There is something very nice about the idea to changing part of your garden into an open-air family room during two or three periods of the year, particularly the time of the year when the weather conditions get more comfortable.
Further an open-air family room is certainly also a less expensive option than adding another room to your home. An outdoor family room will therefore overall add available space to your home, and an outdoor living area will also maintain that you have a very nice place of relaxation, entertaining, and overall enjoyment, when the weather is nice and hot.
Making the change to an outdoor living area requires a careful reallocation of resources, though. If you are planning an outdoor living area this season, then choosing comfortable, long-lasting outdoor garden furniture can often mean the difference between hanging out for shorter periods on the terrace or balcony to enjoy the fresh air or nice weather and hereafter moving indoors again after a few minutes parked on a cheap, uncomfortable patio chair or spending some great time – and often most of your time – at your outdoor area in some comfortable outdoor furniture.
Therefore, buying the right outdoor furniture can make a big difference to your outdoor area, and involves much the same steps as buying indoor furniture, but there are some additional considerations as well.
Here are some issues to consider relating to outdoor garden furniture and your outdoor area:
Consider the general weather conditions in your area
do you have hot or dry weather, or do you live near the coast ? Does it rain often ? All these are relevant questions to answer before choosing your outdoor furniture.
The reason is, that hot, dry weather conditions can make some wood furniture break up and crack. Further, can strong windy weather send aluminum furniture flying around in your garden and wood outdoor furniture will often not resist constant influence to very wet weather.
Therefore, the material of your outdoor furniture should have a good match with the weather conditions in the area of your home.
Measure and consider your outdoor space
It is also important, that you give consideration to how much space you have in your outdoor area, and how it is shaped. Is it a long and narrow balcony or a broad and wide deck ?
You have to use the area and shape of your balcony, patio or porch to decide the size and dimensions of your outdoor furniture. It is often a good thing to make sure to leave enough space around your furniture, so that you are able to move relative easy around the outdoor furniture. A good rule here is to use the same principles for traffic flow at your outdoor living area, that you use with your indoor area.
If you have a small space, then a bar table set may often work better than a regular dining set, because bar tables are narrower, and stools take up less room than chairs. You can also as inspiration take a look at cafe or bistro tables and chairs as they often have a smaller profile.
Decide where you will place your outdoor furniture
When you have to find out, where to place your outdoor furniture, you have to decide whether your patio or outdoor area is exposed to the ground or do you have any overhead covering the ground/area ? Will your furniture rest on soft ground and grass or on a hard surface such as a wooden deck or a paved patio ? These considerations will help you to choose the outdoor furniture materials that are a good match for your outdoors environment and surroundings.
For example do not place furniture of soft woods such as pine on a grass-covered surface and in an uncovered area. In this case, there is a risk, that the moisture from the ground can cause the wood to rot. Moisture can also cause some metals to corrode.
Further, during the hottest time of the day, sitting outside can get pretty unpleasant if your outdoor furniture isn’t placed in the shade. So if you don’t have the best thing – the shade from an old big tree – get some kind of shade cover. Here you can use a crank-deployed umbrella, an electric sunshade or maybe you are lucky to have a permanent wood or fiberglass roof over your patio or deck.
No matter what you choose it is important that you make arrangements for some naturally refreshing and sheltering shade.
Integrate your outdoor furniture with the rest of your home
It’s nice to think of your outdoor area as a calm and nice oasis, where you can relax from your hectic daily tasks, but it is not an oasis on a desert island somewhere. Your outdoor area is often placed near your home, and sometimes in a view, so that the neighbors and people
driving or walking by easily can see your outdoor area close to your home.
Maybe you think that sparkling orange lounger with the yellow smiley faces looks fun and make you smile and think of summer, but sometimes you should also consider, that the look doesn’t clash too much with the rest of your home’s exterior.
Sure, outdoor furnishings should be fun and carefree, but if you have just spent a fortune trying to improve your home’s curb appeal, don’t spoil your home’s overall look with the effect of a “silly and fun” outdoor seasonal highlight area of your home.
Choose the right material for your outdoor furniture
Your best choice when deciding the right materials for your outdoor furnitures is to consider how you plan on using your outdoor furniture and how much time you want to use your furnitures.
This three factors can help you to decide what kind of outdoor furnitures to choose:
- The weather.
- The amount of care required.
- How it looks.
As mentioned above, the weather in your local area plays a key factor in deciding whether the material is a good match. You clearly don’t want a material for your outdoor furnitures, that won’t be able to stand up to your local weather conditions.
Here are some considerations about the weather and care that you require for your outdoor furniture:
- Aluminum, plastic and PVC — These construction materials are rustproof, lightweight, relatively inexpensive and require very little weather
treating. You can also wash them easily with some soap and water.
- Steel and wrought iron — Both are heavy-duty and sturdy, but will rust if not weatherproofed or painted periodically.
- Rattan, wicker and natural grasses — It’s pretty amazing how well natural materials like wicker look and last outdoors, especially when they are treated with a resin finish. They may require additional weatherproofing every couple of years, though.
- Wood — Natural wood looks very attractive in outdoor furnishings. It makes solid furniture that can be as comfortable as anything you use indoors. It does require regular treatment with some protective material and may also require UV protection. Often it can be a good idea to choose weather-resistant woods like teak, redwood, cypress and cedar.
