Do you dream of having a peaceful outdoor sanctuary to relax and gather with friends?
With more people working from home, it’s important to have a separate space to relax, get outside, and mentally escape.
You don’t need to look far to find the perfect place for an outdoor escape. In fact, you can create a convenient little sanctuary right in your backyard!
Design a peaceful outdoor living area by choosing outdoor furniture that fits your home’s style. Adding furniture to your outdoor patio gives you an open-air living space that allows you to get back out into nature.
Choosing outdoor furniture that’s durable, long-lasting, and comfortable is key for crafting a welcoming outdoor space you’ll want to enjoy. Check out these 10 great tips on how to choose the best outdoor furniture for your backyard.
1. Function Before Form
The first step in choosing outdoor furniture for your backyard patio is to address your needs. How do you want your outdoor space to function? Outdoor patios can serve as additional dining areas, peaceful reading nooks, and sitting areas that bring people together.
Think of the activities you plan to do in your outdoor patio space. If the majority of your activities involve gathering for food and drink, an outdoor dining table and chairs will fit your patio needs better than an outdoor love seat or benches.
Conversely, if you plan to use your patio for cocktails, reading, or gathering around a fire, you wouldn’t want a dining table taking up the majority of your patio space. If you want comfortable patio furniture, you can look at these outdoor lounging sets designed to make your outdoor space feel relaxing, modern, and inviting.
Start by making a list of the activities you plan to do on your outdoor patio as these will help you choose the outdoor furniture that best fits your needs.
The furniture you choose must also fit your backyard patio or deck. Those with smaller patios should choose smaller furniture pieces to ensure they fit and allow the functionality of the space.
Avoid making your patio or deck feel crowded and cramped. Measure the space and the furniture to ensure everything fits comfortably.
2. Quality Materials
Outdoor furniture sets come in a variety of price points from highly affordable to incredibly expensive. You may find a great deal on bargain outdoor furniture but there’s no guarantee that your cheap furniture will look good or last through next season.
There are expensive outdoor furniture brands that skimp on comfort or attention to detail. If anything looks cheaply made, it’s unlikely to last very long.
When shopping for outdoor furniture, look for furniture made from quality materials. Your outdoor furniture needs to be durable as it will need to withstand exposure to the sun and elements. Carefully take note of the finer details such as the paint job, stitching, and welding.
Pay attention to the type of materials used in the furniture. Materials like aluminum, PVC, and quality plastics are lightweight, budget-friendly, and require little maintenance. Iron and steel materials are durable but will require weatherproofing and some maintenance.
Wicker and natural grasses offer an organic aesthetic that can last a long time outdoors with the proper weather treatment. These materials may need regular maintenance and weatherproofing every one to two years.
Wood is one of the most welcoming and traditional-looking furniture materials. It does require more maintenance including weatherproofing and UV protection. With proper care, you can enjoy your outdoor wood furniture for years.
Look for outdoor furniture materials that are easy to care for and require minimal maintenance. Most metal, cedar, teak, and all-weather wicker furniture pieces come with weatherproofing to keep them in good shape for years.
If possible, try to view the outdoor furniture in-person before your buy. This will give you the best idea as to how your furniture will look.
3. Consider a Flexible Outdoor Furniture Setup
As you start using your outdoor patio more often, you may find a flexible design and layout that will better serve your needs. Creating a flexible setup gives you more options to customize your patio to fit your needs. A few flexible outdoor furniture options include:
- Dividers and screens to offer privacy and block the view of your neighbors or the road
- Wheeled carts or side tables to move food and other items
- Removable umbrellas that stand alone
- Extendable or leaf tables to offer more room for guests
- Outdoor ottomans to work as a footrest, table, or another seat
Having the flexibility to customize and change your outdoor seating area as needed will let your patio serve multiple purposes.
4. Stick To Your Outdoor Furniture Budget
Did you know you can still find quality outdoor furniture even if you’re on a budget? Simply follow the sales!
The best time to buy outdoor furniture when you’re on a budget or hoping to save a few dollars is during the latter half of the summer and early fall. Stores are looking to get rid of their patio furniture fast so they can start displaying the next season’s items. You can find patio furniture on sale for 40% or more off retail value.
Large department stores may offer unadvertised bargains. If a store has several great-looking outdoor furniture sets in stock, ask the manager about any additional discounts. Some places are willing to negotiate to get rid of unsold items that are taking up space.
Try to avoid shopping for outdoor furniture during the spring and early summer. Outdoor furniture tends to be in greater demand causing stores to raise their prices. You might, however, come across major promotional discounts and sales during the spring.
Another option is to save money on patio furniture is to buy used. The advantage of this is you can find high-quality furniture for a fraction of the price. The drawback is you’ll have a limited selection, some pieces may have damage, and you might not find the right style to match your home or patio decor.
With a little patience and research, you can easily find outdoor furniture that fits into your budget.
