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Why is a Short-Term Rental Management Company like Ours So Obsessed with Sunbrella Fabric?

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A Deep Dive Into Fusing Sustainability and Style with Sunbrella Fabrics: Our Choice for Durability for Your STR.

By: Brad Greiner, CEO of Open Air Homes and OpenAiRE Brokerage

August 23, 2023

Open Air Homes has a strong commitment to sustainability. We focus on designing our homes to be resilient and long-lasting, with a core focus on the selection of products that promise to stand the test of time. Over the years, we’ve observed many homeowners looking to join the Short Term Rental (STR) industry opting for inexpensive outdoor furniture. The typical fabrics used on these budget-friendly pieces, unfortunately, do not stand up to wear and tear and soon start looking faded and unattractive. While we respect our homeowner partners’ investment choices, we can’t help but strongly recommend more sustainable, lasting products.

Why Sunbrella Fabric?

Flashback to ten years ago: our founder launched Open Air Homes by listing his own home. He invested in a Restoration Hardware Teak frame couch upholstered in Sunbrella fabric. Fast-forward to the present day, that same couch, after gracing four different properties, now resides in our Venice Beach bungalows – still in excellent condition. How is this possible? The answer lies in the exceptional quality of Sunbrella fabric mixed with the quality furniture from Restoration Hardware. 

Unbeknownst to many, Sunbrella is made from plastic, yet its texture is as soft and inviting as any other fabric. Being a plastic derivative, it possesses unparalleled durability and resistance to wear and tear. It can withstand the rigors of outdoor conditions and frequent use by different guests without losing its appeal. Additionally, its care routine is a breeze – our cleaners often freshen it up using a mild bleach mixture, with no ill effects.

This fabric is the perfect choice for STRs, and while more expensive, the fabric in your home will continue to look top-notch for years to come.

Exploring Sunbrella Fabric Options

The versatility of Sunbrella is awe-inspiring. It comes in a myriad of colors and finishes, allowing for incredible personalization of your outdoor spaces. Whether you’re a fan of the classic neutrals or want to liven up your space with vibrant hues, Sunbrella has you covered.

To mention a few options, you can explore the classic Cabana look‘, a beautiful forrest green option, or light browns that go with everything and look even cleaner all the time.  There’s even a Sunbrella velvet fabric line that marries luxury and longevity perfectly.

The different shades can significantly influence the ambiance of your outdoor spaces. Subtle neutrals are perfect for creating a serene, inviting space, while vibrant colors can make your outdoor area feel lively and dynamic. Or choose a neutral fabric for the couch, and buy a bit of fabric of bright orange to create a pop of color with a number of pillows.  

Measuring out the number of yards of fabric you will need does require a reupholster to help, and oftentimes you can order a number of samples of Sunbrella or find a local fabric store that sells it so that you can find a number of good options you like, and then oftentimes find it for a significantly reduced rate per yard on Amazon.  There are also a number of large warehouses that sell scrapped sunbrella fabric in less than a full roll – always helping you save money! 

But don’t let the “outdoor” label limit you – Sunbrella fabric’s quality is so top-notch that it can seamlessly transition to your indoor spaces as well.  We were instructed by the Restoration Hardware team 10 years ago that a significant number of people are using this fabric indoors, and we have fully embraced this idea as well. 

Bungalow 1, in Venice Beach

A Sustainable Approach to Outdoor Furniture

An effective way to save money without compromising aesthetics and longevity is by opting for reasonably made furniture from discount stores. Choose the pieces that appeal to you and fit your space, but keep in mind that the initial fabric will likely need replacing after a year or two. This is due to the challenging outdoor conditions and the fact that guests may not treat your furniture with the same care you would.  Try to choose a frame made of metal if at a lower price point, and ideally one with reviews mentioning that the frame holds up well over time! 

Consider having a local professional recover your outdoor pieces using Sunbrella fabric. They can reuse the existing foam cushions, offering a more sustainable and budget-friendly solution. Don’t fall into the trap of assuming that fabric covers will be enough to protect your investment – replacing the fabric entirely is often a more cost-effective and durable option in the long run.  

Also, while fabric covers are a good short-term fix, we believe these covers never look all that great, leaving your guests feeling like you skimped on their experience, which could result in negative reviews. 

A Decade-Long Love Affair with Sunbrella Fabric for Sustainability in Our Homes

Open Air Homes has been enamored with Sunbrella fabric for a decade, and for good reason. In an industry like STR, this fabric has proven its worth time and time again. Our commitment to sustainability goes hand in hand with our love for this resilient fabric. We wholeheartedly recommend Sunbrella to anyone looking for indoor or outdoor furniture that can gracefully withstand the test of time, even with countless different guests using it. Invest in Sunbrella – a choice that promises to serve you well for many years to come.

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