Your patio can become the perfect spot for dining, lounging, and entertaining. But you'll need to complement it with comfortable and functional furniture.
Here are useful tips to help you buy the best outdoor furniture and extend your indoor space to the outside.
How to Choose Outdoor Furniture That's Right for You
Buying the right outdoor furniture involves much more than just randomly picking out pieces in a furniture store. Below is professional advice about what you should think about before picking your outdoor furniture.
Function and Usage
First, you need to figure out the overall vision for your outdoor space. Do you want to use your backyard as a dining area during warm summer nights? Or do you intend to host your child's birthday party or upcoming dinner party in this space?
Essentially, you should consider the activities you'd like to do in the space. And this should guide your choices for outdoor furniture.
What is your outdoor space like? Do you intend to furnish a patio, garden, balcony, poolside, or a hardwood deck? Remember, each type of space has its own set of furnishing rules.
Types of Spaces
Patio – Standard patios are suitable for outdoor dining, barbecuing, or lounging.
Deck – Decks are a great alternative to concrete patios. They are often characterized by tasteful hardwood flooring. But you should exercise caution with open flame fire pits.
Pool – The area surrounding the pool should be furnished with sun loungers, umbrellas, and side tables.
Porch – Laid-back lounge seats that allow you to catch sunrise or sunset work best in this space.
Garden – Add a timeless appeal to a well-manicured backyard space using decorative benches.
Consider the surrounding conditions of your outdoor space. What are some of the natural elements that your patio furniture needs to stand up to? Is the space nestled among trees with falling leaves? Or is it completely exposed to direct sunlight access? The environmental factors will determine the type of outdoor furniture best suited for your space.
The Size of the Space
You don't want to buy an eye-catching sofa only to realize it crowds your entire outdoor space once it's delivered. Ideally, make sure you have the exact dimensions of the space before going to buy outdoor furniture pieces.
Besides that, you should envision what it would feel like sitting in a specific area. How much leg room would you need to stretch out and move around? And what would be the eye-line?
Think of your outdoor space size in terms of functional space, type of shape, and traffic flow.
Biggest Mistakes to Avoid when Buying Patio Furniture
Not Measuring the Space
Failing to know the exact measurements of your space may end up with you buying oversized furniture pieces. And if they fit, the space is crowded with no room to wiggle around.
But if you know the square footage of your space, you should be able to buy furniture pieces that fit well while leaving room to move around and place other accessories.
Ignoring the Environment
The climatic conditions in your area will influence your choice of furniture material. Ignoring the weather elements may cause your furniture pieces to deteriorate quickly.
Favoring Style or Price Over Substance
Stylish outdoor furniture made from inferior materials may not be durable and may be more vulnerable to damage caused by sunlight, moisture, or daily stress. Also, getting a large dining set at a low price point may seem like a bargain. But if it's not durable and you have to replace it after a year, then it makes no financial sense.
Generally, high-quality and sturdy outdoor furnishings are not overly expensive. But they will cost you more than glitzy furniture pieces available at big-box stores.
Forgetting to Research Product Features
While outdoor furnishings may look and feel almost the same, the distinction lies in the products’ features. Some upholstery fabrics don't fade even under sweltering heat. In comparison, other patio furniture lack pre-treatment to protect them from rust, especially in coastal areas.
You need to research the outdoor furniture’s features beforehand so you can make the right choice. Otherwise, you may end up learning the hard way when you have to contend with corroded frames, torn seats, and wind-blown umbrellas.
Assuming Comfort is a Given
The convenience of buying furniture online comes with one disadvantage-not having a sit test.
So you can't accurately figure out the comfort level without actually sitting on it in person. You're only left to assume the comfort level of a particular furniture piece.
Losing Sight of Color
Viewing colored fabric on an electronic device may be misleading as the images often appear brighter. So you may have a difficult time matching a new piece of outdoor furniture with the rest of the décor. The trick here is to pick out furniture pieces within the color palette of your décor.
Foregoing Protection and Storage Considerations
Even high-quality furnishings, like a wrought-iron settee or teak chairs, are not impervious to degradation if left exposed to the elements. Essentially, you should buy protective covers to keep your outdoor furnishings safe from bad weather. When not in use, putting away your pieces in a garage, shed, or basement will add to their lifespan.
Accessories and Accents
Outdoor living goes beyond just buying the best patio furniture. There are several other finishing touches that can elevate your outdoor experience. These include:
Outdoor Umbrellas and Shades:They offer some sort of shade when you want to spend time outdoors on a sun-drenched day.
Fire pits: These help drive away the cold in the evenings.
Lights: Overhead lighting or lamps can illuminate table tops during outdoor dinners.
Rugs: Consider weather-proof outdoor rugs made from materials like polypropylene.
Pillows: Accent pillows come in a variety of colors and designs and can add visual interest to your deck. Pick pillows with fade-resistant fabric and quick-drying foam.
Other Factors to Consider in Choosing Outdoor Furniture
1. Frame Construction
Aluminum is extremely durable despite its lightweight nature. It is pre-treated with UV-resistant and rust-resistant coating. Thus, it can withstand exposure to sunlight, rain, wind, and heat variances. Aluminum furniture doesn't rust and comes in a variety of color and finish options.
Steel furniture is heavier in comparison to aluminum furniture. It is coated with a zinc protective cover to guard against rust. It stands up comfortably to moisture exposure.
Iron is the strongest and most durable type of patio furniture material, and it definitely stands up well to extreme weather conditions. Because iron furniture frames conduct heat, you should go for those with cushion seats. And while it is rust-resistant, it may need a few paint touch-ups once in a while.
Wicker furniture features a woven style and requires cushions. It stands up well to humidity, heat, cold, and hailstorms. Resin wicker is easier to care for and a great affordable option for indoor or outdoor use.
Bistro sets are the go-to outdoor furniture for small spaces like pocket gardens and balconies. They are available in standard and balcony-height sizes. And you can decorate them with cushion seats.
Bistro sets come in different types of material. You should choose a cushioned set for better comfort or a wrought-iron set for a timeless look.
Perhaps you want your outdoor space to be your destination for meals. In this case, go for dining sets for the terrace. They usually come in groups of up to 11 pieces.
Go for an extendable table if you only require a large dining table less frequently. Adding cushioned chairs extends the comfort of your indoor dining room to your patio.
Conversation sets are a great option if you want your patio to be as comfortable as your living room. A set of conversation chairs paired with an accent table creates an inviting sitting area in your backyard. Modular sets can be multipurpose depending on the event at hand.
The Bottom Line
You can bring your indoors to the outside. And the type of outdoor furnishings you choose will determine the experience in your outdoor space. Use the insights from this guide to pick out the right furniture pieces for your patio, garden, or porch.