Hey friends – do you trust me? Because I have been living with and testing some incredible pet-/baby-/child-/chaotic-adult-proof fabric over the past 2 years and I’m finally ready to share the honest pros and cons. That’s right, baby: TODAY, WE’RE TALKIN’ ABOUT SUNBRELLA. You’re probably familiar with the name (maybe you’re even rocking some Sunbrella fabric on your outdoor furniture as we speak!), but I’ve tested it out in a ton of different applications – Curtains! Pillows! Outdoor cushions! Indoor upholstery! – and have since amassed a whole lot of first-hand experience that I’m excited to relay to my fellow home-loving companions. You’ve probably read my blurbs about this material in a variety of blog posts over the last few years, but I’m so excited to partner with the brand (!!!) to compile my thoughts in one place.
So if you’ve ever wondered if Sunbrella fabric is comfortable, or easy to clean, or stain-resistant, or pet-friendly…well, I have all the answers you’ll ever need below. (Spoiler: I LIVED IT, I LOVED IT.) Let’s take it back to the beginning of my journey…
My OG Inspiration
…or, uh, Spring 2021. (Same thing.) I saw these photos of Em’s mountain house deck, read her Sunbrella fabric testimonial, and was pretty immediately #emfluenced. Weather-resistant? Fade-resistant? stain-resistant? Easy to find at the stores I already patronize? SOLD. See, I was working on my own outdoor space at the time – a tiny 4’x10′ balcony, just off a major 6-lane road in Los Angeles (so, uh, basically the opposite of Em’s idyllic mountain retreat) – and I decided to invest in a few pieces with Sunbrella fabric for my own home.
My First Trial Run
And y’all, I am SO GLAD that I did. I hung those sweet cabana stripe curtain panels made with Sunbrella fabric over the summer in 2021 and they still look brand new after nearly 2 years of near-daily sun exposure (same with the pillows – they’ve held up beautifully).
My favorite part, though, was the cushion I grabbed for my secondhand rattan loveseat. This thing exceeded my expectations in every way – the fabric is easy to clean with a wet towel and some soap (essential for those of us who live near roads and often find our outdoor possessions covered with a thick layer of black dust), it is mold and mildew-resistant (I didn’t feel bad about leaving it outside during the freak rainstorms we’ve been having in 2023, which is awesome for those of us who lack storage), and the kicker: after a lot of testing, I can confirm that Sunbrella is a GREAT fabric choice for pet owners.
Buff, my cat, spends a ton of time out here on this cushion – making biscuits (kneading? You know, whatever your regional term is :)), stretching in the sun, playing, jumping, zoomie-ing, all that jazz – and while no fabric is totally indestructible, the stuff out here REALLY held up to the elements. To that end, I knew that Sunbrella fabric was going to be the most durable choice for my indoor upholstery, too.
Wait, Can You Use Sunbrella Fabric On Indoor Furniture?
You sure can! And it’s pretty widely carried at many of our favorite EHD retail destinations. My search for indoor, stain-resistant, pet-friendly furniture for my home brought me to Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, which carries a really lovely variety of Sunbrella fabric.
I landed on the Sunbrella performance basket weave fabric (in ‘Almond,’ in case you want to match!) because I fell in love with the texture – it looked classic and timeless, but the weave also felt pretty sturdy and forgiving and easy to maintain long-term. (And for the record, MG+BW carries a really nice assortment of other types of Sunbrella fabric! I eyed their Sunbrella two-tone linen weave and their Sunbrella chenille fabric for these chairs, but am SO happy that I landed on the basket weave.
Is It Comfortable?
YES, BIG TIME. I think that a lot of the time, when people hear “performance fabric,” they think “canvas.” (Guilty as charged.) And while you can absolutely use canvas indoors, there are SO MANY more options and textures to choose from! Case in point: the Sunbrella basket weave texture I landed on doesn’t just look luxe – it feels great, too. It’s soft and comfortable while also being tough enough to stand up to daily life.
Is It Actually Stain-Resistant?
Yes, THANKFULLY. I got these chairs delivered back in September 2022 and the upholstery has absolutely seen its fair share of spills and “whoops” moments in the many months that have passed since. True to form, I accidentally got dirt ALL OVER this chair about a week after it was delivered. (The cut of the arms is perfect for those who love to pull their legs up underneath them – just forgot I had sandals on!) It was pretty nerve-wracking at first – had I just ruined my new furniture before I had a chance to share it with the world? – but then I remembered that this kind of situation was exactly why I wanted to use Sunbrella fabric on my indoor upholstered furniture.
All Sunbrella fabrics are manufactured with technology that saturates every fiber with color and UV-stabilized pigments before being spun into yarns and woven, which means that you can easily clean up messes when life happens. Much like the cushions on my patio, all the muck and gunk removed super easily with just a little bit of soap and water. CRISIS AVERTED. (If you opt for a piece that’s been slipcovered, you can also throw your Sunbrella fabric straight into the washer!) This is why we CAN have nice things. 🙂
Is It Pet-Friendly?
ABSOLUTELY. And while I can only speak to the experience I’ve had with Sunbrella fabric and a cat who loves to climb and claw, I’d emphatically recommend this fabric to any pet owners out there. Look – long-lasting, quality furniture is an investment (as it should be!), and it makes sense to protect that investment by choosing a fabric that will give your pieces the best possible chances at survival, you know?
While I don’t want to make any extraordinary claims, I’ve been so pleased by the way that the tight weave of the basket weave Sunbrella fabric I chose has held up to daily wear-and-tear from Buff, a nearly 13-year-old cat whose sprightly movements and constant zoomies could rival any kitten. I definitely don’t encourage her to use these chairs as a scratching post, but I do feel like I have the freedom to be a little less precious. It’s awesome to be able to sit back and enjoy my furniture without worrying that it’s on the constant verge of destruction, you know? (PS. Dog owners, you can read Em’s firsthand testimonial about choosing Sunbrella for her dining nook right here!)
TL;DR – Yes, Sunbrella Fabric Is Worth The Investment
Y’all, it is SUCH A TREAT to have the opportunity to write this post. I don’t take my recommendations lightly, and it’s been a dream to write about something that I’ve tested (both indoors and outdoors!) that I genuinely love and believe in. With Sunbrella fabric, I’ve been able to get the aesthetic look I wanted (soft, textured, tailored, clean, and comfortable) without any of the stresses or the extra mental load that usually come along with maintaining white or upholstered furniture.
Since Sunbrella fabric is designed to withstand the toughest messes, it’s the PERFECT choice for those whose interiors often take a beating. 🙂 I, a person who spills constantly (and who spilled that Hawaiian Punch all over immediately after taking this photo), am still no match for Sunbrella fabric. Buff, a cat who is seemingly in the running to become the nation’s preeminent feline-free climber, is no match either! I’ve written about my experience with this fabric ad nauseam in tinier chunks over the past year and a half and it’s been so exciting to be able to share all my thoughts and opinions in one place. (Can you tell I genuinely love it?)
Let me know if you have any questions. Here’s to making our lives a little easier and a little more beautiful, too. 🙂
This post was sponsored by Sunbrella but all words and opinions are all mine🙂