Choosing furniture and accessories for your outside space can be difficult, so we’ve made things easy with this handy guide to outdoor summer style
6 points to consider when choosing outdoor furniture this summer
Whether you’re outdoors catching some sunshine, lounging by the pool, entertaining friends or having a quiet dinner with the family, it’s easy to do it in style and comfort with the right outdoor furniture. As with buying investment pieces for your home, choosing outdoor furniture and accessories for your outside space can be a big decision and one you want to get right.
1 Space and size
Treat your deck, patio or courtyard as another room in your home. Your outdoor furniture needs to be appropriately scaled to the area in which it will be used, just as you would inside. Ensure you measure how much space you have for furniture before you head to the shops and make sure you allow enough room to move around the furniture.
A small patio/courtyard or deck can be dwarfed by large furniture groupings and a spacious deck looks best with a larger grouping.
2 Type of furniture
Once you have established how much room you have for your outdoor furniture you need to identify what type of furniture you need for the space. Think about the activities you are planning. A lot of houses have an entertaining/dining area and also a separate sitting area. This will of course be determined by how much space you have. Consider who typically will use the furniture and how many people you need to seat.
What type furniture would suit my outdoor space?
- Bistro-style sets with two chairs and a small table are great for a balcony or apartment patio and ideal for a morning coffee and a read of the paper in the sun.
- A dining table setting is great if you like to eat meals outside and entertain a lot.
- A lounging set is like having another lounge but outside – a sofa with chairs and coffee or side table provides the perfect conversation set-up.
- Hammocks and swing chairs are increasingly popular and are the perfect addition to an outdoor space. We guarantee once you’re in one you won’t want to get out.
- Who said beanbags are just for inside? There are plenty of shapes and sizes of outdoor beanbags available, from ottomans and loungers to the traditional teardrop shape. Kids and adults alike love a beanbag and if space is tight they are a great flexible option as they can be used inside.
3 Style of furniture
There are no set rules for selecting your outdoor furniture but it is important to think about the styles and colours of the furniture, as ideally they should blend with your home style.
If you have a modern home with clean lines then shop around for something of similar design, as this will enhance your indoor-outdoor flow. If matching your neutral interior is not your thing and you feel colour is required in your outdoor setting, then go for it. You have an abundance of choice so ensure you pick something you will love for a long time.
4 Materials of furniture
To ensure you get longevity out of your outdoor furniture you need to pay attention to what the furniture is made from.
For long-lasting outdoor furniture, look for denser woods such as teak. They are durable and easy to maintain as they resist water naturally. Teak will change colour over time because of the sun so keep this in mind. Other wood varieties tend to be high maintenance as they need to be sealed every year. If you love metal furniture, look for powder-coated ones with UV-resistant finishes and rust-proof hardware for longevity.
A lot of the rattan-style furniture is now made with a poly resin, which means it is weather-resistant and can stay outdoors all year round.
Most outdoor furniture is destined to stay outside all year but many retailers will suggest that, to get the best life out of them, you should store your sofa or chair cushions over the wet winter months. Normally these cushions aren’t small so think about this before you buy and work out where they can be stored when not in use.
Just as accessories can make a big difference inside the home the same can be said for your outside space.
Cushions are a great way to introduce colour and texture to your outdoor scheme and make hard pieces of furniture more comfortable. The key is to look for cushions that are made from water-resistant materials and fillings so they can repel the rain.
An umbrella is a great accessory for your outdoor space, especially if your area gets lots of sun. They provide shade and also block UV rays. If your outdoor setting is a neutral colour why not add a pop of bright with your umbrella or select a fun pattern?
Small side tables or stools to accompany your lounging set are worth adding to your space if it allows. After all, it’s always handy to have a place to set down your cool drink or snacks. A small side outdoor stool can also double as a table, making it a great multi-purpose piece of furniture.
Embrace outdoor living even when the sun has gone down with a patio heater. These provide warmth and add a cosy glow to your space as the temperatures drop.
Text by: Vanessa Nouwens. Photography by: Will Horner/bauersyndication.com.au/Supplied.