we possibly could, without infringing on the integrity of the interior design. The draperies were constructed with water resistant lining and specific interlining for blackout draperies where they would be used.

Summary Outdoor fabric Information

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    • livelonger profile image

      Jason Menayan 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Very useful information. Technology changes so fast, and you're right, that certain "cringe-worthy" fabrics have advanced so much that their aesthetics and longevity, even in the face of the elements, doesn't make them so cringe-worthy anymore! Thanks!