Outdoor Furniture Buying Guide – 2022 Update
If 2020 showed us anything, it is to appreciate the space we have at home and make full use of it. Many people made use of their previously forgotten outdoor spaces. Now, some have lovely setups that act as an extra room within the compound.
One of the critical features that seem to tie the place is beautiful and comfortable outdoor furniture. Outdoor furniture has been a topic for discussion since before 2020. But it is more important now than ever.
Residential, commercial, and public outdoor spaces are essential for relaxation and fun. But to uphold these qualities, you must get good furniture that can also withstand the harsh demands of the exterior.
Outdoor furniture differs from indoor pieces in that it has less upholstery and requires a high-quality finish to withstand the challenges of being outdoors. Additionally, these furniture pieces require a little more maintenance and care. Plus, remember that exterior decorating is different from interior design.
With that in mind, you should only purchase outdoor furniture after a careful selection process where you consider certain factors and weigh material options. The information below will outline the most important factors to consider when buying outdoor furniture. Think of this as your updated 2022 outdoor furniture buying guide.
Considerations For Buying Outdoor Furniture
Before purchasing any outdoor furniture, go through the following considerations to ensure you buy the right furniture.
First, what will you use your outdoor furniture for? Different establishments and residentials require outdoor furniture for various purposes. Maybe you need something for poolside lounging or a sturdy set to accommodate restaurant visitors. You could also need a comfy couch for lounging with friends or a set ideal for family game nights.
Think about how many people you have to accommodate on the set. This will help you determine how many furniture pieces you need. Similarly, consider how you or others will use the furniture pieces. Will they need tables to hold food or a chair with a cup holder?
Do the furniture pieces need headrests and back cushions for comfort? Will you need throw pillows and footrests? Ask yourself every question before placing your order.
Type of Space
Next, consider the type of space you have. Outdoor furniture is not just for residential patios and gardens. It can also go in outdoor cafes and bistros, plus public areas like parks or schools. The type of space you have should determine what furniture you need.
For example, if you want to decorate your pool space, you need side tables, umbrellas, and sunbathing chairs. Decks and porches require tables and chairs ideal for grilling and lounging, while outdoor kitchens need tables and stools.
If you have a cafe, ensure your outdoor seating has spacious tables and heat-resistant chairs, and an umbrella is an excellent option to block the sun and wind. Balconies and terraces in commercial establishments such as spas and hotels can have small dining sets and couches for guys to enjoy eating outside.
Public spaces like parks require good seating with ample space such as benches. Picnic tables with umbrellas are also good choices.
Dimensions of the space
Next, you must always measure your space before purchasing any furniture. Otherwise, you could end up with pieces that do not fit in the designated area. When measuring length, ensure that you do not measure all available space. You need to consider flow, not just the distance between two points.
Remember that you need to leave enough room for people to walk through comfortably. If your chairs and tables do not have enough flow space, it could create chaos as people try to move around. They could bump into someone or spill something.
Therefore, while you may want the large sofa set, it would be more practical to get a smaller set to accommodate the same number of people—smaller stools instead of a couch.
Being aware of your surroundings will give you a better furniture arrangement. Be mindful of the positioning of multiple things. For example, is your space located right beneath a tree that sheds or has insects? This would not be the best place to have outdoor furniture to host people. Plus you would have to clean the furniture more often.
Similarly, consider the positioning of the sun. If you pick certain furniture materials and set them directly in the face of the sun, they will fade or break faster. Plus, you do not want users facing the sun as continued exposure to harmful UV rays is not suitable for health.
Determine the type of space you have to help you pick the right furniture and accessories. It will also help you create a theme for the area.
Weather and Environment
This is perhaps the most crucial consideration you need to make. What is the weather like in your area? Does it get wet, humid, dry, or snowy often? Even pleasant weather conditions can be harmful to your outdoor furniture. And since you plan on keeping your furniture outside, you should buy the best ones to resist various weather conditions adequately.
If it rains a lot in your area, ensure you pick furniture that withstands consistent moisture exposure without sustaining damage. If it is often sunny, find furniture with UV-inhibiting properties or a care product that does the same. If it is often windy, ensure your furniture is heavy enough to avoid being blown away.
Also, consider other environmental factors like insects and animals. They are notorious for damaging outdoor furniture. Therefore, if you have many in your area, ensure you pick furniture to handle this stress.
Considering weather conditions, surroundings, and use, some materials will be better than others for surfaces and upholstery. For example, consistent sun exposure is harmful to wood, making it crack and splinter. Similarly, metal furniture retains heat, making them unusable under sun exposure.
