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How to choose Outdoor Patio Furniture

Updated on October 31, 2016

Outdoor furniture is something most of us have whether we enjoy a small city veranda, or a 10 acre backyard. We use tables and chairs for family outdoor dinners, bbq parties, sun tanning, pool lounging, reading a book, or just taking a leisurely nap. No matter who you are and what your interests may be, chances are you have a use for outdoor furniture. This said, if you are planning on buying new outdoor furniture and know little of what is available or what type may be best for your needs; you need a quick overview to prepare you. Below, we discuss all of the factors that you should consider when preparing to purchase outdoor furniture for your apartment or home.

Outdoor Furniture.

resin wicker with aluminum framing is made to be beautiful for many years outdoors
resin wicker with aluminum framing is made to be beautiful for many years outdoors
Outdoor dining comfort is much more relaxed with durable furniture.
Outdoor dining comfort is much more relaxed with durable furniture.

Of course, the first thing to consider is how much space you have, and also how much space you want to allocate to your outdoor furniture. Be an exterior designer. For example, if you live in the city and only have a 4ft X 4ft deck you certainly can’t go buying a dinner table with 8 chairs. Take a quick measure when designing so you have the furniture delivered to enjoy, not store it in a small apartment. Think about your space while using the space. For example, you may host backyard games with the family and would not want to populate the whole space with furniture. So do a little planning to see space the you have and how this will fit into your life prior to making the designing.

Another crucial topic to consider when choosing outdoor furniture is weather and climate where you live. Most people only imagine an outdoor furniture design in the season that they use the outdoor furniture. You also need to consider if you live in a relatively wet or dry region, windy area and what your winter is like. Excessive cold temperatures can damage some materials and excessively hot dry temperatures can bleach out wood and fabrics. If you live in an area that sees a lot of rainfall, this too could warp some wood furniture and destroy the quality of your outdoor furniture. If you live in an area that has a real change in seasons you’ll have to consider how your outdoor furniture will weather in varying seasons or if you will have to store the furniture. There are a number of options for various climates and weather; make the right choice of outdoor furniture for outdoor enjoyment.

Design your home resort with outdoor furniture

When a little extra space is available, add a chaise or a few steamers.
When a little extra space is available, add a chaise or a few steamers.
Raw hardwood will turn an ashy grey over time and look weathered while becoming physically stronger.
Raw hardwood will turn an ashy grey over time and look weathered while becoming physically stronger.

Closely tied to the last topic is that of material. Outdoor furniture comes in practically every material there is these days.  Consider the beauty of your outdoor furniture but also consider the function and price.  If you have been shopping for furniture for any time you have already seen the difference between outdoor furniture in box-stores and in furniture specialty shops.  I have seen furniture in specialty shops for prices that quadruple the pricing in a box-store – and the furniture looked identical!  The material is the reason some furniture seems very inexpensive.  With furniture as with any commodity, you will get what you pay for.  High quality furniture that is made to resist rusting, cracking and breakage in any type of weather is made of materials that resist weather.  

Hardwood Outdoor Furniture

Outdoor Hardwood comfort furniture
Outdoor Hardwood comfort furniture
Eucalyptus hardwood outdoor dining furniture.
Eucalyptus hardwood outdoor dining furniture.

Aluminum is the most common material used in outdoor furniture manufacturing.  Although some companies will use imported aluminum mixed with cheaper metals, most American manufacturers use pure aluminum for outdoor furniture because aluminum does not rust or corrode.  Snow will not freeze it and when properly sealed, the sun will barely fade aluminum furniture.  Aluminum is pliant enough to form beautiful designs that last many decades in the harshest weather.

 Wood furniture can be used with contemporary designs, weathered ocean designs, natural décor and in many other places.  Often furniture manufacturers that make high quality outdoor furniture will use Eucalyptus or Teak.  Hardwoods evolve into a very dense material and grow hormones to prevent insects and birds from nesting in them.  These trees are grown in harsh environments and the wood from these trees is resilient and strong in any weather because they are too dense to absorb much water that cause weakness in the sun or cracks in the snow.  Hardwoods like eucalyptus and teak can be used unfinished or treated with oils to keep moisture off of the surface.  Unfinished hardwood will strengthen over time and turn an ashy grey.  Oiled hardwoods darken and maintain their look and form.

Outdoor resin wicker furniture

Four piece set includes sofa and love seats with table/ottoman.  Aluminum framing and resin wicker are durable outdoor no matter where you live.
Four piece set includes sofa and love seats with table/ottoman. Aluminum framing and resin wicker are durable outdoor no matter where you live.
Real wicker will crack and break while outdoor resin wicker furniture is made to last retaining comfort and beauty.
Real wicker will crack and break while outdoor resin wicker furniture is made to last retaining comfort and beauty.

Lastly, it is important to consider how much you will be using this furniture and for what. Will you be using your furniture for dinner parties and entertaining or will it be more looks, matching décor? Will you want to accommodate a large group of people on a regular occasion or just family? Is comfort a concern -- will you be lounging in your outdoor furniture or simply sitting for short periods of time?  Wear and tear will affect less expensive materials than better quality furniture.  Today, chaise loungers that mimic zero-gravity, chairs that provide lower lumbar support and self adjusting furniture take outdoor living beyond simple dining sets.  When deciding on a budget and outdoor furnishing consider the level of comfort you expect, the maintenance you will commit to the items (if any) and the quality/longevity you desire based on the usage and exposure of the materials.

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