Use this insightful buyer’s guide to choose the best style for your patio furniture.
Elegant furniture that is pleasing to the eye but also has comfort makes for a highly enjoyable outdoor event. Four primary types of furniture are covered below, based on the the type of material they are primarily composed of: resin, metal, wood, and wicker.This buyer’s guide gives an overview of the benefits of each style and material as well as popular choices from each material type.
TYPES OF PATIO FURNITURE STYLES ON THE MARKET
Lovers of natural materials will gravitate towards wood furniture. For premium wood material, center-cut hardwood lumber with consistent grain is the best way to go—especially if the screws are stainless-steel or zinc-plated or stainless-steel screws. That way, you can maintain your wood furniture yourself by being able to tighten the screws if they ever get loose.
NATURAL CEDAR FURNITURE
Softwoods like cedar and pressure-treated pine are great choices for those desiring to keep their same outdoor furniture for a few years. If you are being economical but still want the softwoods look, go for the pressure-treated pine since it’s cheaper than cedar.
However, both of them look the same when they age (looking either silver or gray), but you can maintain their light brown color if you seal or paint them.
TROPICAL TEAK FURNITURE
Teak is an expensive and sturdy wood material that comes from tropical trees.
The wood is so sturdy that it can last half a century even under harsh weather conditions. To keep the wood’s original reddish-brown color, just seal it with teak oil once or twice yearly. See some of the best teak furniture styles here.
NATURAL WOOD FURNITURE
Natural wood furniture is made from rough-cut tree branches. It’s major drawback is its flimsy nature: it does not tolerate harsh weather conditions as it is unfinished. You could finish natural wood furniture and seal it, but it may lose some of iits rustic charm and end up looking “manufactured”.
The ideal location for this type of outdoor furniture is in a sunroom or under a covered porch.
Another sturdy wood that can last several years is called Jarrah. Like Teak, this wood also has a reddish color and creates a warm atmosphere in your outdoor living area. Wood treatments specifically made for jarrah are used to maintain its warm reddish color.
METAL PATIO FURNITURE
Many people love the sturdy quality of metal, and it has been one of the top selling outdoor living material for years. This material—often in the form of aluminum or wrought iron—is well known to provide comfort, versatility, and durability.
EXTRUDED ALUMINUM FURNITURE
If you’re into sling or strap seats and tube framing, then extruded aluminum may be your choice of outdoor furniture. The price varies for this type of furniture: ranging from considerably expensive in specialty stores to relatively cheap at retail outlets. This lightweight furniture is ideal for stacking because of its simplicity in style.
ORNATE IRON FURNITURE
From the Victorian Era comes the elegant curvy designs of wrought-iron furniture. If you live in windy conditions, you will like this heavyweight structure. The cost of this elegant furniture will all depend on the complexity of the ironwork design.
However, there are some drawbacks to this type of furniture. It’s heavyweight, so it’s hard to move, and the seats are hard (which will require padding). The color of this furniture is often green, white, or black, so you may want to revise the color to suit your taste. If you choose the right vendor, you may also receive a complimentary anti-rust oil to seal your furniture.
CAST ALUMINUM FURNITURE
If you want something less flimsy than extruded aluminum and lighter in weight than wrought iron, then try cast aluminum.
You have the benefit of more sophisticated metalwork, and you also enjoy the same benefit of powder-coated finishing that you get with extruded aluminum. Unlike extruded aluminum, cast aluminum costs a little more.
RETRO METAL FURNITURE
A nostalgic look with a nice design on the back is what you get when you buy metal chairs. Y
ou can revive the look with more vibrant rust-resistant colors, and you can add seat pads to prevent sunburn and a sore bottom.
WICKER PATIO FURNITURE
There are two types of wicker styles: traditional and all-weather. They may look alike, but the maintenance is very different. If you choose traditional wicker, it is best placed in covered locations. Always clean it with a damp cloth, vacuum, or soft brush.
