6 ESSENTIAL TIPS FOR CHOOSING OUTDOOR FURNITURE
Get back to nature by turning your outdoor area into an alfresco family room for summer – it’s a less expensive option than adding another room to your home! Good planning will make all the difference between lazy evenings spent outside with the family, enjoying the fresh air – or a few cramped, uncomfortable moments parked on a cheap patio chair before bolting for the couch inside.
We’ll be offering plenty of outdoor furniture options at the Tauranga Home Show, so we’re bringing you our top tips for choosing the right pieces for you!
1. Visualise your life outside
Are you looking to entertain your friends over a tasty BBQ dinner, create a backyard getaway where you can curl up with the latest romance novel, or welcome the summer nights sitting and chatting around a blazing fire pit? Make sure your furniture works with your lifestyle and will provide what you need.
2. Get the right gear
There’s a huge range of materials to choose from. Aluminum, plastic and PVC are relatively inexpensive and lightweight, while steel and wrought iron are strong and sturdy but need care to prevent rust. Natural materials look beautiful – rattan and wicker can be treated with resin to create long-lasting furniture, while wood continues to be a popular choice for its versatility.
3. Form and function
Size and shape matters. If you have limited space, don’t try to overstuff the area with as much furniture as you can find – you should be able to comfortably navigate the area without needing to dodge side tables and move chairs! The good news is, you don’t have to sacrifice style just because you don’t have much room – a narrow table or bar leaner can provide plenty of seating.
Dual purpose furniture is a fantastic way to economise space. A large chest ottoman can serve as extra seating, while acting as storage space for your outdoor cushions and accessories when they’re not in use.
4. Protect your investment
Your outdoor furniture will last a lot longer if you take good care of it. Move furniture into a shed or garage when not in use to protect it from exposure to the rain and sun – if that’s not possible, try to move at least the soft furnishing pieces like cushions out of the elements. If storage space is limited, look for pieces that can fold up, stack, or be easily taken apart for compact storage.
Keeping furniture shaded will certainly help prevent materials from fading and degrading quickly – a shade sail or sun umbrella will work wonders. Cantilevered umbrellas can be swivelled as the sun moves through the sky.
Look for patio furniture that makes use of modern technology such as quick-dry foam, UV-rated fabric, marine-graded materials and powder-coated finishes that will all help your furniture stand the test of time. You can also purchase specialised outdoor furniture covers to protect your furniture from the elements.
5. Fire it up
Nothing puts the brakes on a evening outdoors like a chilly night. Think about what fuel source is most convenient for you – gas, wood or electric – as there is a wide range of patio heaters and wood burners available, as well as tabletop and wall mounted options.
Fire pits and braziers create a warm ambiance, and staring into the flames can be as enjoyable as soaking in the warmth! Make sure your setup is safe and in no danger of tipping over or carrying embers in the wind.
Make sure heat-producing parts are out of reach of adults and pets, and the little ones are fully supervised when they’re in use! Check out safety features such as tilt shut-off features and child-proof connections.
6. Colour and accessories
Accessories are just as important outside as in, so don’t stop at furniture when creating your outdoor sanctuary. Nature provides a fantastic backdrop for bold colour schemes and patterns that would be overwhelming indoors.
Cushions are a fantastic way to add both colour and comfort. To create a real resort-style setting, invest in soft furnishing accessories such as table runners, throws and floor rugs.
Light it up – create a romantic ambience with plenty of lighting such as flickering candles in hurricane lamps and strings of outdoor lights or lanterns. Solar options are a great way to save power and prevent that annoying cabling snaking everywhere.
Don’t forget the greenery – you are outdoors after all! If you’re short on space, a vertical garden is a beautiful and contemporary option.