Outdoor settings are a natural extension of your home’s interior and, with the right choice of furniture, your patio, deck or pool area can be just as stylish and comfortable as any room inside. There are a myriad of seating and dining choices in a variety of beautiful, practical materials. Choose the product that fits who you are and how you live, one that provides the right combination of practicality and style.
Today’s aluminum furniture is available in an array of classic and contemporary styles and comes in a wide range of colors thanks to powder coated and anodized finishing techniques. Why choose aluminum?
Lightweight. Lighter than either wood or cast iron, aluminum furniture can be moved as often as you wish. Turn a chaise to catch the sun. Move a table into the shade. Rearrange a modular sofa to accommodate your guests.
Durable. Known for its resistance to corrosion, aluminum stands up to the assault of the elements. There is no need to shield your furniture from sun, rain or extremes of heat and cold. Cast aluminum is especially robust and will last for generations.
Beautiful. Finishes adhere well to aluminum, allowing for a smooth surface and a wide choice of beautiful colors. Add cushions made with weather resistant fabrics in fresh, contemporary colors and patterns to enliven your outdoor setting.
All-weather wicker reinvents the natural beauty of wicker for modern lifestyles. Today’s low-maintenance woven material (also known as resin wicker) is versatile, durable and available in distinctive weaves and natural looking colors. Unlike traditional painted wicker, the surface won't peel or flake. All-weather wicker lives happily indoors or out. It’s an excellent choice for sunrooms, porches or patios. Select cushions in a weather-resistant fabric to add comfort and perhaps a dash of pattern or color to your wicker patio group.
The beauty and warmth of wood have timeless appeal. And each species has unique properties to consider when choosing outdoor furniture. Teak and mahogany are among the most popular choices for today’s homes.
Teak. Beautiful and durable, teak’s oil content acts as a natural preservative, allowing teak furniture to remain out of doors with little or no finish. Untreated, teak weathers to a soft silvery-gray patina. The wood will not rot, warp, shrink or swell, making teak an ideal choice for climates where temperatures rise and fall to extremes. Teak also polishes and takes varnish well—simply remove surface resins with a solvent before staining.
Mahogany. One of the world’s most prized hardwoods, mahogany has a rich reddish color that darkens over time to a deep russet or brown. Mahogany weathers well and is one of the most stable timbers, creating patio furniture of exceptional strength, durability and beauty. Be sure to apply a coat of protective finish. And keep in mind that mahogany commands a premium price.
Sunbrella® Weather Resistant Fabrics
Cushions and throw pillows add comfort, color and style to your patio. Modern outdoor seating enjoys the advantages of cushions and pillows with coverings made from weather-resistant textiles that that allow you to dress your furniture with variety and personality. Look for textiles like Sunbrella® that utilize solution-dyed yarns. These fabrics resist UV light and are resilient enough to withstand frequent use.
SMART CHOICES: FURNITURE THAT WORKS FOR YOU
When purchasing furniture, consider the setting in which it will live - the size of your outdoor space, its orientation to views and exposure to sun, wind and moisture. You will also want to think about how often you use your patio or deck and for what purpose - reading and relaxing or dining and entertaining. If you often invite friends and family for dinner al fresco, you will need a substantial dining set. If you use your patio as a quiet retreat, a lounge chair and ottoman or an adjustable chaise will be key. You may also want to consider whether there is storage available for your furniture or if it will remain out of doors year round.
If your patio space is smaller, an aluminum or wrought iron bistro table may be a good choice. If you have a larger outdoor area, or entertain on a regular basis, a long rectangular table or two smaller squares in a robust material like teak or cast aluminum will best serve your needs. You can push the two smaller tables together whenyou have a crowd and use singly for an intimate gathering. A 46” diameter table seats four comfortably, but can squeeze in six. A 60” table seats eight to ten. A standard rectangular table for eight people is 36” x 72.”
You will also want to think about what type of surface will work best for you. Tabletops may be glass, metal, marble, wood or wood that has been infused with resin for greater resistance to moisture and the inevitable spills that occur at the dining table.
Contemporary seating has evolved along with modern lifestyles. Today, you can select from an extraordinary variety of styles, materials and types of seating, including modular products that allow you to change-up your seating configurations. If you have sufficient space, modular seating is wonderfully versatile. The pieces can be arranged and re-arranged as desired. Other seating options include sofas and lounge chairs, stools and benches, bar height stools, recliners, swivel rockers and chaise lounges. Whether you choose sling seating with a streamlined aluminum frame or a cozy cushioned lounge chair crafted of all-weather wicker, you will want to shop for durability and comfort.
If you have a smaller patio, or plan to port your furniture from place to place, consider buying lightweight pieces that fold and unfold as your needs change. Folding designs also make it easier to stow pieces like extra chairs and stools when they are not in use. You can find folding chairs and tables in aluminum, steel, wood or plastic and in a variety of styles.
No patio is complete without an umbrella to provide shade from the sun and add a touch of personality. Patio umbrellas are most often built of aluminum, steel or wood, with canopies in a variety of sizes, shapes and materials with varying degrees of resistance to the effects of moisture and UV rays. Think about your patio’s exposure to sun, wind and salty, wet air to find the right option.
To complete your outdoor space, carts and cabinets offer a way to stow cushions, rugs, lighting and other outdoor accessories that require protection from harsh weather conditions. Carts provide convenient storage and, because they are mounted on wheels can be rolled from place to place to keep items within easy reach.
While most patio furniture is highly resistant to weather, furniture covers can extend the life of your seating or dining pieces, especially if the furniture is exposed to extremes of temperature or wet, salty air. If your climate has harsh winters, it is best to stow furniture inside during the coldest months.
Regular light maintenance will also help maintain the beauty of your furniture. Brush cushions clean before dirt has a chance to become imbedded in the fabric. Run a clean, damp cloth over all-weather wicker and aluminum, steel and wood frames to remove dirt, dust and fibers that may cling to the surface. Occasionally wash with soapy water and rinse clean. You may wish to apply a protective wax or oil where appropriate on steel or wood furniture to protect and preserve its beauty.