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7 Tips for Choosing the Right Outdoor Furniture for Your Home

February 3, 2014

Whether it’s for your first home or a rental property that needs a little refresh, buying furniture gives you the opportunity to reflect your personality and have some creative fun. Not only is it something that will provide extensive comfort for years to come, but it gives a space that “wow factor” by adding some depth, colour and flair.

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There are four key pieces of furniture everyone should invest in for their homes; firstly a decent couch – you want something that is going to last 10-15 years. Normally the sofa is one of the first things you see when you walk into a home, and because it gets used so much you want one that looks and feels great.

Secondly, dining table and chairs – these days more of us are entertaining and of course, we’re always eating. This is the ideal investment for social butterflies or if you have children or guests flocking in and out.

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The last two items go hand in hand together and that’s a decent bed and mattress. A good mattress and bed don’t come cheap but the price you pay will definitely be worth it. Once you have these, then it’s time to move onto some trendy additions and finding the right outdoor furniture range for your home.

Just as much as your interior needs decorating, your outside garden or deck is envisioned as an extension of your indoor living space – so you want it to flow, and be designed based on how you will use it the most.

Function and Purpose

The function and purpose your outdoor furniture will serve is the most important deciding factor. How do you want your outdoor space to work? Do you want it to function as a stylish alfresco area for the warm summer months? Or do you want it for entertaining purposes – from your child’s birthday party to the next dinner get together with your friends?

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Most people want an outdoor space that balances entertaining with relaxation. It’s seen as our own personal haven, a place where can retreat with a good book in a cosy chair on a sunny day, or to sit in the shade and take in the scenery of colourful flowers and spring fragrances. Making a list of what you want to do with that space will act as buying guide for you. If the primary function of a small patio is to host casual evening drinks with friends, then there is really no need for a dining table to cramp the space – instead, opt for plenty of comfortable seating, a few side tables for nibbles and drinks to rest on, and a fire pit for the cooler months.

Comfort, Construction and Style 

Great outdoor furniture brings comfort, style and meaning to an alfresco area but just because it might look a million dollars, what is it actually made of?  Choosing furniture that is built from strong bones will stand the test of time – look for sturdy frames and resilient materials like wicker, rattan, metal, solid timber or other hardwoods.

Outfitting an intimate living space with a wicker sofa or a day bed, stocked with ample cushions can combine an effective balance of comfort, style and construction, quickly turning your porch into a second family room throughout the warmer months. If the area is tight, hanging chairs with lots of room to relax in can work great if you have trees strong enough to support the weight.

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Storage and Easy Care

If you alfresco area is uncovered consider how this is going to affect your furniture or if it can be moved to a spot that will protect it from the harsh sun, rain, wind or hail. If the location you live in is prone to tough weather conditions, make sure you opt for furniture materials that can hold up to it.

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The hours you spend by your garden should be reserved for entertaining and relaxing, not for maintaining furniture so opt for easy-care furniture. Any pieces made from the materials mentioned above will look good for years and require little upkeep.

Quality is Key 

Buying furniture should be thought of as an investment so spending on quality over quantity is ideal. When it comes to patio furniture, the old saying “you get what you pay for” can safely apply here. Most homeowners want comfort and looks that last the distance, not a temporary solution.

Size and Shape Does Matter 

Scale and proportion are both extremely important when designing the furniture layout for any room, so your outside space is no different. If you’ve decided on a full dining setting then no doubt it will be the largest piece outside so if it’s too big and wide, it will overpower the space and too narrow and small can leave you trying to fill the area with unnecessary furniture.

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Colour Schemes

Getting artistic with colour schemes leaves a lot of room for innovative freedom, in all areas of the home. When it comes to purchasing outdoor furniture you’re not limited to the white or beige of wicker, the natural shades of wood, or the metal pieces it’s made from. Instead, colour finishes thrive in world of outdoor furniture with bright blues, summery yellows or bold reds.

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If your style is constantly changing with the season though, opt for neutral tones – for tasteful longevity, reserve the valiant splashes of colour for accent pieces, cushions or throw over rugs. Lush greens or bright turquoise can add a playful touch to neutral furniture or mix and match bright patterned pieces for an eccentric look.

One Item – Dual Purposes 

Furniture that serves more than one purpose will not only make life a little easier on you, but will free up that extra space for other items like plants or lighting that can complete the look. Ottomans are fantastic for this as they can be a simple stand-alone bench, pushed up to join a dining table or double the seating for extra guests.

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Fire pit tables are also ideal for warming you and your guests on a cool evening, adding a little flame to the space and serving as a table for nibbles and drinks. You can also create a dual purpose area by opening the kitchen window to an outside bar. Add a granite countertop, a few funky bar stools and you have the perfect hangout spot that doesn’t take up too much space.

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The Perfect Sanctuary 

With a few cosy chairs, ample cushions, a suitable dining table and some jazzed up extras your patio can be transformed into a sensory-rich space. What great piece of furniture will be your focal point?

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