Outdoor furniture has certainly come a long way from the folding aluminum lawn chairs many of us grew up with in the 70s and 80s. In fact, today’s outdoor seating often rivals the comfort and versatility of furniture you’d find in most living rooms.
Whether you’re adding furniture to your backyard, patio or deck for the first time or are ready to upgrade worn out furnishings from seasons’ past, the sheer number of choices can be overwhelming, at least at first. Here are some tips to narrow down your options and transform your outdoor space into a relaxing space you’ll enjoy for years to come.
Decide What You Need Before You Go Shopping
To avoid being overwhelmed by the wealth of outdoor furniture options, it can be helpful to take a look around your outdoor space and think about how you plan to use it.
First, consider your day-to-day needs.
- Would you like to start your day on your deck or patio with a cup of coffee?
- Do you plan to eat outdoors? If so, how often?
- Do you need a space to relax and unwind at the end of a long day?
- Do you picture yourself spending evenings outdoors?
- Do you need a space for children or pets to run and play?
Next, think about outdoor entertainment options.
- Do you plan to host barbecues or family get-togethers?
- Do you need multiple seating areas?
- Do you need space to play outdoor games?
Finally, consider offseason use or storage.
- Do you have space to store your outdoor furniture during the winter season?
- Would you prefer to leave some of your outdoor furniture out all year round?
Make a Wish List
After you’ve considered how you’ll use your outdoor space, make a list of furniture that fits your needs. For example, if you plan on eating outdoors often or want to host barbecues, you’ll need to create a comfortable space with room for everyone. If you prefer quiet and solitude, you’ll want to create space where you can relax with a good book or enjoy the sunset.
Here are some furniture suggestions to get you started:
Dining tables are probably the most popular option for outdoor dining and entertaining.
There are many sizes to choose from, so it’s important to think about how you’re likely to use your dining table. Do you see yourself relaxing on the patio with a cup of coffee each morning before work? A small bistro table might be the perfect fit. Like the idea of family dinners outdoors throughout the summer? Be sure to choose a table large enough to accommodate the whole family.
Need extra seating for those impromptu barbecues? How about a spot for summer craft projects? Add a picnic table to a nice shady spot for extra seating that’s easy to clean and maintain.
The perfect complement to any outdoor seating area, an outdoor bar can double as a food buffet or storage area and also accommodate a few extra guests.
Adirondack Chairs / Rockers
Want to create a space for lively conversation long into the night? Add a group of Adirondack chairs or comfortable rockers around a fire pit for get-togethers throughout the seasons.
Benches / Swings
Add a bench or swing to a quiet spot in your backyard for a great mini retreat, any time.
A bench or swing can also help you enjoy the garden throughout the season, engage in a bit of bird watching or relax with a good book.
The Outdoor Living Room
Make your patio or deck an extension of your home with a comfy sofa and love seat. Add a nice end table or coffee table to provide space for food or cold drinks and create a cozy atmosphere perfect for entertaining or catching up with a good friend.
Plan Your Space with Activity Zones in Mind
Most people prefer a flexible outdoor space that can accommodate a wide range of outdoor activities. Depending on the size of your space, it might be possible to create multiple seating areas for dining outdoors, hanging out with friends or even playing games.
The best way to maximize the space in your backyard is to divide the space by activity. Try drawing a map of your backyard and adding in the activities you listed at the beginning. This can help you visualize your space more easily and alert you to potential conflicts before you purchase your furniture. For example, you might realize that the kids’ play area is too close to the fire pit or that you need more space than you thought for a lounge chair or sofa and end table.
Accessorize to make it Your Own
After you’ve decided on the big pieces that you need, it’s time to add a few accessories.
Coffee Table / End Table
Coffee tables and end tables make great additions to lounge areas to hold food or drinks.
Plan on adding an umbrella to your dining or picnic table for added color and much-needed shade.
Color / Style
Colorful pillows or outdoor area rugs can dress up your space with pops of color. You might also add decorative cushions to your dining or lounge chairs, both for style and comfort.
If you plan on spending a lot of time outdoors, consider adding some outdoor lighting.
This can be as simple as a string of decorative lights or a few Tiki torches to full-scale lighting kits that light up your walkways, driveway, patio or deck.
Factor in Durability
Unless you want to replace your furniture every few years, you’ll want to purchase the best quality outdoor furniture that you can afford. You’ll also want to consider how much maintenance you’ll need to perform to keep your furniture looking great from year to year, as well as the space you will need to store it, if it can’t be left outside during the winter months.
For the ultimate in longevity and durability, consider furniture made from premium poly lumber that is completely maintenance-free, fade resistant and environmentally friendly, too. You can even leave it outdoors all winter long!
Plus, poly furniture also comes in a wide variety of colors and styles to suit your backyard decor. Visit Elite Outdoor Expressions to see our complete line up of poly outdoor furniture or visit our showroom locations in New Holland or Harrisburg, PA.