Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Outdoor furniture shopping 101

Adding an alfresco living or dining area can bring a different kind of satisfaction to your home life. Lounging outdoors, whether to read a good book or to enjoy a meal, brings you back to nature and the great outdoors. 

Outdoor furniture will be exposed to the different weather conditions as well as regular wear and tear.

Essential to an outdoor space, great furniture can bring style and function that will last for years to come. Here is a basic guide to shopping for outdoor furniture. 

Use and function

Like shopping for any other type of furniture, it’s important to know your needs and plan accordingly. What type of outdoor area are you planning to buy furniture for? For a dining area, is it going to be for full-fledged meals and parties or just snacks or cocktails? Is your seating area by a pool or in the middle of the garden? 

Knowing the answer to questions like these will help you decide on the type, size and material of the furniture you need to buy. Make a list of furniture pieces and your requirement for each before you head out to shop. Planning ahead will save you loads of time and effort. 

Material and maintenance

Your furniture material goes hand in hand with the amount of maintenance it needs. Outdoor furniture will be exposed to the different weather conditions as well as regular wear and tear. 

Comfortable furniture is inviting to lounge in and is a great investment. Choose seats with thick cushions with stain- and fade-resistant upholstery fabrics.

Wrought iron furniture make for great garden furniture and comes in lovely designs as well. You may also opt for aluminum and steel furniture. Just be sure they are powder coated or finished with a rust-retardant primer or paint. Plastic and PVC materials can withstand all sorts of weather conditions and are relatively easy to maintain. They can also be easily moved around since they are lighter than other materials. 

Another material you can use is wood, which looks great for an outdoor setting. It just needs to be treated every so often to maintain it. Choose weather-resistant wood such as teak. Rattan and wicker are also popular choices for outdoor furniture. 

Comfort and style

Try sitting on in-store furniture displays to check the level of comfort a furniture piece can offer. Comfortable furniture is inviting to lounge in and is a great investment. Opt for sofas and armchairs in loungy proportions. Choose seats with thick cushions with stain- and fade-resistant upholstery fabrics. 

Furniture style will largely depend on the materials. Wrought iron spells traditional classic, while plastic and steel look more modern. Wood and wicker furniture are timeless pieces that look great for most design styles. Colors and patterns can also be introduced through upholstery and throw pillows. - Aislinn Kee 


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