Add style and colour to your outdoor area with fabulous fabrics.

When decorating outdoor living spaces, as with indoor areas, just as much thought and co-ordination goes into making them ideal havens for relaxation. What better way to stamp your personality and style on your outdoor room than by adding a splash of colour in a cushion or lounge setting? Fabrics are also a great way to create a connection with your interior spaces, making the transition between indoors and out even more seamless.

When choosing soft furnishings for your outdoor area, it’s important to look at the durability of the fabric before you make the purchase. You also need to take into consideration the climate, whether or not the fabrics will come into contact with animals, and how much wet and damp the fabric will need to withstand. Be sure to choose a product that has been quality tested to ensure it will maintain its comfort and looks well into the future.

According to Ian Knox, managing director of Innova International, a producer of engineered fabrics, there are many high-quality acrylic fabrics available for outdoor furnishings. «There are brilliant, versatile textures that offer flexibility and style in outdoor situations, from canopies to cushions, outdoor seating, umbrellas and awnings,» he says.

Synthetic rattan is another popular choice for outdoor fabrics. Its popularity is credited to its durability as it is weather-proof as well as immune to humidity and the harsh sun. Wintons Teak weaves synthetic fibre into its designs and the company claims it’s not only durable, but environmentally friendly too. «This fibre is recyclable and when burnt does not emit any poisonous gases — and it looks almost identical to natural rattan,» says Wintons Teak director, Anton Siswoyo.

Polyester, acrylic and synthetic materials are easy to maintain, which is a boon for those who have little time for extra washing.

There is also a growing trend for statement pieces in bright colours, including reds and greens, and bold patterns. «People are requesting classic settings in teak or tonal colours and then using one or two fashion pieces in the newest-season colours to modernise their outdoor room,» says Anton. «The beauty of this is that the classic setting will remain on-trend for many years to come and a refresh of the setting can be done simply by replacing the statement piece with a new colour.»

The same method can be applied to other soft furnishings, including cushions, to update your outdoor room according to the seasons and your personal tastes.

Ian Knox has witnessed a similar trend. «Soft, elegant, neutral colours with eye-catching textures and patterns dominate,» he says. «Strong accent and quirky colour and pattern combinations also feature. Decor trends in Europe and the USA continue to influence local exterior design decisions.»

While many outdoor fabrics are relatively low-maintenance, they aren’t completely maintenance-free. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s care instructions to ensure your new cushions, daybed or sunlounge look their best for many years to come.

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