Patio Furniture Buying Guide From Outdoor Furniture Material to Styles

by Purvin Arshad

Being cooped up indoors during the pandemic has made it necessary to elevate the outdoor spaces. Porches and gardens now serve as spacious areas where the family can spend time together and even entertain. This is why the sales of outdoor furniture and accessories have been skyrocketing for the last two years.

Back gardens, patios and decks have started to evolve into well-furnished extensions of the indoors. This also facilitates social distancing, which has become something of a norm now. The trend now is to your use your outdoor space as a part of your daily life. Formations that transfer indoor conveniences outside and allow us to linger there for the maximum amount of time are preferred.

backyard furniture and grass

Source: Max Vakhtbovych

Trends in Setting

The latest trends embrace variety in material colours and textures. Look for unique pieces that offer elevated design and a more homely feel. The idea is to go beyond the typical outdoor furniture sets. Your outdoor furniture pieces do not necessarily need to match. Just ensure to tie them together with one basic theme running throughout. This can be done by using the same colour scheme, height or using pieces of the same material.

Experts tell us to create flexible seating since people generally converse in small groups. Typically patio seating should be arranged in groups of three to five. This allows for social distancing and a good flow of conversation. Investing in outdoor stools and benches is a good idea as they are easier to move.

Consider the size of your outdoor space before the purchase of pieces. Consider how many will fit comfortably. Think about the size of the seats you want to purchase. Do you want large lounge type pieces, in which case you will be able to fit fewer seats? Perhaps you need more seats because you will be entertaining friends and family frequently. In this case, smaller compact seating or benches will be more appropriate. Too many seats or tables crammed together will not be functional. If you plan to add a grill or fire-pit remember they too take up space!

What to Look Out For

backyard furniture

Source: Souranshi Fashion and Lifestyle Magazine

When looking for outdoor furniture, the characteristics you seek are no different from your indoor furniture. You need to look for comfort, style, durability and naturally price. The main difference is that outdoor furniture will be exposed to natural elements. It is not possible to buy weatherproof patio furniture. However, some materials withstand weather better than others.

Structures of the outdoor furniture must be such that they maintain their integrity for a long duration. Another point of concern should be the amount of maintenance necessary. After all, you do not want to spend all your time cleaning it. You want to spend most of your time enjoying it.

Lastly, ensure that the outdoor furniture you opt for is eco-friendly and cost-effective.

Luckily many outdoor furniture manufacturers use “green” methods of manufacture. They use biodegradable materials, can be recycled and are certified as such. Keep in mind that different outdoor materials differ in their ability to be renewable.

Fabric for Outdoor Furniture

No doubt, upholstered outdoor seating provides the most comfort. It offers the ultimate when it comes to lounging experience. Typically outdoor materials are fabricated from synthetic water-resistant fibres. These include polyester, vinyl and acrylic. The weaves are breathable and immune to fading. Specialized materials that facilitate runoffs and enhance evaporation are ideal for seating. They also eliminate mildew or mould issues. Upholstered items will need to be protected during the winter month.

Outdoor Furniture Materials

Aluminium

cast aluminum patio bistro set

Source: Amazon Best Choice Products

Aluminium is preferred for outdoor furniture because it offers many benefits. It is easy to maintain, rustproof, and light enough to move around with ease. Be prepared to purchase some cushions as seats will be uncomfortable without them. If the aluminium furniture is not moved indoors for winter storage, its life is shortened. However, you need to note that aluminium furniture is not foldable, so winter storage will require ample space. If your indoor storage space is limited, perhaps this will not make a good option for you

Wrought Iron & Steel Outdoor Furniture

wrought iron outdoor dining set

Source: Amazon Christopher Knight Home

Both these materials are strong and will last decades with proper care. This means regular paint jobs to keep it looking like new. Being rather heavy, you must decide once where you want to put it. It is not a good idea to put it on your lawn directly as mowing under it will become an issue. It is more suitable for a deck or a patio. The best part about wrought iron and steel is that they don’t require indoor storage. Both these materials will withstand all types of weather without a problem. Like aluminium, they too will need cushions to make the seats comfortable.

Plastic/Resin Backyard Furniture

Furniture made from plastic or resin is very cost-effective and easy to maintain. All that is needed is soaping down with water. It is also good at resisting unfavourable weather. However, extended direct exposure to sunlight will result in fading. It requires no additional cushions and is easy to move around as it is very lightweight.

Wooden Garden Furniture

Teak, redwood, cedar and cypress are the best woods for garden furniture. Wood furniture blends well into any time of garden however, it does require extra precautions. Treatments of preservatives are a regular necessity. Wood furniture will also wear well in any type of weather but will require cushioning for extra comfort.

patio wooden table and chairs set

Source: Amazon Walker Edison

Natural Wicker Garden Furniture

Wicker furniture gained popularity in the 1970s but, its origins can be traced as far back as 3,000 years. In fact, a wicker chair was recovered from King Tut’s tomb! Natural wicker looks good in every garden setting, but it is not too hardwearing. It will require indoor storage during the winter months. It will also require regular waterproofing. Finally, depending on the style, some types of seating may require cushions for comfort.

The synthetic wicker, also called synthetic rattan, on the other hand, is all-weather furniture. It is made from synthetic resin and looks just like the natural material, minus the high maintenance. A simple wipe down with a damp cloth is all that is necessary to keep it looking great.

wicker furniture in backyard

Source: Amazon Vongrasig

Style & Design Ideas

Built-in

This type of outdoor seating is a big problem solver when it comes to space limitations. In situations where there is little space for outdoor furniture, built-in benches offer solutions. Glide a dining table in front of your build-in bench, and you need only half the number of chairs. If you don’t want to be bothered with any type of garden furniture, this is the perfect alternative.

built in table and seats in the backyard

A good design maximizes the usability of all the landscape elements. Minor variations in constructed areas of the landscape can serve a dual purpose. Built-in seating comes in very handy during the time between fall and spring. In winter, when all the patio furniture is in storage, you still have a place to sit on the warmer sunny days. These spaces offer seating throughout the year.

Country

A country garden setting is focused on plant material. The landscape appears irregular with no specific design. The furniture you choose for your outdoor space follows the same pattern. There is no need to use furniture that has any specific geometry or precise curves. Your country setting should offer a rustic look. The furniture can be white, neutral colours or just left in the natural state.

garden chairs

Furniture that will go well in a country garden setting will include things made from Rattan, Wicker or Cane. These materials were popular in the ’70s but are now making a comeback. This eco-friendly furniture has received a new upgraded feel and looks for 2021. It happens to be the most aesthetic way to decorate your garden in 2021.

Unfortunately, it will degrade quickly if not cared for properly. Without specialized protection, bamboo and rattan furniture will lose lustre and integrity. The pieces will become deformed due to moisture and the sun. Also, washing rattan furniture is not an option. It will require appropriate storage during the winter months.

Modern

Modern landscaping is defined by a streamlined aesthetic look. The garden will give an appearance of being controlled and organized. Likewise, modern furniture is also defined by crisp straight lines and simple minimalistic design. The colour palette should be neutral.

Many different brands are offering modern, modular pieces in their collections. There is an endless variety to select from. Outdoor furniture made from teak is also very trendy. Numerous manufacturers are adding teak garden furniture to their collections.

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