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Are Outdoor Cushions Waterproof?


Summer in Britain can be mixed to say the least so you need to be prepared for all weathers when it comes to your outdoor furniture. But just how waterproof are outdoor cushions and what should you do if your outdoor cushions get wet? Find out in our blog…

How have outdoor cushions changed?

Outdoor cushions in the UK have gone through quite the evolution. When we first started making and selling Oxley’s luxury design outdoor furniture, we could only offer navy blue, taupe and black canvas outdoor cushions, as these were the only outdoor cushion options available!

Today, it’s a different story entirely. We can now offer clients a full range of outdoor cushion options from all the major fabric houses, including well-known interior brands such as Liberty, Romo and Casamance as well as Sunbrella and others.

The fact that major fabric houses are now designing for outdoor cushions highlights the public’s desire for stylish outdoor furniture. As well as improved colours and designs, these fabrics also have an improved texture – gone are the days of stiff, plastic-coated outdoor cushions – instead, customers can enjoy comfort outdoors with soft, sumptuous velvets, and characterful bouclés. But, while these outdoor fabrics may look and feel exceptional, the question remains, are outdoor cushions waterproof?

Are outdoor cushions waterproof? 

With the UK’s changeable weather, this is the question that most people really want answered – how waterproof are outdoor cushions really

It is important in the first instance to make the distinction between waterproof and water repellent. Most outdoor fabrics are classed as being water repellent. That means that they have a waterproof surface that repels water, allowing the water to simply run off. Sunbrella, one of the manufacturers we use at Oxley’s, is one of the world’s top performance fabric specialists, and has been leading the way in creating water resistant, durable fabrics for over 60 years. Innovations in outdoor fabrics are continually being brought to market, with new waterproofing technology and improvements in fabric quality playing a big part in recent years.

It is important to note that as well as being water repellent, the outdoor fabrics that we use for Oxley’s outdoor cushion ranges have many other important properties. Our outdoor cushions are mould resistant – an important factor if you leave cushions outdoors in the UK – and they also have technology that prevents them from fading in direct sunlight. Our outdoor fabrics are also stain resistant and have a high abrasion resistance, which is essential for prolonged outdoor use. These characteristics are equally essential in preserving the lifespan and enjoyment of your outdoor cushions.

What are outdoor cushions made from?

green stripped fabric

Today’s outdoor cushions are made from a range of materials which means there is so much more opportunity to coordinate the look of your luxury design outdoor furniture with your interior design scheme if you so wish.

With textures that range from soft velvets to characterful weaves, and with designs that range from sheer panels to intricate prints, it’s hard to believe that the outdoor cushions for our luxury aluminium garden furniture sets are made for outdoor, rather than indoor, use! Let’s look at some of the outdoor fabrics in more detail:


This nonwoven textile is the original outdoor fabric. Made from plastic, it is ideal for use as an outdoor fabric as it does not absorb moisture, yet it is highly resistant to abrasion. The quality of polypropylene fabric has also improved dramatically since it was first invented 70 years ago. You can see just how exceptional the quality is now in the range of outdoor cushion fabrics we use from JAB Anstoetz

Solution-dyed Acrylic

This relative newcomer to the world of outdoor fabrics has brought a freedom to outdoor cushion design, allowing for more intricate patterns and colourways to be created with a more tactile offering. It is created by mixing a liquid acrylic solution with dye which is then formed into a fibre and spun into yarn. This process allows the fabric to be water-resistant, colourfast, and soft to the touch. Romo fabrics are a good example of this technique – we use many of their solution-dyed acrylic velvets to be able to offer outdoor cushions in the classic, bold Romo stripes and luxury weaves that are so loved by many interior designers.

Polyester Canvas 

Combining the strength of canvas weave with polyester fibres makes polyester canvas suitable for outdoor applications. Its sturdy structure means it is durable and resistant to abrasion, while its plastic coating means it has good water repellent qualities too. For simple, stylish outdoor cushion material, we use polyester canvas from Boyriven, which is available in a choice of over 20 bold colourways.

Can outdoor cushions be left outside in the UK?

With our unpredictable weather conditions, the thing most people want to know is ‘can I leave my outdoor cushions outside?’ The short answer is that, yes, outdoor cushions can be left outside in the rain. However, it is always worth keeping in mind that outdoor cushions are generally water repellent rather than waterproof. This means that there will be a limit to the amount of water they can repel before there is some seepage. It is always better, as a rule of thumb, to bring outdoor cushions inside if heavy rain is forecast, or to invest in an outdoor furniture cover to protect your outdoor cushions. You can read more about whether outdoor cushions can be left outside in our blog. 

What happens if outdoor cushions get wet?

In a light shower, it won’t matter at all if outdoor cushions get wet. Simply brush the water from the surface of the cushion and allow the cushions to air dry in the next burst of sunshine. 

If, however, there is a proper downpour and your outdoor cushions have become waterlogged, the best way to repel the excess water is to unzip the zipper in the back and  stand the cushions on their end and leave them so that the water drains out. This doesn’t take too long as the water wants to drain away with gravity, and the fabric itself doesn’t hold water.

At the end of the day, these cushions are designed for outdoor use. It is important to us that you enjoy your outdoor furniture as it should be enjoyed, without having to worry about the UK’s ever-changing weather forecast!

Outdoor fabrics for all weathers

At Oxley’s we make outdoor cushions that are bespoke for every customer. We work with interior designers and private clients to make outdoor cushions that are waterproof as well as stylish. To view our range of outdoor fabrics, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our design team.

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