If you’re looking to refurnish or update your outdoor areas, the possibilities are endless…and can sometimes be overwhelming. There are many all-weather furniture materials and styles on the market. Some of the most popular choices include wicker, wood and metal. Here’s a guide to clarify your options and help you make the most of your spaces.
Wicker Outdoor Furniture
Wicker is an elegant, yet sturdy choice for porch or patio furniture. The woven design of Wicker Furniture is a classic style that has become an outdoor standard. While wicker can be made of natural materials like rattan and bamboo, it is often crafted of resin—a durable, low-maintenance, easy-to-clean material that resists sun and weather damage and is sometimes more inexpensive than wicker made from natural materials. Some wicker furniture is constructed with powder-coated steel frames to add support and durability. Wicker is often lightweight, which makes it easy to move around on your porch, patio or in the yard to create new seating looks whenever you wish.
No matter what type of house or garden you live in, the natural beauty of Wood Furniture is sure to blend with any outdoor setting. And you don’t have to worry about durability – when properly constructed and maintained, outdoor wood furniture can be enjoyed for many years.
Eucalyptus is a renewable, sustainable wood that’s a popular choice with those concerned about the environment. It looks great, too, weathering to a soft, gray shade over time that lends a rustic, old-time feel to any gathering. Nowadays it can be quite low-maintenance, too.
Looking for a sleeker, more elegant style? Teak, an Asian hardwood famous for its ability to withstand wet weather, has long been the wood of choice for boats, docks, and even shower seats. This, along with the fact that it needs little in the way of maintenance, makes teak ideal for deck, patio and even poolside furniture.
Many kinds of woods are suitable for outdoor furniture when you add a protective coat of exterior grade paint. Painted Wood is easier to care for because its smooth surface just wipes clean. It has the added advantage of letting you pick the colors you want to complement the look of your outdoor spaces.
Painted Wood does require more maintenance than eucalyptus or teak. To touch up or repaint wood furniture, first scrape off any loose paint, then sand the furniture lightly before cleaning and repainting it with a brush or spray. Using Furniture Covers on painted wood outdoor furniture will keep them in top condition longer.
If you’re looking for ultra-durable outdoor furniture that’s built to last, Metal Furniture is a great option. It’s tough, sturdy, and comes in a variety of styles. And because most metal outdoor furniture now has a rust-resistant powder coating, you won’t have to worry about rain damage. For added comfort, color and style, you need only add cushions.
Aluminum Furniture is a very popular choice for outdoor furniture. Like plastic, it has the advantage of being very light and easy to move, but it’s much tougher and sturdier, particularly when reinforced with steel legs and welded joints. A powder-coated finish helps aluminum furniture maintain its good looks for years. It can also be easily touched up or repainted as needed – just clean and lightly sand the surface, then spray on a couple light coats of exterior grade metal paint.
Heavier and more substantial than aluminum, Wrought Iron Furniture is a good choice if you live in an area with consistently windy conditions. It comes in many styles and shapes to add a classic look to your outdoor area, and can be powder-coated for extra weather-resistance.
Like wrought iron, Steel Furniture is also sturdy and substantial. It's also more cost-effective than other options, and can be welded, screwed or bolted together. Tubular steel furniture is lightweight, offering an affordable alternative to aluminum. And while steel furniture can require more maintenance, keep in mind that a good quality paint finish can last for years. Dealing with rust as soon as it appears goes far toward maintaining the beauty of your steel furniture – just clean and sand the surface, then touch it up or repaint it with a rust-inhibiting exterior grade paint.
When choosing furniture for your outdoor spaces, you not only need to decide on what materials are right, you need to choose the right style, too. Outdoor seating options include chairs, stools, swings, loveseats, benches – even hammocks. Here are a few you might want to consider.
Having originated in the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate New York at the turn of the 20th Century, Adirondack Chairs remain a favorite outdoor seating option, particularly in rural settings. Modern improvements include weather-resistant materials, plus a wide variety of stylish colors.
Nothing says "relaxation" more than the perfect hammock. Constructed of cotton or polyester, they’re built to resist weather for years. You can often add a personal touch with a coordinating cushion set.
Whether in the garden or on the front lawn, porch or patio, a good bench, chair or stool completes the look, as an accessory or a place to enjoy your work. There are lots of great shapes, sizes, colors, materials and designs to choose from. Pick one that blends in or stands out among your trees, shrubs and flower beds.
Get in the swing of the great outdoors with rockers and gliders! Rockers and gliders offer a traditional, comfortable way to enjoy a leisurely afternoon on your porch or patio all season long.
Lounge chairs offer supreme comfort indoors and out. Designed to reduce spinal pressure, muscle tension and stress, they’re perfect by the pool or at the beach—their breathable mesh covers help keep you cool.
Don’t forget to touch up your outdoor furniture with fun, relaxing accents. Add comfort and color to your outdoor furniture with Outdoor Cushions. Some outdoor cushions are made from polyester that is UV-protected to resist fading, and treated to repel soil and stains. Other types of outdoor cushions are made from solution-dyed acrylic fabric that is both fade- and stain-resistant.
Umbrellas provide shade and shelter from the elements, and also add color to your outdoor areas.
Furniture covers extend the life of your outdoor furniture and help keep them clean, smooth and ready-to-use when warm weather arrives. For painted wood or metal furniture, covers minimize annual maintenance and offer fast and easy clean-up. Simply take the cover off your patio furniture in the spring to reveal clean, beautiful, ready-to-use furniture.