Fabric solutions turn the outdoors into practical and pleasureable spaces with all the beauty and comfort of a room indoors.
At the first drip of a melting icicle, folks started thumbing through seed catalogs and searching for the perfect barbeque recipe, plotting their return, at last, to the great outdoors.
Outdoor fabrics have come a long way—no longer the scratchy webbing on the aluminum chair. People treat the outdoor space as extensions of their living rooms—more elegant, more fancy. People want both style and comfort—a whole look, plus high-performance fabric, same as you’d want in your interior.
Today’s improved fabrics are longer-lasting and are available in different types of meshes—open-weave to tighter—if your preference is airiness overhead. A host of water-repellent fabrics can protect furnishings as well as allow for use in rain or shine. Lots of really lovely patterns too—the calm, natural look of sea and sand, plus fun colors: plain, stripes, textures. People can opt for a beautiful umbrella for an auxiliary, smaller deck as a complement to the canopy of a large deck, each with its own flair and mood, whether for privacy or entertaining.
While people are keen on outdoor living, we like our outdoors fringed with 21st-century comforts. Give us shades, canopies and awnings that shield us from potent UV rays, windy gusts and downpours. Give us screens to block the bugs and acorns, and furniture upholstery that’s long-lasting, low-maintenance, element-resistant—and stylish. To go along with that, we’ll need a matching pool cover, grill cover, cabana and shade sail for the play area.
Bolstered by the stagnant economy and the stress of life’s demands, families are choosing to spend more time together and spending a chunk of disposable income on the outdoor amenities that foster that goal. Northerners opt to make their homes their castles, gathering by the pool or on the deck as soon as winter finally disappears. Those in southern regions yearn to enjoy a breeze, just out of reach of the sun’s rays. End product manufacturers are saying “can-do” to all of the above, and textile manufacturers are ready with plenty of choices.
These days high performance is a given. The 100-percent solution-dyed acrylic widely used is water- and stain-resistant, easy to clean, fights off UV rays, and resists rot, mildew and fading. People are craving bright colors and large patterns—just like inside. Furniture is becoming more lounge-y, another extension of indoors. And there are more and more advances in selections: more color, stripes, better awning fabrics, plus more ways people can customize through cushions without spending money for a whole new sofa set.
Jacquards, as accents to a “safe” color, are used as accessory pieces that catch the eye. Geometrics, watercolor patterns or animal skins are used maybe not on a sofa, but a side chair or pillow. We’re constantly researching the next great generation of novelty yarn like our boucle—soft, like chenille. People redo their look every five to seven years. They’re ready to change even before the fabric needs to retire! Merchandizing fabric together to create a whole-room look is more popular than ever.
The company’s selection of fiberglass screening, suitable for exterior windows and doors as well as patio and pool enclosures, is woven with protective vinyl to ensure top quality, color and flexibility. A new generation of insect screens, including UltraVue® and BetterVue® from Phifer, provide enhanced visibility. Its solar screen lines block glare and heat, with the value-added bonus of saving on energy bills in hot spots.