Investing in outdoor living furniture is a great way to improve your home’s curb appeal and create a comfortable space for you and your family to enjoy the outdoors. But with so many different materials, styles, and sizes available, it can be overwhelming trying to choose the right furniture for your needs.
To help you make the best decision for your home, we’ve put together a complete guide to outdoor living furniture. We’ll cover everything from climate and durability to the best fabrics for cushions and pillows. By the end of this guide, you’ll have all the information you need to choose the perfect furniture for your outdoor space.
How Do You Plan on Using Your Outdoor Living Furniture?
Do you want a patio set with an extendable table and seats so that you can hold catered parties? Or perhaps you’d rather just relax with your pals on a large couch and lounge chairs while playing games and snacking at the accompanying coffee table. Maybe you just want to relax in the sun on a chaise lounge with a refreshing drink in hand while the warm Summer breeze gently caresses your skin. No matter the reason, writing out your objectives is a good place to start planning. Consider the number of guests you’ll be hosting and the pieces of furniture that might be required.
Assess Your Furniture Needs
Before purchasing furniture, measure the area you intend to furnish. Do you want to decorate a garden, poolside, or wooden patio? When determining what kinds of outdoor furniture to purchase and what qualities are most important, you should take into account the specific characteristics of each of these spaces. Self-leveling table legs may be necessary for use on uneven ground, while fast-drying cushions and materials are essential for use around swimming pools.
Consider The Flow of Your Outdoor Living Area
Taking precise measurements is essential before shopping for outdoor furniture. Having your desired sectional sofa delivered to your lanai only to realize it won’t fit is a nightmare. Don’t just focus on the straight line distance between two points; instead, consider the practical aspects of the area, such as its shape and the flow of traffic. Modifying an area into smaller sections is recommended if the region is irregular in shape. The same number of people can be seated at a smaller number of bistro tables and barstools as at a standard dining set.
Spare a moment to consider this in three dimensions. To fully grasp what it would be like to be sat there, you might need to use your imagination. Where should one’s gaze be directed, exactly? If you want to stand up and move around, how much space do you require? Even if you have enough room for all of your stuff, are you able to move around freely without constantly avoiding obstacles?
Which Outdoor Living Furniture Materials Are Best?
Some frames, upholstery, and tabletops are going to be better than others according on use, location, and weather. Untreated woods splinter in high temperatures, and plastics grow brittle and crack in freezing temperatures. Uncoated metal can rust in the presence of moisture, and natural wicker can easily get warped. Light aluminum or plastic furniture can easily be blown over by wind, and many fabrics fade in the sun. If you’re looking for information on the durability of different materials for outdoor furniture, check out our handy patio furniture buyers guide. You should weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each option before making a final decision.
Consider Your Material Options
As an alternative to metal and plastic, wood is a time-honored material for interior decoration. Teak wood, in particular, has a high natural oil content and is therefore resistant to decay if properly maintained. In addition to protecting against warping, this material is impervious to stealthy insects. Rattan furniture is on trend, but if durability is a priority, you may want to look into all-resin wicker instead.
Although it has a more “natural” appearance than metals like steel or aluminum, wood requires significantly more upkeep. Unless they are sealed every three to six months, many types of wood will dry and break unless kept under damp conditions. In the same way that natural wood like teak ages and turns gray after a few months in the sun, artificial wood like cedar will fade and crack after the same amount of time.
Protective Coatings & Alternative Materials
A coating is necessary for the majority of metals. Iron is more robust in severe winds and on rooftops because it is heavier than aluminum. On the other hand, when exposed to moisture, steel and iron rust. Rusting can be postponed using a high-quality pre-coat treatment. Iron and aluminum can rust in pool water, and the coating will corrode in salt water. (On the plus side, metal just requires occasional washing with soap or a mild detergent, and a fine automotive wax can be applied to keep the finish looking shiny.)
The least problematic material is powder-coated aluminum. This outdoor furniture is made of lightweight metal and can be moved and cleaned with ease. To prevent the finish from oxidizing and blistering in coastal and heavy salt environments, it is important to wash down surfaces regularly with a moist cloth. Soap and water, or another mild detergent, is usually all that’s needed to clean a room in most of the world.
Resin wicker is more durable than natural wicker. Natural (or “genuine”) wicker can fade from the sun and rain over time, but it’s a versatile material that works well with many different design schemes. When storms are in the forecast, bring these items inside or, at the very least, onto a covered porch. Good quality synthetic resin wicker, on the other hand, can withstand rain and sunlight without fading or becoming brittle. Read our wicker furniture guide for more information.
How Much Should You Invest in Outdoor Living Furniture?
The question of how much you should invest in outdoor living furniture differs for renters as opposed to homeowners.
