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How to Buy Outdoor Furniture

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Sag Harbor Collection Dining Set

Sag Harbor Collection Dining Set

Photo (c) Kingsley Bate

The greatest thing about furnishing your patio or deck is that it is fun. Even when you plan and measure and go through all the steps just like when buying indoor furniture.. It is fun because you're anticipating all the enjoyment that will come from using it. Just a little attention to the details, and you're all set to enjoy the sun and fresh air.

Here are some details you may want to consider:

Consider Your Weather

Is your weather hot and dry, or do you live near the coast. Does it rain often? All these are important considerations for selecting outdoor furniture. Hot, dry conditions can make some wood splinter and crack. Strong winds can send aluminum furniture flying, and wicker will not withstand constant exposure to moisture.

Measure Your Space

Consider how much space you have, and how it is shaped. Is it a long and narrow balcony or a broad and wide terrace? Use the area and shape of your balcony, patio or porch to determine the size of your outdoor furniture. Make sure to leave enough space around your furniture to be able to walk comfortably. Apply the same principles for traffic flow that you would use indoors.

For a small space, a bar table set may work better than a regular dining set, because bar stools can also save you room. You can also take a look at café or bistro tables and chairs as they have a smaller profile.

Determine Where You Will Place Your Furniture

Is your patio or outdoor space exposed to the elements or do you have an overhead covering? Will your furniture rest on soft ground and grass or on a hard surface such as a wooden deck or a paved patio? Make sure to get materials that will be a good match for the environment and surroundings.

Do not place soft woods such as pine on a grassy surface and in an exposed area. The moisture from the ground can cause the wood to rot.

Consider patio umbrellas for shade if you get too much sun.

Decide on Material

What kind of materials do you like for outdoor furniture? Don’t just base your decision on how it looks, although that is a big consideration, too. Your weather plays a big role in determining if a material is good fit.

So does the amount of care that a material needs. Some outdoor materials such as aluminum do not need too much care, neither does teak or resin furniture. Wrought iron can last for a really long time and can take heat and moisture.

Resin furniture is impervious to damp conditions and is available in many different looks and finishes

Pay Attention to Comfort

You will be using your outdoor furniture to relax, so make it comfortable. Even if your chairs don’t come with cushions, you can buy or make your own cushions and pillows. Just make sure to use good quality outdoor fabric that is fade and mildew resistant. Your pillows will stay looking their best if you store them when you no longer use them outdoors in cooler months.

Chaise lounges, rockers and recliners are also great for relaxing outdoors. Make sure to try out your furniture before you buy it. For stretching out you may also want to look at hammocks and daybeds.

Have Storage Space

Make sure that you can provide storage for your outdoor furniture for winter. Sometimes even covers will not provide enough protection, especially for materials like wicker. Either have storage space for your furniture or buy something that you will be able to use indoors during the winter months. Another option to cut down on storage space is to buy outdoor furniture that folds flat for storage.

Consider Your Budget

In the end your budget determines what you can buy. I cannot stress enough the importance of buying the best furniture you can afford. If you are economizing, there are some options you have that can ensure you get the best quality for your money.

You can get very attractive patio furniture for less by the end of July and August as fall approaches.

Consider materials that are less expensive such as aluminum or resin, or look for inexpensive woods.

Check out yard sales or thrift stores and buy the best quality that you can find. Refurbished and cleaned, it can look better than new. You might also consider changing pillows and cushions to update old patio furniture.

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