Guide to Selecting Outdoor Furniture

You’ve finished decorating the interior of your home. It suits your lifestyle perfectly. Unfortunately, you have neglected your outdoor living spaces. With warn weather just around the corner, how do you go about creating outdoor areas that are as beautiful and comfortable as the rest of your home?

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The Basics

Outdoor areas are as unique as the structures they grace. Depending on the age, type and style of your abode, you may have anything from a small balcony to an elaborate outdoor living area.

No matter which type of outdoor space you are dealing with, you should stick with furniture and accessories that complement your interior design. However, if you have shopped outdoor furniture recently, you know the style choices can be overwhelming.

To cut through the confusion, here are a few outdoor furniture style trends that may make your selection process a bit easier.

Hotel Chic

Imagine your outdoor space is a trendy boutique hotel in L.A., Miami or on the French Riviera. Outdoor furniture conveying this look will feature sleek lines and interesting angles. Comfy couches, roomy patio chairs and daybeds with retractable canopies are designed to while away hours in the sun. Retro influences also incorporate circles, curves and egg shapes.

Gleaming metals, tightly woven resins and state-of-the-art plastics are some of the materials make up the construction of hotel chic outdoor furniture.

If your outdoor area is small, this style of furniture might be the solution to your dilemma. In many cases, chairs are designed to neatly stack, stools are housed in cutout spaces under tables and complete sets fit together in different configurations to create shapes that are functional works of art.

Rustic

Whether your cabin is in the woods, at the beach or in the city, your outdoor space wouldn’t be complete without a grouping of rustic furniture pieces. Two of the most popular styles are Adirondack and log furniture.

The predecessor to the modern Adirondack chair was designed in 1903 by Thomas Lee, while vacationing in Westport, New York. He wanted outdoor chairs for his summer house. The design featured a straight back and seat, and wide armrests to add stability on inclined surfaces. These elements are still trademarks of Adirondack furniture style.

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Many modern Adirondack pieces are made from poly lumber, compressed fiberboard and other eco-friendly materials, rather than the hardwoods of their forebearers. While original versions of Adirondack furniture were typically painted green or dark brown, new pieces come in a rainbow of colors to mix and match.

Outdoor log furniture is made from actual tree branches and trunks and is the perfect complement to cabin or rustic western design. This outdoor furniture is constructed from durable hardwoods to withstand year-round weather extremes and can be stained with either light or dark wood tones.

Exotic

If your home décor reflects the spirit of travel and adventure, Balinese-style outdoor furniture may just be the thing to pull your outdoor and indoor areas together. Your can choose from ornately carved pieces or the clean lines of more contemporary designs. The quality and durability Inherent in most outdoor furniture manufactured in Indonesia is second to none.

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When you think of Balinese furniture, you most likely picture over-sized pieces in deep, rich wood stains. Nothing looks more striking than crisp, white cotton cushions paired with dark Balinese furniture.

This substantial outdoor furniture imparts a classic, yet relaxed atmosphere to your outdoor areas. It is versatile enough to mix with other furniture styles to create an eclectic look, appearing to be collected over time.

Balinese hardwoods like eucalyptus, teak and mahogany are truly beautiful, but you need to purchase from fair trade companies that practice forest stewardship and safe harvesting practices. If you are looking for a truly eco-friendly, trade friendly alternative, consider Mindi, a fast-growing tree, native to Java Indonesia.

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Tuscan

Leave the cost of airline tickets, packing and exhaustion behind and create a Tuscan getaway in your own backyard. Tuscan outdoor furniture lends itself to rustic simplicity, as well as Old World charm. If you are designing an outdoor dining and lounge area, a long harvest or picnic-style table with simple chairs serves as the centerpiece for large family gatherings.

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Outdoor Tuscan furniture is definitely a no-frills affair. Include a cushioned bench, a couple of deep seat chairs and an occasional table to round out a casual lounge area. Weathered teak is fine option, but you can substitute budget-friendly red cedar or pine furniture pieces to create an economical outdoor Tuscan retreat.

Cottage Wicker

Nothing says cottage more than wicker furniture. You can pick up great vintage wicker pieces from flea markets and garage sales. With a can of spray paint, you can create a custom look, playing off the colors of your house or the surrounding landscape and flower beds. Store vintage wicker in the garage or basement during the harsh winter months and keep it out of direct sunlight—a covered porch or patio is the ideal setting for genuine wicker.

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If you long for delicate looking, yet durable wicker furniture, look no further than the all-weather variety. This “wicker” can handle the heat, sun and cold winter temperatures like a pro. This weatherproof, UV-resistant vinyl or resin is woven over a solid aluminum frame. The colors won’t fade and the finish stays fresh, season after season. Just wipe it clean and it is ready for a gathering of family or friends.

© 2012 lindacee

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Which Outdoor Furniture Style Do You Like Best? 9 comments

lisa.bom 4 years ago

Thanks for the tips. I like the hotel chic style. Unfortunately, that will not hold up in the mountain town I live it. I think the rustic looks suits me and my environment well.


lindacee profile image

lindacee 4 years ago from Southern Arizona Author

Hi lisa.bom! Thanks for checking out my Hub! I know. I love the Balinese look, but it's just not gonna work on my dinky balcony! In addition to Adirondack and log furniture, there's some absolutely beautiful willow twig furniture that might work for you.


lindacee profile image

lindacee 4 years ago from Southern Arizona Author

I'm so glad you found this Hub an inspiration for your future deck, The Finance Hub! I too am apartment-bound for the time being, but we can certainly dream! I will def check out your Hubs as well. Cheers


pinkyvette profile image

pinkyvette 4 years ago from Miami, Florida

Nice! I work for a furniture store and this indeed would help customers a lot. I'm into outdoor furniture myself and I like the most those wicker outdoor furniture. I love the Hotel Chic style, would be great having one in a beach house' patio. Thanks for this hub! Will be posting one about outdoor furniture soon, hope you'll check them out too.

:)


brandyBachmann profile image

brandyBachmann 4 years ago

Very nice photos. Very good information.


lindacee profile image

lindacee 4 years ago from Southern Arizona Author

@pinkyvette, glad you enjoyed this Hub. Thought it was timely info as people start thinking about warmer weather. I will def check out your Hubs, especially the one about outdoor furniture!


lindacee profile image

lindacee 4 years ago from Southern Arizona Author

brandyBachmann, thanks for your kind words. It was a fun Hub to write! :)


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

With today what it is I prefer to put my money on my own home environment rather than travel and we can for a fraction make our own yard into a holiday paradise. I know because I have done it. Outdoor furniture play a big part in comfort and entertaining. You have done a great job showing some beautiful choices.


lindacee profile image

lindacee 4 years ago from Southern Arizona Author

Jackie, I feel the same way. If you create a resort atmosphere at home with outdoor furnishings and landscaping, there's no need to spend the money on high-price travel! Thanks for your comment! :)

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