Spring is almost here and summer is just around the corner. If you’ve recently moved or need to redo your outdoor space, it’s an ideal time to start planning. So, whether you want to create a festive dining area where you can spend time with family or a sleek lounging space to sit out in the sun and read a book, don’t wait too long to consider your options. Not sure where to start? Here’s what three very talented designers recommend looking for when choosing patio furniture and accessories for outdoor spaces.
Look at Your Indoor Space First
There seem to be as many options for patio furniture as there are for indoor furniture these days. So, it’s easiest to make these outdoor spaces extensions of what you’ve already done aesthetically inside the home. “Rooftops, decks, patios, and the like are more like outdoor living rooms. So, it’s best to consider what would maintain continuity as you style them,” says interior designer and HGTV star Breegan Jane.
However, outdoor spaces are also ripe for taking design risks you might be too afraid to consider indoors. “Adding a few more maximalist or eclectic pieces to an outdoor setting is completely acceptable, and will help to make it feel like a true entertaining space,” explains the designer.
Consider the Local Climate
Outdoor furniture is made from lots of different materials. If you’re investing in quality pieces you want to keep for the long term, it’s best to consider patio furniture that will stand up to the weather where you live, explains Lauren Lerner, principal designer and CEO of Living With Lolo. “When you are shopping for outside furniture, it’s imperative that you understand what brands and materials work well for your particular climate,” she says. “For example, if you live in a dry, warm area like Phoenix, wicker does not hold up well.”
Still not sure what material to go with? Whether you live in Florida, California, or New Jersey, Brad Ramsey of Brad Ramsey Interiors tells me: “Powder-coated aluminum, reinforced concrete, and grade-a teak are good materials to use in most environments. The teak will gray over time, so either plan for that in your color scheme or make sure you reseal the teak every year to keep the warm brown tone.”
Opt for Performance Fabrics
It’s also crucial to choose the right materials for chair cushions and accessoires such as pillows. “I always look for pieces made with performance fabrics,” says Jane. “Not only are they weather-resistant, but they are also treated to prevent color fading from the sun’s UV rays. That’s huge for furniture that might be constantly exposed to the elements.”
Performance fabrics are generally noted in product descriptions or on labels. Sunbrella is one example of an outdoor performance fabric that’s known for standing the test of time.
Cushions Aren’t Always Essential
If your budget is limited, Ramsey advises choosing furniture that doesn’t require cushions. “I love a concrete table for ease of use that is paired with comfortable mesh chairs without cushions. Though cushions are comfortable, they can get wet or stained and be a hassle, so finding a chair that requires no upkeep is a win.”
Save Money on Accessories
Jane thinks it’s important to invest in larger items, such as seating and dining tables. However, you can scrimp when it comes to easily replaceable decor. “Accessories are an easy (and cost-friendly) way to refresh a space. Use pillows, blankets, planters/pots, etc. to tailor your patio to your desired aesthetic,” she says.
Planters and greenery can also instantly elevate any outdoor space, according to Ramsey. “I always think integrating pots and planters with beautiful greenery into your outdoor space is a must. They bring life and softness and help layer your space.”