It is only fair that you would want furniture that is as comfortable outdoors as you have inside your home. Fortunately, patio furniture offers just that. Moreover, even though it is named with relation to the patio, most patio furniture can generally be used outdoors.
Besides providing a cozy place to relax on warm leisurely afternoons, patio furniture is also great for entertaining. Whether it is a backyard barbecue or an afternoon tea, having this type of furniture lets you host outdoor events with ease.
Tips on Buying Patio Furniture
In order to get the most out of your patio furniture, it needs to be the right fit for your needs and your home. Here are some tips to factor in as you make your purchase decision.
Any kind of outdoor furniture is exposed to weather elements for long spells of time. It needs to be able to cope with the climate it is going to be exposed to. As such, if you live in Miami, you may have more patio furniture options than someone in Seattle where it rains quite often. Keep this in mind as you make your purchase.
The longer your patio furniture can serve you, the better. To this end, consider that some materials are more resilient than others. That said, you will also be required to care for the furniture by shielding it from extreme weather and damage. It is best to choose quality furniture sets made of durable materials. Further, for your own convenience, aim for low maintenance patio furniture.
How do you envision yourself using furniture outdoors? The answer to this question will help you choose the right furniture for your needs. For instance, if you have a large family, you would need to get a larger set of patio furniture. You may want to ponder on other needs as well such as comfort and pet-friendliness.
How much room you have will influence the type of patio furniture you can buy. First, the furniture needs to fit the outdoor space where you intend to use it. Additionally, you may need sufficient indoor space to store it when the weather outside is not conducive.
Everyone loves a good bargain. If you are hoping to get good patio furniture at decent prices, be keen on timing and where you buy it. The sale season for this type of furniture is the best time to go shopping so as to get the best discounts. However, take your time to compare furniture suppliers and find out which of them can offer you the best value for your money. Online platforms are a great way to go about this.
Types of Patio Furniture
The main difference between types of patio furniture is the materials they are made of. Each kind has its own features as well as pros and cons. Types of patio furniture include:
Wood can be carved into many spectacular designs that provide both aesthetic appeal and comfort. It offers an inimitable homey feel.
On the flip side, compared to other materials, wood is easily degradable in an outdoor setting. It is prone to rot when exposed to moisture and can be heavy to cart in and out depending on the weather. Suffice to say, it requires considerable maintenance.
If your heart is set on wooden outdoor furniture, hardwoods like teak and mahogany would be a good choice. They handle weather challenges well and remain sturdy for years. Cedar and cypress come highly recommended too.
Among the many amazing features of bamboo is that it has a higher tensile strength than steel. Additionally, it does not warp or swell due to weather changes and is available in various stains of color. Nonetheless, unsealed outdoor bamboo furniture can develop mold when exposed to high moisture. Direct sunlight and heat also causes it to become too dry and can result in cracks. On maintenance, it picks up quite a bit of dust and can be tricky to clean.
It is advisable to place bamboo patio furniture in a shaded area and away from water. Applying an outdoor furniture sealant on it will provide protection against moisture.
Wicker or Rattan Furniture
There are two types of wicker, the natural kind, and resin wicker. The difference is that resin wicker is combined with other materials such as PVC or polyethylene during manufacturing. Wicker, in its natural state, does not cope well with outdoor elements.
Resin wicker is highly durable and can take on weather changes with little to no damage at all. It is elegant and can be spruced up with cushions for comfort and style. The tiny spaces between wicker stands can make it hard to clean. It is also important to note that not all resin wicker is UV resistant.
Metal furniture is often made of either aluminum or wrought iron. Aluminum is moisture-resistant and lightweight but can be cast to be made heavier. Wrought iron is heavy and needs to be treated to prevent rust.
Furniture made of either of these metals is highly durable. You will not have to worry about cracks or squeaks. They also require very little maintenance to protect them from weather elements and are easy to clean.
Whereas maintenance is minimal, if you neglect to do it on time, it becomes a bigger job. Rust catches on quite quickly on wrought iron when the sealant chips.