It can also be a good idea to buy outdoor furniture equipped with cushions you can turn and flip. This will help them retain their shape, dry more quickly and fade evenly.
Acrylics, polyester, treated canvas and cotton duck are all comfortable, durable fabrics used in the construction of outdoor furnishings. Look for them in upholstered items, cushions, pillows, curtains, blinds and umbrellas.
How you want your outdoor furniture to look is very individual based on your personal taste and how the rest of your home looks like. If design is important to you, then as mentioned earlier, it is often a good idea to have your outdoor area to match with the design of the rest
of your home.
Good quality of your outdoor furniture can be a good investment
From bad welds to broken wheels to unprofessional paint finishes. A close check will often show that big outdoor furniture discounts for what it really is — and a poor buy with bad quality outdoor furnitures will often not last until next season.
You have to be aware of this – Many people think of outdoor furnishings as somewhat less important than the furniture you buy for indoor use, and that is a misunderstanding.
When you buy outdoor furniture it is important that it is able to stand up to sun exposure, wind, rain and probably some roughhousing, too.
Therefore, you need to check every piece, when you are considering to buy, and especially if the deal sounds too good to be true. Outdoor furnitures is one of the areas where a higher price is often a good indicator of better quality.
The higher price and better quality can further be a good investment in the long run, because good quality outdoor furniture don’t have to be replaced as often as cheap outdoor furnitures with more poor quality.
Check the details when buying your outdoor furniture
A terrace set can look attractive when you buy it, but sometimes already after a few months it can have glaring flaws that can lead to problems.
Therefore use these tips when you are checking outdoor furnitures:
- On large furniture pieces, choose cushions with springs. They’ll hold their shape longer.
- When inspecting metal furniture, bring a magnet. Aluminum is not magnetic, but steel often is. Although it doesn’t work with all types of steel, you can sometimes differentiate aluminum from steel construction (or fittings) by just testing them with a magnet. Remember, steel will rust while aluminum and stainless steel won’t.
- Look for aluminum loungers made with long, unsegmented framing pieces. They cost a little more, but they will last longer.
- Check chairs to make sure the legs are solid and sturdy. Sit in the chair to see if it moves or flexes as it takes your weight. Give extra points to chairs that include cross bracing pieces.
- Look for outdoor furniture put together using stainless steel screws.
- Run your hands along wood pieces to make sure they’re sanded smooth.
- Check to make sure chair and table legs have rubber or plastic feet that won’t scratch your deck or patio.
It is important that you have comfort with your outdoor furniture
Comfort is important — very important. If you create a nice and cozy outdoor area, you and your family will often be using your outdoor furnitures to relax, so therefore make it comfortable, so you really can have some nice time, at your outdoor room.
You may want steel or wood construction in your outdoor furniture for stability and longevity, but don’t forget that without some homelike comforts like soft, plush cushions, your outdoor furniture will risk going largely unused.
Even if your chairs don’t come with cushions, you can buy or make your own cushions and pillows. Just make sure to use good quality outdoor material that is fade and mildew resistant. Your pillows will stay looking their best if you store them when you no longer use them outdoors in cooler months.
Look for cushions with polyester filler, too. The more lightweight and springy the filler is, the more quickly it will dry out after influence of moisture. In this way the cushions will resist mold and mildew and stay comfortable.
Another problem with comfort can be the size of your outdoor furniture. Some patio chairs are just too narrow and skimpy. Others are built so low to the ground that getting out of them can be completely uncomfortable — especially for older people. Sizing for love-seats and couches can be tricky, too. Some are pretty deep from front to back, which can make them uncomfortable to sit in for any length of time.
Therefore, when you are shopping for outdoor furniture, take your time – try to sit down and relax in the furniture — literally. Test the outdoor furniture you have in mind. Think comfort and buy accordingly that suits your preferences.
Make it flexible with your outdoor furniture
Here are some flexible outdoor furniture items, that you might consider adding to your wish list:
- Standalone umbrellas, that you can move from place to place.
- Dividers or screens that can block the view from the street or neighbors.
- Wheeled carts that can transport food and other necessary items in and out of the house.
- Drop-leaf, fold-able or drop-down tables that can be extended when you have guests.
Have storage space for your outdoor furniture
It is important that you make sure to have enough storage for your outdoor furniture for winter. Sometimes even covers for the outdoor furniture will not give enough protection for the weather, especially if your furniture is with materials like wicker.
Therefore, you need either to have storage space for your outdoor furniture or buy something that you will be able to use indoors during the winter months.
Another alternative to reduce the storage space is to buy outdoor furniture that folds flat for storage.
Consider the budget for your outdoor furniture
Now we have given you some tips about what to consider when you want to buy outdoor funiture, but in the end it is your budget that determines what you can buy of outdoor furniture. As mentioned before quality outdoor furniture can be a good long-term investment, so you don’t have to replace your outdoor furniture too often, and there are some options you have that can ensure you get the best quality for your money.
- Avoid buying in spring unless you can score big promotional discounts. You can get very attractive outdoor furniture for less by the end of July and August as fall approaches. Outdoor furniture can vary in price by as much as 50 percent depending on when and where you buy.
- Depending on your budget, you should consider materials that are less expensive such as aluminum or resin, or look for inexpensive woods.
- Check out yard sales or thrift stores and buy the best quality that you can find. Refurbished and cleaned, it can look better than new, and might even be better quality. You might also consider changing pillows and cushions to update old outdoor furniture.