Smith House eclectic furniture living room area
April 12, 2024
Case for Coated Fabrics in Outdoor Furniture

Adam Morgan said” “Design-led companies are proving that emotional triggers equal a healthy profit.” He went on to say that “Ideas can change the world. But not just any ideas—emotional ideas are the ones that move the needle the furthest.” This speaks to the need for designers and manufacturers to think in “human-terms” when they are solving problems. How do I balance comfort and durability while moving the category forward? How do I use empathy to advance the goals of the brand I am representing?

Designers are regularly challenged to open their minds to the endless world of possibilities while remaining flexible enough to consider the influences around them. Limitations on this line of thinking can not only disrupt the creative process but inadvertently rule out options that could be heroic.

Furniture manufacturers are often designing new products to solve a problem. Whether it’s making something more comfortable while working inside and outdoors or whether its to generate a feeling of warmth and style with limited maintenance, a problem must be solved. Multiple options are needed to solve the problem and the first thing to consider is not to rush to judge and trust the first solution. Manufacturers understand that any problem could have multiple solutions, which could include "wider" options or approaches and unexpected solutions. Each solution needs to be meaningfully distinct from each other.

David Nutt, a British Psychiatrist analyzed decisions made by businesses. Businesses which made decisions based on only a single option had a 52% failure rate and decisions based on multiple options had 32% failure rate.

Very few product categories rely on a single or dominant brand or product type. The problem with this dynamic is that both product designers and consumers become limited in their options and are often forced to accept a non-advantageous pricing strategy. The category will also suffer from a lack of creativity and innovative thinking. An example of this would be the reliance on solution-dyed acrylics in the performance fabrics market.

Coated fabrics represent a sophisticated alternative to the current and long-lived trend in outdoor furniture design. When done well, coated fabrics represent a category-changing opportunity to evolve accessible luxury in the outdoor space.


The way forward on this disruptive trend is to build a ”platform” for indoor-outdoor coated fabrics that provide a “leather-like” experience yet holds up to the toughest human and environmental conditions.

The key of course is to not only provide comfort, but to enhance it. A high-quality coated fabric, such as Ultrafabrics is made to deliver on this type of need. The challenge of course is delivering ultimate comfort and style while balancing that with the requirements of outdoor furniture design, whether its UV resistance, water and mildew resistance or cleanability.

Coated fabrics offer the technological breakthrough that make all this possible and Ultrfabrics is working with our OEM teams to deliver this alternative and revolutionize the field of outdoor furniture design.

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