Food, House & Garden

How to Select The Ideal Outdoor Furniture


It’s time to put your outdoor furniture to good use as the season for outdoor living and dining is finally here.
Whether you need help with:
• Upgrading your garden furniture
• Want sizing help with modern outdoor furniture
• Need to know the pros and cons of materials used to craft outdoor furniture
• Need a checklist to make a good purchase

Check out our complete list below.

Finding the right size of dining table
If you‘re replacing your present outdoor dining set you’ll have some awareness of the right size for your space. If this is your first outdoor set then the below tips will make sure you make the right decision to fit your space:
1. Set a scale (for example, 1 inch=1 foot) to draw your deck.
2. Mark the position of doorways and stairs.
3. Use the same scale and graph paper to cut out “furniture”. (Tip: Search online to find furniture you like and then use their dimensions for this step.)
Don’t overcrowded your deck. Apart from ensuring your guests have adequate space to move around and push back their chairs, make provisions for some space for people to easily move around.
If you love hosting larger gatherings frequently, select a dining table that’s the right fit for your space; buy sofas and additional seating furniture next that can be easily stored or stacked when not in use.
If you have space, you may think of setting up a small, cosy area for intimate dining or position table and chairs to enjoy your morning cup of coffee.
Consider buying outdoor furniture with a deck box or integrated storage space where you can store cushions or other outdoor accessories to protect them from the elements.

Which material is best for your modern outdoor furniture?

Let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of different materials that are used to build furniture frames.
Material advantages and disadvantages:

Wood
Is strong and solid
Contemporary furniture made of wood doesn’t get excessively hot or cold
With proper care, teak furniture and designer furniture made of teak can last for a long time
Hardwoods are more weather-resistant than other varieties but will lose colour when kept exposed to sunlight for long periods
May need preservatives to fight decay and cracks
To preserve their original colour, some species require oils
Some varieties are prone to chipping
You need to protect wooden tables against heat marks and moisture rings

Plastic
Lightweight, ease of transportability
Chairs can be stacked easily
No danger from salt water
Resists fading, cracking, rotting and moisture
Modern outdoor furniture may have recycled content. Strong winds can be a problem.
Inexpensive pieces may have a flimsy or cheap look, thus marring your entire outdoor set-up

Cast Aluminium
Despite resembling wrought iron, it has ease of transportability and maintenance (you just need to clean the furniture annually with water and soap)
Remains cooler than wrought iron
Stays protected against rust, fading or corrosion. It can be expensive to buy higher-end outdoor furniture sets.
Lower-priced outdoor furniture sets might not be as sturdy as their higher-end counterparts (and may need to be stored indoors during the winter).

Rattan and wicker
Synthetic outdoor furniture sets, available in a variety of colours, are quite weather-resistant
You can wash the synthetic versions with water and soap and leave them to dry
Typically, the high-end synthetic versions are UV-resistant and won’t crack or fade Natural fibres aren’t as tough as the synthetic versions

Wrought Iron
is stylish and timeless
Can stand strong weather
Newer outdoor furniture pieces are usually powder-coated that helps resist chipping and rusting
Can become extremely hot when kept exposed to sunlight
Not easy to move
Without cushions, it can become uncomfortable to use the chairs
Rusting and chipping can be noticed in the older outdoor furniture pieces
Older sets are recommended to undergo annual refinishing

 

Selecting the ideal outdoor dining set
There are several options to buy outdoor furniture – from warehouse club stores and superstores to high-end contemporary furniture retailers. Depending on what suits your budget, you can take your pick from any of these.
To get additional help in the buying process, these tips from ConsumerReports.org can help:
• Be careful while selecting the height of your table and chairs. A table that’s too high or too low as compared to the seating arrangement will make your guests uncomfortable.
• Check if there are any sharp edges in view or if the finish is uniform and smooth end-to-end.
• Can you place the chairs comfortably close to the table or do the armrests prevent you from doing so?
• Are the seats comfortable? Can you slide all the way back or do you need to sit perched on the edge or at an uncomfortable angle?
• Remember to buy the right seat cushions that fit your chairs or other seating arrangements and have adequate padding.
• Ensure that the materials are sturdy to withstand the elements. If not, check if you need to put them indoors after every use.
• Find if your seats are of a standard shape and size. If yes, you can buy cushions to fit them easily. Since buying cushions for outdoor furniture can be an expensive process, consider the added costs, if any.

Need a matching umbrella for your table?
If your new table is designed to hold an umbrella you will need to choose one that matches your dining set and a sturdy stand (or base) for it. Invest in a heavy stand that will keep the umbrella upright with a snug fit. Consider the materials too. For example, a wooden umbrella would work well with wooden tables while metal umbrellas would look good with most other furniture frames.
Consider investing in UV-resistant umbrella fabrics that can withstand rain, storms and hot weather if you are looking for longevity and durability.
Wondering how to find the right umbrella size that would offer optimal sun protection? Simply measure the chair and table space you need to get covered and then choose an umbrella with a diameter that exceeds the measured space by at least four or five feet.
In case your table can’t accommodate an umbrella opt for a free-standing option but ensure that your chosen model offers adequate sun protection. Remember buying a heavy base stand too as it would keep the free-standing umbrella grounded even when there are harsh rains or strong winds.

Hopefully these tips will help you make the most out of your outdoor area this summer. If you found them useful please share with your friends so you can enjoy their outdoor area and avoid the cleaning up afterwards…

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