There’s just something about the great outdoors that makes it a nice idea to turn it into a hangout center for the family, especially during warmer months. Making it an alfresco family room is a less expensive option than adding another room to your house. Hanging out in an open-air space has that natural appeal.
But for you to enjoy hanging out outdoors, you need relaxing and convenient outdoor furniture. No matter the size of your outdoor space, having functional, high-quality, weather-withstanding furniture can give you an investment you can enjoy. There are so many options out there, so here are the tips for choosing outdoor furniture and accessories to help you out:
1. Determine what you want and where you will place the furniture
Before anything else, your first consideration is where you are going to place your furniture. Is it in the patio, porch, deck or outdoor space exposed to elements? Will the furniture rest on a solid, hard surface like wood or pavement, or would it sit on the ground? Identifying these will help you choose materials that are suitable for your environment. Also, take note of your available space, so you won’t buy anything that is too big or too small for your area.
Then, think about how you want your outdoor space to function. Do you plan to host dinner parties or big barbeques in it? Do you want to have a peaceful and cozy nook for reading? Do you want it to be a gathering space or an outdoor living room where you can entertain guests? First, decide on its purpose, then list what type of furniture pieces are necessary. If your function for your patio is for hosting evening cocktails, you don’t need a dining table – you just need enough seating, side tables, and a fire pit.
2. Invest in quality
When it comes to outdoor furniture, you really get what you pay for. Plastic chairs may be cheap and pretty, but the colors and good looks can fade after a couple of years in the sun. In time, they’d be brittle also. Unless you’re looking for a temporary fix, always invest in the best quality furniture you can buy. If the deal seems too good to be true, inspect the piece for defects and flaws. All joints must fit together tightly with no gaps. Wood furniture must have a smooth and sanded surface. Metal furniture should be painted or have a powder-coated finish to prevent rust. Tables must be sturdy and should not wobble when shaken. Shop carefully and meticulously before making a big purchase.
3. Consider your budget
Your budget is a big consideration when making a purchase. When buying furniture, you should always buy the best you can afford. If you are trying to save money, check out yard sales and thrift stores. Some just need some cleaning or repainting, then it can look good as new. You may consider less expensive materials like resin or aluminum, or look for cheaper woods.
4. Keep the style consistent
The style of your home’s architecture and décor should be consistent in your choice of outdoor furniture. Make sure that your furniture and accessory picks won’t clash with the rest of your home’s exterior, because otherwise, it would be an eyesore for your neighbors and for people driving and walking by. Outdoor furnishings can be fun and carefree, but don’t spoil your curb’s appeal with very mismatched pieces.
5. Consider durability and maintenance when deciding on the material
There is a huge range of materials to choose from. Aesthetic and style should be considered, but the more important things to think about is the type of climate in your area, and the amount of care and maintenance you are willing to provide. Is your weather hot and humid? Do you live near the coast? Does it rain a lot in your area? These things are important to think about because if you live in hot and humid conditions, wood can swell or splinter and crack. If you live in breezy areas like the coast, strong winds can send your plastic or aluminum furniture flying, and moisture can weaken wicker. Obviously, you won’t need a furniture material that won’t stand up to your weather conditions.
Meanwhile, you should also consider how furniture must be maintained before buying it. Wrought iron furniture is durable and won’t be blown away by high winds, but you must make sure that you’d be willing to paint or add some finish to it after some time so it won’t rust. Rattan and wicker furniture are beautiful but may need additional weatherproofing every couple of years. Wood looks very attractive, but it needs regular treatment with preservative to prevent rot and protect it against elements, and it needs to be sanded and sealed to keep it looking great. Aluminum and plastic require little to no maintenance.
6. Pay attention to details
Always inspect any item before buying it. Check the legs of the chairs and tables and make sure they don’t wobble. See if it has a protective rubber or plastic feet so it won’t scratch your patio or deck floor. Sit on the chair to see if it doesn’t shift or flex as it takes your weight. Choose furniture that is assembled with stainless steel screws. Check if the wood piece is sanded smooth. Bring a magnet when looking for steel metal furniture or inspecting steel fittings to make sure it’s the real deal. See if the aluminum loungers are made with long, unsegmented framing pieces. Remember these to prevent buying items with flaws.
7. Test it out
You have probably seen some uninviting patio furniture from other houses you have visited as if there are other choices, you won’t willingly sit or spend time in them. Don’t make the same mistake – make sure you are going to use and enjoy the furniture you will buy. Sometimes, size is the problem, as some outdoor chairs can be too narrow and skimpy. Other pieces are built so low that getting up from it can be embarrassing. When looking for comfortable furniture, sit down and relax – test the pieces on the store before buying it. Some pieces may just look appealing to the eyes, but can’t make you feel comfortable.
8. Make it comfortable
Speaking of comfort, make your outdoor furniture as relaxing and as inviting as possible. You may pick a steel or wood furniture for durability and longevity, but without the comforts of soft and plush cushions, these pieces will most probably go unused. Pick chubby cushions that feel light, and pick those with polyester filler so that it would be quick to dry out when exposed to moisture. Even if your chairs didn’t come with cushions, you can buy or make your own. Just make sure you use the right kind of fabric for outdoors.
Besides the typical chairs and benches, you can buy rockers, recliners and chaise lounges for a more relaxing stay outside. If you want to stretch, you may even consider hammocks and daybeds.
9. Choose the right fabric
When picking out cushions, the type of fabric must be of high consideration. It must add beauty, color, and design to your outdoor area, but most important of all, it must be meant for outdoor use. Don’t expect that a pillow from your living room can be functional for a long time outside on the patio. You must pick a fabric that resists fading, staining, and mildew. It must be UV-protected, too. Your best choice would be solution-dyed acrylics, polyester, treated canvas, and cotton duck, as all these fabric can provide comfort while being able to withstand the elements better.
10. Don’t forget the shade
During warm summer days, sitting outside can get uncomfortable if your furniture isn’t protected by some shade. Also, keeping furniture shaded with help prevent fading and make it look beautiful for longer. Outdoor dining tables usually have a hole in the center so you can put in an umbrella. You can use an awning, a shade sail, or a permanent fiberglass or wood roof to provide shade. You can use cantilevered umbrellas that can be rotated as to where the sun is.