Outdoor & Indoor Furniture Fabric

Written by cynthia murphy
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Outdoor & Indoor Furniture Fabric
Some fabrics are only suitable for indoor use. (Elegant furniture image by Lars Christensen from Fotolia.com)

Selecting the right fabric for a decorating project can be challenging. There are many different fabrics available for indoor and outdoor use. Some types of fabric can used both indoors and outdoors, but often a fabric is appropriate for only one or the other. Popular upholstery fabrics for indoors include cotton, chintz, and tapestry. Synthetic options such as Sunbrella and natural fibres such as cotton are available for outdoor use.


Cotton is a natural fibre that can be used both indoors and outdoors. Cotton can be spun into a variety of fabrics including velveteen, gingham, duck (a type of canvas), and sailcloth. Softer forms of cotton such gingham and velveteen are suitable for indoor use. Sturdier forms of cotton such as sailcloth can be used for outdoor furniture.


Chintz is a form of cotton upholstery fabric. This type of fabric features a high sheen. It is often seen with English floral patterns. It is for indoor use. Chintz has periods of popularity. It was very popular in the 1980s. Some decorators consider it a classic fabric.


Tapestry is an option for decorating formal spaces indoors. Tapestry is a heavyweight fabric. It features woven designs. The result of this weaving is a pattern that resembles embroidery.


Acrylic is a popular fabric for outdoor use. It is a man-made material that provides durability. Acrylic fabric for outdoor use is slightly heavier than regular upholstery fabric. It feels like canvas.

Other Outdoor Fabrics

Some outdoor fabrics are known primarily by their brand names. Sunbrella is one popular brand of outdoor upholstery fabric. Sunbrella is a synthetic fabric suitable for all environments. It is designed to withstand the elements and provide the comfort of cotton or canvas. Other brands include Textilene and Herculite.

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