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How To Choose The Right Outdoor Furniture And Accessories For Your Home

Posted by Alexa Lerner on May 7, 2024 11:15:00 AM

Make Your Outdoor Living Area Comfortable and Functional

Having the right furniture is essential to creating a comfortable and functional outdoor living area, no matter the size of your space. But high-quality outdoor furniture can be a big investment, and with so many options available, how do you know what to buy? Here are our tips for choosing the right outdoor furniture and accessories for your home.

10 Tips For Choosing The Right Outdoor Furniture and Accessories For Your Home - 1

1. Take Stock of Your Outdoor Living Area

Before you buy any furniture, consider how you want to use your available space. Do you plan to have big barbecues with lots of guests, or mostly intimate candlelit dinners for two? Would you like to have a shaded nook where you can relax and read, or are you dreaming of having a cozy gathering spot around a new outdoor fireplace? If you have a pool, do you want furniture for lounging? Once you determine your objectives, sketch out a plan with separate zones for entertaining, dining, and relaxing. Then look for furniture that fits your needs and your budget. 

10 Tips For Choosing The Right Outdoor Furniture and Accessories For Your Home - Take Stock Of Your Space - 1

2. Measure The Space

Take the time to measure your available space before you buy any outdoor furniture. Have the measurements with you when you go to the store or when you are looking online. Keep scale and proportion in mind. In other words, oversized pieces of furniture, big planters, or too many accessories will make a small patio appear even smaller. Conversely, large patios or decks need substantial pieces of furniture to fill the space.

10 Tips For Choosing The Right Outdoor Furniture and Accessories For Your Home - Measure The Space

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3. Do Some Research

With proper planning, you can stay within your budget and still get the look you want for your outdoor living space. Before you make a purchase, do some research online. Check out websites that sell outdoor furniture and accessories, and see all of the different styles, materials, and price points that are available to you. Look for sales during the off-season when you can often find better bargains than during the months that lead-up to summer. 

How To Choose The Right Outdoor Furniture - 1

4. Keep A Consistent Style

Consistency in design is key. Your choice of outdoor furniture should reflect the architectural style of the exterior of your home. In addition, your outdoor living area should look like a seamless extension of the aesthetic of your indoor space. 

10 Tips For Choosing The Right Outdoor Furniture and Accessories For Your Home - Keep A Consistent Style

5. Consider Durability and Maintenance Requirements

Quality outdoor furniture can be expensive, so you want it to last. Select the most durable materials available in your price point, and carefully consider the maintenance requirements of the furniture that you choose. Here are the pros and cons of some of the most popular materials for outdoor furniture.


Outdoor furniture made from natural wood is beautiful, but it does require maintenance. Regular sanding and sealing will keep wood furniture looking new and will protect it from the elements. Choose furniture made of dense wood such as teak, redwood, or cedar, with pieces that have been screwed together -- not glued -- because it will hold up better over time. 

Wicker Made of Rattan or Synthetic Resin

Wicker is a weaving process, not a material. The two main types of material used to make wicker furniture are rattan and synthetic resin. Rattan is a naturally grown vine that was traditionally used for wicker weaving. Today's wicker furniture is typically made of synthetic resin that has the same appearance as natural rattan but is much more durable. Synthetic resin outdoor furniture is constructed on an aluminum frame, which makes it lightweight and low maintenance.

Wrought Iron

Wrought iron furniture is sturdy, durable, and attractive. However, when it is not properly maintained, wrought iron can rust. Look for pieces that have a powder-coated, weather-resistant finish that will help to prevent rusting, though you may still need to paint or seal the furniture at regular intervals. Wrought iron furniture is heavy and can withstand windy conditions without being blown around your yard.


Outdoor furniture made of steel is sturdy and durable. It is more resistant to rust than wrought iron but will still require periodic applications of paint or a sealant. Steel is even heavier than wrought iron, and it won't blow away in windy conditions. Outdoor furniture made from steel can be very expensive but should last for years. 


High-quality aluminum furniture typically does not rust if it has a powder-coated finish and rustproof hardware, which makes it durable and easy to maintain. However, since aluminum is a lightweight material, be sure to secure your outdoor furniture during storms and high winds.

Plastic and PVC

Furniture made from durable plastic or PVC requires little to no maintenance. It cleans up easily with soap and water and never needs painting or sealing. Look for plastic furniture with fade-resistant coloring and a sturdy design. Plastic outdoor furniture is relatively inexpensive and very lightweight, but typically does not have a high-end look.

10 Tips For Choosing The Right Outdoor Furniture and Accessories For Your Home - Consider Durability and Maintenance Requirements

6. Check Out The Quality and Comfort

When you are shopping for your outdoor furniture, take some time to really check out the quality of the pieces you are considering. All joints should fit tightly together with no gaps. Metal furniture should be painted or have a uniform powder-coated finish to prevent rust. Wood furniture should have a sanded, smooth surface topped by a sealant. Wicker should be tightly wound on the frame and should not be unraveling. Tables should not wobble, and chairs should be comfortable and sturdy. Furniture with joints that are held together by screws will be much more durable in the long run than furniture that is glued together.

10 Tips For Choosing The Right Outdoor Furniture and Accessories For Your Home - Check Out The Quality And Comfort

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7. Pick Out The Right Fabric

Cushions make outdoor furniture more visually appealing and comfortable. There are many fabrics that can add beauty, color, and style to your outdoor space, but only pick those that are manufactured to withstand the elements. Typically, the best outdoor fabrics are made from solution-dyed acrylic that resists fading, staining, and mildew. Spun polyester dries quickly and is often less expensive, but it can fade and look worn over time. For extra comfort and pizzaz, add some throw pillows in colors and patterns that complement the cushions.

10 Tips For Choosing The Right Outdoor Furniture and Accessories For Your Home - Do Your Research-1

8. Shade Yourself 

Outdoor dining tables typically have a hole in the center where you can put an umbrella to shade you from the sun. If you need an umbrella poolside or for another lounging area, you can buy a freestanding, cantilevered model. They can be moved around as necessary and provide an extra pop of color. Choose an umbrella with wind vents, a sturdy frame, and a solid, weighted base for safety.

Consider building a pergola or gazebo to create a defined lounging or dining area in your backyard that is shaded from the direct sun. Attach latticework, screens, or drapes to the sides of the open structure for added charm, extra privacy, and some protection from the elements. 

10 Tips For Choosing The Right Outdoor Furniture and Accessories For Your Home - Shade Yourself

9. Make It Comfy Underfoot

A rug can add the final flourish to your outdoor living space. Choose one that is made to be placed outdoors and can be swept or hosed off. Outdoor rugs can be used inside a screened-in porch, under a pergola, or even on a patio or deck. Pick a rug that complements the style and color of your new furniture and completes the overall design of your outdoor living space.

10 Tips For Choosing The Right Outdoor Furniture and Accessories For Your Home - Make It Comfy Underfoot-1

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10. Store It Well

To ensure that your outdoor furniture and accessories will look good for years to come, during the winter months store it all inside your garage or shed or cover it all up. During the warmer months, clean your furniture periodically and maintain it as recommended. Stand up cushions after a rainy day to make sure that they dry out and do not mildew.

10 Tips For Choosing The Right Outdoor Furniture and Accessories For Your Home - Store It Well

At Meridian Homes, we specialize in luxury remodeling and custom home building in the Washington, DC area. Our mission is to create exceptional residences that exceed expectations. Our highly personalized design process and careful management of every project have earned us a reputation over many years for outstanding client service and solid, beautiful craftsmanship. Contact us today to begin your custom home or remodeling project.

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Topics: Outdoor Living Space

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