Metal can also develop rust and corrosion in moist and humid conditions, while wood supports mold growth, damaging structural integrity. Some synthetic materials and metal pieces can also blow over in high winds.
Some fabrics fade in the sun, while others can tear or unravel after consistent heat exposure. Many materials are available for outdoor furniture and upholstery, each with strengths and weaknesses. Look up a detailed guide on outdoor furniture materials to help you make the right choice.
Maintenance and Care
Next, consider how much time and effort you are willing to spend taking care of your outdoor furniture. Care often depends on the material you choose, plus the weather conditions. Different materials require various levels of care depending on the weather and surroundings.
Wood often requires the most maintenance involving cleaning, varnishing, staining, and oiling. Of course, not all woods are like this, but since it is a natural material, it will need more work to prevent water and heat damage.
Other materials like poly lumber require little maintenance, along the lines of soap and warm water. Some metals require powder coating to keep the water seal intact and prevent rusting.
Likewise, some cushion covers can come off and be washed separately, while others have non-removable parts you will have to clean on-site. Ensure you understand and are willing to keep up with the furniture’s maintenance needs before selecting the set.
Luxury and comfort
How comfortable do you want your set to be? Before, there were limited choices, primarily hard wooden and metal surfaces. But today, you can find anything from breathable to soft and pillowy.
Cushions come in various densities to give you bounce and sinking comfort. Other chairs have backrests that lay furniture back to provide a lounge effect. You can find daybeds with comfortable mattresses ideal for sleeping under the sun.
Outdoor furniture also comes with ergonomic designs to ensure you are relaxing with good posture. Manufacturers also consider armrests, leg inclination, and even spinal alignment. The comfort options are endless. If people use your furniture for long periods, it is best to get the most comfortable options.
Factors like materials, use, and surroundings will often determine longevity. Some furniture pieces will last longer than others. So how long do you want your furniture pieces to last, even with the weather and environmental factors?
All materials can last long with proper maintenance. Even wood can go for years without needing replacing under the right circumstances. You can even avoid rust on metal pieces to make them last longer.
Good outdoor furniture lasts for 10 to 25 years, sometimes even longer. For example, poly furniture can go up to 20 years without needing repairs or replacements. Therefore, ensure you decide how long you want to stay before replacing your furniture.
Cost should not always be your determining factor, but you should set up a reasonable budget and let it guide you to the best furniture. The upfront cost of furniture differs according to the type of material plus comfort level.
Dense cushions and luxurious fabrics are often on the higher side of the price—similarly, natural fibers like wood retail higher than poly lumber and some metals. Likewise, accessories make the furniture more expensive.
The total cost of ownership is also another cost factor you should consider. Some furniture will require expensive maintenance and cleaning to ensure it lasts long. Others will require regular replacing, making you spend more in the long run. You would rather pay up front than spend more in the long run.
The overall aesthetics of your setup is an essential factor to consider too. What kind of style would you like to incorporate into your space? The furniture should be a reflection of your choices and desired themes.
Figuring out your style will help you decide on outdoor furniture colors since dark and light tones are readily available. Similarly, it should help you determine the type of furniture you want within the space. For example, Adirondack chairs are classic and fun, while swivel chairs offer sophistication.
Bar stools are easy-going, while couches are better for classy lounging. Your type of space should help you determine the style. You can go for sleek, bright, chic, minimalist, or fun.
How flexible do you want your furniture to be? When we talk about flexibility, we mean the movability of your pieces. Will they be permanent in their spots, or can people move them to set up in a different place?
If the type of space is a cafe or bistro, you should consider moveable pieces so guests can pull up a chair or extra table for a larger group.
Also, if you have more than one space in your compound, you can save money by getting a movable set to set up anywhere within the compound to your liking. Just be sure you do not get extra lightweight furniture that can bend to strong winds.
Flexibility also means being dynamic. Some furniture pieces can serve two or even three functions eliminating the need for more. For example, some benches can be converted into picnic tables. This flexibility is always good to have because it saves you money.
This is not a major consideration, but it is good to have, especially if your area receives a lot of precipitation. When the furniture is not in use, consider how and where you store the pieces. This consideration can help you decide on the number of pieces to get. Enough storage space for your sets keeps them safe and free from damage when they are not in use, especially during the rainy seasons. You can work out a system for storing cushions and even leaning chairs against a wall under a shade to protect them at night.
And finally, consider which additional features you want for your outdoor furniture. Some chairs come with cup holders, while others come with mobility wheels. Some tables and chairs even have compartments to store cushions and throw blankets.
Others come with extendable footrests, while some tables even come with grilling space for convenience. The additional features are not necessary unless you need them. Therefore, ensure you pick furniture with the accessories you need.