Whether for your restaurant or home, it’s time to dial up your patio or deck game.
We know your upholstery is just one part of a space and a vibe. More importantly, it’s part of a lifestyle. So as much as we here at KOVI strive to be your go-to for all things upholstery we also strive to save you time and the extra work involved not just in choosing fabrics but also in making the furniture and the space those fabrics live in work.
That’s why today we’ll cover outdoor seating substance, style, care, and year-round comfort. We’ll explore the best upholstery options for your outdoor furniture’s unique performance demands. Give you some inspiration to “zhuzh” up your porch, patio, or deck style. And we’ll take a spin through the essentials in keeping that outdoor furniture looking amazing and your outdoor seating space as useable as you want it to be year-round.
If you have a covered and enclosed outdoor space, obviously your upholstery options will include what we talk about here and much more. But for most homes and businesses, the best-case scenario is your outdoor furniture has a roof over it.
That means that your upholstery will face a near-constant barrage from the elements. And that means — unlike your indoor furniture — you need fabrics that can handle sun, water, bacteria, and mildew. And depending on your climate snow, leaves, perhaps even sand. Let’s just say this isn’t the time for a delicate linen upholstery fabric. Unless…
Let’s check in with our old friends Crypton and Sunbrella. Each in its own way is made with treatment at a fiber level so each fiber is essentially sealed. Meaning that they function as if they don’t have pores, making them extremely water, bacteria, and mildew resistant. And they’re equally slow to stain because even when spills occur — and possibly get into the weave — they simply can’t get into the fibers.
What’s more, they’re also dyed at that fiber level so not only are the fabrics sealed off from unwanted elements so is the color. All of which adds up to fade resistance — no small thing when your furniture lives outside.
If you’ve got a high traffic or heavy wear and tear area, you might also consider vinyl and canvas. There’s a reason they’ve been a go-to for applications like restaurants and marine upholstery for decades. They can take a beating, are easy to clean, and are very slow to leak or tear.
Bottom line: Keywords you’re after in your search for the perfect outdoor furniture fabrics include Crypton, Sunbrella, vinyl, and canvas. And other performance grade qualifiers like “commercial,” “marine,” and “automotive.” All of these types of fabrics are built for your outdoor playground. (And, yes, all those links will take you to where you’ll find options right this second.)
Time to splash around in a little less information and a lot more inspiration. As ever, we encourage you to trust your instincts and start by getting clear about how you dream of using this space. That’ll point you to the answer to the question of what vibe you’re after.
Here are a few different looks in a few different lanes to get you started:
Less is more
While stepping outside literally gives you more space, sometimes the last thing you want to do is clutter that space or complicate that beauty with too much decor. Stick with sleek and simple for your outdoor seating and let nothing get in the way of that view and those deep breaths. Check out these minimalist outdoor seating areas to get the ideas flowing.
For the love of luxury
Maybe you’re after that “Wow!” every time you or your guests step outside. (Yes, please.) Have a seat in these stunners from The Tarnished Jewel Blog. You’ll have your head buzzing with next-level luxury ideas to take your porch or patio from “meh” to magic.
Family fun fantasy
And speaking of dreaming. Perhaps your outdoor area is all about family. Dream a little dream and turn your backyard into the go-to family-friendly fantasy land. Your kids — and your friends — will clamor for more time with the family.
You’ve got the right fabrics and the right vibe for loads of quality chill time outside. Oh, the memories you’ll make! But how to make it all last? And how to make it comfortable for whenever you want to use it?
Actually, we recommend you get you covered — your outdoor furniture that is. And, since you very intentionally chose fabrics you knew would weather well on their own, you get to choose your level of care. From custom items perfectly suited for your pieces to more general, universal sizes, you’ve got options. Here’s a handy guide on how to choose what’s right for you.
Of course, the more diligently you cover your furniture the longer it will be preserved. What’s more, the more you throw a cover over your furniture when you’re not using it, the more readily accessible it’ll be as soon as that rain, snow, or what-have-you passes. Just pull the cover off and have a seat.
If you want this to be a place you use regularly for those forever memories and you want it to last, covers are money well spent.
Depending on your climate, it may seem like your outdoor seating options are limited to a very finite seasonal window. While true years ago, that’s no longer true today.
Need to cool things down? No problem. With just a little bit of planning and effort, you can bring much of the cooling comfort you’re used to indoors with the flexibility of a portable option you and your guests can enjoy while lounging outside. In addition to fans and misters, there’s an ever-growing array of outdoor air conditioners and evaporative cooler options (also known as “swamp coolers”).
And when the temperature drops, there’s no need to call it a night. Bring on the heat and let the evening unfold. Once out of reach for consumers or small businesses, portable outdoor heaters are more accessible than ever. There are effective options for nearly any budget whether you’d prefer to go with propane-powered or electric-powered outdoor heating.
Outdoor seating areas have nearly overnight gone from being a nice luxury to being a powerfully practical opportunity to increase the possibilities of hosting and enjoying time with friends and loved ones or increasing the comfortable and safe seating area for your restaurant patrons. And with just a little bit of intentionality, you can absolutely level up your outdoor seating upholstery, style, and comfort game.
Fair warning, you may never want to go inside again. Here’s to all your al fresco dreams coming true!