Indoor furniture is often the focus when people are furnishing their homes, with outdoor furniture taking a back seat. Great patio furniture can create a comfortable place to laze outdoors, especially during warmer months. When complemented with the right patio furniture, even small spaces like balconies will beckon you outdoors. Here are some things to consider when buying outdoor furniture.
Climate and weather conditions
The climactic and weather conditions play a key role in determining the material of the outdoor furniture you should opt for.
Wicker is a bad idea if you live in a humid area or near a beach because the material cannot withstand all that moisture.
If you live in a hot and dry area, wooden furniture may splinter or crack. Moist conditions may cause the wooden furniture to rot.
Aluminium furniture in a windy area may be blown away.
Metal is largely unaffected by sunlight while plastic and rubber are vulnerable to UV damage, especially at high elevations.
This is why many people opt to purchase high-quality outdoor furniture from furniture stores that specialize in patio furniture. It saves you from having to replace the furniture because of destruction by the elements.
Available space and function
How much room do you have for outdoor furniture? If it’s a long and narrow balcony in an apartment, for example, you may not have enough room for a full dining set. The intended function matters.
Do you just want a place to chill out after a long day or a place to host guests for dinner? The second definitely requires more room. Remember to factor in walking space around the furniture with and without people seated.
One of the primary functions of outdoor furniture is a place to relax. For this reason, it’s important to make sure the furniture is comfortable. Try out the seating before making any purchase and buy high-quality cosy cushions that will stand the test of time especially given that the furniture may be frequently used. Ensure that all the fabrics used are weather-resistant to prevent colour fading or mildew growth.
Maintenance and storage
Part of the comfort is in making sure that the selected outdoor furniture is easy to care for. You should go for furniture that requires minimal maintenance or cleaning.
Another way to decrease the cleaning requirements is to get removable covers that can easily be washed so that you don’t have to replace entire cushions or pillows. Go for something that can be cleaned simply with soapy water and a sponge.
You should also plan for a place to store your patio furniture during the off-season such as in winter or during the rainy season. This will prevent damage and minimize wear and tear. Even furniture made of tough, durable material will last longer if placed in storage when not in use.
Patio furniture can be prohibitively expensive. You however can find quality furniture on sale in second-hand furniture stores, thrift stores, and yard sales. The pricing does not have to lock you out of enjoying the comfort of outdoor furniture. You can always paint or refinish the furniture and dress it up with new cushions and pillows.
Commonly used outdoor furniture materials
Synthetic wicker: lends a homey feel. It is versatile, waterproof, fade-resistant, and easy to clean. It’s also resistant to rain, sleet, snow, and moisture.
Plastic teak: is lightweight, eco-friendly, low maintenance, waterproof if coated with varnish and lasts longer than wood.
Resin: is low maintenance, lightweight, and inexpensive. It’s also fire retardant and does not easily crack, peel, or fade.
Faux/Synthetic rattan: has a slightly rustic, country, and coastal vibe. It’s lightweight, extremely weather-resistant, and easy to clean.
Aluminium: best case aluminium should include a protective coating against outdoor elements. It may be lightweight yet durably built. It’s low maintenance, as well as rust and water-resistant.
Wrought iron: has an upscale and vintage look that has a timeless appeal. It can be powder coated to prevent rust and is heavy so it’s ideal for windy areas.
Teak: is highly durable and able to withstand the elements for decades when properly cared for. Another great alternative wood is acacia wood though it doesn’t last as long as teak. Other wood types are not advisable.
Materials to avoid
These are the materials you should avoid when buying outdoor furniture because they are not able to withstand the elements.
- White PVC (yellows over time)
- Authentic wicker (weakens and rots)
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