Patio furniture is part of the rapidly growing "outdoor living" phenomenon. But, what is outdoor living? It no longer refers to a picnic table and a hibachi. Now it means bring all the comforts of indoor living to the outdoors. (HPBA - Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association)
Homeowners are dreaming of spring and looking ahead to making their outdoor spaces even more relaxing and enjoyable. A survey completed by American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA) indicates that outdoor spaces are becoming increasingly important to homeowners with 71 percent of homeowners wanting to enhance their space by making it more relaxing,
8 Things To Consider Before Selecting your outdoor patio furniture:
If you are looking for new patio furniture, we have created a checklist designed to guide you through selecting the right patio furniture for your deck or patio. Click on the link below to download and print the checklist. Fill it in as you read.
1. WHAT WILL THIS AREA BE USED FOR?
Are you creating an outdoor dining area to: accompany your outdoor kitchen? make a conversation area next to the outdoor fireplace? establish a cozy candle lit reading area or a spot to relax while getting lost in the soothing sounds of your backyard waterfall?
Knowing the how the area will be used will help narrow down the type of furniture you are looking for.
2. Who will be using this furniture?
If the primary users are small kids, you may want to focus on durable furniture which is easy to clean. Avoid light color fabrics which will show stains. Light weight furniture will be easier to move around.
If the patio furniture will be used by elderly parents, arm chairs tend to be easier to get out of. If the furniture is too light, it can move when they are getting up causing them to fall. If it is too heavy, it is harder for them to relocate.
If the primary users of the patio furniture are adults, comfort and style is usually the main focus.
3. Will the furniture fit in the area?
Like house furniture, some patio furniture is bigger and bulkier than others. If your deck or patio has limited space or is a unique shape, make sure that the furniture fits. Consider traffic routes through this area along with the potted plants and outdoor accessories that will also be sharing this space.
4. How windy is this area?
Lightweight outdoor furniture is convenient to move; however, if your deck or patio is windy, your furniture may regularly end up on the grass or in the pool. Aluminum patio furniture tends to be very light while wrought iron furniture is heavy enough to withstand most gusts of wind.
5. how much sun will this area get and when?
Sun is a very important ingredient to a deck or patio, but full exposure to the hot afternoon sun with limited shade can make metal and plastic patio furniture quite hot to touch. Wood outdoor furniture and wicker patio furniture don’t absorb as much heat.
6. do you have the space to store it?
Proper storing of patio furniture can add years to its life, especially if you live in a cold climate. Taking the furniture to your garage or basement for the off season is a good option, regardless of the material it’s made of, provided you have the storage space.
Some aluminum chairs can stack thus requiring much less storage space. Some tables can also be taken apart.
7. what is the relationship to your other backyard features?
Our outdoor kitchen blog suggests, planning the entire outdoor entertainment area as one “grand plan." So your water feature or outdoor fireplace should be an integral part of your deck or patio area.
If your patio furniture is located near your outdoor wood fireplace, you will want to select fabrics and materials that will not easily catch fire, discolor from the smoke, or absorb the smell of the fire.
If your furniture is near the pool or water feature, you will want to select fabrics and materials that dry quickly and will not rust.
When selecting colors for your patio furniture and cushions, you will want to consider the colors of the deck, railings, shade umbrellas, and fences that help create this recreational area. Taking pictures of your deck or patio will help when selecting your furniture.
8. What is your budget?
If you are buying on a budget, you will need to consider the price of your patio furniture. While it is true that you usually get what you pay for, it is also true that you don’t need expensive outdoor furniture to enjoy time spent with family and friends.
With some creativity and vision, you can transform your deck or patio into an enjoyable and inviting place to entertain your guests.
Types of Patio FurniturE
Choosing the right outdoor furniture is a matter of knowledge and understanding. You need to have some knowledge about the different materials used in patio furniture, and you need to have a good understanding of your own personal wants and needs.
This knowledge and understanding will allow you to effectively choose the right furniture for you, based on price, durability, looks, and comfort.
