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OUTDOOR FABRICS provide perfect “indoor” options
for easy-care living areas

As we welcome spring and summer and begin to open up our homes to the more friendly elements of nature, we find that the barrier between the indoors and out become blurred for a few wonderful months. Kathleen McGovern, of Kathleen McGovern Studio of Interior Design, loves to incorporate outdoor fabrics into her interiors as they lend themselves to providing maintenance free living for high use areas. Kathleen offers suggestions on the best ways to utilize these fabrics in your home.

Kathleen McGovern Living Room
The sofa, chairs, and pillows are covered in colorful patterned outdoor fabrics that complement the art collection.

While most quality furniture frames tend to be resilient and can stand up to many different lifestyles, fabrics tend to show more wear and tear. Man made and natural indoor fibers that are subject to years of use will eventually become threadbare. Factor in the occasional accident or mishap, and furniture quickly starts to show its age. Outdoor fabrics provide a phenomenal alternative, as they offer an extra measure of protection against the most active of family members.

Outdoor fabrics have come a long way over the last few years and often times Kathleen’s clients can’t believe the options that are available. Most are made of solution dyed acrylic, and come in a limitless array of colors and patterns. Many manufacturers can now produce beautiful outdoor fabrics that mimic the texture and feel of velour and velvet. In addition, there is a large variety of woven fabrics, with classic patterns – textiles that look like they belong in a living room. Almost every fabric manufacturer offers a selection of outdoor textiles, so interested consumers are sure to find something to meet their needs.

Kathleen McGovern Dining Room Kathleen McGovern Dinette
The owners of this beach front home encourage their guests to sit on the dining room chairs in wet bathing suits. Window treatments made of outdoor textiles are resilient to fading even with this vacation home’s strong western exposure.

Kathleen tells her clients that, while style and design are important, you can’t forget about creating livable and comfortable spaces that the entire family can use. She suggests exploring the option of outdoor fabrics in areas that may be subject to a casual lifestyle. Outdoor fabrics are great for use in family rooms, kitchens, and dining rooms – any room where protection from heavy wear or spills could be beneficial. A huge benefit of outdoor fabrics is that they are easily cleaned – so much so that bleach won’t even cause damage.

Outdoor fabrics are also extremely versatile and can be a used for a variety of applications, including window treatments and upholstered furnishings.

Kathleen McGovern Living Room
Even the family’s three dogs are allowed on this sectional.

Designers in the south have been using outdoor fabrics for years to battle the effects of their humid climate. The constant, excessive moisture often causes mildew issues in fabrics. Homes in northern Michigan, open to the outside, are also perfect places for the use of outdoor textiles.

Beyond their resilience to stains, spills, and mildew, another great quality of outdoor fabrics is their color fastness. Rooms with extensive use of glass always pose a problem for homeowners in that excessive sun exposure can lead to upholstery fading. Kathleen often uses outdoor fabrics in these situations as they can stand up to even a strong western exposure.

Kathleen has included solution dyed acrylic fabrics in her own living room design plan. Kathleen says, “entertaining in my home without red wine is not an option, so my new sofas will be upholstered in a pure white chenille, woven from 100 percent solution dyed acrylic.”

Kathleen McGovern To view information and more photos from Kathleen McGovern, click here

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