There’s something really nice about turning an outdoor space of your home into a comfort zone that brings about a sense of function. It’s certainly a less expensive option than decorating any other space of your home. Open-air living gets you back into nature and has a ‘green’ appeal to it that will ultimately beg the question – who needs walls, anyway?
This transition to outdoor living requires a judicious reallocation of resources, though. Finding comfy, long-lasting furniture when outfitting your patio may be the difference between hanging out to enjoy a breath of fresh air for a while and heading indoors after a few cramped, uncomfortable minutes on a shabby patio chair.
Great patio furniture brings comfort and a sense of belonging to your outdoor spaces. With a spacious table and easy-to-use chairs, a basic brick patio is transformed into a sensory-rich dining destination. Consider outfitting a cozy porch with a wicker sofa and a classic wicker rocking chair, both stocked with ample cushions, and the porch will quickly become a second family room this summer.
Patio décor has to be more than merely attractive to withstand the elements and provide good value for your outdoor decorating dollar. Let’s explore six things you should keep in mind when shopping for outdoor furnishings:
1. Make a list
Start by thinking about how would you like your outdoor space to function. Would you like it to serve as a dining area on warm summer nights? Or would you like to host your next dinner party in the space? Or are you looking for more of a peaceful reading nook?
Enlist the many things you would like to do in the space and use it to guide your furniture purchases. For example, if the primary function of your patio is to host casual evening cocktails, there is no need for a dining table. Opt for ample comfortable seating and several side tables.
2. Lush & Plush
Consider taking a seat on the seats before you buy them. Just like the furniture for the interior of your home, comfort is important – very important. You may want steel or wooden furniture in your patio for stability and longevity, but don’t forget that nothing will be achieved without some homey comforts like soft, plush cushions.
Opt for chubby cushions that feel light when you pick them up. Look for cushions with polyester filler, too. The more lightweight and springy the filler is, the more quickly it will dry out after exposure to moisture. Moreover, it will resist mold and mildew and stay comfortable.
3. Go for easy care
The bulk of the hours you spend on your patio should be dedicated to enjoying your space as opposed to maintaining the furniture you purchase to spruce up that space.
Remember that form follows function. Furniture composed of aluminum, plastic, and PVC requires very little weather treating and can be washed easily. You should also consider all-weather materials like rattan and wicker. They remain resilient no matter what nature throws at them while giving a boho-chic yet classy vibe to your outdoor décor at the same time.
4. Insist on good quality
The age-old proverb “you get what you pay for” holds true for patio furniture. From sloppy welds to cracked casters to amateurish paint finishes – a close inspection will expose what seemed like a great bargain for what it really is — a bad buy that probably won’t last until next season.
A few important points to keep in mind here. It’s a common misconception that outdoor furnishings are less important than the stuff you buy for your indoor use. In fact, the reverse is often true. What you buy for your patio should be able to stand up to the Sun, the wind and the rain. Any piece you consider for your outdoors – inspect it for flaws and check consumer reports & reviews, especially if the deal sounds too good to be true. This is one area where a high price is an indicator of better quality.
5. Accessorize with dual-purpose pieces
Look for hardworking furniture. The whole idea here is to achieve more with less. An ottoman with storage will double up as extra seating for your next backyard bash and a simple bench that will stand alone or cozy up to an alfresco dining table are essential for frequently used outdoor spaces.
6. What’s your style?
After you’ve considered your outdoor furniture’s function and scale, then comes the fun of deciding your favorite style, color, and material. Your choice of furniture should visually complete the outdoor theme already established by the landscape and hardscapes.
Don’t be afraid to mix and match furniture styles. Want contemporary furniture in an English garden setting? All your outdoor dining chairs made out of different materials and colors? Whatever completes your vision, go for it. Follow this to view more tips & tricks to mix and match different furniture styles.
Most people buy patio furniture based on the way it looks. Although looks are an important factor, it’s important to pause every once in a while and take into account the functional aspects of your potential purchases. Good outdoor furniture is an investment. Take the time to weigh the various materials and products available so you can enjoy the comfort and beauty of the outdoor spaces you create.
With a focus on durability and design, we go into greater detail on such topics in our buyer’s guide. This will help walk you through what to consider when picking furniture. Whether you want to splurge on high-end outdoor furniture or specifically invest in lounging chairs and sofas, now you know how to invest in the best patio furniture. Similarly, consider following this to furnish your dream balcony at home, or this if you’re thinking indoors and want to spruce up your bedroom.