Every decorator knows the personality in any room comes through in its' accessories. This is true for an outdoor room as well. The easiest solution to brighten your outdoor furniture and let your personality shine is to change the accessories. New outdoor cushions can modernize as well as, provide a new look for your outside living space. In the beginning a cushion was a soft bag of material stuffed with wool, feathers, and even paper, to use for sitting, kneeling or to soften the hardness of a chair or couch.
Today we can add personal decorating style as the designs, colors, and texture changes from year to year; the right fabric will help include purpose and endurance to your outdoor cushions as well. Basically, outdoor chair cushions break down into four different types, all providing different functions and needs. If you prefer to change your accessories every season, or have the security of endurance through many seasons, knowing the makeup of the materials used is a plus. It is also ok to mix and match your materials, though, it should have said to keep the color and patterns in mind. Pool chairs and dining cushions should have the right material used for function.
1. Cotton Duck – Canvas
Cotton duck canvas is a fabric that dates back to the 13th century. Two yarns are tightly woven together to form the plain weave. The fabric is very durable and will stand up to excessive wear. Cotton is an inexpensive fabric that dyes easily. Although cotton duck canvas is naturally non porous, the fabric will retain water in the small pockets of space in the weave and grow heavier. Over time water may find its way into the stuffing of the cushion causing mold or mildew problems. It is recommended that a water proof treatment be done once a year. Due to the fact that this fabric is colored after the original manufacture process, do not use Bleach in the cleaning process. It is also recommended that cotton canvas is not used on outdoor pool furniture. The cotton canvas material is relatively cheap and comes in a wide assortment of colors and styles. It is very easy to add a personal touch, and paint your own cushions or even have a custom print made.
2. Vinyl – PVC
Polyvinyl Chloride better known as vinyl or PVC is basically a plastic material. Typically this is the least expensive fabric; however the ease of use and multi pattern options makes this also a very popular fabric for outdoor chair cushions. The plastics included in this fabric is very flexible and easy to mold and conform to various outdoor chair shapes. It is common for manufactures to add plastic for a slip cover effect. This product does not stand up to heat very well and can get hot to the touch. It also has the potential to fade. Studies are inconclusive, however there has been inquires as to the environmental health concerns with the manufacture of this material.
Textilene is a mesh woven material with strong polyester yarns individually coated with plastic or PVC. This blends the durability of the polyester yarn with the plastic coating protection. Typically Textilene is a waterproof material, however it does not have the sun protection needed to protect and is subject to fading. Textilene can be cleaned with mild natural soap (no detergent) and water. A small amount of bleach can be used to get out tough stains, however over time bleach will break the PVC material. The polyester provides some durability and stability, so use poolside, along with regular cleaning. This material is the middle of the cost scale. Not the cheapest and not the most expensive finished product. Outdoor chair cushions have the common woven mesh texture.
100% solution tinted acrylic or better known by a manufactures name Sunbrella is the top of the line material made today. This material originates with a variety of synthetic and cotton blends. The term “solution dyed” referes; to the process in which the fabric is colored. Almost all fabric receives its painting as a second part to the manufacturing, this fabric is solution dyed first. This means chlorine or sun will not discolor for fad over time. The manufacture of the outdoor products are chemically treated during the manufacturing process which provides material that repels water, is resistant to rotting or soiling, and does not promote mildew growth. This is the ideal outdoor chair pillow to use poolside. Sunbrella comes in several grades and each grade has its purpose. This material has been used everywhere from high usage, to hot sun, and poolside without degrading. It is also the most expensive material on the market.
Outdoor chair pillows may found in hundreds of colors and patterns, and most of the materials above, offer cushions from smooth through rough textures and from matte to shiny finishes. Flowers, stripes or solid designs are very common. A new accessory can upscale any room, including your backyard living space. If enlarging an indoor room by extending it into the outdoor living space it is important to have a flow of color.