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What’s the Best Fabric for Outdoor Furniture Cushions?

Having an outdoor space to entertain family and friends is an enjoyable way to gather and share memories. When choosing an outdoor furniture set, most buyers look for fabrics that will have great appeal while withstanding the elements. Even if your patio furniture is under an awning or another type of covering, in most cases it will still be exposed to winds, moisture, and extreme temperatures. Therefore, it is best to choose an outdoor furniture fabric that is resistant to water and fading.


Vinyl upholstery is very durable in terms of withstanding the elements. It can easily be cleaned as it is less absorbent than other fabrics on the market. It is also less expensive than other good outdoor furniture fabric options. However, vinyl does not ventilate easily and can cause an unpleasant stickiness against bare skin – especially in warm, wet weather. In addition, the quality of the fabric may not compare aesthetically to some of the more expensive fabrics out there.


If you are searching for something softer than vinyl, acrylic fabrics can be one of the best materials for outdoor cushions. They are generally more flexible than vinyl, much like cotton. In addition, acrylic fabrics can typically endure over 2,000 hours in direct sunlight before they begin to fade. Solution-dyed acrylic fabrics are generally most popular. Solution-dyed acrylics are created by mixing the coloring in with the fabric before it is spun, resulting in a higher-quality fabric. Although acrylics do not promote mildew growth, mildew can emerge if the fabric is unclean or moist for long periods of time. Therefore, it is best to keep this fabric clean by wiping it off every so often with a soap mixture.

Spun Polyester

Spun polyester is a good outdoor furniture fabric option if you are searching for something that can offer more vibrant colors or patterns.  It is also a less expensive option than acrylic fabrics.  A downside to this option is that spun polyester is only approved for 300 hours of UV exposure. To help offset sun damage, look for UV-protected fabrics or purchase a UV spray and apply it to the fabric if your furniture will be exposed to the sun for extended periods of time.


Olefin is also one of the best outdoor furniture fabric options. This fabric is also fade resistant and dries quickly. Olefin is a popular option for cushion inserts, as well as cushion covers, because it is durable.  It can endure despite mold, heat, and sun exposure. Olefin is composed of synthetic fibers which are typically less expensive than acrylic fibers and more environmentally friendly, as there is very little waste generated in making these fibers. However, Olefin can feel a bit rough to the touch compared to high-end acrylic fabrics.

Choosing the best outdoor furniture set and fabric should be a fun and creative experience. When looking for long-lasting outdoor furniture, focus on finding fabrics that have the best combination of cost, feel, and durability that suits your needs. If you need full outdoor furniture upholstery, Aaron’s Touch Up can simplify the process and create custom cushions for your patio furniture or reupholster your existing cushions. We also offer a variety of good outdoor furniture fabric picks, including options from Greenhouse Fabrics, our fabric partner. Fill out our contact form to learn more, or get your free estimate for outdoor fabric upholstery from us today so you can start enjoying your personal outdoor space.