Outdoor Beds: Features To Look For To Improve Your Soak In The Sun

Summer has finally started in earnest, and I’ll be honest – in the face of the long, hot, sun-soaked afternoons, all I want to do is stretch out by the pool and enjoy a good, long nap. The hot, hot days of true summer are the perfect time to soak up the sun, relax, and unwind, but to do it outside you need just the right kind of furniture to really enjoy it. The perfect lounge chair isn’t easy to find, and personally I prefer an outdoor bed to get really comfortable. But not all outdoor beds are created equal, and there are a few things to consider before your next outdoor siesta.

So What Is An Outdoor Bed?

Anjuna Outdoor Bed From Zuo Modern
Anjuna Outdoor Bed From Zuo Modern

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Outdoor beds aren’t like traditional beds – that is, they don’t come in twin, queen, and king, and typically they’re oval or scallop shaped rather than rectangular. But they’re much larger and wider than your average lounge chair to encourage more than just flat-on-your-back lounging. This Anjuna Bed is a nice example, with a half circular mattress that’s as wide as a queen mattress and more than fifty inches deep, offering plenty of room to lay down and stretch out in either direction, curl up and lean back against the sofa-style back, or get comfy however you choose.

Coverage?

Colva Canopy Outdoor Bed From Zuo Modern
Colva Canopy Outdoor Bed From Zuo Modern

Maybe one of the most important features to look for in an outdoor bed if you actually plan on sleeping in it is a shade canopy. These come in a few different forms, from convertible top style cloth canopies like the one on this Colva canopy bed  to large umbrellas you can stick right in the middle of the bed for a nice tropical flair. A good cover should shade the bed completely to prevent exposure to the sun, but also be sufficiently removable that you can use the bed for tanning if you want.

Flexibility

Curacao Outdoor Bed With Ottoman From Zuo Modern
Curacao Outdoor Bed With Ottoman From Zuo Modern

Unlike a lot of other patio furniture, outdoor beds can be quite large, and often don’t fold, collapse, or otherwise store away easily. This can be a pretty significant problem in any but the most mild of climates, as it raises the important question of what to do with it in the off season. Of course, any piece of furniture can be covered, but if you want to reduce the off-season footprint of your outdoor bed, look for one that’s made in two or more pieces, like this Curacao Bed. The ottoman portion can (usually – always check before buying!) be flipped and set on top of the main bed to take up a little less space. This design in particular is also nice for taller people, as the leg rest can be extended without needing an outdoor bed that’s twice as big.

Extra Seating

Cove Beach Lounge Set From Zuo Modern
Cove Beach Lounge Set From Zuo Modern

Outdoor beds that are made in multiple pieces can also be used to create a complete set of outdoor furniture. When pushed together, all the parts of this Cove Beach lounge set make an expansive, comfy outdoor bed for two. But pulled apart the pieces transform into a sofa for three, additional seating for two, and a side table. This type of layout is especially nice for those who spend a lot of time poolside but only entertain occasionally, or who have limited deck space.

Weather, Water, and Wear And Tear

Mixime Daybed With Sunbrella Fabric From Caluco
Mixime Daybed With Sunbrella Fabric From Caluco

As with any outdoor furniture, it’s important to take into account the fact that they’ll be outside. But while many outdoor bed frames are made with all-weather material like resin wicker or powder coated aluminum, the big, thick cushions require a little more thought. Look for a fabric like Sunbrella that’s resistant to fading, mold, and water damage, and that’s easy to clean. If you plan on crawling into the bed straight out of the pool, double check with the manufacturer that the cushions can handle the moisture and drain well, or that the material covering them is highly water repellant.

Size

Hampton Adjustable Outdoor Bed With Umbrella From Zuo Modern
Hampton Adjustable Outdoor Bed With Umbrella From Zuo Modern

As I mentioned before, outdoor beds are very, very big, but it’s important to remember that this isn’t just an issue in the off season. While a multi-piece outdoor bed can be used as the sole piece of patio furniture in a pinch, you shouldn’t underestimate the amount of space they take up. Big daybeds look best when they have a little room to work with – after all, a big, beautiful, cushy island-style bed will definitely be a focal point of your outdoor space, so try not to crowd it with other furnishings.

Have you ever dozed in an outdoor bed, or dream of doing it? Let me know your patio plans in the comments!