Summer is a great time to enjoy the outdoors on your patio or deck. Outdoor living spaces, if you are lucky enough to have them, can be a beautiful extension to your home decor. With so many choices and styles of outdoor furnishings available, and so many opportunities to find good deals on patio furniture, you can make your outdoor living as enjoyable and functional as your interior.
If you’re in the market to upgrade your patio this summer, your first question might be, where is the best place to buy patio furniture? But first, there a few other items you will want to address.
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What Do You Plan to Do On Your Patio?
People use their outdoor living space for a myriad of functions, including eating, relaxation and quiet, or entertaining. The patio furniture you choose should be a reflection of that objective. If you love casual barbecues or potluck get-togethers, you will want a table, and chairs adequate to seat a crowd. If quiet downtime is more your thing, comfortable lounge furniture will be your goal.
If you use your patio for a variety of activities and have space, consider multiple conversation areas, such as a bar area and separate dining space. Or, if space is at a premium, look for expandable tables, or extra chairs that can be stacked to the side until needed.
What Is Your Climate?
Do you live in a very dry or wet climate? How many days a year does the sun shine on your patio? Does it face east or west? How much wind do you get? Evaluate all these questions before purchasing your patio furniture, because the furniture and accessory materials should be appropriate for your climate.
If you live in a humid or seaside area, you should find patio furniture that won’t rust or mildew. Your furniture should be strong enough to stay put if your region experiences gusty winds. And while materials such as wood work great in most areas, make sure you are willing to give it extra TLC to preserve it in arid, hot climates or wet musty regions.
If sunlight beats down on your patio, look for furniture and fabrics that won’t fade or become dangerously hot when unprotected in the sun. You also may want to include money in your budget for an awning or umbrella to help protect both you and your furniture from direct sunlight.
How Much Space Do You Have?
Choose furniture that matches the size of your outdoor space rather than detracts from it. If you have a large area, choose large, comfortable pieces that will hold their own. Alternatively, choose a more compact setting that won’t overshadow your smaller patio or deck.
It is probably best to save heavy, difficult to move decor for an outdoor space where you won’t need to move things around a lot. If your area is small and you anticipate moving things to meet different applications, look for lightweight, multi-purpose furnishings.
How Long Should Patio Furniture Last?
If you choose your outdoor furnishings to suit your climate, use, and space, you can expect years of function as most high-quality outdoor furniture is designed to withstand inclement weather.
Before you purchase your outdoor furnishings, consider how long you would like your investment to last before you are willing to replace it. When you find patio furniture on sale that you like, take a look at the manufacturer’s warranty (which can range anywhere from 0-20 years) and see how it matches up to the time you want to keep it. Usually, if the patio furniture is appropriate for your region and you are willing to maintain it properly, its life will extend far beyond the warranty period.
What Are Different Kinds of Patio Furniture Materials?
The material you choose for your furniture will depend on various factors, including the climate you live in, your personal style, and budget. Here are the most common types of materials.
Aluminum furniture is one of the most popular kinds of metal patio furniture because it is lightweight and easy to move around. Aluminum is durable and can withstand most outdoor elements, including rain, sun, and extreme temperatures. Aluminum is very easy to maintain, as well — a little soapy water and a rinse will usually do the trick. Be forewarned, however, that high-quality aluminum furniture can be pricey.
Plastic (or Resin)
Plastic patio furniture is the least expensive option you will find. It is very lightweight and portable, and will often stack to save space when not in use. It’s best to store plastic furniture out of the elements to avoid fading and warping, although pieces with UV-stabilizing pigments may be more resistant to fading.
Plastic is easy to clean, and you can also apply mildew preventing cleaners to help stop mold in humid, wet regions. The biggest disadvantage of plastic is that it won’t last as long as other materials, which may be acceptable for the price. Do make sure to sit and test drive the furniture for comfort before you buy.
Steel-framed furniture is solid and more durable than aluminum. Available in a myriad of colors, steel furniture is quite comfortable and is easy to keep clean with soap and water. Another bonus is steel patio furniture usually requires no assembly. Steel can rust if not specially treated with a protective coating or wax.
Wicker furniture looks great both indoors and out, which makes it an excellent choice for outdoor space that flows directly from inside. Much of today’s wicker is low maintenance resin material, which prevents it from peeling or flaking. Maintenance is as easy as an occasional dusting or rinsing with water. Good quality wicker can be expensive but worth it for the comfort and durability.
Wood patio furniture requires more maintenance overall than other materials, but can last for years if you take care of it. It won’t get hot in the sun like metal or plastic furniture, but may fade. Re-varnishing can spruce wood patio furniture up substantially, and many varnish finishes will help keep water out and prevent rotting.
Where Can I Get Good Deals on Patio Furniture?
Patio furniture is available in a variety of retail locations. In the spring and early summer, you will see patio furniture on sale everywhere from your neighborhood grocery, home improvement stores, warehouse outlets, pool retailers and department stores. You can even find higher end patio furniture at traditional furniture stores if you want to be able to pick fabric and finish.
If you are a planner and patient, wait for end-of-season clearance sales to get quality patio furniture on sale from higher end retailers or home and garden stores.
Online shoppers have options galore at the touch of a web browser, and you can find good deals on patio furniture at mega online retailers like Overstock.com, Wayfair.com, and even Amazon.
For those of you who are handy and into upcycling, look at Craigslist, estate sales or even garage sales for some real bargains that you can refurbish into unique beauties.
Finding the perfect patio furniture to suit your style, home, and budget is as simple as asking a few questions. Once you have an idea of what you need and like, have a blast looking for good deals on patio furniture!