5 Expert Ways to Use Performance Fabrics in Your Home

Every day is a new spill at our house. With three active boys and two (occasionally clumsy) parents, if it's been dripped, dribbled, spilled, or dumped, we've seen it.

I have employed a superpower, though, to keep the mess at bay and things looking (mostly!) presentable - performance fabrics!

The bench in our dining room is upholstered in Sunbrella, the sectional in our family room is Crypton.

For our outdoor furniture, we went with a marine-grade fabric. We know spills are going to happen, but instead of losing sleep, we blot them away and move on with life.

Today, I'll walk you through what I think are the five best applications for performance fabrics in your home. My focus is always on the first floor where shoes stay on, visitors are more common, and food and drink abound. Let's get started...

1. Sofas, Chairs, & Ottomans

I am now at the point where I am unlikely to sell a piece of furniture to a client if it doesn't have some sort of performance characteristics.

The pieces you sit on the most - family room furniture, dining room chairs - are no-brainers. Anywhere that food lurks is a great candidate.

The sectional we bought when we moved into our house 7 years ago is a little more tired-looking after the abuse it's endured, but the Charcoal Crypton fabric is still spotless.

Think not only of food, but also color fastness. If you're putting a cushion or throw pillow in a sunny window, Sunbrella or an indoor-outdoor fabric with color fastness could be a great choice.

2. Living Room Curtains & Drapes

I recently selected indoor-outdoor fabric for curtains at a client's beach house. I ask clients during their onboarding what level of maintenance they'd like to have, and on a scale of 1 to 10, I have yet to receive an answer above a 5. Most are between 1-3!

In this particular application, we used a white performance fabric that gives the look and hang of linen but can weather an errant meatball or blob of sunscreen.

3. Indoor Area Rugs

The latest run of indoor-outdoor performance rugs aren't what you're imagining. Gone are the days of woven soda bottles and in are the days of plush fabrics, texture, and pattern.

For families with pets, Ruggables can be a terrific option and I love anything that you can easily wipe down. I also love using antique carpets (think Persian Heriz or Kilims) with lots of patterns to hide a host of drips and dribbles. That gives you the feel of wool without the maintenance.

And below is my grandmother's no-fail carpet cleaning recipe just in case you're not ready to make a move away from natural materials in this area…

This recipe for carpet cleaner was passed down to me by my Grandma Kay. She typed everything on her typewriter - birthday cards, labels, letters, recipes, etc. My mom made me this mason jar of cleaner when I moved to my first apartment and I've used the recipe to replenish it over the years for the past twenty years.

It reads as follows: From the Desk of Kay Meader: Aunt Agnes (my great aunt) sent the following solution for cleaning spots on rugs or carpeting. The man who put down her carpet gave her the directions. 1 Tablespoon Wisk or a detergent (note: I always use Wisk, because I am afraid to make a change!) 1 Tablespoon white vinegar 1 Tablespoon ammonia Add about half a cup of water and shake well. Use just the suds on spots. Works great! (That’s Aunt Agnes’ comment).

To fill a larger wide-mouth mason jar like this one, my mom adapted the recipe to 1/4 cups each of the main ingredients and 2 cups of water. I always suggest testing this on a hidden spot prior to use in a visible area, and please be careful around the ammonia.

4. Beautiful Custom Bedding

For families with pets, the bedroom is where performance fabrics can save your sanity. A duvet cover in a washable performance fabric could keep your relationship with your puppy intact! Designers often create custom bedding for clients, and there's no reason not to do it in a fabric that will hold up to what your family needs it to do.

5. Outdoor Furnishings

A few years ago, my husband and I bought a 1971 sailboat and all the maintenance that came with it! Our first project after a pretty solid cleanup was to reupholster the berth cushions in marine grade Sunbrella. We tested the fabrics with sunscreen, ketchup, water, and wine, figuring those would be the biggest spill risks. I am happy to report that after multiple sails, salty bottoms, and sunscreen spills, they're still looking sharp!

While the upfront cost of some of these fabrics may be higher than others, they'll typically outlast and outperform traditional materials. Also, the knowledge that you can relax and enjoy your home without fussing around behind guests about glass placement and crumbs is worth its weight in gold!

If you're ready for an expert to bring function, durability, and beauty to your space, we've got your back! Contact us and let's get to know each other.



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