With spring not that far away, you may be dreaming about warmer days and star filled nights. You might be reminiscing how great it was to be outdoors last year and spend time on your patio and deck. For folks thinking of outfitting their patios or decks with outdoor furniture, now is the time to get some ideas jotted down of the things that you would like to highlight in your outdoor space.

Great patio furniture brings comfort and function to your outdoor spaces. If you’re lucky enough to have an outdoor area, whether it’s a large backyard with a pool or a simple city balcony, you’re probably going to spend a good amount of time there this season. However, creating an outdoor space can be a bigger challenge than an indoor room because your furniture has to compete with the elements.

The biggest trend in outdoor space is that it is an extension of your home. Your outdoor space can provide a comfortable and leisurely escape that can also double as an entertainment space. Many backyards have become the place to host guests rather than the standard dining room. They are a representation of your life outside the home and as such, should mirror your personality.

Here are a few tips for choosing the perfect outdoor furniture for you and your family.

Types of Outdoor Furniture:

Most outdoor furniture comes in four basic materials: aluminum, wicker, wood, and plastic.

  • Aluminum: Lightweight but also durable, aluminum can stand up to the heat, wind and rain. It’s rust-resistant, and you can opt for UV-resistant, powder-coated aluminum.
  • Wicker: Wicker furniture offers porches, decks and sun-rooms a classic, timeless look. While lightweight, it’s important to note that only all-weather wicker can withstand the elements.
  • Wood: Typically the most expensive, wood is always a solid, sturdy choice for outdoor furniture. Teak, eucalyptus, and acacia are denser types of wood, the most weather resistant, insect-resistant and longest lasting.
  • Plastic: Lightweight, low-cost, that comes in a variety of colours and styles; however it may not last as long as wood, wicker and aluminum furniture.

Scale of Furniture:

Whether you are replacing old pieces or starting with a blank slate, the importance of scale cannot be overstated. Once you figure out what the space needs, think of the appropriate layout for traffic flow and best amount of seating. Your outdoor space should be as comfy and well planned as your interior.

Cushions & Umbrellas:

No outdoor space is complete without soft, fluffy, colourful cushions, an umbrella and accent rug. When buying such items, turn to fabrics designed specifically for outdoor use. You will want to look for items that state water-repellant, fade, mildew-resistant and UV-stabilized pigments.

Colours & Patterns:

To continue the flow of the space from indoor to outdoor, try to stick to the same general colour palette as inside the house. As an example, if your home is very monochromatic inside, consider having white and cream fabrics. You can mix it up by adding grays, browns and even some pops of colour for fun. Patterns can also be used for a creative mixing and matching look.

Your Choice:

Whatever you decide to buy, these basic principles will help you to make the right choice for furniture in your outdoor space.