You can use a water hose to clean off all-weather wicker because it is more durable and can withstand the elements. Read our guide on reviving old wicker furniture here.
TRADITIONAL WICKER FURNITURE
Bamboo, rattan vine, or cane can be used to make traditional wicker. This material is best used in covered locations outdoors.
Take care to let the material completely dry before sitting on it to prevent stretching. When the piece starts to age, just apply a new coat of paint.
ALL-WEATHER WICKER FURNITURE
Synthetic materials or twisted paper is used to make all-weather wicker (also known as outdoor wicker). To make the material weather-resistant, the manufacturer uses a special finish, but vendors will still warn against exposing the furniture to too much sun.
RESIN / PLASTIC FURNITURE
Easy mobility, easy care, and cheap prices makes resin or plastic furniture very popular for outdoor living. There are some drawbacks however.
The design is usually simplistic that the chairs look like replicas of each other and do not have any unique designs. They are also lightweight and don’t do well in harsh weather. Resin and plastic do allow for more creativity and contemporary expression at fairer prices.
HOW TO BUY PATIO FURNITURE
When buying patio furniture sets functionality is of utmost importance. Patio furniture sets are often used outdoors so quality is imperative. Finding a patio furniture set at the right price, which fits your needs, and includes all of your desired pieces can take some skill. Whether you are looking for a bistro set, a garden paradise, an outdoor bar, or you’re going for the vintage/retro look, being a smart shopper can pay off. Looking for sales, shopping the discount stores, and checking out the clearance items online can help you land the perfect patio furniture set.
Things to keep in mind:
Consider all of your options. Are you hoping for an outdoor space to lounge around in the shade? This would qualify you for a chaise lounge set, with an umbrella. Or, are you more of a bar set type? In this case remember to consider bar height, chairs, or stools?
Decide on color. Would your outdoor paradise look better in black or white? Once the type of patio furniture is decided, its time to choose the color.
Research which stores carry patio furniture sets. Look in your local newspaper, or explore online.
Begin window shopping. Take the list of stores which have outdoor, home and garden patio furniture available and hit the streets.
Don’t set out to get all of your shopping done in one day. It is best to shop around to find the right price. There are many sales, discounts, and clearance items out there. It is in your best interest to be patient.
As mentioned earlier, the quality of your outdoor patio furniture is imperative. When you are buying furniture that will be kept outdoors, it must meet certain standards. your patio furniture has to be durable. It must hold up to all types of weather. Finding quality patio furniture that is waterproof will increase the furniture’s lifespan.
BUYING PATIO FURNITURE SETS: 10 THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND
Remembering a few things when shopping for patio furniture sets will ensure that you make a responsible purchase. Here are the top 10 things to look for when buying patio furniture sets:
- Work out the desired size of your patio furniture set. Whatever size you choose, make sure your outdoor space has enough room.
- Figure out what style of patio furniture set is right for your outdoor area. Remember the style and make of furniture conveys a mood for your home. Do you want a bistro set, a chaise, or are you looking for something vintage?
- Look for discount or clearance furniture. Some stores might have your favorite patio furniture set on sale.
- Test the furniture for durability and check for any warranties the furniture may have.
- Test the furniture for comfortability.
- Consider protection from the elements such as an umbrella to keep harmful UV Rays out.
- Choose cushions and fabric that are rain repellent.
- Buy furniture that is protected to prevent weathering problems such as rust and rot.
- Know your delivery and assembly options. This will save on confusion later.
- Double check to make sure it’s the right patio furniture set for your home. The outdoor decor functionality of your home will depend upon the ability of your patio furniture set to blend in. Make sure your patio furniture set reflects the mood and style of your home before making any purchase.
A quality manufacturer that will give you a guarantee is your best bet. If you go for the cheap version, you might be stuck with a table with three legs rusting off after a month. So be sure to invest in a set that is under guarantee or can be easily repaired.
Finding the perfect patio furniture set can be challenging but don’t let it discourage you. After all, there are many fish in the sea.