If you are renting or there is a risk that you will need to relocate, it may not be a smart idea to fill your outside area with huge, heavy furniture. In such a circumstance, plastic patio furniture, which is lighter than metal or wood, could be a better option. On moving day, packing will go lot more smoothly if you do this. It’s important to remember that your new house might not be large enough to accommodate all of your current furniture. If you’re planning on buying any new pieces, it’s best to stay with more compact options.
Before decorating the outside of your home, you should probably get permission from your landlord. If your outside space is shared with other residents, your landlord may impose stricter guidelines on the sorts of furniture you can use, as well as the colors and dimensions allowed.
Homeowners, on the other hand, have more leeway than renters do when it comes to furnishing their homes. The sky is the limit in terms of what you can do to furnish your backyard if you own your house. After settling on the number of pieces you’ll need, the quality of the materials, and the desired level of comfort, you’ll need to ask yourself how much you can or want to spend on your outdoor furniture set. Even while high-end outdoor furniture tends to be on the pricier side, you usually get what you pay for. Because it is expected to resist weather and more rigorous use, patio furniture can cost more than its indoor counterpart. Materials tend to be more durable, resistant to fading, and water-repellent than their less expensive counterparts. The material and workmanship guarantees are typically extended and more comprehensive.
However, there is a case to be made for low-cost instant pleasure. Investing in a low-priced set of furniture and table accessories is perfectly acceptable if it’s what you want. Understand that after a few of Summers, they will likely lose their luster or quit functioning altogether. While this strategy could save you money in the short term, the rising cost of new parts could cause you to spend more money overall.
Outdoor Living Furniture
Putting together your ideal outdoor living area involves having the right functional and attractive furnishings that strike the right balance of comfort vs durability. The furniture you add can make or break your time spent lounging, hosting, and dining in the great outdoors. The time you spend outside can be greatly improved by the addition of a variety of elements to create comfort and style in your backyard.
While there are many key practical considerations to bear in mind while shopping for outdoor living furniture, it’s also crucial to remember that aesthetically pleasing environment relies on appealing to the senses. Having friends around for a pool party or a cookout on the deck is always a good time, and the seating arrangements you choose should be a reflection of your personal taste. Elegant wrought iron dining furniture with a striking ceramic tile tabletop would look great in a hacienda-style home. An elegant stainless steel cocktail table and sculpted chaise loungers can be just the thing for your minimalist modern patio. Find outdoor furniture that complements the design of your home. If you want to make a drastic difference from the interior to the exterior, try a completely new aesthetic while perhaps maintaining a similar color scheme.
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A patio dining set can look fantastic in a photograph. The frames and cushions are brand new, and the models appear to be at ease in the beautiful weather. In reality, patio dining sets have to withstand the elements, and over time, both their looks and their functionality might suffer. Stylish looks aren’t always backed up by durability if they’re created with cheap materials or a poor finish that deteriorates under the pressure of water, sunlight, or regular use. A cheap outdoor dining set may seem like a steal at first, but it quickly loses its luster if you have to keep replacing it every year due to wear and tear or corrosion. High-quality, long-lasting outdoor furniture doesn’t have to be prohibitively expensive, although it usually is more expensive than the flashier pieces sold in big-box stores.
The devil is in the details when it comes to outdoor furniture, even if many items may seem and feel the same. Is the cloth able to withstand high temperatures without fading? In the spring, two lounge chairs may look identical, but by the end of summer, one may be too faded and uncomfortable to use on hot days. In a similar vein, some metal frames are painted instead of powder-coated or lack a finishing treatment to safeguard the surface against corrosion, both of which are particularly problematic in salty environments. The ability of different patio umbrellas to endure strong winds varies substantially, despite their superficial similarities. What kind of embarrassment (and perhaps danger) would it cause if your shade fell on your guests? The market umbrella’s lift or tilt mechanism must be positioned above the tabletop for use of an umbrella table; otherwise, the table must be returned.
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Putting in an outdoor kitchen is a bigger long-term financial commitment for your house. When compared to the ROI of other outdoor home improvement projects, outdoor kitchens come out on top. This is especially true if your outdoor kitchen is built with premium components and features. Most outdoor appliances are built to resist harsh weather settings, so they can give years of usage and amusement.
Add a Fully-Equipped Outdoor Kitchen
A well-equipped outdoor kitchen is the ideal spot for hosting gatherings. As the dinner or lunch is being prepared and cooked outdoors, guests can congregate around the grill and chat. The simple BBQ patios of yesteryear have given way to fancy outdoor kitchens. An outdoor kitchen is where you’ll most often find high-end features like a granite island, stainless steel or even wood-fired appliances, and an over-sized grill. Increasingly, people are constructing fully functional outdoor kitchens, complete with sinks, lighting, and outlets for appliances.
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