Home and Family

Styles and Materials: Everything You Need to Know About Picking the Right Outdoor

Spring is here and while some of us wait for the temperatures to catch up with the season, it is not too early to plan for outdoor changes. Maybe it’s your first spring in a new home and you want to add a patio and develop your outdoor areas. Perhaps you’ve been in the same place for years and desire an upgrade for a deck, patio, or outdoor room. Either way, spring is the perfect time for outdoor chores and changes.

Outdoor Rooms

Will you add an outdoor room this year, or possibly more than one? This concept of organizing your outside space into rooms is a favorite concept and growing in popularity each year. Outdoor areas are an extension of your indoor space, so you’ll want the transition from indoors to outside to flow smoothly. Plant materials, such as flowering shrubs and small trees, can create walls and provide privacy. And, of course, you’ll want to choose the right furniture for your renovated areas.

Choosing Furniture

Even if it is still too cool to spend much time outside, you can brainstorm on important pieces, colors, fabric, and the material of which your new furniture is constructed. Learn what’s available before you purchase so you can make good, long-term decisions. Decide what style will provide the look you want.

Materials for the Base

Teak is among the most popular of wood for outdoor furniture. It is a beautiful material with a nice grain, sturdy and long-lasting, and contains a natural oil which creates resistance to outside factors. Many park benches in areas with cold winters as well as outdoor furniture at ski lodges are constructed of teak. Polymer wood is also used in quality outdoor furniture construction. It is made from a combination of plastic and wood, creating a lightweight base that resists the elements.

Resin wicker is a material made from plant remains that will harden permanently and is a favorite for bases and outdoor furniture tables. Concrete is sometimes used in outdoor furnishings. Sources say this is becoming more popular for inclusion in outside furniture. These materials stand up well to the elements. They are durable, and often stain resistant.

How Will You Deal With Weather?

If you’re furnishing an outside room that has a roof or some other covering, this offers some protection to your new pieces. If the furniture will not be under a roof, you might choose something like powder-coated aluminum, stainless steel, or wrought iron as the base of your pieces.

Your weather during spring and summer is a consideration. Are you in an area where hurricanes hit sometimes? Is it windy, with heavy rainstorms? If so, you may want the heaviest quality furniture so you don’t have to move it. If moving furniture for safety’s sake is more likely, you’ll want to choose a lighter weight base. Will the sun shine regularly on your pieces? Choose fade resistant fabric or those that can be replaced seasonally without breaking the budget.

Will the furniture go into storage during the winter or does it need to hold up to snow and cold during the height of winter? Furniture covers are a good means of protection and can eliminate the hassle of moving outdoor furniture to protect it. Umbrellas do double duty as protection from the sun and for your outdoor furniture.

Cleaning

Outdoor spaces will likely be a favorite place to meet up with family and friends during comfortable outdoor seasons. Choose fabric and bases that clean up easily and return to looking new with little cleaning effort. Don’t let a spill break the festive mood.

Upholstery Fabric

When selecting outdoor furniture, pay attention to the fabric covering upholstered cushions. Familiar with the issues created by a steady stream of sun, rain, wind, and other outdoor elements, some manufacturers of this fabric dye the material all the way through. This slows or even eliminates fading and running of colors. Much outdoor fabric today is designed to resist mildew and mould, be sure to ask before buying.

As you select furniture for your outside areas, keep in mind the styles that will coordinate with inside furniture. As your outdoor rooms are an extension of indoor living space, make sure the transition is smooth. Are you buying furniture for an attached deck, porch, or patio? While it does not need to be identical to your indoor pieces, it should coordinate well as the party moves outside.

Clean lines are more likely to compliment your indoor décor. If you choose seating pieces with upholstered cushions, patterns and colors should match or coordinate well. If you prefer a conversation grouping without cushions, pick out those pieces that align well with indoors. As you move out into the landscape you have more flexibility, but styles should not contrast and cause confusion.

If you have an exquisite flower bed or border, be sure to put a seating area close by so everyone can enjoy the flowers and fragrance. If you’ve added a garden that attracts birds and butterflies, furnish the area so everyone can see. Use plant material effectively to accessorize your rooms.

Have fun when decorating your outdoors and don’t try to do too much in the beginning. Add a seating area by the pool and make sure it works for everyone after the pool is open. Accessorize later, if needed. The same goes for other outdoor rooms. Start with the basics and see what you need as you go along. Don’t forget that those great tropical plants you’ve always wanted to grow will make wonderful accessories for a deck, patio, or seating area.

Conclusion

Make a plan for your outdoors that fits your family and their lifestyle. Keep it safe for after dark use by adding the appropriate lighting. Remember to add something special for yourself, as a reward for all the research and information you’re providing. Maybe your reward will be watching your friends and family enjoy the spaces you’ve planned and laid out.