- Ideas & How-Tos
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Outdoor living spaces are extensions of your home’s interior, making the quality and style of outdoor furnishings an important buying decision. Whether you’re outdoors catching some rays, entertaining friends or having a quiet dinner, it’s easy to do in style and comfort.
Aluminum is lightweight and rust-resistant. Durable and tough, aluminum can withstand wear and tear. Finishes adhere well to aluminum, which is important when you consider your outdoor furniture may be exposed to moisture and harsh weather. There are plenty of color and finish options including woodgrain.
Steel is heavier and stronger than aluminum but not as heavy as iron. Steel-framed furniture is quite durable.
Iron is the strongest and heaviest of all metal furniture and certainly won’t blow away. Iron chair frames require cushions for comfort. Since wrought iron is rust-resistant rather than rust-free, it may need occasional paint touchups.
Wicker is suitable for indoor or outdoor use, making it a great choice for sunrooms, porches, decks or patios. Wicker works best with cushions.
Wood is a natural alternative to metal or plastic. Cedar and teak are excellent choices since they naturally resist rot and insects. Moderately priced, wood may need painting or treating as years go by.
Plastic (or resin) is inexpensive, lightweight, easy to clean and durable. Resin chairs are molded into shape and can be used with or without cushions.
Bistro sets are ideal for small spaces such as a balcony, apartment patio or breakfast nook. Available in most all materials, go with a wrought iron set for a classic look or a cushioned set for added comfort. Bistro sets come in standard and balcony-height and can be dressed up with decorative seat cushions.
Dining sets are the way to go for enjoying meals al fresco. Anything from five- to nine-piece sets are available to accommodate friends and family. If you only need a large table every now and then, look for an extendable dining table. Upholstered or wood chairs give the same comfort as dining indoors.
Conversation sets provide the comfort of your living room outdoors. A pair of conversation chairs with ottomans and an accent table adds a nice sitting area to a front or back porch. If you have a large family look for a loveseat and coffee table set so everyone has room to spread out. Modular sets can be grouped into different configurations depending on the occasion, making them great for entertaining.
Cushion and sling style chairs are two of the main seating choices, and can do double duty as dining chairs. Caned and woven seat options are comfortable as-is or with a cushion, and work great in pairs with a small accent table. Decorative seat cushions are available for all chair types if you want a little extra support, or maybe just a pop of color. Chairs are available with high, mid or low backs and many seats come in children’s sizes too.
The swivel rocker has made it outdoors, and the Adirondack chair is still a favorite. Accessory pieces have gone beyond the traditional chaise lounges to include benches, gliders, swings and garden stools. Collections offer conversation chairs with matching ottomans, loveseats and sofas, literally providing all the comforts of indoor furniture outdoors. For the ultimate in relaxation, treat yourself to a hammock. There’s nothing like curling up in a hammock with a good book, maybe enjoy a nap too.
Cushions allow you to change the look of your furniture without replacing the entire piece. Look for cushions that are waterproof, washable, and mildew- and fade-resistant. Materials range from cotton-blend fabric to polyester or PVC-coated fabric. Make sure you match the proper cushion size and style to the chair.
Canopies, pergolas and gazebos create a dynamic look, and give you a break from the heat while still enjoying the outdoors. Pair coordinating tables and umbrellas to round out your patio or deck ensemble. Tables come with glass, tile, wood or metal tabletop options so you can pick the surface that best meets your needs. Don’t forget rugs, outdoor heating and the unlimited variety of outdoor décor accessories to give you the ultimate outdoor living space.
An umbrella stand will help keep your umbrella secure and in place.