How To Choose The Right Patio Furniture

A patio isn’t just to be looked at; it’s to be enjoyed up close. You want to be able to spend time on it. That may mean time alone. Other times it could be a large gathering. But in any case, you’ll want quality furniture to help you enjoy it more.

Obviously, patio furniture will have far different qualities than indoor furniture. The soft, padded materials of indoor products just won’t hold up outdoors. But you still want furniture that’s comfortable even as it’s durable enough to resist the sun, rain, and maybe even the cold.

So what are the best materials for patio furniture? There’s a huge selection and each has its pros and cons. Some definitely are higher quality than others, but your own particular needs and tastes will dictate what’s best for you.

Plastic

Ok, we’ll start with the low end here. Still, plastic patio chairs can serve a purpose. If you’re looking for something inexpensive, this is the way to go. It will, at least, provide a place to sit. A matching table can be fine to eat at.

But other than a minimal functionality, these don’t offer much. They aren’t good-looking, and they won’t hold up long.

plastic-deck-chairs

Where this most basic furniture can come in handy is if you have an occasional large gathering. You’ll want somewhere for your guests to sit. For the most part, this will do the trick. Higher-quality patio furniture is too heavy and too expensive to only drag out occasionally. Plastic pieces, though, are easy to move around and store. And it’s cheap enough that you won’t really care if it breaks.

Plastic chairs don’t support a lot of weight. They’re also so light that heavy winds can easily move them across the yard or even pick them up and toss them about.

It’s not a great choice for something you want to use regularly. It can work for those occasional get-togethers, though.

Wood

Chairs made out of wood can be stylish and add charm to your yard. If they’re made with the right woods, they can also hold up over time.

Good woods for outdoor chairs include teak, eucalyptus, and cedar. Of course, that also means they’re expensive. In the long run, though, it can pay off because they can withstand the climate.

Our favorite type of wooden patio furniture is the Adirondack chair. These are great for sitting back, perhaps reading a book or just relaxing. But many other types of chairs, benches, tables, and other pieces can serve well based on what you want.

adirondack-chairs

Wooden chairs are heavy and won’t suffer so much from the wind. If you need to store them in winter, though, that can be a negative. It’s not that easy to pick them up and move them.

Wood does require a good bit of maintenance. Paint or stain will fade. Screws need to be tightened. It’s also one of the more expensive materials for outdoors.

Wrought Iron

The craftsmanship of wrought iron makes it a beautiful choice for patio furniture. This may be the height of combining design and durability.

Wrought iron’s fantastic designs bring a special character to your yard, especially if you want a classic look. It’s also durable and endures through all seasons.

wrought-iron-patio

These pieces are going to stay in place in anything short of hurricane winds. Wrought iron is incredibly heavy. On the other hand, that can make it a pain to rearrange them or store them if you want to put them away for winter.

Be sure that your wrought iron pieces are powder coated or otherwise treated for the weather, though. Otherwise, they can rust.

Aluminum

One of the most versatile metals, aluminum is known for its light weight and reliability. That makes it great for your patio furniture!

We’re not talking about foldable beach chairs here; that’s an entirely different thing. For your patio, you want quality aluminum furniture that is designed to be more permanent and elegant.

There are two basic types of aluminum furniture: hollow and cast. Cast aluminum is solid and therefore more durable. It’s heavier than its hollow counterpart, of course. Still, both are lighter than most of the alternatives.

aluminum-chairs

Aluminum is rust-resistant, too, which will help it remain a beautiful part of your furnishings for years to come.

In harsher climates, aluminum furniture should be stored indoors in winter. Also, hollow aluminum furniture can be blown about in high winds. Under a strong sun, both types can be hot to the touch, as well. Be careful when sitting on it while wearing shorts or tank tops!

Stainless Steel

The sturdiest of outdoor furniture types is stainless steel. This material will hold up well in any weather. It’s also heavy enough that you don’t have to worry about it except in high winds.

Stainless steel can be molded into a wide variety of styles. That makes it suitable for almost any look you want to achieve.

stainless-steel-furniture

Since it is so heavy, though, you won’t want to rearrange it often. Also, it heats up substantially if left under the sun. Be careful with bare skin when you go to sit down on it! The glare from its shiny surface can be annoying, too.

Overall, though, this is a substantial but worthwhile investment that can serve you for a long time.

Wicker

Wicker is an ancient art form that involves weaving roots, vines, and branches. All sorts of items are made with this technique.

Because of the natural elements that are traditionally used, real wicker works better indoors than out. However, synthetic products have been developed that use the same weaving techniques. Both natural and synthetic wicker offer a rustic feel.

wicker

The advantage of synthetic wicker is that it holds up well to the climate and the wear and tear of use on your porch or patio. They can’t compete with stainless steel or aluminum for longevity, though. Still, they have a decent life expectancy.

Synthetic wicker pieces are relatively light so they can be arranged and rearranged as you like.  You’ll want to be sure that these pieces are secured during high winds since they could easily be moved around.

Make It A Little More Comfortable

A seat cushion can make any type of outdoor furniture more comfortable. All of the materials we’ve discussed offer a hard, unpadded surface. So adding some type of cushion is a huge plus.

Be sure to pick materials that are weather-resistant, especially if you want to leave the cushion outside. A sponge-filled natural fabric cover can absorb water and be difficult to dry and clean. You’ll want a cover that is waterproof or at least water resistant and easy to wipe down.

Adding a variety of cushions, or at least covers, for different occasions can help give your yard some variety and keep it feeling fresh with a minimum of effort.

Protecting Your Patio

No matter what your patio is made of, you should exercise some basic care when places and moving furniture. Stamped concrete patios or any other material can be scratched if you’re reckless with the items on top of it.

When moving furniture, be sure to lift it. Dragging it will leave marks in the surface. It can scratch through the sealant and even damage the surface itself.

Also make sure your furniture legs have rubber pads at their base, especially if the furniture is aluminum or steel.

There are a lot of great options for choosing your patio furniture. Your choice depends on your style, goals, and budget. While no option is perfect, you’ll definitely find one that works for your own needs. You’ll love how you’re able to experience your patio with the right chairs, table, love seat, or other items!

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