Trends and Choices in Outdoor Furniture
by Larry Schnurr, Owner
Outdoor living spaces are an impressive way to expand your home’s entertaining area without a room addition. Just watch HGTV for a few hours, and you will be building, pouring, and landscaping your way to a new backyard sanctuary! After you create that beautiful deck or patio space, what do you do about furnishing it? Do you choose wood, metal, poly lumber, resin, wrought iron? How do you know which is best?
One question to ask before buying is, “What kind of outdoor material should I consider for my space and budget?” The type of material you choose will depend on the purpose of your space and the atmosphere you’re trying to create. The amount you’re able to spend and how long you want the furniture to last will determine your choices as well.
Wood can be an inexpensive and environmentally friendly choice. Treated lumber and Cedar are the most affordable options. Among the wood market, Adirondack styles are popular, and wood-framed styles with cushioned seating are becoming more fashionable. Wood pieces are strong, usually bulkier, and create a natural, rustic feel that can be blended into any scene. Wood is comfortable and usually cool to the touch, even in sunny areas.
Maintaining wood furniture is a consideration, as it needs to be resealed yearly to preserve durability and color. Ideally, during the off-season, pieces should be stored inside, such as in a shed, away from the effects of winter. If storing isn’t an option, it can be covered with outdoor furniture protective covers. Wood is a great option for beautiful furniture on a budget and for those looking for an earthy, organic look and feel to their outdoor space.
Metal and Wrought Iron have greater durability and lower maintenance than wood. Metal is more affordable while wrought iron is more expensive. There are many more color options in metal than wood, and cushioned seating is preferred because metal can get hot in the sun. The durability of metal and wrought iron makes either a quality choice, however, touch ups or repainting may be needed in later years to prevent rust.
A major consideration is that metal dining chairs and tables with glass tops are susceptible to damage from high winds, especially when paired with an umbrella. Covering this furniture in the winter months is recommended.
Poly Lumber is a fairly new, environmentally friendly option made from recycled plastics. Poly Lumber is extremely durable and virtually maintenance free with UV protection and stainless steel hardware standard in most applications. Poly is strong, but has some flex to it over longer boards, so most manufacturers use aluminum reinforcement for added strength. Poly is available in many colors and styles with both cushioned and non-cushioned seating options.
Poly Lumber’s greatest advantage is that it can be left out in winter weather without damage. It is also heavy enough to not be blown around. Basically, the only maintenance required of Poly is some cleaning now and then.
Olde Oak Tree offers Outdoor Furniture in Wood, Poly Lumber, and a combination of Aluminum Frame and Poly Seating. The aluminum frame gives a light and airy appearance, if you’re not quite sure about the Wood or Poly standing alone. The powder-coated aluminum frames are rust and rot resistant and have stainless steel hardware.
One of the things we ask our customers is, “Is your space sunny or shady?” One reason for this is that many people don’t realize how hot their furniture can get when it sits in the sun all day. Darker colors like black, green, and dark brown can be too hot to touch on those hotter sunny days. Lighter colors will remain cooler to the touch, and fabric seats can keep things cooler as well. Wood furniture, because it is natural, doesn’t absorb heat as quickly, and, therefore, it is a cooler choice for sunny areas. Metal and dark-colored Poly Lumber tend to absorb the heat faster.
Whatever your choice in material, you can get the look you want at a good price by shopping around. Be sure to patronize your local retailer who will be able to offer answers to your questions as well as personal service. With some work, your space can be personalized to suit your purpose, look as great as the ones on HGTV, and be a showplace in your neighborhood.
See our Outdoor Living Furniture Gallery