A Guide to Outdoor Restaurant Upholstery

A Guide to Outdoor Restaurant Upholstery

Outdoor dining offers a delightful escape, allowing patrons to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy a meal in the fresh air. But for restaurateurs, creating a comfortable and inviting outdoor space goes beyond just setting up tables and chairs. The key to a successful patio experience lies in the selection of the right outdoor restaurant upholstery.

This guide delves into the world of outdoor furniture fabrics, exploring the vital factors to consider, the different types of materials available, and essential tips for keeping your upholstery looking its best.

Factors to Consider for Outdoor Restaurant Upholstery

Choosing the ideal outdoor restaurant upholstery requires a balance between aesthetics, functionality, and durability. Here are the key factors you should consider:


  • Sun Exposure: Constant exposure to sunlight can fade fabrics. Opt for materials with high UV resistance.
  • Precipitation: Rain, snow, or even morning dew can wreak havoc on upholstery. Choose water-resistant or waterproof fabrics.
  • Temperature Fluctuations: Extreme hot or cold weather can affect the comfort and longevity of your upholstery. Pick materials that can withstand temperature variations.


  • Frequency: High-traffic areas require more durable fabrics compared to those used occasionally.
  • Food and Drink Spills: Upholstery prone to spills needs to be easily cleanable or stain-resistant.
  • Fading and Wear: Consider the aesthetic impact of fading and wear patterns on your chosen fabric.


  • Cleaning Ease: Regular cleaning is crucial for outdoor furniture. Choose fabrics that are easy to maintain and stain-resistant.
  • Mould and Mildew Resistance: Outdoor environments can promote mould and mildew growth. Opt for fabrics with anti-microbial properties.
  • Drying Time: Quick-drying fabrics are ideal for outdoor use, especially in humid climates.


  • Style and Ambiance: The fabric’s colour, texture, and pattern should complement your restaurant’s overall d├ęcor and create the desired atmosphere.
  • Colorfastness: Choose fabrics that resist fading to maintain a vibrant and attractive patio space.
  • Comfort: The fabric’s texture should be comfortable for prolonged sitting, even in hot weather.

Types of Outdoor Restaurant Upholstery Materials

The world of outdoor fabrics offers a variety of materials to suit your needs and budget. Here’s a breakdown of some popular options:


  • Pros: Affordable, durable, water-resistant, colourfast, mildew resistant, easy to clean.
  • Cons: Can feel hot in direct sunlight, not as luxurious as some other materials.


  • Pros: Affordable, versatile in terms of colour and texture, water-resistant, dries quickly, some varieties are stain-resistant.
  • Cons: Can be prone to fading over time, may not be as breathable as other options.


  • Pros: Waterproof, stain-resistant, easy to clean, durable, affordable.
  • Cons: Can feel hot and sticky in hot weather, not as breathable, may appear cheap if not high-quality.


  • Pros: Durable, water-resistant, stain-resistant, dries quickly, some varieties are UV resistant.
  • Cons: Can feel rough or scratchy, may not be as comfortable for long sitting periods.

Solution-dyed Acrylic:

  • Pros: Offers the benefits of acrylic with superior colorfastness, resists fading for extended periods.
  • Cons: More expensive than regular acrylic.

Olefin (Polypropylene):

  • Pros: Water-resistant, stain-resistant, easy to clean, dries quickly, affordable, lightweight.
  • Cons: May not be as UV resistant as some other options, can fade over time.

Performance Fabrics:

  • Pros: A broad category encompassing various high-tech fabrics, often incorporating features like water repellency, stain resistance, breathability, and quick drying.
  • Cons: Can be more expensive than traditional options.

Additional Considerations

  • Mesh fabrics offer breathability in hot climates but may not be suitable for high-traffic areas.
  • Woven fabrics can add a touch of elegance, but choose materials specifically designed for outdoor use.
  • Leather offers a luxurious look but requires special care and may not be ideal for all climates.

