Outdoor Couture

Selecting the right fabrics will punch up the styling in your outdoor living space.

By Sara Graham


It’s the season for outdoor entertaining, and we’ve got your primer for creating the perfect outdoor space to enjoy with your family and friends this summer.

When creating your outdoor oasis, consider how the space will be used. Dinners alfresco? S’mores by a cozy fire pit? Or, pool parties with seating for a crowd? “Comfort and style are king, but the space has to function the way you need it to,” says Peggy Pond, outdoor furniture manager with Amini's Home, Rugs, Game Room and Jaffe Lighting.

Incorporating fashionable, yet durable, outdoor fabrics into your backyard décor elevates the style and comfort of the space. Today’s fabrics have the look and feel of luxurious textiles you would use on your indoor furnishings with the ability to weather the elements.

How To Choose A Fabric

» The most important factor to consider when choosing an outdoor fabric is durability, as it will be exposed to dirt, rain, wind and critters. Fabrics should be easy to clean, quick to dry and resistant to fading from sunlight.

» Solution-dyed acrylic easily meets all of these requirements. It can be cleaned with light soap, a little bleach or even just water, and it resists fading and mildew and also repels water.

» Another high-performing outdoor fabric is polyester or olefin. While not as indestructible as acrylic, it holds its color and its own against the elements.

This Year’s Trends
» Vibrant colors contrasted with dark furniture continue to be popular in outdoor space design. Corals, oranges, ocean blues and bold greens are popular this year, while last year’s colors of lime and apple green are still going strong.  

» Mixing colors, patterns and textures together achieves a chic outdoor-couture look. Bright colors can be combined with bold stripes, strong geometric patterns and even textured fabric.

» Neutrals are always in style and can stand on their own or be combined with punches of color through pillows, throws and accessories. 

 “When you are selecting outdoor fabrics, you have a clean slate and a great opportunity to shake things up a bit!” says Pond.

Bringing the Inside Out
After you’ve settled on your fabric and color palette, then what? “Create a focal point such as a fireplace or fire pit, a stylish bar or a flat-screen TV mounted on an exterior wall and arrange the furniture similar to a regular family room,” explains Kara Wagoner, textile and wallcovering supervisor with KDR Designer Showrooms.

The proper fabric, fun colors and cozy outdoor furnishings smartly arranged combine to make the perfect recipe for outdoor gatherings with friends and family this summer.


Peggy Pond, outdoor furniture manager, Amini’s, 636-537-9200
Kara Wagoner, textile and wallcovering supervisor, KDR Designer Showrooms, 314-993-5020