outdoor furniture in backyard on low deck

Custom Cushion Cover Fabrics: The Ultimate Guide to Picking the Perfect Material for Outdoor Bean Bags and Cushions

You should choose custom cushion cover fabrics (or Outdoor bean bag fabrics) based on two considerations:

  1. How, and where, you would like to use your custom cushion covers / bean bags, and
  2. Your budget

All of our fabrics can be used for both bean bags and custom cushion covers. We offer a variety of bean bag and custom cushion cover fabrics to suit a range of situations which we outline below.

Custom cushion cover fabrics & outdoor bean bag fabrics

range of custom cushion covers fabrics shown on a outdoor couch

Standard fabric: ideal for indoors (can be taken outside to be used but should be predominantly used indoors), and has a matte canvas type finish.

Commercial grade fabric: 4x stronger for greater durability. It is less fade resistant than the Standard fabric, since it has a thicker weave which allows more dye to be applied. In other words, it can be used in areas with limited sun. In addition, it features an enhanced sheen, making it easy to keep clean.

Resortella fabric: treated for water resistance (see picture below) and has a soft cushion finish. Generally suited to undercover areas both indoors and outdoors. This fabric is predominantly used for custom cushion covers.

treated water resistant fabric

Both Standard and Commercial fabric have a PVC backing which provides water resistance.  However, if these fabrics are in heavy rain it will seep through the stitching, therefore they are not considered “waterproof”.

Olefin: Olefin is a high performance 100% solution dyed outdoor fabric (click to learn more about Olefin). Solution dyed fabric is a must if you want covers / bean bags to last in prolonged outdoor use situations. The simple graphic below explains the benefit of solution dying.

Explanation of solution dyed v normal fabric

Olefin is hard wearing, water resistant, chlorine resistant, antibacterial and machine washable. Available in a variety of colours and patterns makes it a very versatile fabric.


Fabrics have the ability to fade over time, due to harsh sun and weather conditions. Commercial or Olefin is recommended if covers are to be left in the elements. Polyester fabrics (Standard, Commercial and Resortella) will fade over time if left exposed. Some colours fade faster than others. For instance, lighter colours are less noticeable to fading by the sun, than darker colours.

Above all, Olefin is the best choice if you’re wanting covers to stand the test of time. However, they do come at a price – for instance, new covers for an old setting may be more than a new outdoor set! However, if you decide to buy a completely new outdoor setting, check the fabric used as you may find it to be cheap and therefore will need new covers within a year.

In conclusion, when weighing up the cost of Polyester vs Olefin, or the cost of a new outdoor setting, take into consideration the following:

  • where your setting will be located – (undercover, full sun, beside a swimming pool)
  • what your setting will be used for – (dining, lounging by the pool)
  • how you store cushions when not used – (inside, left outside, in a dry, sealed storage box)

All these factors contribute to the choice of fabric you use for both bean bags and custom cushion covers.

Fabric Summary: Summary of fabrics and best environments for use:


  • 400D Polyester
  • Suits an undercover area (no sun)
  • Has a matte canvas type finish
  • PVC backed for water resistance


  • 1680D Polyester
  • Thicker weave allowing more dye to be applied making it more fade resistant, suits an area with occasional sun
  • PVC backed for water resistance


  • Treated Polyester – Water Resistance
  • Soft cushion finish
  • Suitable for areas with no or very limited sun

Sunproof 100% Solution Dyed Olefin:

  • Suitable for areas where there will be sun and weather
  • Water Resistant
  • Chlorine Resistant
  • Mould Resistant
  • Tested and Certified as a high performance outdoor fabric (see the link above for certifications)

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