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Patio furniture has evolved from the little plastic chairs and tables of yesteryear. Here are some of the ways that modern outdoor furniture has become a necessity to 21st outdoor living.

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Years ago, patio furniture attempted to imitate the furniture pieces you’d find indoors. As more homeowners design creative outdoor living spaces, however, patio furniture is likewise keeping pace.

No longer an afterthought, garden furniture is now an inseparable part of outdoor living. Learn how patio furniture has evolved over the years and discover how you can get the most out of your outdoor living space.

patio furniture firepit shrubbery

Improved sturdiness

If you remember the flimsy plastic tables and folding chairs that once served as patio furniture, you’ll find that contemporary outdoor furniture has made significant strides with sturdiness. In fact, several materials have proven to be a better choice for outdoor use.

  • Aluminum: Lightweight and easy to move, aluminum furniture offers sturdiness without the added weight. For more durability, look for heavier grade aluminum chairs and loungers.
  • Polyethelene: You’ll find varying degress of sturdiness with this material. For polyetheline furniture that lasts the longest, look for higher-end chairs made with weather-resistant plastics. And through improved technology, manufactured materials like plastic can be made to resemble natural products in detail, making it almost indistinguishable from the real thing.
  • Wicker: This material might look delicate, but wicker furniture tends to be sturdy. Look for wicker sofa sets made with synthetics for the most durable options.
  • Wood: Like plastic, outdoor wood furnishings can vary. Treated wood and softwood chairs tend to be the least sturdy, while tropical hardwood benches are among some of the most durable, long-lasting furnishings.
  • Wrought Iron: For centuries, wrought iron has held its ground outdoors, primarily in the form of fences. Look for heavy wrought iron sofas and chairs for some of the most sturdy and durable outdoor furniture available. When you care for this material properly, wrought iron can be the longest-lasting type of patio furniture.

Although sturdier and more durable patio furniture are an investment, sturdier furnishings can withstand more wear and exposure to weather than inexpensive items.

So set up an aluminum table and chairs set near the pool. Position a hardwood bench arrangement near an outdoor grill. With outdoor furnishings, you can create the type of outdoor living space that suits you and your family’s lifestyle.

Patio furniture dining set St Barths Panama Jack BuildDirect

Nine piece dining room set from the St. Barth’s collection from BuildDirect.

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Decreased maintenance

Early patio furniture easily accumulated debris and dust, showing age in only a few days of outdoor exposure. In order to look new and clean, most outdoor furniture pieces required a regular routine of washing and wiping off the grime.

In contrast, most modern outdoor furniture needs little maintenance. To remove dirt and pollen from most types of patio furniture, including plastic, synthetic wicker, and metal, simply wash the pieces with water and use a mild detergent if necessary.

10108322-versailles-5pc-set-4swivelchair-1firepit-sup-room_1000

Mayaro conversation set : Versailles 5 Piece Set from BuildDirect.

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Patio furniture care

If you opt for softwood or hardwood furniture, you’ll need to seal and finish the pieces from time to time. Know the wood type and your local climate to decide how often and what type of maintenance your furniture requires.

Aluminum doesn’t need as much maintenance, but the thickness of its powder coat will influence its overall durability. Wrought iron and steel furniture requires occasional painting, and these pieces will have a better chance of avoiding rust if you cover them before a rainstorm and bring them inside during the winter.

Kontiki conversation 4 piece set espresso green cushion

Kontiki conversation 4 piece set from BuildDirect.

For many homeowners, low maintenance requirements greatly add to outdoor furniture’s functionality. Since many types of outdoor furniture can withstand various types of weather with only minimal cleaning and refinishing needs, these pieces can allow you to enjoy your outdoor space without investing significant time in its upkeep.

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Superior comfort

Gone are the days of patio chairs that offered no support. Instead of plastic chairs with awkwardly placed slats or vinyl lawn chairs with too much flexibility, contemporary outdoor seating unites leisure and entertaining. In fact, today’s outdoor furniture reflects superior comfort that makes relaxing outside a pleasure.

Simple wooden benches, chairs, and chaise loungers have largely taken the place of traditional patio furniture. Unlike plastic furniture, however, wooden benches and chairs offer both support and comfort, even without cushions.

Contemporary seating

Alternatively, you can opt for cast aluminum chairs with comfortable mesh seats. If you’re planning the ultimate outdoor living space, splurge on wrought iron chairs and sofas with plush cushions. Their comfort level is comparable to the feel of your indoor furniture, so that, during nice weather, you’ll want to spend each moment outdoors.

In addition, contemporary seating is no longer a one-size-fits-all affair. You’ll find both large and small chairs to seat friends and family of all sizes, as well as wide and narrow benches to accommodate different spaces. In many cases, you may be able to order custom patio furniture to create the outdoor living arrangement you want.

Adirondack chair BuildDirect

Classic design of the Adirondack chair, rendered here in low-maintenance highly durable POLYWOOD® lumber.

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Stylish design

Thanks to many advances in patio furniture design, with a focus on both form and overall style, you no longer have to feel limited by overly simple tables and chairs. Instead, you can develop outdoor room design ideas that combine unlimited materials, colors, textures, and shapes to create the living space you’ve always wanted.

Pair a few aluminum sofas and chaise loungers with a coffee table and position some planters nearby to add plant life to the arrangement. Design a multi-level deck with built-in wooden seating areas near the outdoor kitchen and a movable wicker patio set in the dining area.

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Alps 9 Piece Modern Conversation Set from BuildDirect.

Even if you don’t have much space to work with, you can still use outdoor furniture to create the living space you want. Position some comfortable wrought iron chairs next to a fire pit to make the most use of space in a small patio. On an urban deck, soak in the city views from your stylish steel cocktail table and chairs.

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Leave the past behind

Leave the uncomfortable plastic chairs behind and embrace all the features that modern outdoor furniture has to offer. With improved sturdiness, decreased maintenance needs, and stylish designs, you can make contemporary patio furniture the focus of your home’s outdoor living space.

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Resources: 

https://www.builddirect.com/Patio-Furniture/Tribeca-7-Piece-Dining-Set/ProductDisplay_10965_p1_10108318.aspx

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/home-garden/lawn-garden/outdoor-living/outdoor-furniture/outdoor-furniture-705/how-to-choose/index.htm

https://www.builddirect.com/Patio-Furniture/Stackable-Wheeled-Chaise/ProductDisplay_10965_p1_15005882.aspx

https://www.builddirect.com/Patio-Furniture/Outdoor-Wicker-Patio-Furniture-Set-12b/ProductDisplay_10965_p1_15013634.aspx

http://www.ebay.com/gds/Which-Material-Patio-Furniture-Withstands-the-Elements-Best-/10000000177628318/g.html

https://www.patioproductions.com/blog/patio-furniture/best-material-for-outdoor-furniture/

http://www.bhg.com/home-improvement/patio/designs/patio-furniture-buying-guide/

http://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/decorating/outdoor-living/low-maintenance-high-style-outdoor-furniture/ideal-deck-patio-furniture

http://www.pjstar.com/article/20150326/NEWS/150329354

 

 

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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.