Getting your outdoor furniture right

When it comes to choosing outdoor furniture, there are a number of elements, other than style, that should be given some thought. And with the amount of time we now tend to spend living outdoors, it’s vital that you make considered choices to ensure your furniture lasts the distance (trust us, your wallet will thank you in the long run!). The two most important considerations are location and material.

Where your furniture will be located will determine what materials and styles will be best suited. Undercover areas that are protected from weather and direct sunlight will give you more options. Rattan, as an example and which is very on-trend right now, is an ideal option for undercover and protected areas as it needs to be kept out of direct weather or it will simply begin to break down and go mildewed.

If there is any upholstery or cushions In undercover areas, they won’t necessarily require outdoor foam (which can be firmer and not as comfortable), however we would definitely suggest using a high quality outdoor fabric for upholstering. Any moisture in the air can cause mildew and mould, which is near impossible to get rid of once it’s set in. Not all ‘outdoor’ fabrics are made equally – let’s just say, you get what you pay for (in every situation really!). We prefer to use 100% solution dyed acrylic, as we have found it to consistently last the distance over other options such as polyester and poly-olefin.

If your furniture is going to be outside in full weather, you have a trickier task at hand. If there is any upholstery or cushions, outdoor foam is essential as it has been manufactured to allow water to run through and drain quickly (rather than soak it up and retain). Quality outdoor fabric is also essential and we’d still recommend bringing in cushions out of the weather when not in use, as not much can withstand our summer sun. If it is left outside 100% of the time, you will lessen the lifespan of any upholstered items and you’d be lucky to get a solid 2 years use.

As for furniture, one of the best options is teak, as it is a naturally oily timber that resists moisture and can withstand our harsh climate. Choosing the best grade and sustainable teak is important – the older it is, the stronger it is – and it needs to be manufactured and kiln dried to the highest of standards to ensure quality. Teak left to age naturally turns a beautiful silver-grey, yet with a light sanding can be returned to its warm, light timber colour. If you choose to oil it, it will maintain its original colour, however you will need to commit to oiling it once or twice a year. There really is no other timber that withstands weather like quality teak.

Then there are synthetic options, such as polyethylene fiber & wicker, acrylic rope & weaves combined with aluminum and stainless steel frames. We always opt for powder-coat to any metal legs or table tops, as it gives more resistance to rust. However it only takes a scratch to the powder-coating to allow rust in, so treat your furniture gently.

At the end of the day, the quality of the furniture and furnishings you choose, will generally dictate their lifespan. We really can’t emphasise enough that it is best to invest in quality outdoor furniture from trusted suppliers who specialise in outdoor furniture, as they have done the research and used the highest grade materials to ensure longevity. While it may be a costly initial outlay, it will pay off in the long run when you see years of use and enjoyment, rather than needing to replace every 2 years (much better for the environment too!). We love to create beautiful outdoor spaces for our clients and have years of experience in selections, so if you need assistance, we’re here to help!