With summer on its way, you’ll need a place to socialize, stretch out, and maybe even snooze outside. Patio furniture can bring a touch of class to any space while providing a place for you and your guests to eat, drink, and hobnob. But keep a few things in mind while buying it, focusing on size, space, style, material, and budget. To help, here’s a quick guide to buying patio furniture.
The first step is to look at the space you want to fill with patio furniture. A single piece will get lost on a large deck, while bigger pieces and sets can make a small area seem even more claustrophobic. Measure the area, and draw an overhead view of how you’d like to lay things out. Are you strictly looking for a place to chat and lounge, or are you planning to eat al fresco more often, requiring a table and chairs? Do you have a lot of family reunions or just a few intimate gatherings? Create a doodle—accounting for traffic and flow around the set—with measurement marks. Then share it with the store or furniture dealer so that they can help you pick pieces and plot it all out.
What’s Your Budget?
Honestly, you don’t want to pick up cheap patio furniture. What seems like a good deal in the short run can turn to rubbish after a few short years (or even months). Also, low-end patio furniture can fall apart even with moderate use. It’s better to invest in handmade wood patio furniture that will last and only becomes more lovely in the coming years. If you can’t splurge, though, keep an eye peeled for nice pieces at yard sales. Furniture also tends to go on sale as summer winds down, so if you don’t mind waiting to put your feet up, you can shop in winter and hold onto the pieces until late May.
Stay With a Style
Think of your patio furniture as a preview of what’s inside the house and a comment on your personal taste and style. If you have a 100-year-old Tudor-style home, plastic furniture isn’t the way to go. Likewise, a contemporary home may make a wicker set look out of place. That said, colors and patterns should align with those of your patio or deck and the surrounding landscaping. Make sure nothing clashes.
One last tip in our quick guide to buying patio furniture—remember that whatever you choose, it’ll be with you for a long time and spending most of its time outdoors. Ponder your climate’s effect on the material. The sun’s heat can crack wood. Wet weather rusts metal. A stiff wind can blow away plastic pieces. Account for how much care the furniture might require in the future, and consider the quality and fabric of any cushions you add. The easier they are to care for, the easier your life will be.