Outdoor furniture significantly ranges in price, depending on where you see it. But what is behind that price tag, especially when it comes to something that will be battling the elements? Outdoor decor has to be more than visually appealing to provide the most value for your decorating dollars.
We expect furniture that is used outdoors to be able to stand up to the elements. But even furniture designed for the outdoors should be stored or covered when it isn’t in use. Outdoor furniture will last much longer if you take good care of it. Consider if you have space to store what you purchase. If storage space or a covered area isn’t an option, you may want to invest in patio furniture covers.
Buying outdoor furniture is essentially the same process as selecting indoor furniture, except for one key consideration: the weather. You need furniture heavy enough not to tip over if it’s windy, and a deck box for storing cushions if it rains.
Think about how much your furniture will face the elements and what level of maintenance you are willing to accept. There are many weather-proof and fade-resistant materials to choose from. If you consider these answers before you buy the furniture, it will help guide you toward selecting the right construction material.
5 Tips for Choosing the Right Outdoor Furniture
Begin by visualizing how you would like to utilize your outdoor space, Will you be using the furniture for summer parties, family dinners, lounging by the pool, or a place for the kids to play? Look for pieces that serve a dual purpose in your space. If you don’t have room for a large dining table, consider buying a small side table that will serve your purpose without the space requirement of a large piece. Remember, outdoor rooms do not need to be elaborate to be an outdoor oasis.
Go for easy care. Choose materials that won’t rust or require refinishing. Choose wood that wears gracefully, like teak, mahogany, or eucalyptus. Aluminum or steel are other good choices, but it’s important to ensure they have a protective, powder coated finish. Wicker is a great option too, both natural wicker and the newer synthetic variety. Wicker is durable, sturdy, and has a timeless appeal.
For cushions, select quality fabrics that dry quickly and won’t fade from continuous exposure to the sun. You don’t want to run outside every time it rains to put away cushions, so choose an outdoor fabric with a quick-dry anti-bacterial foam.
Go for comfort. The point of an outdoor “room” is relaxation, so comfort is essential. It’s best to sit in the furniture you intend to purchase. It’s impossible to know how a chair fits your body from looking at a picture. While there are many good deals online, you won’t be satisfied with your purchase if the seating is uncomfortable. Go to a local store and test out the feel of a few pieces. What’s on the showroom floor is typically available in a wide range of colors that can be ordered.
Pick your Style. Are you aiming for a rustic vibe or something contemporary? Whatever your vision, the choice of furniture should complete the outdoor theme you have in mind. Deciding your favorite style and colors should also take into consideration how long you intend to keep the furniture.
Today’s stylish colors will give way to new design trends over time, so choose something enduringly classic, or furniture that has zip-off covers that can be replaced. Using upholstery covers can keep your furniture looking new.
Things to Avoid
Poor craftsmanship is a sure sign the piece may not last until the next season. Inspect each item you purchase for cracks, sloppy welding, and paint finishes that are peeling. Avoid any glued wood pieces; they will not stand up to extremes of temperature, even if stored indoors. With metal furniture, avoid pieces that do not have rustproof hardware.
Avoid buying pieces that are out of scale with your space. An oversized sofa will overtake all the space of a small patio, while a bistro set might be just the right size. Take measurements to ensure you are selecting pieces that will fit the area and allow room to move the furniture around.
Invest in good quality, and you will enjoy your furniture for years to come. Outdoor furniture is one of those areas where the adage, “You get what you pay for” is definitely true. A higher price tag is often an indicator of good quality.