Choosing The Perfect Outdoor Furniture

choosing-the-perfect-outdoor-furniture

Outdoor furniture adds another dimension to gardens and patios, and it’s great fun choosing the best pieces for your space. Keeping in mind what you want to do in your outdoor area and how much space you have helps you pick the materials that best suit your needs.

Prime Purpose

Are you going to use your garden space for relaxing or entertaining? For example, if you’re going to eat meals outside, then you’ll need a dining table and chairs, but if you want a tranquil spot for reading or enjoying the fresh air, you’ll do best with comfy chairs, sofas and loungers. Barbecues are often the center of an outdoor entertainment area, so you’ll need chairs for your guests plus side tables for snacks and drinks.

Another factor to consider is space. For instance, large outdoor patios that flow over into pool areas look great with bulky furniture, but smaller areas such as enclosed decks or even apartment balconies need compact chairs and tables. Remember, you need space for people to move around and socialize as well as for the furniture.

Materials

Outdoor furniture is available in a multitude of materials, all of which have pros and cons:

  • Steel or iron. A wide range of styles and sizes, and it’s hardwearing. May need protection against rust.
  • Aluminum. Lightweight, often powder coated in bold colors. May be expensive.
  • Wood. Strong and durable, but it’s heavy. Needs annual treatment against water damage.
  • Plastic. Lightweight and inexpensive. Long exposure to sun and weather may cause it to discolor or crack.
  • Rattan. Synthetic rattan is durable and weather-resistant during summer.
  • Bamboo. Environmentally friendly, but must be kept under shelter away from rain and sun.

Try it Out

Would you buy a jacket without trying it on? Outdoor furniture is the same — you need to sit in it to make sure it’s the right height and the seats are the correct depth. Dining tables must be designed so that chairs fit underneath with plenty of space for diners. If you’re buying online, try to get to a brick-and-mortar store beforehand to physically check out the items you’re purchasing.

Floor Coverings and Accessories

Modern outdoor rugs are hardy and stand up to most weather conditions. Floor coverings add a touch of luxury to an outdoor space and are a fantastic way to introduce a color or pattern theme. They also help to protect the floor from scratches and marks when furniture is moved around.

Other accessories to add depth to your outdoor decor include:

  • Sun umbrellas, either set in a table or freestanding.
  • Cushions add color and comfort.
  • Awnings or shade gazebos, constructed of canvas or other weatherproof material.
  • Lights for nighttime entertaining; choose solar-powered, energy-efficient lights.

Maintenance

You want to be able to enjoy your outdoor furniture without spending hours every month maintaining it. All-weather, good quality furniture is usually hard-wearing, needing minimal looking after.

If you don’t use the furniture during winter, storing it indoors will lengthen its life considerably. Fold up or stackable furniture is ideal if your store room is small, or go for pieces that dismantle easily. Invest in waterproof and weatherproof covers for big tables and other large pieces of furniture that can’t be easily moved.

Shop Around

Search online, peruse magazines and visit stores when you’re choosing outdoor furniture. Buy the best quality you can afford, and you’ll have many years of relaxing fun using the pieces you’ve picked.

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Mixing Patterns and Colors

mixing-patterns-and-colors

When it comes to designing the interior of your home, there really aren’t any rules.  Truthfully, the only rules by which you should abide are those of your own style guidelines.  There’s no book to follow — no requirements that need to be met.  In the end, it’s just you and your own design personality.

Many people avoid mixing patterns and colors in the same room for fear of the combination becoming too bold or abrasive; however, vibrant textures and hues that seem to contrast can actually be perfect compliments to each other.

Here are some things to keep in mind to maximize your rooms’ aesthetic appeal:

  • Small Efforts Make Big Impacts.  If bold patterns and textures are new to you, try adding small touches at first, then building upon the aspects that appeal to you most.  Pillows and area rugs are a great way to introduce interesting colors and patterns without overwhelming your space.  With these accents, you can still have more neutral furniture and walls while you figure out where to take your textures next.
  • Heighten The Experience.  It’s easy to forget about vertical space in your home, but this often-underutilized real estate can be incredibly valuable when you want to add interesting features beyond your floor. Layering colors, textures, and patterns in your curtains is an easy way to draw the eye up and perpetuate style in otherwise blank space. Consider layering solid sheer curtains with those that have a pattern. Create a curtain trio by adding solid fabric over the two sheers.  This will give you tons of different options to showcase the various layers depending on your mood.
  • Think Big, Then Whittle Down.  Gather fabric and color samples as they catch your eye.  Don’t be afraid to accumulate eye-attracting pieces in the masses.  If something seems interesting to you, give it the attention it deserves.  Once you’ve acquired a good amount of samples, lay them out and begin to mix and match until particular combinations go together naturally.  Be sure not to rule out certain samples based on preconceived style notions; this exercise is intended to show you some possibilities you may not have ever even considered before.
  • Compare And Contrast.  When it comes to mixing elements, your possibilities are endless.  Bear in mind that contrasting colors such as blue and orange will make a big impact visually, but geometric shapes and figures will also add their own effects.
  • Shop The Scales.   Rather than adhering to a pattern of shapes that are relatively equal in size and shape, seek options that give you a full scale of sizes.  Huge, sharp shapes can be perfectly outfitted next to small, neatly put-together polka dots.  The more varied your size scale, the more options you’ll have when it’s time to put it all together.  Pulsating patterns will keep your eyes engaged so you can fully experience your freshly designed space.
  • Scour The Sources.  While it may sound a bit cliched, finding photos of other peoples’ design successes can be a sure way to build the foundation of your own home’s fashion.  Do not focus in on entire rooms that you want to come home to, although it’s great if you find them.  Rather, immerse yourself in finding pieces that you can put into your own puzzle.  What is it about “this couch” and “that area rug” that made you pause?  As you collect images, you’ll begin building rooms that perfectly suit your own personality.

Have you experimented with mixtures of patterns and colors in one room and come out successful?  Share your photos with us at our Facebook page!