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How to Select the Best Outdoor Furniture

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It can be challenging to know where to begin with so many choices -- metal or wood, compact or expansive, with or without pillows-- metal or wood. So

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It can be challenging to know where to begin with so many choices — metal or wood, compact or expansive, with or without pillows– metal or wood. So here are the top experts’ recommendations.
Spending long, lazy summer days outdoors, taking in the sun, and eating outside in the open air is the best way to enjoy the warmth.

The right outdoor furniture can make your life easier. Lounging out in the outdoors can be just as relaxing as sitting down in a comfortable living room. Or as uncomfortable as trying to sleep on a worn-out sofa.

Martyn Lawrence Bullard is an interior designer based in Los Angeles who designed furniture for Harbour Outdoor. We see it as a room. It should feel warm and well-thought-out. ”

This means that collecting furniture is more than simply randomly picking pieces from a shop or online. It will help if you plan first. This involves determining how you will use the space and how you intend to maintain it.

We asked interior designers, landscape architects, and representatives from the furniture industry for advice about what to consider when furnishing outdoor spaces.
Create a Plan
It’s essential to consider your bigger vision for outdoor spaces before you buy anything.

Celerie Kemble, an interior design professional, based in New York, Palm Beach, Fla., who designed outdoor furniture for Lane Venture, said, “I think outdoor furniture can have three different uses.” There are three types of outdoor furniture: dining outdoors, lounging or pool, and living space. Each has its own set of rules. ”

A lot of outdoor space can be used to create a space for all three functions:
A dining area with tables and chairs
A lounge space with couches, lounge chairs, and a coffee table
A space for sunbathing with chaise longues

You may not have the space to do all of these activities, so choose one activity that you are most passionate about. For example, you may love to entertain and cook, so make your outdoor space a dining place. You can relax with your family and friends by creating an outdoor living space with sofas.
Brook Klausing, a Brooklyn-based partner in Brook Landscape, recommends avoiding chaise longues when space is limited. People romanticize them, but they take up much more space than other furniture and can be used less often.

He said, “People want them, but they end up getting crammed in.” Don’t bother if you don’t have enough space. ”

You need one for sunbathing. Do what Mr. Klausing did in his projects. Add hooks to a fence or wall that can hold the chaise longue up when not in use.
Know Your Materials
Outdoor furniture manufacturers use a wide variety of durable materials. Most of them fall into two categories: those impervious to the elements and will retain their original appearance for many decades, and those that can develop a patina.

Imagine that you want your outdoor furniture to look new for many years. You have many options for material.
Powder-coated aluminum or steel.
Stainless steel.
Plastics resist ultraviolet light.
However, even these materials can affect the elements over time; there may be some fading, staining, or corrosion.

Noah Schwarz, creative director of Design Within Reach and the design director for the Herman Miller Collection, said that you could find a high-quality, UV-resistant plastic. It can look great and last a long time. It is best to work with a supplier for powder-coated metals or purchase from a brand that uses high-quality powder coatings. They can vary in quality and longevity. ”

You can also buy pieces made of wood such as Teak, ipe, and eucalyptus. These are durable but will eventually develop a weathered appearance. You can also choose brass or another metal that slowly develops a patina.

David Sutherland, the founder of Perennials and Sutherland outdoor furniture and fabric company, said that Teak is the “king of woods” because it contains enough oil and silicates to be highly durable outdoors.

Although it’s possible to oil and seal teak occasionally to keep it looking new, Mr. Sutherland does not recommend it. He said that sealing or finishing Teak is a problem because the finish wears off and becomes a slave to maintenance.

Instead, embrace the wood’s natural age. “I like it when it gets that golden color,” Mr. Sutherland stated. Water teak furniture once per week to keep it looking new and weather-resistant. It is similar to watering your plants. ”

Teak can develop a film of dirt, so he suggested that you use detergents to clean it.
Consider Cushions
When shopping for outdoor furniture, one of the most important decisions is whether to buy cushions. These add comfort but can also cause problems with cleaning and maintenance.

You can also avoid cushions entirely. Klausing stated that too many pillows could cause soot to build up in urban areas. We try to choose furniture that is comfortable without cushions or has mesh netting or something similar. ”

This method works well on elevated terraces, according to Amber Freda, a New York-based landscaping designer. “On a rooftop, or terrace, many people don’t want cushions blowing around,” she said. The tie can be helpful. )

Not all designers will sacrifice comfort. “I want my outdoor furniture to be extremely comfortable — that’s the No. 1 ingredient,” Mr. Bullard said. I tend to use lots of upholstery. There are so many unique options available today. These indoor-outdoor fabrics are incredibly soft and pliable and come in a multitude of patterns and colors so that you can give character and personality to any space. ”
Fabrics made of solution-dyed acrylics like Perennials and Sunbrella will resist fading. The yarn’s colors are already dyed and printed at the end of the process, not altered. Ann Sutherland (CEO of Perennials and Sutherland) stated that the yarn doesn’t fade in the sun like nylons and polyesters.

Look for cushions made from quick-drying foam to keep them dry for several days following a rainstorm. It allows water to flow through it quickly and is commonly referred to as “reticulated” or “open-cell foam,” Mr. Schwarz explained.

You don’t have to decide if you want cushions. Instead, he suggested that you find a compromise: Get comfortable furniture but doesn’t include cushions and has thin cushions that can be used for extended lounging.