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Just Say No to Hideous Patio Furniture Fabric Faux Pas - Great Backyard Place

Just Say No to Hideous Patio Furniture Fabric Faux Pas

We’ve all seen it at some point—that piece of patio furniture that’s so ugly that it makes your eyes hurt! If you’re looking to invest in your own set of furniture for your outdoor space, we have some tips to help you avoid that type of furniture faux pas.

When you’re choosing patio furniture, you likely have a picture in mind of what you’d like. That may be as specific as a certain brand, or you may simply know that you’d like comfy seating that coordinates well with your outdoor space.

Your first step is typically to choose the specific brand of furniture you’d like to purchase and nail down what you’re looking for, whether that’s a chaise lounge with a cushion to place out by the pool or a deep-seated sectional to let you hang out on the back porch in comfort.

That can be a complex decision with a number of factors involved. But believe it or not, the decisions that come next can make or break your patio furniture experience—at least when it comes to whether your furniture is easy on the eyes. 

Let’s take a deeper dive into how to avoid patio furniture fabric mistakes. 

Your Guide to Choosing the Right Patio Furniture Fabric 
There are two common scenarios when it comes to choosing fabric for your outdoor furniture.

In some cases, when you select a piece of patio furniture, what you see is what you get when it comes to the fabric. But it’s much more common to have multiple options to choose from once you’ve chosen the piece of furniture, both in store and available to custom order. (Take for example this Palermo High Back Sofa Set, where you can choose from three in-stock fabrics and order custom options, too.)

In other circumstances, you may choose the piece of outdoor furniture and then purchase cushions separately or refinish the existing cushions in a fabric of your choice. Let’s be honest: That circumstance is when you can enter the danger zone! 

Whether you’re custom-ordering the cushions and pillows for your furniture or choosing fabric to refinish your existing cushions, the choices for fabric may seem endless—and overwhelming! 

The Great Backyard Place team is here to help. Many brands offer a full palette of colors and patterns, along with “color stories” that can help you visualize how colors can pair together. We can help you choose the options that will work best for your space and your needs. 

outdoor fabric color story with shades of blue and cream

Looking for some general guidelines? When you’re choosing fabric for your outdoor furniture, there are a few tips you should keep in mind:

  • Select fabrics meant for outdoor use. You’re looking for fabrics that have been treated to be resistant to damage from the sun’s UV rays, stains, and water. Common fabrics best for outdoor use include polyester, acrylic, mesh, and marine vinyl. Each offers a slightly different set of perks, so talk with a sales associate who can walk you through what might work best for your outdoor space or patio.
  • Choose based on where you will use the furniture. The cushions you select—and the fabric you choose—can vary greatly depending on what you’re going to do with the couch or lounger. Where you’re going to use the furniture is important; if you’re planning to have the furniture in direct sunlight, for example, you’ll want to choose a more fade-resistant fabric, perhaps in a light shade. If you’re placing the furniture in the vicinity of your barbecue grill or smoker, you’ll want to consider whether the fabric you’re choosing is breathable or will hold odors and smoke. (In that latter scenario, you’ll also want to make sure you’re practicing grilling safety!)
  • Know your fabrics. Because there are so many different options out there, particularly if you’re having your patio furniture retrofitted with new fabric, it’s important to have a good understanding of the fabrics available. There are multiple types of fabric that are suitable for outdoor use, but they each have different needs when it comes to care and maintenance. A fabric that’s UV-treated, for example, will hold its own against the sun for a set number of hours before beginning to fade, so needs to be brought indoors in between uses.
  • Consider your overall patio aesthetic. Once you’ve chosen the type of fabric, you’ll need to choose the fabric color, pattern, or print. This is a make-or-break situation when it comes to avoiding hideous patio furniture! Consider your patio furniture “look” like you would your shirt. Will your “shirt” (aka your new cushions) pair well with your “pants” (aka the rest of your outdoor space)? If you already have some patterns in the space, you’ll want to choose carefully to avoid clashing. This is also when you should consider the color of paint you’ve used on your patio or the exterior of your home. Will your cushions complement or look out of place?
  • Choose a fabric that’ll be fashionable for the long run. Will that striped pattern look as good to you in a year as it does at first sight? Do you really love that tropical print? While it’s fine to follow the trends, consider the life cycle of your patio furniture—and make sure your fabric choices will be long-lasting, particularly if you’re making an investment in your outdoor space. You want something that’s easy on the eyes for many summers to come.
  • Think about how easy it will be to clean. This is another time you should think of your patio furniture fabric like you think of your clothing. How easy will it be to care for? Look for materials that will be water- and sun-resistant, which can help prevent unsightly mold and mildew while also keeping the original color for longer. But you’ll also want to consider whether you want a fabric that can simply be wiped clean with a sudsy cloth or one that can be easily tossed in the washer when it gets a little dirty.

Following these tips should help you avoid choosing the outdoor furniture equivalent of your grandma’s old 70s-style couch! But if it all feels overwhelming, don’t worry.

Our team of dedicated sales associates at The Great Backyard Place can help you walk through the options for patio furniture, including the specific pieces of furniture you’re looking for, different selections for fabric, and all the other choices you can make to truly make your furniture your own. 

Looking for the patio furniture of your dreams—in the perfect fabric? Take a look at what we offer, then stop by one of our locations to make your selection! 



305b Airport Rd.
Arden, NC 28704
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Chattanooga, TN

6240 Perimeter Drive
Chattanooga, TN 37421
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Cleveland, TN

145 Stuart Rd.
Cleveland, TN 37312
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Knoxville, TN 

8100 Kingston Pike
Knoxville, TN 37919
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Maryville, TN

819 Foothills Mall Dr.
Maryville, TN 37801
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St. George, UT

959 W Red Cliff Dr.
Washington, UT 84780
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