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Functional & Beautiful: Sunbrella Fabric Indoors!

by | Jul 30, 2014 | Decorating Inspiration, Details, Family

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Functional & Beautiful: Sunbrella Fabric Indoors!

Click here for Wingback Chair Source

Did you know you can use outdoor fabric on indoor furniture? I’ve recommended Sunbrella fabric for years to friends and clients but just recently was the first time I’ve ever been able to custom order it on a piece for myself! The beauty of the Sunbrella fabric is it’s very durable, easy to clean up, and resists fading. I think that’s the perfect combination for a family with kids and pets! You know how crazy Jack, Lily and Bella can be, so I’m sure you understand my need for durable fabric, haha!!

We’ve been looking for a new chair for our family room for a couple of  years. We bought an IKEA slipcovered chair awhile ago hoping it would work for us at least for awhile because the price was right and I loved that I could bring it home on the spot. I’m impatient like that and I was tired of looking for chairs. But a year later, we finally decided for a number of reasons it just really wasn’t what we needed or wanted for the space. The slipcover wasn’t as easy to clean as some that I’ve had, it attracted fuzz like crazy, and the style of chair was a bit wide and squatty for the space. Fortunately we were able to donate it to our church which was in need of furniture, so I was happy about that! It was cute!

As I resumed looking around for what would be best for the corner of my family room, I decided to not settle this time. I was willing to wait for a more custom upholstery if I found something I wanted. Since the chair was going to be in the family room and potentially a piece that we would want to move around the house, we definitely wanted very durable upholstery. Stylewise I had my heart set on a wing back because I felt like the room would be cozier and more balanced if the chair had a high back. Being mostly a use-what-you-have or can find second hand girl, I rarely have chosen furniture with many specific details in mind, so this was fun!

Functional & Beautiful: Sunbrella Fabric Indoors!

I hunted all over the place and I eventually found a wingback chair with pretty nailhead detail by Ballard Designs. The chair had such a lovely shape and I loved the graceful curves from every angle! I also loved that I could order it in Sunbrella fabric! So after hesitating about it forever, I decided to call and talk to Ballard Designs about it and place my order. They ended up graciously sending it as a gift in exchange for me sharing it with you! I wasn’t mad about that one bit.

When it arrived (much sooner than I had expected!), I was so excited to see it in the family room. It was just what I had hoped for and the fabric feels great! I went with “Canvas Gray Sunbrella” and Dove Grey legs. I love that I have no worries with kids or dogs around the chair and I am so pleased with how pretty it looks posing there next to my fireplace.

Click HERE for the chair link!

This chair is destined to become my cozy spot this Fall to warm up by the fire (and I wouldn’t blame the pups if one of them tried to beat me to it!)


  1. Nikki

    I’ve always heard that Sunbrella is great for door use, but wasn’t sure how it would feel…is it comfortable to sit in or does it feel tough and scratchy? The chair is beautiful!

  2. Tami

    Beautiful chair. Where is the pillow from. I am turning my son’s room into his big boy room and that might be the inspiration that I need.

  3. Michelle

    The chair is lovely Melissa, and that is great advice with the fabric. The next time I recover my dining room chairs I now want to use Sunbrella fabric. There is plenty of evidence of “kids live, eat, and do artwork here” on my dining room chairs and I would love the easy clean up.

  4. Helene

    Ha! I ALWAYS thought Sunbrella would be perfect for indoor use, and here you go proving me right with that graceful chair! They should make a catalog dedicated to showcasing their fabrics in indoor settings…’s the future!

  5. Christine

    Is the chair comfortable? I am trying to choose between the Ballard wingback and the Bassett wingback. My one concern with buying from Ballard is that I can’t sit in it before I purchase it.

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      That is always the challenge with furniture you can’t sit in first! The chair is a little deeper than I would have preferred so my legs kind of dangle off the edge, but I’m short! That’s the story of my life unless I get tiny chairs. I just use a footstool :-), I tend to curl up and sit sideways in chairs but normal sized people probably prefer a little bigger chair that fits their long legs. It’s all personal preference I’m sure. Perhaps compare the measurements and measure other chairs you like to see how they compare! Good luck!

