Amitha's Blog

Light Delights

We’ve spent the last two weeks exploring the grandeur of 17th and 18th century estates so this week I’m switching gears and talking about something that embraces modern ideas and lifestyles of today!

Since I’m pretty partial to light color palettes, I’m loving the fact that design trends are turning towards the softer side of the color spectrum these days. You’ll probably notice a lot of new (or redecorated) homes sporting pale, pale design schemes – soft whites, dove grays, pale blues, sophisticated ivories, and so on. I especially love using these colors for upholstery, as there’s something really elegant about a seating arrangement in a delicate shade.

Now you might say to me: Oh, but that’s going to be so impractical! What about my children/pets/husband?

So here’s my big design secret: outdoor fabrics! 

There are so many of these fabulous new fabrics on the market that have special stain and water-resist qualities. They’re practical, durable, easy to clean, and they look great – like the uber-stylish cushions in this poolhouse, made from Sunbrella fabric. You won’t believe it, there are outdoor fabrics that look and feel like linen, cotton and even velvet – yes decadent velvet!

The wonderful thing about these fabrics is, I can indulge my love for light colors without worrying about the pieces getting soiled. Now if you’re reading this for the first time, I’ll have you know that I have, not one, but TWO amazing, gorgeous, hands-all-over everything toddler boys, two dogs and one hubby – all of whom just love to lounge on our furniture. But I can’t bring myself to compromise on style. So I ended up covering a couple of pieces in my own home with outdoor fabric to try and increase their life-span.

The first is this gorgeous settee, which I selected for my great room – a room I talked about at the beginning of the new year. I love this classic French Louis XVI piece, and when I saw it I just envisioned a pale linen inspired color against the gilt. I found this gorgeous outdoor fabric with a hint of sheen and viola! The end result was just perfect. In order to dress it up a little I upholstered the back of the settee with a gorgeous contrasting embroidered fabric – which I knew little hands would rarely touch. 

Here’s another set of chairs I had covered with outdoor fabric. The texture looks and feel similar to a rougher linen fabric. 

I had an additional tie-on skirt with clear shower liner sewed in to prevent liquids from soaking through. It’s a win-win: I get the classic French inspired look I love, and my kids can enjoy eating in peace! 

There are so many other places where this kind of fabric could work. One of my favorite spaces is the Palm Springs house featured in Veranda, with these fabulous pinky-lavender couches in the porch – a real style statement, and practical too! This could easily be a living area in an interior of home – gorgeous!

The wonderful thing about the new generation of stain and water-resist fabrics is that they look so good! Forget the canvas-type fabrics of the past – these new materials come in all kinds of finishes, including linen, jacquard, chenilles and velvets. You really can’t even tell they were designed for outdoor use. And so, why not bring them indoors? 

Here are a few of my current favorite fabrics, look closely to see how yummy the textures are. These are all by the Holly Hunt Great Outdoor collection:

This texture above is like what a velvet would feel like. 

I love this slubby chenille type of texture

This great looking fabric is like a linen texture.

Another chenille inspired outdoor fabric.

These outdoor fabrics are perfect in high-traffic areas like mudrooms, kitchens, breakfast rooms – they’re so perfect for banquettes and casual seating nooks. And of course, I’m showing you all the solids, but there’s an entire world of beautiful patterns that you could easily incorporate into your decor!

The end result: beautiful soothing color schemes without the stress. What more could you ask for? So be on the hunt for fabrics that are meant for outdoors like Sunbrella, which is sold at fabric stores like Calico or High Fashion Fabrics. And if you’re working with a designer there are even more ‘to the trade only’ options – just ask your designer! This a great way to take some modern technology an apply it to your favorite 18th century settee or armchair to add some life to your piece.

As always, be sure to share any projects you’ve done with outdoor fabric. We’re always so inspired with how you’ve worked on your special home!

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