There are a lot of different kinds of patio furniture out there, and not all of them are created equal. From cheapie plastic deck chairs to fancy-hotel style outdoor day beds, style, quality, and price can all vary quite a bit. So if you’re a little overwhelmed by selection, don’t worry – it’s not just you. Choosing the right patio furniture for your outdoor space can be incredibly difficult, and even a little confusing. So how do you know what will look right, last a long time, and cost something reasonable? This quick and dirty patio furniture buyer’s guide will tell you everything you need to keep in mind before you buy.
Choose Furniture Made Of Durable Materials
New Twists On Classic Materials
With most indoor furniture, style comes first – a chair is a chair is a chair, and you can more or less pick one just by going with what you like. But outdoor furniture is different for the simple fact that it has to contend with the wear and tear of the elements. That means that durability needs to be a top consideration, even above price. Think about it – a bargain bin plastic patio chair might only cost you maybe $20 or $30, but with regular use as well as sun, heat, pool water, and other weathering you’ll be lucky if it’ll last a season before needing to be replaced. Something like this Verona Dining Set not only looks much nicer, but is made of resin wicker over a powdered aluminum frame for maximum weather resistance and durability.
What does that mean exactly? Well, resin wicker is a flexible, synthetic material that resembles natural wood wicker, but is spectacularly weather proof. Unlike natural wicker, resin wicker won’t become brittle, crack, or fade over time – it holds its color and supple texture even with exposure to extreme heat, cold, dryness, and moisture. Coupled with a powdered aluminum frame – which is both lightweight and completely rust-free – and stain-free, water-resistant Sunbrella fabric cushions, and you’ve got a furniture set that will last you a lifetime, whether you want a simple table and chairs like the Verona set, or a comfortable, exotic-looking lounge like this Maxime Lounge Set.
Smarter Wood = Better Wood
Choosing patio furniture made of durable materials has a huge impact on the way your outdoor furniture will look, especially over time. In fact, even choosing one type of wood over another can make a big difference. While some woods crack and fade over time, patio furniture made of ipa or teak are naturally denser and more water resistant. And while something like this Teak 5 Piece Dining Set will naturally fade and gray over time, it won’t splinter, warp, or split the way other woods will. That means that not only will it look better over time (aged rather than worn), but it will also last a whole lot longer.
Pick Pieces That Are Easy To Clean
Just like durability, maintenance is another important quality that you want to look for in your patio furniture. Even the nicest materials will degrade over time if they’re not properly cared for, so you need to be honest with yourself about how much time you’re willing to take to keep your patio furniture in prime condition. Even really nice, weather-resistant woods like teak should be re-sealed at least once a year, and while powdered aluminum and resin wicker won’t rust or fade, they can stain, so be sure to keep them dry. All of Caluco’s outdoor furniture, like this Dijon Sectional Set, uses patented Sunbrella fabric cushions that are highly water and stain resistant, but should still be wiped down and dried off after use to prevent the growth of mildew.
If you’re genuinely anti-maintenance, look for a sling-back patio set like this Venice Lounge Set. It uses the same Sunbrella fabric, but without any padding to worry about, so if it gets wet, the liquid will run right off and dry quickly. Plus, it’s made with embedded color that won’t fade, and has a stain and soil resistant coating so, at worst, you’ll have to wipe the surface down with soapy water. Combined with a rust-proof powdered aluminum frame, this is a patio set practically takes care of itself.
Keep Your Own Personal Needs In Mind
How Much Space You Have
Maybe most importantly, you want to really consider a few things about your own personal situation before you invest in a full set of patio furniture. While style is probably at the forefront of your mind – after all, it’s supremely easy to pick something you like out of a lineup – you need to take a moment to think about a few things that might actually be more important. For example: space. How much do you have, and how much of it will your prospective patio furniture take up? A too-large set can easily overwhelm a small patio, whereas not quite enough can make your space look a little empty. I personally love outdoor sectional sets like this Mirabella Sectional Set that can be bought in pieces and combined to work in just about any size space.
How (And Who) You Entertain
Another important thing to keep in mind is how many people are likely to use your furniture and how often. If you move most of your entertaining out of doors when weather permits, you probably want a lot of seating. If you have an outdoor kitchen, you probably want a big table and chairs, (or several smaller ones like this Origin Dining Set) as well to accommodate all your guests in one space when you grill. Then again, if you host more for your children than people your own age, you probably want more kid-friendly furniture that’s water resistant and doesn’t have a lot of moving parts that can hurt little hands.
Think About Where You Live
This one might seem a little obvious, but if durability and material choice are important, this is even moreso. If you live in a place that’s really hot in the summer, really cold in the winter, or very wet or dry any time of year, you absolutely need to find a patio set made of something to withstand your area’s extremes – or at least one that folds, stacks, or is otherwise small enough to store in the off season, like this San Michelle Sectional Set. As well, if you live in an area that gets a salty sea breeze, you want to avoid any metal that can rust, especially wrought iron. Humid areas aren’t as good for wood and hot, sunny areas are hard on plastic, so be aware of your surroundings before you buy.
Find Something You’ll Really Enjoy
Finally, it should maybe go without saying that you should go with your gut and look to find patio furniture that you’ll really love. If you’ve always wanted to turn your back yard into your own private resort-style island getaway, don’t back down from a beautiful, summery outdoor bed like Mixime Day Bed. Whatever your dream vision for your patio, and no matter what your style, you should do your best to try to find something that you’re actually going to enjoy using. If you just buy a patio set for the sake of having something sitting on your deck, that’s probably all it’ll end up doing!
What are you looking for in a new set of patio furniture? Do you have a big outdoor space to decorate, or are you looking for compact furniture to add functionality to a smaller space?