  6. LKern

    Just had a large oversized chair + ottoman done in an off white Sunbrella . despite dogs and 2 grandchildren it still looks great !
    Remember to look for the 54″ width . Will probably say that it is easy to sew and that it has a soft “hand “

  7. Niki Rogers

    I unfortunately have not had a good experience with Sunbrella fabric. I recovered an arm chair in my Living Room. The chair is barely used, however it is filthy, and I can’t find anything to clean it. I have tried the manufacturer’s recommended suggestions, and upholstery cleaners. Next, I’m going to try and get it profesionally cleaned. Would welcome any advice and sincerely hope you have better luck with yours!

  8. Hollie @ Stuck on Hue

    I have been on a hunt for a chair with almost the same look. The only thing I didn’t think I’d like about this BD chair is the narrow arms with the nailheads. My current club chairs have that, and they’re not too comfy for resting one’s arms.

  9. casacaudill

    We’ve had a rather wonderful sectional since 2005 that is covered in Sunbrella fabric and it has been amazing. Between the spilled wine, bbq, and cat hairballs, it has held up like a champ. I cannot recommend highly enough using this fabric as indoor upholstery for furniture pieces that are going to see the most traffic.

    • LaDonna Reynolds

      Hi – Just came across this post. Wonder if you can give me an update in 2020. How has the Sunbrella sectional held up? Did you have pilling? That’s what I read that a lot of people have. There are such mixed reviews for indoor Sunbrella or any other 100% acrylic or polypropylene. I just can’t make up my mind. Thanks! Hope you get this message – would love an update.

  10. Natalie

    I just love those wingback chairs. I’d love two to go next to my future fireplace.

    You are so lucky to get it for free too as I bet it would have cost a bomb.

    I have a jennylund Ikea chair that I like as it is a bit slimmer than the Ektrop that you originally had.

  11. Corina

    Loved the chair! It looks really tailored and comfortable. Have your pups sat on it?

  12. Megan

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful home and ideas with all of us. I enjoy reading you every day. Sometimes I have a hard time though, when you present such beautiful pieces and how happy you are to have them only to read that they were given to you free of charge. The majority of us are struggling every day to make our homes beautiful and functional with little to no budget. I much prefer the images and ideas you present where you have either found something in a thrift store and used or changed to fit your home, or you have saved for something you really wanted.

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Thank you Megan. Perhaps I can help share my perspective. As you can imagine, I work really hard in my business and have for over seven years now. As you probably have seen over the years, so much of what I’ve done at my house has been paid for out of my own pocket (including a big portion of my kitchen and a lot of the things I do and share!). My home is not done to be a blog project although I do share it with you all here. I know it’s a weird situation, but I’m a stickler for staying true to my original intentions with starting this blog. This is my home and I love working on mine just like you do yours. I too have to work on my own budget of time and money. We all have different budgets of course, but I love presenting ideas that are affordable and practical and seem reasonable.

      The first few years of blogging I only earned enough to buy a cup of coffee and my husband is in ministry so I understand the struggle to work on little or no budget. That’s been our life. Once in awhile through my work, I have an opportunity to partner with a brand and in lieu of paying me for my time or promotional space, they offer me a product I would have bought anyway which is the case with this chair (I accept only limited “freebies” and only if I would have bought them myself or feel they are a worthy item to share). I disclose that it was given to me as to not deceive anyone, but the reality is I worked hard for it.

      When I buy furniture with my own money and show it to you (as I do quite often, my office desk, cabinets and chairs, my dining room furniture, the trellis chair and the big cabinet and the craiglist sofa in my family room, etc), the brands get free promo. So, I really appreciate it on occasion when they recognize what I do and appreciate it with a discount or a product or payment at times. Many brands don’t even acknowledge the promo so when one offers something in return, it’s a nice surprise and gesture.

      While you could look at it like it’s a freebie that you don’t relate to, you can also turn it around and think about how much work goes into the blog and my business. I work hard for a living just like everyone else, this blog is our sole source of income! My blog is free for my readers to enjoy, but it costs me a pretty penny to run! Even to send an email subscription out to my readers, I have to pay hundreds of dollars a month and several more hundred just to keep the site on a server and hundreds in maintenance costs just so everyone can read it for free! And that’s only the beginning of what it costs to run the business. In fact, it cost me a lot more than the price of that chair to blog last month. But I love what I do and am grateful for even the small ways I can bless my family through my hard work and in turn share ideas readers can use or file away for someday.

