Buying outdoor furniture to decorate your patio or deck space can be tricky. Outdoor furniture tends to be pricey, plus you have to think about not only style and comfort but also how it’s going to stand up against the elements.
You don’t want to invest a lot into furniture that’s only going to last a season, or maybe even less.
With those things in mind, below are seven tips for buying outdoor furniture that’s going to look great, meet your needs and also be durable and provide longevity.
1. Consider the Weather Where You Live
Everyone has different weather depending on where they live, and you have to be mindful of the climate where you are.
For example, does it rain a lot? Is it hot and dry? Do you live near the coast?
If the conditions where you live are primarily dry and hot, wood furniture is going to be more prone to splitting and cracking. If you live somewhere with a lot of moisture, wood might rot.
With high winds, aluminum furniture is likely to blow away. Iron isn’t going to blow away, but salty air can take its toll.
The sun is something that’s going to affect your outdoor furniture, at least somewhat, no matter where you live. It discolors paint, bleaches wood and fabrics, and degrades synthetic materials like plastic.
You want to consider the inherent properties of the material before choosing any particular piece of furniture. For example, plastic and rubber are very susceptible to UV damage, while metal isn’t affected as much by the sun.
2. Measure Your Space
One of the biggest mistakes people make when buying not just outdoor but also indoor furniture is that they don’t take the time to measure the space. If you’re going to be buying online or even in-store, you need to have the exact dimensions. You might also want to sketch out the shape of the space.
Leave enough space around any furniture to walk around it easily and consider the same traffic flow principles you would use indoors.
If you have a space that’s oddly shaped, you want to think about using smaller pieces.
As you’re measuring your space, take note of things like the conditions of the land area, where the sun will be positioned relative to everything, and the direction of the wind.
3. Know How You Plan To Use Your Outdoor Furniture
If you’re someone who’s going to entertain a lot, then your usage is going to be different than if you just want a place to sit outside and enjoy nice weather on your own. You want to plan a list of the things you’re going to do outside to help guide your buying decisions.
If you’re going to mostly be outside on your own, you don’t necessarily need to invest in an outdoor sectional. You could do a smaller seating area instead and save money but still get the function you’re hoping for.
What is the max number of people your outdoor furnishings will ever need to accommodate?
If you have a patio, you can use this space for barbecuing, lounging, or dining. With decks, the functionality is likely to be similar.
If you have a pool, the furnishing items that might be on your must-have list include lounge chairs, umbrellas, and side tables.
If you have a porch, maybe you want relaxed seating, and if you have a garden, maybe you add some benches.
Everyone is going to have their own idea of what’s most comfortable for them when it comes to outdoor furniture.
You have so many choices that you can personalize your picks to your preferences.
For example, if you choose furniture with lightweight weaves that might give you the supportive comfort you like.
You might also want cushions that dry quickly and allow you to sink in, more as you do on your indoor furnishings.
You might also opt for chairs and loungers that have angles and armrests that are designed ergonomically based on the shape of your body.
5. Quality Level
What quality level do you want? Maybe you don’t have the budget for high-quality items that will last for years, and that’s okay. With outdoor furniture, you might end up going with something that’s inexpensive and that you’ll replace after a year or maybe a few years.
There’s nothing wrong with a low-cost, lower-quality set, as long as you manage your expectations.
6. How Much Maintenance Are You Willing To Do?
Outdoor furniture is unique from indoor items in that you are inevitably going to have to maintain it.
Depending on how you use items and where you live, you’re going to have to clean and protect your pieces of outdoor furniture more or less often.
Cleaning might be as simple as spraying it off, or you might have to use soft cloths and specialized cleaning solutions.
Some furniture might be scratch-resistant, while with others, you have to buff it and fill it to remove nicks.
Some wood doesn’t warp with water exposure but might need to be oiled regularly.
You really have to think about what amount of time you’re willing to invest before you buy anything.
7. Avoid Certain Mistakes
When buying outdoor furniture, sometimes knowing what not to do is as important as knowing what to do.
There are some mistakes you should avoid in the buying process.
The biggest mistake people make is not measuring the space. You might find that if you don’t measure, even if items technically fit, the space could end up being so cramped you can’t move around it.
Ignoring the environment where you live is another major mistake and opting for style over function and substance is another thing to avoid.
Finally, when you’re buying outdoor furniture, you need to be mindful of protection and storage. You should take your time to evaluate the specifics of materials before making a purchase, and you should invest in quality protective covers. The best covers are custom-fitted. You also want to have a plan to store items when it’s the off-season or when the weather is especially bad.