5. Storage for Your Outdoor Furniture
What do you do with your patio furniture during the winter months? You can leave your furniture outside, but the snow, cold temperatures, and elements can ruin your furniture.
Storage, whether in a basement, shed, or garage is necessary to prolong the life of your outdoor furniture. Even durable furniture materials such as steel and iron will benefit from storage during the off-season.
As you shop for outdoor furniture, consider what storage you have available. If you have plenty of storage space in your basement or garage, you shouldn’t have a problem choosing larger outdoor patio pieces.
What if you don’t have a lot of storage space? Look for patio furniture that’s foldable or easy to take apart for condensed storage. Stackable items will also help you maximize your storage capacity.
Another option to increase your limited storage space is to invest in an outdoor storage box. These can remain outside, on your patio, and offer room for you to store most of your outdoor furniture and cushions. Use water repellent covers to cover any cushion-less pieces during the off-season.
The advantage of a storage box is they offer convenience and can serve multiple purposes. Use them as a convenient safe place to store cushions and other backyard items during rainstorms. During a gathering, use it as additional seating or an extra table.
If you have limited storage space, don’t feel like your only patio furniture options are small or foldable. With a little creativity, you can boost your home’s storage space.
6. Choosing Outdoor Furniture Colors
Any interior designer will tell you creating flow throughout your home is necessary for functionality and aesthetics. While the layout of a space is one of the main focuses for crafting flow in a home, color plays an equally important role. Color ties your exterior patio space to your home’s interior and exterior design.
Your outdoor patio furniture doesn’t need to consist of only neutral tones and natural wood colors. You’ll find a variety of outdoor furniture colors available from bright reds and yellows, to calming greens and bold blues.
Before you get too carried away, consider the colors of your home’s exterior and your landscaping. Look for outdoor furniture that can accent or play up these existing colors found in your backyard. Try to avoid picking too many colors or colors that don’t match as this can make your furniture clash with your backyard landscaping.
If you don’t like the idea of matching the colors of your home’s exterior or yard, you can continue your interior design choices outside. Choose colors that match or complement your home’s interior furnishings. This will continue a sense of flow from your indoor spaces into your outdoor spaces.
Does your home’s interior consist of a lot of grays, golds, and whites? Bring those colors outside by choosing outdoor furniture with those colors.
7. Look at the Details
Many patio furniture sets look stunning when on display or in a flyer. Once you purchase them, you may find glaring problems and aesthetic flaws that can cause issues later. To avoid this, pay attention to the finer details.
When checking out different outdoor furniture brands and styles look for:
- Aluminum furniture with long framing pieces and not segments
- Look for cushions with springs as they’ll last longer
- Check chair legs to ensure stability
- Furniture assembled with stainless steel screws
- Wood furniture should be smooth
- Opt for aluminum or stainless steel as regular steel will rust
- Check furniture feet for plastic or rubber covers to preventing scratching
Taking note of these details will ensure give you a better idea of the quality of the furniture you choose. While it may cost slightly more, high-quality outdoor furniture will last and look good for years.
8. Don’t Forget About the Shade
Relaxing in the sunshine on occasion is enjoyable, but as temperatures rise, the unwavering sunshine can quickly become unpleasant. You’ll need to think about your backyard furniture setup and how to make it comfortable by offering seating options for sun and shade.
Shade helps keep temperatures cool on hot days as well as protect you, your family, and your guests from the harmful UV rays. You can incorporate shade by setting your backyard furniture near a large shaded tree or adding an umbrella. Other ways to incorporate more shade include installing an awning or a permanent roof over your backyard patio.
9. Choose Comfort
Have you ever sat on a hard dark-colored metal bench in the middle of summer? It’s hard, hot, and uncomfortable. Comfort is just as important as the stability and longevity of your outdoor furniture.
When choosing metal, wood, or wicker furniture pieces, consider adding plush cushions to add comfort. Skipping this comfort-oriented detail will leave your furniture largely unused. No one enjoys sitting on uncomfortable furniture.
Look for chubby lightweight cushions filled with polyester. Light synthetic filler allows the cushions to dry faster while resisting mold and mildew. Avoid thin flat cushions as these aren’t long-lasting nor comfortable.
10. Try Before You Buy
You wouldn’t buy interior furniture for your home without trying it first, right? The same is true for outdoor furniture. Take a seat and test out the furniture before you buy it.
If you want your patio to be enjoyable and well-used throughout the warmer months, your outdoor furniture must be comfortable and supportive. When trying outdoor furniture take note of the following:
- Comfort of the cushions
- Support of furniture frames
- Height of tables and chairs
- Legs are supportive and not shifting when you sit
If anything feels uncomfortable or off, don’t purchase that furniture set and look for something that better fits your needs and comfort preferences.
Choosing Outdoor Furniture for Your Home
Adding an outdoor living space to your backyard is the perfect way to create a sanctuary that brings you and your family closer to the outdoors. Choosing outdoor furniture that fits your style and space will ensure you and your family love your outdoor patio.
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