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Care for soft furnishings is an important part of any yacht Stews job, with Chief Stews also being in charge of ordering furnishings as needed. This means that they need to know how to properly care for it and how to choose the right ones for a yacht.

Aneta Sepiotek, President of Decorativa, a company that offers luxurious soft furnishings for luxury homes and yachts, is bringing you advice that every Stew should know about yacht cushions.

1. What fabrics can I use in the yacht interior vs. the yacht exterior?

“The main difference between interior and exterior fabrics is the fabric’s ability to resist weather conditions, such as sun, water and salt. Most outdoor fabrics are treated to withstand such conditions, while indoor materials will generally not require such treatment. This is why it will be important to make sure you are using the right fabric for different uses onboard a yacht.

For the yacht exterior, acrylic and polypropylene fabrics (olefin fabrics) will be the best choice. Their ability to resist high UV, water, stains, mould/mildew and breathability makes them an obvious choice for marine use.

For indoor, the choice of the fabrics is wider, from synthetic, mainly polyester fabrics, semi-synthetic as viscose to natural materials such as linen, hemp, cotton, wool, silk, leather and blends of those.” - Aneta Sepiotek, Decorativa

2. How do I properly care for the yacht cushion fabrics?

“All fabrics manufacturers will always provide the customers with the care instructions, so make sure you read and follow them carefully to make the cushion covers shine and last longer!

You will notice there will be composition information or washing instructions listed, and if ironing, tumble-drying or bleach usage is allowed.

General rule of thumb is that most polyester fabrics can be washed at a temperature up to 30C. However, there can always be exceptions to any rule so always be careful!

Cotton and linen fabrics can be washed at a temperature higher than 30C, although the higher the temperature, the more risk of shrinkage and discolouration. Wool and cashmere, on the other hand, can only be washed by hand and at low temperature (0-20C) and with a mild detergent made for wool.

Remember that any leather, suede, faux leather and faux suede should not be washed!

As a note, shrinkage can also happen while tumble-drying due to the high temperature of the air in the dryer. If unsure what material you are dealing with, the best way is to send the covers for professional cleaning.” - Aneta Sepiotek, Decorativa

3. How can I get the stains out of yacht cushion covers?

“When ordering custom-made cushions, it is always possible to ask the manufacturer to provide samples of the fabrics. Those samples can be convenient when needing to test the fabric with a stain remover before applying the product directly to the cover.

When it comes to stains, a mix of warm water with gentle soap should be enough to remove some minor stains without washing a whole cover.

There are fabrics available on the market that have been created in “Easy Clean” technology that allows removing stains with just water. But again, when unsure, for more difficult stains, it is always better to send the cover for professional cleaning.

When it comes to vacuuming, most of the cushions can be vacuumed using a proper vacuum attachment (upholstery or dusting brush) and a low vacuum suction power.” - Aneta Sepiotek, Decorativa

4. How do I choose the right insert cushion?

“Its important to choose the right size and composition of the cushion you insert in the cushion covers as it will affect how plump the cushion looks and feels. This will be especially important if you are planning to karate-chop the cushions.

To get that plump and luxurious look of the cushion, the insert cushion should ideally be 2-3 cm bigger than the cover. If the insert cushion seems flat, the difference between the cover and the insert cushion could be even 5 cm.

There are two types of filling available on the market regarding insert cushion filling: natural and synthetic. The most common natural fillings proposed to the hospitality industry are duck or goose feather, duck dump and a mix of both (feather/dump).

Within the synthetic filling, the most common are hollow fibres, micro-fibre, and foam. All are products of polyester fibres, manmade polymer created as an alternative to cotton.

The hollow fibres are the best choice for outdoor use as they are more resistant to humidity and the propagation of mould or mildew and are anti-allergic. The cushions filled with hollow fibres create a luxurious, plump look. Unfortunately, the cushion filled with any synthetic filling cannot be “karate-chopped”; the cushion will always bounce back.

To karate-chop, it’s better to use the insert with the natural filling such as feather or dumb. They can only be used for indoor cushions and, after each season, should be checked for any mould/mildew spots and cleaned if necessary (either through a gentle wash cycle or dry-cleaned).” - Aneta Sepiotek, Decorativa

5. How can I properly store the yacht cushions off-season?

“When storing the insert cushions off-season (both outdoor and indoor), it is essential to ensure that there are clean and dry. The same applies to cushion covers. And there all should be kept in a dry and airy place.

If stored in plastic bags, choosing vacuum storage bags is recommended. They prevent any dust and humidity from getting in and will also help to save some space.” - Aneta Sepiotek, Decorativa

6. Which eco-friendly and recycled fabrics are currently available on the market?

“One of the most ecological fabrics that humanity has known for thousands of years is linen. Made from the flax plant, it is a natural, durable, sustainable and antibacterial fabric that is fully biodegradable (when undyed). The flax plant requires less water to grow than, for example, cotton and is more disease resistant therefore almost does not require any pesticides.

There is a growth of ecological awareness on both the manufacturers’ and the customers’ sides. There are brands on the market that offer fabrics compliant with environmental standards, such as OEKO-TEX, REACH or GREENGUARD, or make their sustainable fabrics from recycled materials. More and more brands implement sustainable programs in their production processes or collect their fabrics from the customers to recycle them.” - Aneta Sepiotek, Decorativa

Are you looking for soft furnishings for your yacht?

Decorativa specialises in soft furnishings for yachts, superyachts, luxury residences and offices in Monaco and the French and Italian Riviera.

All creations are handmade in their atelier based in the South of France, where particular attention to detail is paid to ensure a long-lasting product. Having gained 11 years of experience in the luxury yachting industry before launching Decorativa in 2021, its team boasts an invaluable amount of knowledge.

Get in touch with them via their website.

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Photo courtesy of Decorativa

6 things every yacht Stew should know about yacht cushions






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