Make Your Outdoor Space Comfortable and Functional
As the weather becomes warmer, you can extend your home's indoor living space to the outdoors. Entertaining family and guests outside is fun and easy. No matter the size of your outdoor living space, having comfortable, functional, and beautiful furniture is essential. 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.
1. Take Stock of YOur OUtdoor Living Area
The first step is to consider how you want to use your outdoor living area. Do you plan to have big barbecues or have intimate candlelit dinners? Would you like to have a cozy, shaded nook where you can relax and read? If you have a pool, do you need furniture for a lounging area? Would you like a gathering space around your outdoor fireplace? Think carefully about how you can designate separate zones in the space for different purposes.
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 will make a small patio appear smaller. Conversely, large patios or decks need substantial pieces of furniture to fill the space.
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3. Do Your Research
With proper planning, you can stay within your budget and 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 see the all of the different styles, materials, and price points that are available to you.
4. Keep A Consistent Style
The architectural style of your home should be reflected in your choice of outdoor furniture. Your outdoor living area should look like a seamless extension of your indoor living space, too. Consistency of style and design is key.
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 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 against the elements. Choose furniture made from dense woods such as teak, redwood, or cedar since they hold up better over time. Avoid wood furniture that has been glued together.
- Wicker and Rattan - Synthetic Resin
Wicker is a weaving process, not a material. Rattan is a naturally grown vine that is 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.
Like wrought iron, steel outdoor furniture is sturdy and durable. It is more resistant to rust, but will still require periodic applications of paint or a sealant. Steel is even heavier than wrought iron, so it won't blow away in windy conditions. Outdoor furniture made from steel can be very expensive but should last for years.
Aluminum outdoor furniture is durable and easy to maintain. Aluminum does not rust, but look for furniture that has a powder-coated finish and rustproof hardware so it stays looking great for a long time. 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 plastics 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. Plastic outdoor furniture is relatively inexpensive and is very lightweight.
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 powder-coated finish that is uniform and will prevent rust. Wood furniture should have a sanded, smooth surface. Wicker should not be unraveling or loosely wound on the frame. Tables should not wobble. Chairs should be comfortable and sturdy. Furniture with joints that are held together by screws will be much more durable than furniture that is glued together.
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7. Pick Out The Right Fabric
Cushions make hard outdoor furniture comfortable and more visually appealing. There are many fabrics that can add beauty, color, and style to your outdoor space, but choose wisely. Pick fabrics that are meant to be outdoors. Typically, the best outdoor fabrics are made from solution-dyed acrylic that resists fading, staining, and mildew. Spun polyester dries quickly and can be less expensive, but it can fade and look worn over time. For comfort and pizzaz, add some throw pillows in colors and patterns that complement the fabrics you choose for your furniture cushions.
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 your lounging area, you can buy a freestanding, cantilevered model. They can be moved around as necessary and provide an extra pop of color. Choose umbrellas with wind vents, a sturdy frame, and a solid base for safety.
A pergola or gazebo can add charm and definition to your backyard. You can create an entertainment lounge or dining area that is shaded from the direct sun. Add latticework, screens, or drapes to the sides of the open structure for extra privacy and protection from the elements.
9. Make It Comfy Underfoot
A rug can add the final flourish to your outdoor living space. Choose one that is made to be outdoors and can be periodically hosed off or swept easily. Outdoor rugs are often used in a screened in porch or under a pergola. Pick a rug that complements the style and color of your new furniture and completes your design.
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10. Store It Well
To ensure that your outdoor furniture and accessories will look good for years to come, store it all inside your garage or shed, or cover it all up during the winter months. 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.
At Meridian Homes, we specialize in luxury renovations 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.