It is easy to underestimate plastic as only suitable for children's furniture. However, there are innovations such as recycled plastic that are made to be firmer and come in interesting designs. The needs of outdoor plastic furniture are easy to accommodate. It does not get affected by water and it is very easy to move around. On top of that, it is available in a wide range of colors which do not fade over time.
It, nonetheless, may be wise to shield plastic furniture from the extreme heat of the summer. Severe winter temperatures could also result in freezing and cracks.
Most people steer clear of glass because of how fragile it is known to be but it does not have to be so. If you are aiming for a classy decor look, glass is certainly the way to go. Glass tables and stools are a nice way to break the monotony of other materials of the furniture. Tempered glass is stronger than ordinary glass and is likely to serve you much longer. It handles temperature changes well and is not prone to mold. That said, depending on the quality of glass furniture you buy, you may have to shield it from a hard impact.
While concrete may seem like an eclectic choice of furniture, it does have its advantages. It is not only sturdy and permanent but also faces the challenges of weather undaunted. Further, new innovations are making it possible for concrete furniture to be made less bulky and more trendy than before.
From a different perspective though, the permanence of concrete can be a disadvantage. Most times, this type of furniture is cemented in place and you would not be able to move it. It can also have a cold dull appearance unless other materials like wood are incorporated into the setup.
Rope furniture would be a brilliant addition of a natural but trendy feel to your outdoor space. Contrary to popular belief, rope furniture does not have to be brown, there are colorful designs too. It is typically used with other materials such as wood or metal to make the furniture stable. Natural rope, like all organic materials, can be degraded by moisture. Due to this, rope furniture needs to be placed under a protective cover or indoors during rain or snow. Alternatively, you could go for furniture made of more durable rope that is mixed with plastic during manufacturing.
When Does Patio Furniture Go on Sale?
In the summer, most people enjoy being outdoors hosting parties, and just enjoying the great weather. The demand for outdoor furniture at this time is usually high which also drives up prices.
With this in mind, the best time to go shopping for outdoor furniture is around August. Once summer is done, stores need to bring in new stock for the fall thus summer inventory prices are slashed. You could get discounts of up to 20% in August. A little further into fall around September or October prices go as low as 70% off. Try not to hold out too long though as you may find all the quality sets long gone.
Another great time to shop is during seasonal sales when most items are generally discounted. Some examples of these sales include:
President's Day- it happens just before spring kicks off and some outlets tend to have promos for spring and summer furniture
Columbus Day- stores will be getting rid of summer furniture, the discounts are way bigger
Black Friday- everything is cheaper on this day and possibly for a few days before and after
Cyber Monday - it happens the Monday after Black Friday and has great deals on most things including furniture
How to Help Patio Furniture Last-Long
Maintenance makes a big difference in how long your furniture will last. Even the best quality of furniture will wear out in a short time when it is not properly cared for. Make an effort to:
Cover Your Patio Furniture
Whenever it is not in use, it would be a good idea to keep your furniture covered. It saves you the inconvenience of worrying about unexpected weather changes like rain. Moreover, it keeps the furniture shielded from dust and other kinds of dirt. It is advisable to use a waterproof cover.
Keep it Clean
Dust, insects, and water splatter are among the many causes of why your furniture can get dirty. When left too long, dirt will not only look unsightly but depending on what caused it, it can result in damage. Nonetheless, it is important to clean your patio furniture the right way based on the material it is made of.
Use Outdoor Furniture Sealant
Different furniture materials are treated using different chemicals during manufacturing to protect them against damage. Over time, the protective layer may chip or become thinner leaving the material vulnerable to rust, rot, or mold. Ensure to reapply suitable outdoor furniture sealant from time to time to keep your patio set in good condition.
Where to Store Patio Furniture
In times of extreme weather, using a furniture cover will not be enough. Water can still get to the furniture from below and strong winds can easily whip the cover away. Materials such as wood also naturally draw moisture from the air even when covered.
Moving your furniture will keep it well-protected until the weather is conducive. The area you choose needs to be completely dry, have low humidity, and be free of pests. It may be best to also wipe down your patio furniture before you bring indoors.
