The best outdoor furniture makes you feel like it’s Sunday afternoon seven days a week. It invites you to step outdoors, take a deep breath and relax into comfort.
If it’s the right fit for your outdoor needs.
If it’s not, it can be a constant reminder of how much money you wasted chasing a bargain. Or, worse, it can send you scurrying back inside even on a Sunday afternoon because it gives you a back-ache.
Follow these tips to select the best furniture for your outdoor lifestyle.
Spend Time Planning
The amount of time you spend thinking about shopping for outdoor furniture can have a direct correlation with how happy you are with your purchases. Like the old carpenter’s saying “measure twice and cut once” thinking about what will make outdoor furniture great for you will save you from making some major mistakes that could be quite costly.
1. Inspect Carefully
The quality of what you buy for outside can be more important than what you put inside your house. That’s because it has to stand up to the elements. Sun, wind rain and snow or cold will all take their toll on different furniture types differently.
Then there’s just plain shoddy workmanship. Missing bolts, rickety construction, amateur paint jobs; they’re all telling you the truth about how long you can expect this piece to last.
2. How Will You Use It?
Before shopping for your furniture, you need to picture how you will use your outdoor space. When you close your eyes can you envision your family eating dinner on the deck frequently? Or, will it just be you, late at night enjoying a glass of wine while you stare at the fire?
Now get really specific. Can you see yourself using the dining chair to enjoy your late night fire? Or would you haul that table and chair out of the sun and under the trees for your lunchtime picnic?
If it’s the latter, you want to look for lightweight and collapsible or stackable furniture. Perhaps your dining chair could double for your late night spot if you added an ottoman.
3. Get the Right Fit
Try all your furniture options on for size. Can you get in and out of that low-slung chair? Yes, that patio set over there may be $100s less than another, but it’s because each chair is narrower. Does the loveseat hit the back of your calf when you sit down with your back on the cushion, or are you left with your feet dangling? If your furniture isn’t comfortable, you aren’t going to use it.
4. Account for Sun and Shade
When you can’t pick up the furniture to move it out of the sun, it’s time to think of your options for moving the sun out of your eyes. Consider an umbrella or an awning. They come in crank or motorized options, both of which can lower the temperature on your deck or patio too, drawing you outside more often even on the hottest days. They can help you save money indoors on your air conditioning at the same time.
5. Choose the Right Cushions
Comfortable is the most important word you need to remember when it’s time to shop for cushions for your furniture. Indoor cushions should never be used outdoors. Most are too thin or made from materials that will never stand up to moisture or prolonged sun exposure.
Look for cushions that are UV, fade and mildew resistant. Also, make sure that chubby cushion is filled with polyurethane. It will dry out quickly and resist mildew and mold.
6. Choose the Right Mix of Materials
How much moisture will your furniture be exposed to? You may think you’re being smart when you put that steel-framed, mesh lounger on the concrete around your pool in Florida. It’s a great place to relax after a swim and the mesh will dry out almost immediately.
Unfortunately, it won’t take long before the afternoon storms take their toll on the steel frame and you wind up with rust stains on your concrete. Opt for an aluminum frame instead.
The same is true about planting a wooden bench deep in the garden. Before you know it, it could begin to rot from prolonged ground contact.
7. Fit Your Space
There’s nothing quite as disappointing as having to return or trying to return outdoor furniture only to find out you can’t. If that great outdoor sofa you lounged on in the store that took you four hours to assemble is longer than your balcony, there’s not much you can do to “make it work.”
With tape measure in hand, take a good hard look at your area and decide what sizes will fit. Think about negative space and how that will need to be used as well.
Remember that lounge chair by the pool? Just because you had enough space for that lounger to fit from the screen enclosure to the very edge of the pool doesn’t mean you really had enough space.
Remember, you will need to be able to walk freely around the pool in order to do your maintenance chores. Similarly, you can’t have your table blocking the only door to the deck.
Now that you have a great idea of what pieces of outdoor furniture you want and what you will use it for, you still have a major choice to make. These are the most popular:
- Wrought Iron
Most of these choices are classic favorites, but one is displacing an old favorite. Where wicker was once a high-end favorite for outdoor lounge furniture, it is being replaced by resins that have the same visual appeal.
Resin and Vinyl are much tougher than wicker which can become brittle with age. It can stand up to high moisture and sun conditions. You can see how versatile these materials are when you visit https://www.patiosusa.com/manufacturers/lloyd-flanders/. They’re used in dining, living and lounge settings in a wide variety of colors as well.
The Best Outdoor Furniture
In the end, the best outdoor furniture is the furniture you actually use season after season. It’s the stuff you dream about on Friday afternoons at work. Once you’ve got your outdoor space just right, there’s only one more thing you need to do. Check out this great source for party ideas to help you show it off.