fibreguard outdoor fabrics in a teal corner sofa

Key differences between indoor upholstery and outdoor furniture fabric

Outdoor upholstery fabrics have always been extremely high-performance fabrics because they have had to be. They have had to reckon with precipitation, mildew, and sustained exposure to harsh UV light – all things that indoor upholstery fabric doesn’t necessarily have to deal with to the same standard. They’ve been engineered from the very beginning with superior stain resistance and durability.

But can you use outdoor fabrics inside? Or indoor upholstery outdoors? What exactly is the difference, and does it matter that much in terms of performance?

Outdoor fabrics: high-powered durability and UV resistance

Furnishing fabrics are designed especially with their end-use in mind because they need to fit certain environments first and foremost. Furniture fabrics that are designed to be used indoors, for example, have a slightly different set of criteria when they are being developed, when compared to outdoor fabrics.

Outdoor fabrics and indoor fabrics overlap in a lot of ways when it comes to performance, but the difference is that while they might both be durable, for example, outdoor fabrics are engineered to be durable in different, more enhanced ways.  

Indoor fabric usually has a reduced UV rating, for example. We cover this topic in depth in our article 5 colourfastness tests that secure FibreGuard fabrics’ optimal fade protection.

Outdoor fabrics, however, must deal with Mother Nature. They’re conceived to be extremely durable, which includes their vibrant colours that need to be protected in a way that they won’t easily fade in the sunlight or wash away through the winter.

Nobody wants to worry that their outdoor throw pillows are going to lose their colour, after all.

Outdoor fabrics: designed to confront mould and mildew

Let’s take the idea of performance a step further and talk about mould and mildew (yeah, ew). As we are all too aware, they can grow on indoor furniture fabric as well, but are far more likely to develop and thrive on fabric that is exposed to changing weather conditions – or on anything, really, that’s moist and humid for any length of time.

The best outdoor performance fabrics, therefore, have a higher element of protection against mould and mildew than an indoor furniture fabric might have.

With FibreGuard Outdoor we took this performance standard to another level entirely by infusing these collections with anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties at the yarn level. These qualities combat the growth of mould and mildew, as well as the spread of bacteria and germs.

The anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties in these outdoor performance fabric collections easily withstand bad odours, commonly found in humid environments.

Learn more about FibreGuard Outdoor. Taking your indoor style outside has never been easier.

Outdoor fabrics are stain-resistant performance fabrics

Outdoor fabrics usually have a built-in protectant that helps repel water and stains. Obviously, this can make quite the difference, especially when you have young kids or are throwing patio parties all summer long.

While some companies might advise that their heavy-duty outdoor fabric collections are used indoors because they are easier to clean, we have gone the other way around. We have added the key, winning ingredients of our stain resistant interior fabric collections to new, purpose-designed outdoor collections.

All FibreGuard fabrics have that unmistakable soft touch, no matter what environment you encounter them in: this inviting feeling, unusual in such a high-performance fabric, is what has been the most important to us since the beginning.

Be enveloped in a world of softness on our blog: A Year of Textured Softness: Fabrics You Loved in 2021.

Indoor Outdoor fabrics: performance fabrics in all conditions

Does outdoor fabric always look 'different' from indoor fabric, given this list of technical variations? Thankfully, we have come a long way and outdoor fabrics nowadays are not the faded vinyl you might remember from summers long ago.

Some brands of outdoor fabrics pride themselves on being versatile and attractive enough to use both inside as well as outside. At FibreGuard, in fact, we have gotten to the point where the yarns can be just as soft and the designs just as elegant on our outdoor fabric collections as our indoor upholstery.

Perfect for matching the interior and exterior of a private home, for example, or even a restaurant or bar.

FibreGuard Outdoor performance fabrics: our suppliers are ready when you are

We engineer FibreGuard’s easy clean fabrics for indoor and outdoor spaces, designing them in-house to meet the needs of commercial, high-traffic areas such as hotels and restaurants, as well as our very own homes.

Are you interested in taking style outdoors with FibreGuard Outdoor performance fabrics this season? Get in touch with us for region-specific contract information tailored to your needs.

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