How to Choose the Best Patio Furniture
Designing your own outdoor living area requires planning and foresight. As the seasons change and warm weather brings guests back outside, it’s time to consider the best patio furniture for your unique space. Several factors come into play: What layout best suits your outdoor patio furniture? How will your area’s weather affect the furniture you purchase? And, how can you best utilize your budget to ensure you’ll enjoy a durable patio set for many years to come? Starsong’s Outdoor Patio Furniture Buying Guide has the tips you need to help you choose what is right for your space.
Understanding how to buy patio furniture eases this important investment as the outdoor season returns. Choose between a full outdoor dining set, a bistro set or a customizable spot place to simply lounge by the fire and take in your property’s views. Consider these helpful tips for buying outdoor furniture below.
The Best Time of Year to Buy Patio Furniture
Consider making your purchase just before or just after the summer season swings into action.
According to USA Today and Business Insider, September may be the best time to buy patio furniture. Deals after Labor Day—especially in late September—send outdoor patio furniture prices plummeting to free up space for the incoming inventory. Most importantly, avoid buying patio furniture during actual Labor Day sales if possible. The deeper into autumn, the most likely summer-friendly items will see discounted prices.
Since you’ve just finished a season of outdoor lounging, early fall is a great time to design the outdoor seating area itself. Ideas and necessities are still fresh in your mind. You also have an entire season still ahead to enjoy the new purchase.
Life Hacker also notes that May—just before Memorial Day—presents another great opportunity for nabbing these patio furniture sales. Leftover sets from the season before must make room for the new year’s models.
Designing Your Patio Furniture Layout
Every space, whether on a patio, porch, or lawn, can host a stunning and convenient outdoor seating area. Begin by measuring your space, taking into account common traffic areas, lighting and its relationship with surrounding areas. Use online floor planning software for positioning your idea pieces. This helps visualize the realistic use of space, ensuring guests can maneuver smoothly throughout the porch. Once you’ve determined your furniture’s dimensions, begin your search within these parameters to narrow down your best options.
Consider a few additional layout questions before making your purchase:
- Does each seat require a small table or placement for décor/accessories?
- Does the layout work well in relation to adjacent stairways, doors, etc.?
- Can guests flow easily throughout the area with enough space?
Once you get a good idea of what will fit well in your space, it’s important to figure out what kind of pieces work within the space for the type of entertaining you’d like to do.
Choosing the Right Functional Furniture Pieces
How you host indoors often reflects how you may host in an outdoor living space. It’s important to consider how the outdoor space will best serve your family and friends. Do you find yourself hosting most often around a dining table, or do you prefer to lounge with a drink around a coffee table and fire?
When building an outdoor seating area, curate a fully rounded patio set by varying the type and size of seating. Combine a chaise lounge, outdoor sofas and single-person chairs in different groupings depending on your space’s capacity and shape. Multi-piece or modular sets work well in spaces that require movable furniture for large or small groups.
Outdoor dining areas should consider similar flow issues as the indoors—including patio tables and chairs that accommodate your hosting needs. If you often cook on an outdoor kitchen or grill, consider the flow for prepping and serving food. Do you need an extra sideboard for prepping items? Is the pattern of traffic safe from grill to table? For smaller gatherings of morning coffee or tea, a quaint bistro set may be your best option.
In either space, consider the elements and transition of seasons. At what times of the day will guests be exposed to direct sunlight? Would a well-placed patio umbrella do the trick, or would it be most effective to shift the area’s design completely?
Combining Style and Function
Once you’ve narrowed down the general size and function of your outdoor dining or outdoor seating area, it’s now time to consider style. Choose from a range of styles such as modern, rustic, retro or even eclectic. Your outdoor patio furniture style may mirror your indoor décor or take a whole new approach. Most importantly, choose one central style to base your purchases to streamline the look and fit of each item.
The color of your outdoor dining set or seating set works well when inspired by the natural colors of the property. Reflect the beauty of a beach or countryside property by complementing natures colors in your furniture choices. Remember to also consider pre-existing structures such as your patio or porch materials.
Choosing the Best Materials for Outdoor Furniture Sets
Selecting the best materials for your patio furniture always comes down to a balance of budget, durability and the desired look.
Plastic – While plastic patio tables and chairs tend to be easiest on the wallet, they only tend to hold up under constant use for one to two years. Some plastic materials also fade in the sun over time. Similar to a lightweight material such as aluminum, plastic does well in the rain and snow, but their weightlessness means they must be tied down in high winds.
Metals – On the heavier side, materials like stainless steel, wrought iron, or aluminum provide longer investment life and better durability in high winds or rain. They also come in a wider range of stylish varieties for different design preferences. Wrought iron, however, is often not rustproof, so it’s best to cover these items during long exposure to precipitation. Both materials’ weight also makes them heavier to move.
Wicker and Resin – Some of the easiest materials all around include synthetic resin and wicker. Synthetic resin is a wicker material often used in many durable wicker furniture pieces. Many of these outdoor sets include a supportive aluminum frame, and will provide a timeless, classic look to any patio.
Wood – Wood is the most eco-friendly option, and one of the most durable materials for outdoor furniture. There are many different types of wood to fit your ideal aesthetic, budget, and environment.
Adding Final Touches to Your Outdoor Seating
No outdoor living area is complete without the comforts and accessories that add coziness and personality to any hosting space. When choosing outdoor furniture, consider complementary pillows, throw blankets, indoor/outdoor rugs and other soft additions to welcome guests in all weather. Larger accessories such as ottomans, coffee tables and sideboards make for easier gathering and storage, especially when transitioning from the time of day or throughout the seasons.
As mentioned earlier, outdoor hosts should be ready for the unpredictability of the natural elements. Consider where to anchor awnings or sun umbrellas for proper coverage, and choose a place to store nearby rain covers in the case of sudden rain or heavy wind. Also be aware of how much maintenance will be required in cleaning your furniture pieces, as well as storing and protecting your outdoor furniture. These additions will add a whole level of crucial convenience for maintaining your outdoor space. In the fall and winter, even consider adding a fire element such as an outdoor fire pit or chiminea.
Understanding how to buy patio furniture is the first step in creating an outdoor haven for you and your family. By exploring the best time to buy, materials to consider, and all the layout possibilities, your patio can transform into a dynamic hosting area for catching up with friends and family. Make your outdoor seating ideas come to life with less stress. When starting out on your patio design, consider all the above tips for buying outdoor furniture to ease the design and decision process.