Give your outdoor furniture a summer makeover

Think you have to settle for boring garden furniture? Think again. If your mind is wandering to lazy summer evenings sipping Rosé in the sun, it might be worth taking another look at your outdoor furniture. Most people know that they can reinvent a sofa or a chaise longue, but actually, revamping your outdoor furniture is one of the simplest and most satisfying re-upholstery jobs there is.

Make-up artist Lisa Potter-Dixon contacted me about her outdoor sofa set, which by her own admission was fairly uninspiring – but then again most of them are. With the cushions usually finished in a neutral blur of greys, creams and beige, you’ll rarely find an off-the-shelf option that displays any hint of imagination. It’s such a shame because believe me, there is a whole world of fabulous outdoor fabrics to be found.

Lisa’s modular sofa was seven years old and had been well used. The cushions were faded from the sun and had seen better days. Her first thought was to replace it and invest in a whole new set, but then she saw the prices! During an initial chat with me, we discussed how we could give it a new look (who knew?) and scoped out some fabrics. She soon started dreaming of those hot summer days ahead lounging on her decking in her garden.

Lisa Potter-Dixon's old outdoor sofa set

Finding a fabric

Lisa sourced a fabric online from Etsy. The seller, Alchemy & Fabric, have gathered together a fantastic collection of bold prints and unusual patterns that are just superb for outdoor living. Lisa has great taste and isn’t shy of making daring choices with her interior (and her exterior too as it happens).

The tropical leaf design she chose is printed on a high-quality, waterproof cloth fabric. Tactile, breathable and super soft but sturdy, it’s designed to withstand whatever the weather throws at it. While the previous cushions looked wrecked, the insides were perfectly good, so it was just a case of whipping up some new covers, plus a few additional cushions to spruce things up and ta-dah! Lisa’s outside area was transformed into a tropical haven. No more boring grey for her.

Alchemy & Fabric jungle theme fabric on outdoor sofa cushions

“When presented with her new cushions, Lisa’s reaction was ‘Just WOW!’”

When presented with her new cushions, Lisa’s reaction was “Just WOW!” And she went on to say…

“Sharon at Vintique Upholstery has absolutely transformed the sofa! How incredible does it look?! It was half the price of a new sofa. It’s also SO much better than a new boring grey sofa. And we’ve given our dosh to a small, local, very talented, businesswoman. We could not be happier with the result.”

Lisa even invited her environmental idol David Attenborough around to give it the seal of approval. Well, a virtual version anyway, but I’m sure he’d be right at home in amongst the jungle foliage.

Cardboard cutout of David Attenborough amongst Lisa Potter-Dixon's outdoor sofa set

Lisa Potter-Dixon's outdoor sofa set

Top tips for outdoor seating

Do you have some outdoor furniture that’s seen better days? Here’s my tips to consider if you want to give it a summer-ready update…

  1. Search online for some fantastic, outdoor-friendly fabric options, The keywords you’re looking for are ‘water repellent’ and ‘UV-resistant’.
  2. There’s an ever-growing choice of outdoor fabrics available these days. The main brands I like are Kirkby Design who have three ranges: Pergola, Terazzo and Canopy. Or for some sophisticated, geometric and decorative weaves, check out the Mokolo range from Romo. You can find also find some fun options on Etsy and eBay from independent sellers.
  3. Always try to get hold of a sample of the fabric first so you know for sure you like the look of it in real life and not just on a screen. Check how it looks in all lights including bright sunshine, and also hold it up against the base of your frame so you know it’s a good match.
  4. Cushions will always be the fastest part of your outdoor furniture set to deteriorate, but by reupholstering them you can easily extend the life of perfectly decent seating. The internal foam may or may not need replacing, but also consider changing the configuration of your cushions to mix things up, or adding extra scatter cushions for extra comfort and interest.
  5. Is your interior bright and daring? Do you prefer a more muted, pastel colour palette? There’s no reason to make compromises with your outdoor seating. Stick to what you love to make your indoors and outdoors flow.

Do you want to save your outdoor seating from going to landfill? Email me on for a no-obligation chat about how we can get started on giving it a whole new look for summer. Alternatively, you can fill in my online enquiries form.

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