Indoor vs. outdoor fabric: what’s the difference?

With summer in full swing, you are more than likely splitting your time between enjoying the beautiful weather outside to cooling off in the comfort of your own home. But no matter where you find yourself spending time this summer, you want to be comfortable, and there is usually fabric (and a cold drink) there to make that happen.

You might be thinking, I want to be comfortable, but how do I know what fabric is the right choice for my application? Well, I will attempt to define, explain, and inspire you to choose the right fabric to fit your needs.

Indoor Fabrics

Indoor fabrics are full of beauty, comfort and style.. When used for sofas, pillows, drapes and other indoor uses, these materials made of cotton, linen, silk or polyester can last for many years. Indoor fabrics are not weather-resistant and should not be left outdoors or exposed to a large amount of sunlight, such as on window seats.

Fabric in any form is traditionally indoor and has been that way for centuries. Natural fibers’ tendency to break down when left to the elements created a need for a product with the look of indoor fabric yet the durability and longevity needed to survive the wrath of Mother Nature. Spaces have different requirements, and there is a fabric to fill any need.

Indoor fabrics can be created from any almost textile you can envision. From simple cotton and polyester to fine wools and silks, indoor fabric is only limited by your imagination. It can be woven, dyed, and screen-printed to any appearance, while maintaining the plushness you would expect to feel on the fabric of your sofa or pillow. The one downfall to indoor fabrics is the issue of durability. If you have a sofa near a large window or chair cushions in the breakfast room, you need fabric that is fade- and stain-resistant. So, what do you do?

Enter, Stage Left: Outdoor fabric.

Outdoor Fabrics Make Outdoor Living Beautiful

With the multitude of options available today for outdoor fabric, you can create a true living space on your deck, patio, or poolside.

Outdoor fabrics are usually solution-dyed synthetic fabrics. This means the dye was added during the making of the yarn, allowing the color to fully penetrate the yarn. This creates a color that will not easily fade or wash away when subjected to the elements.

But this is not outdoor vinyl from the ’60s. Outdoor fabric technology has evolved to achieve the look of most indoor fabrics with a soft hand, comparable to cotton, all while touting the durability to withstand everything life has to throw its way.

Elegant and versatile

Fabrics for outdoor use can also be elegant and comfortable, like these from Sunbrella’s High Point Collection.

Sunbrella has led the way in outdoor fabric and has a vast array of fabrics to complement even the most discriminating tastes. Its durability and stain resistance has made it a necessity in an outdoor environment and in any indoor application where resilience is required.
So, whether you are relaxing by the pool, or cooling off in front of your favorite TV show, there is a fabric that will work perfectly wherever you need it. And you can rest easy with the knowledge to make the right selection for your next project.
Cushion Source products with Sunbrella Fabric

Sunbrella is the leading outdoor fabric for cushions, pillows, drapes, umbrellas and more. This solution-dyed acrylic is durable enough for long-term outdoor use but creative and comfortable enough for any beautiful setting.

Cushion Source’s custom cushions, pillows and drapes can be made with any of 100s of indoor or outdoor fabrics — including top outdoor brands as Sunbrella, Geobella and Outdura, as well as popular indoor styles from Robert Allen, Premier Prints and Cushion Source’s exclusive line, Highland Taylor Fabrics.

Begin creating your custom cushions, pillows, drapery panels or umbrellas now, and view Cushion Source’s Fabric Gallery to get inspired with indoor and outdoor fabrics!

Browse the largest collection of outdoor fabrics online!

4 thoughts on “Indoor vs. outdoor fabric: what’s the difference?

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  • December 4, 2012 at 2:08 AM

    Xinzhanjiang Special Fiber offer polyester solution dyed yarns and fabrics for outdoors like boat cover,awning and cusion etc.UV-Resistance
    for outdoor according to AATCC-169 is approved the
    color fastness
    in a range from 650hours to 2000 hours (color tolerance above 4 gray scale). Tenacity Retention is above 25% against 1000 hours.The
    quality has already been approved by USA EU Korea and Australia and we got
    regular orders.

  • January 15, 2013 at 9:21 PM

    So helpful to figure out which fabric to use!

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