      I hope that helps a little :-)

      • Megan

        Thank you for sharing your perspective Melissa and shifting mine. I can see how hard you work each and every day. It is amazing to me that you are able to do this for a living. Thank you again for sharing your beautiful home and your kind spirit with us.

  13. Bessie

    Hi Melissa,
    I live in San Jose, CA and recently came across to your blog while I was reading Better Home and Garden. What a wonderful blog you have and thanks much for sharing. I have been reading your blog for hours every day in order to catch up the old ones. I just want to tell you how much I enjoy them and I LOVE your style !!!! Your kitchen makeover really impresses me the most !!! Thanks a lot of sharing and inspiring all of us. Wish you and your family all the best !!

  14. Mia

    I was feeling like Megan also. You could have just ignored her comment, or given a snarky response, but instead you took the time to share some of the expenses behind the scenes and how the “freebie” is not so free. Changed my perspective too. Thanks!

  15. Beth Pearlman

    Hi! Just found your post after searching for some images of this chair. I have been looking at this chair over and over and over. Since I am obsessed with the Oly Hanna chair I kept trying to find something similar to that but everything I found was just too expensive, I can’t justify the cost at all as much as I would love to!I love that you selected this wingback with the dove gray legs (LOVE!) which is what I want! I am so thankful to see your pic because as you know it is always better to see something other than a catalog photo before you go for it and order it so THANKS a million!
    What do you think about the nailhead trim? Is is just one continuous strip? Meaning does it look cheap a bit? Sometimes I think nailhead trim can cheapen a piece if not done right. I can’t tell from the photo.
    I have two upholstered stools going in between these 2 wingback chairs to put in front of our fireplace so I may just go without the nailheads on the chairs possibly. However, I am recovering the stools so I could also opt to not add nailhead trim to the stools and save it for the chairs. ?? Decisions, decisions.
    Bottom line is I think you get alot of bang for the buck with these chairs and I am 99% certain I am going to order these as soon as I can score a coupon in my inbox from Ballard which shouldn’t be too long. The chairs really do look great from all angles. Would love your quick opinion about the nailhead trim. I like seeing the Sunbrella fabric you opted to use, it looks good. I may consider doing COM but I need to dig deeper into that price with Ballard otherwise I might do the exact chair you did. Bottom line, based on your photo, I am surely going to get these. They look great!! The price is also really good. Thanks!

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      I don’t think the nail hoods look cheap, at least to me! The nailheads are really close together but not exactly perfectly lined up so I would never think about it, other than it looks good to me! I guess you could check into their return policy and make sure you feel confident with it. I know it’s so scary ordering online when you can’t sit in it first or touch it so hopefully you’ll be happy with yours! :-D

  16. camille

    The little gold table in the back of the photos… from where? Thanks!

  17. Andrea

    Hi Melissa! I am confused! I love your chair with the Sunbrella canvas gray upholstery. I have looked at it on their website and have seen samples in their catalog that they sent me. It looks SO DARK online & in the catalog. I’m nervous to order the chair with it! Your color is perfect! I don’t understand how it can be so different! Thoughts?

    Thanks, Andrea

  18. Giudi

    Very helpful comments on Sunbrella and related fabrics. I am looking for family room sofa from Sunbrella fabric but am concerned whether the fabric will be hot to sit in or does it breathe? .Will it be stuffy, clammy and sweaty after lounging for a while? My current sofa of rayon tweed type fabric is miserable after short while. Have to keep a sheet over it.

  19. Terri Colace

    Sorry to disagree, but I must. I would not recommend Sunbrella indoor fabric unless it’s textured. Nightmare situation where one mini chocolate chip cookie and a 2 year old ended up with months of email and phone calls followed by 2 cleanings by Stanley Steemer(Sunbrella sent them) ro finally 1/2 of a 12x9ft secrional being reupholstered. It wasn’t a year old when the fissco started and is used in a seasonal home sporadically. The textured sunbrella fabric on my dining chairs and counter stools cleans up easily. The Sunbrella dove grey fabric on the very expensive sectional is now covered with dog fhrow covers for fear of any stain. Do yourself a favor and stay away. And if anyone has has success withi hiring a comoany to clean the stuff… do share the name.

  20. Che

    Good evening
    I was wondering, does this chair comes in royal blue fabric.


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