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The Fabric of the Coast

Every type of fabric has its own time or place. Materials such as gingham, seersucker and linen have long been associated with the humidity of the south. Polyester and nylon, perfect for simple designs and silhouettes, marked the free-loving period known as the 1970s. Headed to cooler climates? Reach for a natural fiber like wool to shield you from frigid temperatures. 

So, it stands to reason that a coastal lifestyle also lends itself to not only patterns of preference, but also textiles that can take heat and moisture in stride. We had an opportunity to sit down with Emily Williams at Urban Grace Interiors and Wendy Anguiano at Design & Dwell Homes to collect some insight on the best fabrics and patterns to turn a beach house into a home.

“Coastal homes and their furnishings and textiles (especially outdoor!) fight an ongoing battle against the harsh climatic elements that surround them. For that reason, we love to use indoor/outdoor fabrics like Perennials Fabrics, and more recently, Inside Out, which is a new fabric technology that renders its textiles stain- and water-repellent, mold- and mildew-resistant, UV color-safe and bleachable,” Williams said. “Homeowners can’t beat that kind of protection because their textiles won’t be needing replacing year after year.”

Anguiano cited the Emerald Coast’s heavy rental market as another consideration when choosing fabric.

“With the rental markets or with visiting families, the washability and longevity of fabrics can be impacted greatly,” she said. “You will want to make sure your furnishings have performance fabrics so they will last longer.”

Coastal textiles, similar to coastal apparel, have always drawn inspiration from natural fibers such as cotton and linen that are durable, breathable and lightweight. 

“They … are both able to withstand heat and moisture well, making them the obvious go-to for coastal applications,” said Williams, adding that Erika M. Powell Textiles are printed on 100 percent linen for those very reasons.

Indoor/outdoor living is a key factor to consider when choosing fabrics.

“We love [the brands we chose] for indoor/outdoor living because they are better able to withstand all of the elements a beach home faces — from wind and rain to spilled sangria to sand and sunscreen,” Williams said. “They will hold up!”

Anguiano is also a fan of Crypton.

The best performance fabric is Crypton. Crypton will repel liquids, it is easy to clean, and odors don’t linger.  Besides that, the fabric is soft and durability is unmatched. Crypton tends to be a more stiff fabric and is best used on tailored furnishings. My favorites are Corrine Natural, Kingston Snow, Wrenn Sand and Odessa Ash.”

If current inventory is any indicator, designers are united in their belief that a soft coastal palette is the design du jour.

Fabrics for the beach should speak soft and comfortable. Everyone loves to curl up and relax at the beach and having the right fabric choices in your furnishings is key,” Anguiano said.

“As far as aesthetics go for coastal homes, we typically choose softer, more neutral textiles that don’t overwhelm,” Williams said. “This gives homes an inviting and peaceful feeling, welcoming homeowners and their guests to relax and unwind.”

Popular trends in 2020 include bold colors, textures and fun patterns, including animal prints and stripes. Anguiano said the beloved slipcover remains a popular choice for homeowners.

“I always recommend Washable Wonders with the MT Company. The fabrics are pre-washed, pre-shrunk and can be easily washed in the comfort of your home,” she explained. “They offer a relaxed, casual style with a huge amount of furniture options for your beach house. My favorites include Linen, Oatmeal, Snow, Spa and Wheat.”

Williams said fabrics play a major role in defining the look of our homes.

“The material they are made out of, whether or not they are solid or patterned, colorful or not, woven or printed, how they are fabricated all tell so much about the personalities of the homeowners,” she said. “The more pattern and color, the more playful a home will feel. The more monochromatic and neutral, the more elegant and understated a home will feel.”

For more information on brands or fabrics mentioned in this article, visit and

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One Response to “The Fabric of the Coast”

  • Buddy
    Written on

    Love love love the textile article. Textile and Design were my majors at FSU, and continuing Ed’ on the new fibers is fabulous.

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