Creating a Fun, Modern Space
There’s nothing quite like heading outside and enjoying the good weather while kicking your feet up on your outdoor patio furniture. After a cold winter, your patio space could probably use a refresher. Shopping for the best outdoor furniture is a little more complicated than buying furniture for say, a living room or a bedroom, as you’ll need to consider Mother Nature’s elements.
Shopping for the Right Kind of Patio Furniture
Your patio furniture may be exposed to all sorts of weather, so it’s essential to shop for the right material and style that will hold its durability in your climate. Even if your furniture sets will only be outside for a season, you’ll want them to last as long as possible, and that means shopping smart.
Weather & Climate
Weatherproof furniture is the key to long-lasting outdoor patio sets. Understanding what weather your furniture sets will be exposed to will help you get the most out of its lifespan. Furniture materials will react differently in varying weather conditions. Dryness and intense heat can make wood furniture splinter, fade and crack. Strong winds will toss around lightweight aluminum furniture. Hours of sun exposure will discolor paint, sun-bleaching fabric and break down synthetic materials.
Alternatively, metal is the best choice for sunlight and UV exposure. Wood furniture sets are usually advertised as weatherproof furniture, but realistically, you’ll need to refinish them in about 5-10 years. Plastic or synthetic furniture sets will perform well in rainy climates as they are marketed as waterproof furniture.
Patio furniture can get expensive quickly, but there is merit to the adage “you get what you pay for.” While you don’t need to drop a thousand dollars on a fancy high-end weatherproof outdoor furniture set, it’s a good idea to not entirely cheap out and get a flimsy, poorly-made patio set that won’t last more than one season.
If a budget is constricting your options, consider getting a decent waterproof patio set second-hand. Repurposing and thrifting furniture is becoming increasingly popular in our eco-friendly society. Places like Facebook Marketplace, Craig’s List or even big-name retailers like Wayfair are excellent sources for preloved furniture pieces.
Storage is perhaps the biggest catch in buying outdoor furniture. Sure, new lounge chairs look amazing on your deck, but where will you store them in the off-season? Leaving your dining sets or new lounge chairs outside year-round is out of the question, as the colder seasons will degrade the integrity of the material (no matter what material type you choose). Keep storage in mind before you purchase because you could end up falling in love with a furniture set you can’t store.
Your new patio set may be able to last in the hot sun or rain or survive strong winds, but is it comfortable? The comfort factor should be as high on your list as durability because the whole point of your new patio set is to enjoy it! Sure, your new dining sets are made to last years and years, but if it’s uncomfortable to sit in, what’s the point?
Don’t be too concerned with the longevity of fabrics and upholstery, as these parts aren’t made to withstand the test of time. Fabrics will fade and become worn the more you use them, but the good thing is that they can always be replaced. Fabrics and upholstery will last longer if you store them after each use and during the off-season, but don’t worry if they fade or lose their luster. It’s easier to replace removable pads and cushions than replace the entire lounge chair or dining set.
There are hundreds of different patio configurations you can choose from. There are L-shaped outdoor seating, twin lounge chair sets, dining tables and chairs, square or U-shaped configurations consisting of outdoor loveseats and large chairs, outdoor coffee or bar tables and every other grouping imaginable. The options for designing the ideal outdoor space are endless.
Because of the overwhelming amount of furniture configurations and setup options, it’s best to have a rough plan of what you’re looking for before you start your hunt for the perfect outdoor furniture set. Measure the size of your outdoor space and create a quick sketch of what would work best as far as foot traffic and function are concerned. A little planning can save you the headache of purchasing patio furniture that’s too big or too small for your space.
Outdoor Furniture Maintenance
Congratulations, you’ve found the best outdoor furniture—now you need to maintain it so you can enjoy your new furniture set for as long as possible. Your biggest ally in maintaining your new patio furniture will be the outdoor furniture covers that fit over the top of your purchases and help protect the material from the sun, rain, winds, debris and UV radiation.
Most furniture sets have custom outdoor furniture covers offered alongside whatever pieces you’re buying. If the retailer doesn’t carry them, you can find standard one-size-fits-all outdoor furniture covers that will do the same job in offering protection. A little outdoor furniture protection will go a long way, no matter what style and material you’ve purchased. Outdoor furniture covers will protect and help maintain materials such as plastic, aluminum, iron, wood and PVC.
Buying the right material means you won’t need to do a lot of outdoor furniture maintenance. Wood furniture will likely require the most maintenance out of all patio furniture options, but refinishing wood furniture is worth the effort as it will last quite a long time. Most outdoor furniture maintenance can be avoided with a trusty patio furniture cover. Simply toss the covers on your furniture pieces at night and during the off-seasons to ensure your new furniture set will last as long as it’s designed for.