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Various colors and patterns add style to outdoor fabrics

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If using an outdoor fabric indoors brings to mind a red-checked picnic tablecloth upholstered onto Queen Anne dining room chairs, you’re thinking inside a very strange box. It’s time to step outside and smell the colors.

Gina Wicker of Glen Raven, which makes Sunbrella®, notes a few trends from the International Textile Market Association’s Showtime semiannual trade show in High Point, N.C., in early June. “Textures and basics [ivory or heather beige with the look of linen] seem to be very, very prevalent,” she notes. “We saw a lot of interest in warm/cool combinations.” Examples include gray, which typically comes across as icy, combined with buttercup; charcoal gray and cocoa (which, Wicker notes, complements today’s black finishes and accents); and soft green (such as peridot) or ginger/clay (“in the orange family, but subdued, more sophisticated than a collegiate orange”) combined with cocoa.

From a pattern perspective, she adds, people are looking for fresher, more upbeat styles, such as “traditional Jacobian floral or frame damask colored in a contemporary way”: replacing navy, forest green and burgundy with clay, peridot, cocoa or charcoal gray.

Sarah Hardy, manager of Michael’s Custom Built Inc., an upholsterer in San Rafael, Calif., notes a trend away from earth tones to crisp white and bright colors (lime green, bright orange and hot pink).

“In times when the economy is not good, people tend to look for patterns and colors trending to a happier place,” Wicker says. “People gravitate toward things that make them feel good.”

Jeff Jimison of Shuford Mills, which makes Outdura®, says they’re seeing a trend toward woven jacquards, medallion weaves and dobby textures. “Texture is very big right now, whether by weaving technique or novelty yarns,” he says. “Anything that goes in the home in terms of style is expected of us.”

Janice Kleinschmidt is a freelance writer based in Palm Springs, Calif.

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