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8 Tips on Buying Outdoor Furniture for Homeowners

by | Oct 8, 2021

If you haven’t been using your patio too much this season, you’ve been missing out on one of the biggest mental health trends of the year.

Housebound homeowners are revamping their outdoor living spaces to rejuvenate their minds and bodies during the pandemic. For many, the key to a therapeutic and rejuvenating backyard has been a new furniture set.

If you want to start realizing all of the mental, emotional, and physical benefits that buying outdoor furniture can provide, now might be the best time to start looking.

As the fall season approaches, many retailers are offering great deals on current patio furniture models and clearance sets and accessories. But before you start shopping, it’s important to understand what will work best in your space.

Here are eight essential tips on how to buy outdoor furniture the right way.

1. Measure Your Space

Before shopping, whether it’s in-store or online, make sure to make detailed diagrams of your space, indicating fixtures and movable objects. You want as much information as possible so that you can start playing with configurations to fit your space.

When you’re setting out your measurements, don’t forget to account for the flow of the space and the function of the furniture.

Are you looking for a rocking loveseat? Make sure you add 12 or more inches to the depth to account for the swing. And if you have to access an entryway, make sure you follow walkway width conventions and leave at least 18″ of space to navigate.

2. Think About the Function

Do you want to do more outdoor dinners, or is the patio a hangout spot for the kids? Does a sectional make sense, or should you do individual seating? Thinking about who is going to be using the furniture and how they’ll use it will ensure everyone gets to enjoy it.

Ask yourself some of the following questions to help you whittle down your options:

  • What activities are done where the furniture is going?
  • How many people are going to be using the furniture at one time?
  • How big are the people who are going to use it?
  • Does the furniture need to be lightweight and portable?
  • Will anyone have a hard time sitting down or standing up with this furniture?
  • Is there a need for storage?
  • Are there visibility issues that require an umbrella or outdoor lighting?

These are just a few questions to get you in the right mindset. Thinking ahead will keep you from wishing you had a certain feature after the fact.

3. Try Before You Buy

Most sitting furniture needs to be tested before you buy it. This is particularly true of cushioned furniture.

While you may be safe ordering many bistro sets, metal furniture, and accessories online, cushioned furniture can feel much different from one group to the next.

Much of this has to do with cushion construction. Coil spring cushions are rare, but you may find these supportive systems in some high-end models. Most cushions use foam cores of varying densities, affecting their firmness.

If you’re buying cushioned furniture, try to test it. You’ll get an idea of the color to help you coordinate, and you’ll avoid getting stuck with an uncomfortable set.

4. Play With Configurations

Don’t feel limited to the set you see displayed in pictures or showrooms. Remember that you can add extra chairs if you like a dining set, and you could change the configuration of many sectionals.

A lot of wicker furniture for patios has a modular look to them, allowing you to separate sectional sides to create armless chairs and more without exposing unfinished sides. A little extra research can turn that sectional that won’t fit into the perfect patio set.

5. Know Your Frames

Frames generally fall into three categories — plastic, wood, and metal. If you’re buying outdoor furniture that needs portability, plastic is a good starting point.

Plastic is both the cheapest and lightest material, making it great for extra individual seats to pull out when needed. Plastic furniture should still be limited because it breaks easily and degrades under sunlight.

Wood is both durable and elegant, a great way to get optimal aesthetics from your set. Wooden outdoor furniture needs regular maintenance and staining to hold its color and water resistance, but some varieties are more resilient than others. Hardwoods like teak, white oak, and eucalyptus are naturally pest and rot-resistant, making them some of the best wood options if you want minimal upkeep.

When choosing metal frames like aluminum and steel, look for powder coating. Aluminum is lighter and doesn’t rust like steel, but a quality powder coating can protect both metals from corrosion and weathering. You can also find finished iron furniture if you want more ornate, heavy, and durable garden furniture.

6. Know Your Fabrics

Polyester and acrylic are popular fabrics for outdoor furniture cushion covers, while PVC mesh provides seating comfort for sling-style chairs.

You don’t often have to worry about the quality of the mesh, as it drains quickly and holds up to weather. But when looking at cushion fabrics, it’s best to opt for solution-dyed materials. These fabrics are dyed all the way through, making them more fade-resistant and durable.

7. Keep It Coordinated

Take note of the colors and style around your patio while you’re taking your measurements. If you have any pre-existing schemes, you’ll need to find outdoor furniture that follows the same trend, or you’ll have to change up your patio.

Instead of looking for colors in main pieces of furniture for patios, look at accessories instead. You can blend neutral patio furniture into any scheme with the right outdoor throw pillows, outdoor rugs, and umbrellas to make everything cohesive.

8. Consider Storage

If you have wood or unfinished iron furniture, you can add years to its life if you keep it stored during the off-season. Consider the size of the storage area you have in your garage or basement when buying furniture. If you don’t have enough indoor space, storing outdoor furniture on the patio under heavy-duty covers can make them last.

Buying Outdoor Furniture the Right Way

It’s a great time to start buying outdoor furniture, even if you want to store it until next year. By following these tips and sticking to an affordable budget, you’ll walk away from your next outdoor furniture purchase with confidence and excitement.

Want more help curating furniture and decor to beautify your outdoor spaces? Contact our team at Lesera for expert advice and great deals on your outdoor furniture and accessories.

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