Tips for Maintaining Outdoor Restaurant Upholstery

Even the most durable outdoor fabric needs proper care to extend its lifespan and maintain its attractiveness. Here are some tips for keeping your outdoor restaurant upholstery looking its best:

  • Regular Cleaning: Regularly brush off dirt, debris, and food crumbs to prevent them from settling into the fabric. Depending on the fabric type, you might be able to hose down chairs or use a mild soap and water solution for a more thorough cleaning. Always follow the specific cleaning instructions provided by the manufacturer.
  • Spot Cleaning: Act quickly on spills to prevent stains. Blot up any excess liquid with a clean, absorbent cloth. Use a mild cleaning solution specifically designed for your chosen fabric and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for stain removal.
  • Mould and Mildew Prevention: To prevent the growth of mould and mildew, especially in humid climates, allow your furniture to dry completely after rain or cleaning. Consider storing furniture indoors during extended periods of rain or high humidity.
  • Sun Protection: For optimal longevity, minimise direct sun exposure whenever possible. If full shade isn’t available, use umbrellas or awnings to provide some protection for your furniture during peak sun hours.
  • Off-Season Storage: During the off-season, clean and dry your furniture thoroughly before storing it in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated space. Using furniture covers can offer additional protection from dust and moisture.
  • Professional Cleaning: For deep cleaning or stubborn stains, consider hiring a professional furniture cleaning service that specialises in outdoor fabrics.


By carefully selecting the right outdoor restaurant upholstery material and implementing proper maintenance practices, you can create a comfortable and inviting outdoor dining space that enhances the customer experience and lasts for years to come.

Consider the factors discussed in this guide to find the perfect balance between functionality, durability, and aesthetics. With a little planning and care, your outdoor patio can become a thriving extension of your restaurant, attracting customers and boosting your business.

Bonus Tip

For high-traffic areas, consider using slipcovers or removable cushions. This allows for easier cleaning and replacement when needed. You can also offer a selection of throw pillows in different colours or patterns to add a touch of personality and allow for easy customisation depending on the season or occasion.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your outdoor restaurant upholstery remains comfortable, stylish, and functional for years to come, creating a welcoming and memorable dining experience for your patrons.

For more information on Outdoor Restaurant Upholstery contact Hill Upholstery.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Reupholstering Your Campervan

A Step-by-Step Guide to Reupholstering Your Campervan

Your campervan is your home on wheels, a place for adventure and relaxation. But after years of use, the upholstery can become faded, worn, or simply not to your taste. Reupholstering your campervan is a fantastic way to breathe new life into the interior, improve comfort, and personalise your space. It may seem daunting, but with careful planning and this step-by-step guide, you can transform your campervan’s interior yourself.

Before You Begin

1. Planning and Preparation:

  • Measure and Assess: Start by meticulously measuring all the surfaces you plan to reupholster. This includes seats, cushions, backrests, and any headboards. Sketch a layout to visualise the project and fabric requirements. Carefully assess the condition of the existing upholstery and underlying foam. If the foam is flattened or damaged, consider replacing it for optimal comfort.

2. Choosing Your Fabric:

  • Durability is Key: Select a fabric specifically designed for upholstery. Look for materials resistant to wear and tear, fading, and moisture. Popular options include marine-grade vinyl, canvas, or a combination of both. Consider the amount of traffic each area will receive and choose a fabric weight accordingly.
  • Style and Comfort: Don’t forget about aesthetics! Choose a fabric that complements your campervan’s overall design and reflects your personal style. Remember, lighter colours tend to make the space feel larger, while darker tones can hide dirt better. Consider incorporating contrasting piping or stitching for a touch of detail.
  • Order Fabric Wisely: Order at least 10-15% more fabric than your measurements indicate. This allows for errors during cutting and pattern matching for stripes or plaids.

