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Outdoor living spaces are extensions of the 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.
Before deciding on outdoor furniture, think about the following:
For the frame, choose metal (aluminum, steel or iron), wicker, wood or plastic.
Aluminum is lightweight and rustproof. 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 is an excellent choice since it naturally resists 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.
Cushion and sling style are the main seating choices. Cushion seats have a foundation that can accommodate upholstered pads. Caned or woven seats are quite comfortable as-is. Some furniture, like wrought iron, requires cushions to be the most comfortable. Sling (or strap) seating can be used with or without cushions.
Chairs are available with high, mid or low backs. Some do double duty as dining chairs. The swivel rocker has made it outdoors, and the Adirondack chair is still a favorite. Accessory pieces have gone beyond the traditional adjustable chaise lounges to include benches, gliders and swings. For the ultimate in relaxation, the outdoor couch potato needs a hammock.
Swings, gliders and benches round out the assortment. Many seats are also available in children’s sizes.
Cushions allow you to change the look of your furniture without replacing the entire piece. Look for cushions that are waterproof, washable, mildew- and fade-resistant. Materials will range from cotton-blend fabric to polyester or PVC-coated fabric. Make sure you match the proper cushion size and style to the chair.
Coordinating tables and umbrellas will complete your patio or deck ensemble. Tabletop options include glass, tile or wood. An umbrella stand is a good idea to secure your investment.
For the ultimate outdoor space, don’t forget rugs, outdoor heating and an unlimited variety of outdoor décor accessories.