You could consider some storage areas such as:
A Spare Room
If you have a guest room that does not get used often, you could move your patio furniture there. Other rooms that are hardly used such as a study could also be ideal. The trick is to arrange the furniture neatly so as to still be able to use the room when necessary.
Extra space in the garage is always good for storage. There is no reason why it should not work for furniture too. However, if your garage lets in rainwater or is damp, keep your patio furniture covered and elevated at all times.
You may not have a whole room to spare for outdoor furniture and that may have you in a bit of a dilemma. Not to worry, you can spread it around the house. Think of it as adding accent pieces to your indoor decor. Be mindful, however, of areas like fireplaces that emit heat. Wicker could get warped when placed near them.
Most house plans are such that the conservatory is just a step away from the outdoors. For this reason, it is the perfect place to store patio furniture without having to carry it too far. You could also use the area to entertain during harsh weather.
Why is Patio Furniture So Expensive?
You may have noticed that the prices on most patio furniture are rather hefty. Which begs the question, why?
For patio furniture to survive outside, it has to be made of select quality materials. Most of the preferred resilient materials, such as teak which is hardwood, are not cheap. In addition, most of these materials need to be treated with different coatings so that they do not get damaged. Every extra step in a production chain increases production costs and subsequently, the price of the complete product.
The inputs used to make outdoor furniture differ from cheaper options used to make other kinds of furniture. Take furniture joints, for example; they often require fasteners to hold them together. For patio furniture, the fasteners need to either be made of stainless steel or have a very high-quality rustproof coating. Both of these options tend to cost more than ordinary fasteners. This principle applies to varnish and paint used on outdoor furniture too.
Designing wood has been practiced and mastered over the years. On the other hand, getting wrought iron or concrete to look beautiful and stylish is hard work. They are not easily pliable materials and thus require significant expertise to turn into comfortable and aesthetically pleasant furniture.
Where to Buy Patio Furniture
You may be wondering where to start when it comes to buying patio furniture. Finding the design you want at just the right price can sometimes be an elusive quest. Besides, roaming from one furniture store to another is exhausting.
Some convenient shopping options you could explore include:
Branded Online Websites
The beauty of eCommerce is that you never have to go anywhere to find what you need. At the touch of a button, your smartphone or computer will bring up thousands of options for you to choose from. It also gives you a chance to compare many more options than you ever could if you were to physically visit each store.
You could start with a general search of patio furniture on online platforms like Alibaba or AliExpress. Pick out the results that you like. After that, you can proceed to filter through them based on your budget and finer details such as location and shipping costs. At this point, your list will have narrowed down to a couple of choices that you contact for any inquiries you may have.
Patio Furniture Companies
Retail outlets sell items at a substantial mark up. You could save a lot of money if you choose to buy directly from the patio furniture company. Some prominent furniture companies like Bassett or Coaster have their own branded stores while others do not. For the latter, you may have to send in inquiry as to whether you could order directly from them.
Aside from reduced pricing, buying directly from patio furniture companies often comes with additional benefits. Attendants at their showrooms can give you tips on how to care for the furniture as they have an in-depth understanding of their merchandise. Some brands even offer warranty for furniture which is certainly a plus.
Furniture fairs bring together hundreds of exhibitors from across the world all under one roof. They exhibit all kinds of furniture made in different styles using different materials. You will be hard-pressed to find more patio furniture varieties in one place like you would at a furniture fair. On top of that, most brands tend to sell at discounted prices during these events. The trick here is to know which furniture fairs are worth attending. Aim for large events that attract quality brands and have proper organization. An example of this is the China International Furniture Fair that happens twice a year. The first edition happens in Shanghai in September and the next is held in Guangzhou in March.
The outdoor spaces in most homes are often underutilized which is a crying shame. There are so many ways you could enjoy such areas more whether by yourself or with family. The first step towards being able to do is making the space more appealing with the right patio furniture.
You may have been holding out on getting a set of patio furniture because you were apprehensive about various factors. Now that all those concerns have been addressed and you know how to make the best choice, it might be time to make that purchase. If for no other reason, because you deserve it.