Guest Blogger 1K+, Entry #2619, July 5, 2013
Once warm weather hits, moving your meals and entertainment outdoors is more attractive and enjoyable. Having the right patio furniture can help you make the best use of your outdoor space, whether for personal enjoyment, family time or entertaining guests. The perfect patio furniture can improve the visual appeal of your backyard or courtyard and provide hours of seasonal fun.
When choosing any furniture for purchase, your considerations are generally related to color, style, comfort and functionality. With patio furniture, there are some additional concerns. Exposed to the elements, patio furniture needs to be durable and weatherproof based on the specifics of your climate. If you’ve ever had wind or rain interrupt an outdoor feast, you understand the importance of environment-appropriate patio furniture.
Image via: Anne Rue Interiors
Whether you want to create an Outdoor Living space for quiet reflection and retreat or a dynamic space for hosting guests and dining under the sun, there are some simple steps that can help you connect with the perfect pieces.
Know Your Setting
To avoid buying a gorgeous yet ill-fitting patio-furniture set on impulse, take some time to get to know your setting. Determine the dimensions of your outdoor space and how much of it you’d like the furniture to cover. Be aware that that elegant 10-piece round-table set might not be the best fit for your needs, no matter how lovely it is. If your space is a small balcony, opt for furniture with smaller dimensions.
The other key aspect of knowing your setting is considering the climate you live in. If your region is prone to summer rains, you’ll need to invest in waterproofed furniture and cushions. Wood is not ideal for extremely wet climates unless it is heavily treated, as it is porous and retains moisture. If you live in a windy area, you’ll need to look for heavy stone or steel patio furniture, since something like wicker would be too easily windswept.
Image via: Stone Interiors
Decide How You’ll Use the Furniture
There are two typical uses for outdoor furniture. One is for entertainment and dining, and the other is for lounging, relaxing and sunbathing. Furniture designed for lounging and sunbathing is not ideal for dining, and vice versa. While you can always combine pieces, it is prudent to decide how you’ll be using your patio pieces. This can give you a framework for furniture shopping, as you can explain to a salesperson your vision for how your outdoor space will be used. If you rarely eat outside, it’s not necessary to invest in a patio set designed for entertaining 20 people. Also, if you rarely lounge in the sun, it’s probably not ideal to purchase several expensive outdoor luxury recliners.
Know Your Budget
Patio furniture is easy to splurge on. It’s considered a luxury item. While it extends your living space into the outdoors, it can also overextend your budget. Determine how much you’d like to spend on your entire outdoor furniture set, taking into consideration all of the pieces and their accompanying accents such as cushions and awnings.
Image via: Notting Hill Gardens | Design Build Construction
Choose Materials Carefully
The choices for materials in outdoor furniture are extensive. The materials you choose should not only be based on your personal décor preferences but also on weather-related considerations. Silk cushions might be chic, but they only work outdoors in extremely dry climates. The same goes for leather and cotton: they are not ideal for every climate. Weatherproofed canvas cushions are a good choice for most mild climates, and some of the best quality canvas furniture has the highest durability factor. Rather than experimenting with ornamental fabrics, stick to the basics of stain-resistance, water-resistance and fireproofing when it comes to your outdoor furniture.
Include Some Extras
Outdoor furniture can occasionally be rendered unusable due to extreme sun or rain. To increase the amount of time you can spend actually enjoying your patio set, consider including accessories such as an umbrella or canvas canopy. Some patio sets come pre-fit with umbrellas, while others are sold separately. Most umbrellas and patio canopies are fully collapsible so you don’t have to have them set up when they’re not in use.
Image via: Dufner Heighes Inc
Your outdoor living space can be adapted to your personal style. You can choose patterns for the cushions and accessorize with accents such as table linens. Outdoor sculptures can also be included as part of your design, adding charm and character to your landscape.
Karla Jayne is an interior designer and landscape architect who writes extensively about home remodeling and design trends. She has a passion for integrating indoor and outdoor space and works as a design consultant for several restaurants and lounges.
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