looks that last Weather-worthy fabric makes all the difference CaRRiE KELLy Special to the Calgary Sun
PhOtOs COuRtEsy DECORating DEn
More than ever, outdoor spaces are mirroring indoor ones, making fabric selection a central part of the design process. Outdoor decor has come a long way from picnic tables with a plastic tablecloth and polyresin chairs that get hosed down each spring. Now we’re just as likely to have a loveseat and coffee table in our backyard as our living room, but the type of fabric needs to be different than those used indoors. Before purchasing any outdoor draperies, cushions or area rugs, read the labels, advises Katie Rioux, owner of Calgary’s Decorating Den. Certain fibres will break down more quickly when exposed to ultraviolet rays and rain and are simply not suitable for outdoor use, even if you plan on regularly storing them when not in use or during inclement weather. “You want to put weather-worthy fabric outside and then you don’t need to replace it as often,” Rioux says. “Look at the label to see if they are mildew and stain resistant, water repellent and fade resistant.” The exterior fabric of a throw pillow or seat cushion needs to be durable, as do the materials used inside of it. While a regular pillow will soak up water like a sponge, ones designed specifically for outdoor use will be water wicking and quick drying. The old adage you get what you pay for certainly applies to outdoor fabrics, Rioux says. If you pay more for a name brand product such as Sunbrella, considered a champion in outdoor fabric durability and quality, you can expect it to last for many years. Even the most durable fabrics still need some regular cleaning and care after being exposed regularly to the elements. Fabrics are a great way to add beautiful patterns and your favourite colours into your backyard. Rioux recommends choosing a neutral palette for patio furniture and adding colour with area rugs and throw pillows, just as you would inside your home. You can place an area rug directly on a wood deck, concrete patio and even on top of stonework in the yard.