Spring is finally here! And you know what that means…summer is just around the corner. Now is the perfect time to get your outdoor space ready for entertainment and relaxation.
Whether you’re looking to entertain or just create a comfy spot for you and your loved ones, there are a few things to think about when choosing the right outdoor furniture:
When referring to high quality, it doesn’t always mean expensive but it does mean the difference between having long-term, durable furniture and furniture that only lasts one or two seasons. Outdoor furniture is an investment but there are plenty of options that won’t break the bank.
No one wants to spend beautiful summer days wiping down furniture from pollen, dirt or spider webs. So, low-maintenance options are key. The easiest outdoor furniture to clean and maintain is typically made from PVC, resin or plastic (think Adirondack chairs and patio dining chairs). These are often some of the most affordable types of patio furniture, too. And if you don’t want to bring your furniture in and out each year, or you don’t have the storage, furniture covers are a great investment. Protective covers are often available for specific lines of furniture, for an exact fit.
Wood – The key to longevity is to start with good quality pieces made with wood that is appropriate for outdoor use. Teak, cedar, white oak, and even the less expensive acacia woods are naturally rot resistant and durable enough to withstand all kinds of weather conditions, including heat, if sealed properly.
The maintenance needs of outdoor wood furniture primarily depend on the look you’re after. Left untreated most woods develop a silver weathered patina, and because of their natural rot resistance, require little upkeep.
Metal or Iron – Considered the most durable material for outdoor furniture, metal can last a lifetime if you take care of it properly. Most metal outdoor furniture is finished with paint, varnish, or powder coating to prevent rust. And, while aluminum doesn’t rust–hence its recommended use in areas near salt water–it can oxidize (which causes pitting and dulls the finish). Resist the urge to protect your treated metal furniture with a plastic tablecloth. It can trap water, humidity and heat that can damage the finish.
Resin/Wicker – All-weather wicker, or resin wicker, is made out of synthetic material extracted from plant matter. These synthetic wicker chairs are designed to look and feel like natural wicker, except they are optimized for outdoor use.
Unlike organic wickers that are not practical for use outdoors, all-weather-wickers have more resilience and can withstand weather elements.
Outdoor resin wicker furniture is durable but still requires some maintenance to remain in good shape for long. Keep it clean and dry at all times. Clean it regularly, and store it indoors away from direct sunlight during the offseason. You can also apply Tung oil to make it water-resistant. When not in use outdoors, consider covering the wicker chairs with appropriate fabric to shelter them from the sting of UV radiation.
One of the most important things about choosing your furniture is an obvious one – space. While you don’t want your space to feel empty, you don’t want to make it seem cluttered either. You and your family or guests should be able to walk easily between furniture and any decorative elements you might have. If you plan on have large plants, trees or flower beds of any sort this will decide how much usable space you will have for furniture and storage. Consider these rules of thumb: 16”-18” between the end of a sofa/chair and the coffee table and at least 3’ of walk way around all furnishing vignettes.
With large outdoor areas, consider several seating areas – dining, lounging or even a firepit hangout.
Beauty AND Function
You absolutely CAN have the best of both worlds and when it comes to outdoor furniture, you need it. One thing to look for in outdoor furniture is multipurpose pieces. For example, a foot rest or ottoman that can double as storage or an impromptu serving table or a small side table that can also function as a stool. Look for furniture sets that have one large piece of furniture like a L-shaped sofa or oversized glider, and also a few smaller pieces that can be rearranged based on the type of entertaining or relaxing you’re doing.
Adding pillows or an outdoor rug is a great way to add some color, style and personality. Consider removable pillow covers and washable rugs. Note however that these accessories will need to be brought inside at the end of the season.
Outdoor lighting will set the tone for a perfect evening. There are many different styles of lighting to match your style and vibe. Try one of these:
Exterior sconces will brighten your dining or lounge area. These are a more costly option, but certainly a more permanent one.
String lights are a perfect, more casual way to bring a relaxing atmosphere to your outdoor space, no matter the occasion. They can be hung over a patio or pergola and are easy to install.
Post lights are great to line a patio or light up a pathway. These can be solar powered as well which makes them incredibly low maintenance. Just set them up and let the sun take care of the rest.
Looking for more subtle lighting? Try lanterns or candles to create the right mood.
Firepits are a staple outdoor amenity in Tahoe and are a great way to ground a furniture layout and create a focal point. There are many options for firepits, even firepits that act as small tables for setting food or drink. There are two main considerations for firepits:
Wood burning: A great option if you love the smell of burning firewood and the comforting crackle it provides. While this option might not be as multifunctional in the sense that you probably shouldn’t put your food or drink near it, they can have a beautiful, natural aesthetic.
Gas: Not only are these units easily started with the push of a button or turn of a knob (or with a remote if you want to get really fancy), but the heat isn’t as intense as the wood burning options, so you can cuddle fireside.
For help creating a beautiful outdoor space for your home, call Talie Jane Interiors at 855-TALIE JANE.