Outdoor living spaces have become increasingly popular over the past decade. People are extending the area for relaxing and entertaining without going to the expense of building an extension on their homes. Beautiful outdoor furnishings transform decks, balconies and patios into comfortable living spaces. Knowing the basics about outdoor furniture makes it easy to choose the right pieces for your needs.
Plastic Outdoor Furniture
Going into a garden shop or furniture store can get confusing. There are endless aisles filled with outdoor furniture. Consider which type suits your budget and preferences best. Plastic furniture is popular because it is a budget-conscious choice. Plastic is lightweight and portable so it is easy to move. Usually plastic chairs can be stacked, which is a benefit if you have minimal storage space. The least expensive pieces tend to last for only a few years. Sturdy pieces are more durable and resist splitting. Plastic furniture is available in a variety of colors for all types of decorating schemes. It can be cleaned quickly with a bucket of soapy water and a brush.
Wicker Outdoor Furnishings
For centuries, people have enjoyed the rustic look of wicker outdoor furnishings. Wicker is woven tightly or loosely to create a myriad of appealing designs. Much like plastic, wicker is lightweight and easy to move. It might be made from synthetic materials as well as bamboo, rattan or cane. Most modern wicker furniture is weather-resistant. With the right care and storage, elegant wicker furniture can last for generations to come. Outdoor wicker furniture can be cleaned off with a gentle detergent and soft brush. A toothbrush can be used to clean in between the crevices. Surface dust on wicker pieces can be sucked up with a vacuum cleaner attachment.
Wood Patio Furniture
Wood patio furniture is great if you want a natural look that fits into the outdoor environment. Common types of wood furniture include redwood, teak and pine. Hardwoods such as teak and redwood can last for decades with proper care and treatment. Pine is a softer wood that is not quite as enduring as hardwoods. Wood should be treated with sealants and oils to extend its lifespan. People often choose wood because it does not hold the heat during the sultry summer months. Plastic and metal furniture can heat up quickly, especially if it is kept in direct sunlight. If wood is not sealed or painted, it can rot and splinter in a few years.
Metal Garden Furniture
Often parks and memorial gardens have wrought iron furniture because of its durability and heaviness. It can also be an attractive choice for your outdoor living space. You never have to worry about it blowing around on a windy day. The life of wrought iron furniture can be extended by painting it. Cushions make it more comfortable as wrought iron gets hot in the summer and cold on chilly days. Some people opt for wrought iron furniture because it can be kept outside all year round. Coated aluminum furniture is more lightweight and resists rusting or fading. Much like wrought iron, it tends to hold the current outdoor temperature. Cheaper aluminum furniture should be stored in the winter while heavier pieces can be left outdoors. Use soapy water and a hose to clean metal furniture.
Lightweight outdoor furniture such as wicker and plastic should be stored in a garage or shed during the colder months. Make sure furniture is clean and completely dry before covering it and storing it. Heavier pieces such as wood and metal should be covered during the coldest months. The cover should be properly fitted to the furnishings or tied down so it does not blow off. Adding luxurious outdoor furniture to your yard is the ideal way to extend your living area without moving into a bigger home.
Stacey Doyle writes about a variety of outdoor home decorating topics for Design Furnishings, one of the leading online furniture retailers in the United States.