Quality finishes, practical elements, swimming pools, garages, and solar panels – these are some of today’s most desirable home features among Australian buyers. Believe it or not, outdoor living spaces are high on many people’s wish list as well. They offer us the precious opportunity to slow down, unwind, and experience the beauty of simple living, be it alone or with our loved ones. Owning a house with an outdoor space is a real blessing, and it seems like a lot of people know it.
If you are one of the lucky outdoor living area owners but feel like you haven’t unlocked its full potential yet, you might want to consider freshening it up. It doesn’t have to be a time-consuming endeavour nor cost you a small fortune. Sometimes, replacing an old and dull furniture set with a brand new one is all it takes to turn a bland outdoor space into a gorgeous private oasis.
When it comes to choosing outdoor furniture, it’s important to take several things into consideration. Thoughtful planning can help you create an irresistibly inviting outdoor living space.
1: Determine the purpose of your outdoor area
Before visiting any physical or online furniture store, think about how you would like your outdoor living area to function. Perhaps you want it to serve as a family lunch/dining area when the weather allows it. Maybe you fantasize about having a peaceful outdoor reading nook. Your goal might be to create a place where you’ll host fun and intimate cocktail get-togethers. The possibilities are nearly endless.
Once you determine the purpose of your outdoor room, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices. If, for example, you intend on seizing every chance you get to enjoy delicious meals with your family outdoors, then you should look for high-quality outdoor furniture sets for dining. A lounge chair and ottoman combo is an amazing option for outdoor reading areas, whereas lounge sets are perfect for bigger groups. You can even choose to pair a few different pieces of patio furniture and create a unique set.
2: Measure your space
It goes without saying that you need to consider the size as well as the shape of your outdoor living space. This information is essential to determine the size of your outdoor furniture. So, for instance, if you’re dealing with a small space, you might want to opt for a bar table set because bar tables are narrower than dining ones and stools take up way less space than regular chairs.
Another thing to have in mind when shopping for garden furniture is traffic flow. Simply put, you need to figure out how much empty space you need to be able to walk around comfortably. Professional home designers say it’s safe to apply the same principles indoors and outdoors.
3: Decide where your furniture will be placed
Determining the location of your outdoor furniture will enable you to pick the most suitable materials for your environment and surroundings. Grassy surfaces and exposed areas aren’t a good match for furniture made of softwoods, such as pine, because the moisture from the ground can cause them to rot. Such locations aren’t a friendly environment for some metals as well (they can corrode as a result of their exposure to moisture). They’ll be safest on wooden decks and paved patios.
4: Consider the weather and then choose the materials
Bringing your weather into the equation is a must when choosing outdoor furniture sets or separate items. This is so because certain materials “thrive” in warm and dry climates, whereas others hold up better in cold and wet climates. So, for example, aluminium is one of the most popular outdoor furniture materials because it’s lightweight, resists rust and moisture damage better than other metals, withstands rain, sunlight, and extreme temperatures, and is really easy to clean.
Resin wicker is another wonderful option. This synthetic fibre weave (thin strands of PVC, nylon, and polyethylene are used to make this material), is often referred to as all-weather wicker because it withstands rain, sunlight, and humidity. Resin wicker is much more durable than traditional wicker materials like cane and rattan. If you want to infuse your outdoor living space with a sense of cosiness, resin wicker furniture might be exactly what you need.
Wood, recycled plastic, wrought iron, and steel must be mentioned here as well. Both soft and hardwoods are timelessly appealing. However, softwoods such as pine, cedar, and fir tend to have an unsatisfactory degree of weather resistance. Hardwoods, on the other hand, are exceptionally long-lasting. Teak is many experts’ favourite choice.
This may come as a surprise, but recycled plastic is incredibly strong and durable. This eco-friendly option (many types are made from plastic milk containers) is resistant to moisture, rotting, cracking, and fading. What’s more, recycled plastic outdoor furniture is often made to mimic wood, but it doesn’t require the care wood does.
Outdoor furniture made of wrought iron is sleek and elegant. It’s heavier than aluminium, which eliminates the threat of being blown over by strong winds. However, wrought iron is much more vulnerable to the elements. If you decide on this material, make sure the items you buy are treated with weather-resistant finishes.
Last but not least, steel is a decent material option too. It weighs less than wrought iron, but more than aluminium, meaning it provides a sturdy and durable construction. It withstands rain, humidity, and extreme temperatures. These days, steel is treated with powder-coated finishes to resist rust. Steel outdoor furniture has a classic, clean look. It complements retro design styles beautifully.
5: Don’t overlook the importance of comfort
Just like your indoor furniture, your outdoor furniture should provide you with comfort. In order to make the most out of your outdoor living area, look for cushioned furniture pieces. If that’s not an option for you (the reasons are irrelevant), consider making your own cushions and pillows. It can be a fun little DIY project, one that can help you translate your personality into the space. Just remember to use fade and mildew resistant fabrics.
6: Consider storage solutions
Even though you can invest in quality covers, having storage space for your outdoor furniture is smart. This is so because covers cannot provide the necessary protection against certain weather conditions. Buying folding outdoor furniture items and/or pieces you can use indoors is a great alternative in case you don’t have ample storage space.
7: Don’t forget about your budget
Yes, the options are many, but not all are budget-friendly. Give your best to find the best furniture you can afford. By ‘best’ I mean both stylish and quality. In case you want to avoid spending a large sum of money on outdoor furniture, go for aluminium or resin. Both of these materials perform great and tend to be inexpensive (compared to hardwoods and iron, for example).
There are solid options for those who can’t afford to purchase brand new furniture as well. True gems can be found at yard sales and in thrift stores.