The patio (or porch, or deck, or yard–anywhere you can use outdoor furniture) is a wonderful place to hang out in warm weather, no matter which season feels comfortably warm where you live.
Outdoor living is growing in popularity, too. Global Market Insights reports that the outdoor furniture market size is expected to reach 23 billion (USD) by 2024.
The report says that, while much of this growth is driven by the tourism industry (hotels, public parks, etc.), spending is also increasing in the residential sector. They say to expect new, more durable and eco-friendly materials in the next few years, as well.
Read on to find out what criteria we think you should consider if you want to get the best outdoor furniture possible.
Seven Qualities of the Best Patio Furniture
The cost of new patio furniture should be within the reach of most people. A lot of very stylish, and good quality outdoor furniture is available for a reasonable price.
Of course, there are higher-end options as well, with quite a few choices there, too. But don’t let looks fool you. Whatever the look you desire, it probably is available from a discount or overstock outlet.
Still, it’s a good idea to read reviews on patio furniture before making the final decision about whether or not to buy a particular set.
Do parts of your body hurt after sitting in a chair. That’s not comfort. Is it comfortable, even without cushions? That’s comfort!
If the chair has a table to go with it, is the chair at a height that allows you to reach the table comfortably?
And, does the chair have any features that will allow you to adjust it to make it more comfortable?
When buying outdoor furniture, comfort definitely is a consideration. If you really want comfort that is tailored to you, consider custom outdoor furniture. That is sure to be quality outdoor furniture.
3. Overall Durability
Business Insider’s Lulu Chang says, “First and foremost, you’ll want to be sure that your purchase is one that is capable of withstanding the seasons and their elements. After all, if this furniture is going to live outside, it’ll have to be a bit heartier than the couch in your living room.”
The test of time: will you still be using this furniture, in good condition, after five years? If it’s not that durable, you might not have gotten the best value.
One thing to look at or ask about are recommendations specific to the climate where you live. No matter how well made the furniture is, if its materials are not appropriate for your climate, it’s not likely to hold up for as long as you would like.
4. Water and Fade Resistance
Have you ever accidentally left your patio furniture out and uncovered when it rained? Did you have to wait days for it to dry out, so that you could actually use it to sit on?
And, have you ever noticed the furniture that was brand new last summer is suddenly looking faded?
No outdoor cushions are entirely resistant to the elements, but some are better than others–especially if you care for them well. Check out some advice on how to maintain outdoor furniture cushions and other components.
Design can refer to look and elegance. It can also refer to ergonomics (i.e., designed for comfort and functionality). Together, these make a great combination.
Having items available in a variety of different colors is a good attribute, too. It helps create the overall look of the patio space, while also satisfying the owner’s tastes.
Functionality is part of the design. Does the armchair recline? Is it easy to recline? How many positions does the reclining armchair have? Does the side table double as storage space?
6. Ease of Assembly
If you don’t have to put the furniture together at all, that’s great! But most will arrive ready to assemble, especially the more moderately priced items. As we know, some assemble-yourself furniture is a walk in the park to assemble, while other furniture is more like a walk through a swamp.
If you can get a look at the assembly manual before buying, you at least can have some idea what to expect–and maybe pay someone to do the assembly for you.
7. Ease of Lifting and Moving
You may be able to lift 100 pounds with no problems. But if 40 pounds is a challenge, you might not be able to move your patio furniture without help. Perhaps you should consider some of the lighter weight materials, such as aluminum or wicker. As mentioned above, though, make sure the materials are the right ones for where you live.
Storage is a big consideration that’s related to lifting and moving. Once you lift and move the furniture, you need to put it somewhere. If it’s the end of the season, that might be the basement, the garage, a paid storage facility. a friend’s place, or someplace you haven’t even thought of yet.
Be sure you package the furniture with consideration of where it will be stored. At a minimum, any fabric parts should be wrapped in plastic. SpareFoot has more recommendations.
Completing Your Patio
If your patio experience is going to be complete, we mean complete, then it can’t have furniture all by itself. Therefore, you need to consider some other things:
Don’t forget the umbrella…
While not exactly a piece of furniture, what patio “environment” would be complete without a large umbrella– or some other type of overhead covering? After all, if you’re going to enjoy time outside, you want to protect yourself, your family, and your guests from overexposure to the sun.
Don’t forget the plants…
It’s not as though your yard doesn’t already have plants. But if you’re thinking of your patio as your “outdoor living room.” then it has to look as much like a living room as a patio. Need we say more? Plants are a great addition to any space!
And don’t forget the fire pit!
Depending on where you live, evenings from spring through fall can get chilly. Or buggy. A fire pit is the solution to both. Besides, it just makes people feel comfortable with each other. So add a few glasses of wine, and you’re good to go.
A recent slide show from House Beautiful offers some ideas for the overall arrangement and design of your patio. Give it a look, and then give your imagination free rein!
To Sum Up
There is a lot of quality outdoor furniture–quality patio furniture specifically–to choose from. Based on the prediction described at the start of this article, it seems likely you will have even more options for buying outdoor furniture in the near future, too.
But remember, don’t start buying patio furniture based on appearance alone. First, do some research on the best patio furniture to serve the specific needs of your climate as well as your lifestyle!