3. Gather the Tools:

  • Essentials: You’ll need a staple gun with heavy-duty staples, a utility knife or upholstery scissors, a hammer, pliers, a screwdriver set, and masking tape.
  • Sewing Supplies (Optional): If your project involves intricate seams, piping, or button tufting, invest in a sewing machine with upholstery thread and needles.
  • Helpful Extras: A staple remover will come in handy for correcting mistakes. Spray adhesive can be helpful for attaching piping or foam.

Reupholstering Your Campervan

1. Removal of Old Upholstery:

  • Safety First: Wear gloves and a dust mask to protect yourself from dust and debris.
  • Start with the Easy Stuff: Begin by removing any removable cushions and headrests.
  • Tackling Fixed Upholstery: For fixed upholstery, carefully remove staples using the staple remover. Work slowly and meticulously to avoid damaging the underlying foam or wood frame.
  • Labelling and Organisation: As you remove the old fabric, label each piece with its corresponding location on the campervan. This will be crucial during reassembly.

2. Preparing the New Fabric:

  • Template Time: Lay the old fabric pieces flat on the new fabric, ensuring the right side of the new fabric faces down. Secure them with pins or weights. Use a marker to trace the outline of the old pieces onto the new fabric, adding an extra 1-2 inches for seam allowances.
  • Cutting with Care: Use a sharp utility knife or upholstery scissors to carefully cut out the new fabric pieces. Be mindful of pattern matching for stripes or plaids.

3. Reupholstering the Seats and Cushions:

  • Foam Replacement (Optional): If replacing the foam, cut new pieces to match the size and shape of the seat bases and cushions. You can purchase upholstery foam by the yard at fabric stores.
  • Securing the Fabric: Here’s where the staple gun comes in! Begin stapling the new fabric to the underside of the plywood base or frame. Start in the centre of a flat surface and work your way outwards. Ensure the fabric is taut but not overly stretched.
  • Corners are Key: Corners require special attention for a clean finish. Make small folds or pleats in the fabric to achieve a smooth fit. Staple these folds down securely.
  • Buttons (Optional): If your project involves button tufting, create buttonholes and sew buttons onto the new fabric before stapling it down.

4. Reupholstering Backrests and Headboards:

  • The Process Continues: The basic principles remain the same for backrests and headboards. Follow the steps outlined for seats and cushions, making adjustments for the specific shape and size of the panels.
  • Piping (Optional): For a touch of elegance, consider adding piping along the edges of the panels. You can purchase pre-made piping or create your own using cording and fabric scraps. Secure the piping in place using spray adhesive or by carefully sewing it onto the fabric before stapling it down.

5. Reassembly and Finishing Touches:

  • Putting it Back Together: Once all the panels are upholstered, carefully reattach them to the campervan’s frame using screws, bolts, or brackets depending on the original design.
  • Trim Time: Use a sharp utility knife to trim away any excess fabric around the edges. You can also use upholstery trim or ribbon to cover any raw edges for a polished look.
  • Cleaning Up: Vacuum the interior of your campervan thoroughly to remove any dust or debris left behind from the project.

Additional Tips and Considerations

  • Working with Curves: For curved surfaces, like headrests or armrests, it’s helpful to use a heat gun to gently warm the fabric, making it more pliable and easier to conform to the shape.
  • Power Tools: While a manual staple gun can get the job done, an electric staple gun can make the process faster and less tiring, especially for larger projects.
  • Professional Help: If you’re unsure about tackling complex seams, piping, or button tufting, consider seeking help from an upholsterer for those specific sections.
  • Practice Makes Perfect: Before diving into your campervan, practice your stapling technique and seam work on scrap fabric to ensure a professional finish.

The Satisfaction of a Revamped Campervan

Reupholstering your campervan may require some time and effort, but the rewards are immense. Not only will you have a refreshed and comfortable interior that reflects your personal style, but you’ll also gain a sense of accomplishment and pride in having completed the project yourself. So, grab your tools, unleash your creativity, and get ready to transform your campervan into a haven for your next adventure!

For more information on Reupholstering Your Campervan contact Hill Upholstery.