While outdoor furniture comes in a wide range of styles and colors, they are usually organized into only four basic categories of materials: wood, metal, wicker and rattan, and synthetic materials. Each has pros and cons for you to consider. Also, some furniture is designed using a combination of these materials.
Patio Furniture made from Wood
Wooden furniture includes furniture made from hardwoods like teak, redwood, and jarrah as well as softwoods like pine and cedar. Wood offers a warm, inviting look that goes as well with a natural theme as it does with a contemporary design.
Teak is hands down the best wood for outdoor furniture. Teak features a beautiful grained finish, perfect for table tops and arm rests adding a rich, sophisticated look to the furniture. Teak’s unique ability to produce its own oil makes it naturally water resistant, fade resistant and very long lasting. Teak has been known to last up to 50 years with minimal maintenance.
Customize the wooden furniture, while adding comfort and style, using cushions made from sunbrella fabrics. This material does not get wet and is very resistant to fading from the sun.
Patio Furniture made from Metal
Metal patio furniture usually falls into two categories: wrought iron and cast aluminum.
Cast aluminum is light weight, durable and very strong making it a great material for chairs. The powder coated aluminum frames support fabric slings or cushions made from sunbrella materials. Both the aluminum frames and sunbrella fabrics are available in a wide variety of colors and designs.
The main benefits of cast aluminum furniture are:
- Aluminum won’t rust, fade, or mold so it requires very little maintenance
- Available in a variety of sizes to accommodate most decks, patios and balconies
- Lightweight allowing you to move them easily
- Aluminum chairs are often made stackable so they require less storage space
Wrought iron furniture traditionally focuses on creating a classic formal setting than on comfort. Today, manufacturers are incorporating more comfort although cushions are recommended if you plan on sitting there for long periods. Wrought Iron designs range from traditional to contemporary.
Wrought iron furniture tends to be very sturdy and heavy making it ideal for high wind areas, however, not so good for moving and storing. While wrought iron furniture is easy to clean and can last a long time, it does requires care and maintenance to prevent it from rusting.
Wrought Iron is often used for intimate sitting areas such as verandas, balconies, in gardens, or under big shade trees.
Wicker Outdoor Furniture
Wicker furniture is often confused with rattan furniture because they are both popular casual furnitures that share similar natural look, colors and designs. They are, however, quite different.
Rattan is a material used to make the furniture. Rattan is a type of vine, closely related to the palm tree, which has a long, very strong pole-like stalk with a diameter of 1 to 3 inches. The outside skin of the rattan pole, which is the peel off, is generally used to bind the furniture joints together.
Wicker is not a material but a technique used to weave natural materials, such as willow, rush, straw, bamboo, or thin rattan. The natural materials are made wet so that they can be easily woven to create wicker design furniture pieces.
Natural wicker is a good product for outdoor furniture provided it is properly finished to protect it from the elements. Rattan is better suited for indoor areas, like sunrooms, where it has more protection from the sun and weather.
Synthetic Patio Furniture
Synthetic or plastic patio furniture comes in a wide variety of designs, styles and colors, often emulating the look and feel of wood, metal or wicker. Add cushions and most people don't even notice that the furniture is made from a synthetic material.
Synthetic or plastic furniture are good options when budget is a key factor in choosing your patio furniture. Other benefits are that it is portable due to its light weight, easy to store since the chairs are usually stackable and tables can be taken apart, and it is weather resistant.
The saying, "you get what you pay for" would suggest that synthetic patio furniture is less durable than wood, metal or wicker furniture... and this would probably be true in most cases. However, maybe you don't need furniture to last forever to enjoy time spent with family and friends.
It is in your best interest to take the time needed to ensure you are selecting patio furniture based on knowledge and understanding. Selecting the right patio furniture has the power to change the entire look and feel of your deck or patio.
Next week, there will be a follow-up article focusing on enhancing the decor of your deck or patio area, so make sure to register with quinju.com (in case you haven't done it yet) and we will share some more knowledge and know-how with you.