Updated: Aug 8, 2020
Buying outdoor furniture can either be a blissful experience that leaves you feeling fulfilled and proud of your work or an absolute nightmare. Some customers come in knowing exactly what they want and end up having a full shopping spree with us, others need a little more help making a decision. It's arguably more difficult online since there's no sales person there to walk you through it. No worries, I've compiled a quick beginner's guide that covers the basics that you should be thinking about when you're buying patio furniture. Here are the top 5 things to consider:
This is the most obvious, but most important factor to consider when buying your patio furniture. You want to first establish how you're going to use the space so that you can buy furniture that makes sense for your space. Think about it: you wouldn't buy loungers for an apartment balcony or a sofa for an outdoor bar. You also want to consider how you want the furniture itself to function in the space. For example, you might want a table that can also serve as extra storage or chairs that can be folded or tucked away to give you extra space. If you still need some help figuring it out, here are some questions you can ask yourself when thinking about function:
What activities do I want to happen here? Will it be an area for dining or just a sitting area to relax in?
Do I need a multifunctional piece? Do I need it to give me extra storage space?
Does it need to be able to fold away and easily stored?
How many people should this accommodate?
Visualize your Patio Furniture
Okay, so you've decided what furniture you need and how you want it to function. Now you need to think about how you want it to look. This is where you start thinking about the design style you'll be following. Naturally, you'll want to follow the same style you use in your interiors. Meaning, if your interiors use a lot of farmhouse design elements, you'll want to continue that in your backyard, rather than trying something different like modern or industrial. Part of visualizing your space is also considering how much visual weight a piece will carry, ie how much attention does it attract. Visual weight is important because this is what allows you to achieve a symmetric design that's pleasing to the eye rather than one that looks random and busy. Patterns carry more visual weight than solid colours, darker and bolder colours will carry more weight than lighter versions of the same colour, and larger, fuller objects carry more weight than smaller more slender objects. When decorating your space, you might want to place objects with similar visual weight beside each other for symmetry. You can also use visual weight as a means of guiding your eyes or emphasizing a particular piece.
Look at the Material
There's a wide range of options when it comes to patio furniture. There's teak, cedar, pressure-treated pine, stainless steel, aluminium, wrought iron, plastic, wicker, and synthetic resin to name a few. However, all materials are not made equal. Some are more weather resistant, some require more maintenance and care, and some just won't work for your space. The type of material used will depend on the weather conditions, personal preferences, and maintenance. For example, if you're looking for furniture that will last long, stand up to the elements with little maintenance, using teak or wrought iron would be ideal. Had you used plastic or synthetic resin in the same conditions, you would end up with furniture that has faded and even cracked. Here are a few things to consider:
Will this be in a covered area or left open to the elements?
Will it require regular maintenance? Am I willing to regularly check for damage & replace damaged parts?
Does this work with my budget?
What Size is it?
As I said in our last blog post, size matters. You don't want to overcrowd or underfurnish your outdoor space. It's important to first know how much space you have to work with and second know the size of the piece. I highly recommend carrying a tape measure with you when you're shopping for patio furniture. That way, you get an accurate measurement of the piece instead of eyeballing it and thinking it'll fit. Another option that I mentioned in our blog on outdoor decor for tiny spaces is custom made furniture. These pieces can be made with your space in mind with dimensions that work for you. They can even be built-in. Of course, this is the part where I let you know shamelessly that we do custom orders. Just click here to get yours in.
Quality over Price
Listen, I'm all here for getting the most bang for your buck, trust me! But, oftentimes with cheaper patio furniture, you get what you pay for. You might get that patio set at a great price, but sometimes you'll end up paying for it later with repairs or replacement. Don't worry, I'm NOT saying you have to break your piggy bank to have great outdoor furniture. What you can do if you have a stricter budget is choose which pieces you won't compromise on. For example, I would recommend splurging on items you'll use more frequently like a sofa or chairs. Another thing you can do is furnish your space in stages. You don't have to buy everything all at once. You can buy the essential pieces like the chairs or patio sets first, then you can but the accessories later.