Real Estate News

A Guide To Selecting The Right Outdoor Furniture

Written By:
Thursday, May 17, 2018

The outdoor living and dining season is finally here. If youre like many of us, you may have looked around your deck and realized your furniture could use an upgrade. Of course, if you realized the deck itself needs an upgrade, we can help with that, too

Here are some tips to help you purchase the ideal furniture for your outdoor space. Weve included information on furniture sizing, the pros and cons of different materials, and a checklist to guide the buying process. Happy shopping

How to determine the proper dining table size

If youre replacing your current dining table and chairs, you probably already know the size you need. If youre starting from scratch, or if you didnt size your original set properly, make your first purchase a pad of graph paper.

Then, follow these steps for a foolproof furniture plan you can use this same process for other deck furniture you might want:

  • Draw your deck to scale 1 inch equals 1 foot, example.
  • Mark the locations of stairs and doorways.
  • Cut out "furniture" using the same graph paper and scale. Tip: Look online for furniture you like; then, use the dimensions of those pieces for this exercise.
  • Avoid the temptation to overcrowd the deck. Ensure adequate room for guests to push back their chairs and move around freely. Leave some general "walking around" space as well.
  • Dont forget to allow room for your grill.
  • If you often host larger gatherings, choose a table that fits your space properly; then, purchase additional seating that can be easily stacked and stored when not in use.
  • If space allows, consider adding a small bistro set or bar-height table and chairs for more intimate dining or a cozy spot to enjoy your morning coffee.
  • Consider furniture with built-in storage or a deck box that can protect cushions, grill items, or outdoor accessories from the elements.

Which deck furniture material is best for your space?

Here is a quick rundown of the pros and cons of different furniture frame materials.

  • Solid and sturdy
  • Doesnt get overly hot or cold
  • Teak is extremely long lasting with proper care
  • Hardwoods more resistant to weather
  • Will fade in the sun
  • May require preservatives to prevent cracking, decay
  • Some species need oils to preserve natural color
  • Some species prone to splintering
  • Wooden tables need protection against moisture rings and heat marks
  • Lightweight, easy to move
  • Chairs usually easy to stack
  • Resists moisture, rotting, cracking
  • Salt water not a threat
  • Resists fading
  • May contain recycled content
  • Can blow around easily in strong winds
  • Inexpensive pieces may look cheap or flimsy
Cast Aluminum
  • Resembles wrought iron yet easier to move and maintain
  • Stays cooler than wrought iron
  • Low maintenance annual soap and water cleaning
  • Wont corrode, rust, or fade
  • Higher-end sets can be costly
  • Lower-priced sets might not be quite as durable store inside during the winter
Rattan and wicker
  • Synthetic versions are fairly weather-resistant
  • Synthetic versions available in wide range of colors
  • Synthetic versions can be washed with soap and water and left to dry
  • High-end synthetics are usually UV-resistant; wont fade or crack
  • Natural fibers are not as hardy as synthetics
Wrought iron
  • Elegant and timeless
  • Newer pieces usually powder-coated to resist rust and chipping
  • Wont blow around in strong winds
  • Difficult to move
  • Can get very hot in the sun
  • Chairs can be uncomfortable without cushions
  • Older pieces can rust and chip
  • Annual refinishing recommended for older sets

Choosing the perfect outdoor dining set

Where should you shop for outdoor furniture? Fortunately, you can find attractive outdoor furniture everywhere from big box home improvement stores to warehouse club stores to high-end furniture retailers. Let your budget be your guide. To further assist you in the buying process, use these tips from

  • Pay close attention to the height of both the table and the chairs. If the table feels too high or too low >
  • Examine the construction of the table. Is it sturdy, or does it move easily when you push on it? Are screws or other fasteners capped and hidden? If not, are they made from rust-proof stainless steel?
  • Is the finish smooth and uniform all over? Any sharp edges visible?
  • Do the chairs fit comfortably close to the table or do the armrests get in the way?
  • What about the seats? Can you easily slide all the way back or is the angle uncomfortable? Unless youre a riveting storyteller, chances are your guests would rather not eat their meals perched on the edge of their seats.
  • Dont forget about seat cushions. Do the cushions fit the seats appropriately and have plenty of comfy padding? Can the material withstand the elements, or will you need to be extra-diligent about putting them away after every use?

If youll need to purchase cushions, are the seats a standard size and shape? Meaning, will you be able to purchase cushions easily, or will they need to be custom made? Either way, purchasing outdoor cushions can be a pricey proposition. Factor in the added expense.

Need an umb>

Warm sunny days are glorious hellip; unless youre sitting in direct sun trying to enjoy a meal or beverage. The easy solution, of course, is an umb>

  • If your new table is equipped for an umb>
  • Wooden umb>
  • Most metal umb>
  • For durability and longevitys sake, look for umb>
  • To ensure adequate protection from the sun, use the following formula to determine the optimal umb>
  • If your table does not accommodate an umb>

Know your furniture options hellip; and your decking options

As with most significant purchases, a little time spent doing some research will yield much better results.

Of course, if you are researching decking options, check out the advantages of Fiberon composite decking over wood -- especially when it comes to low maintenance and durability. Composite decking has come a long way; you may be surprised by what you learn.

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