When the summer rolls around, it’s time to fling open the doors and start living an outdoor lifestyle. If the sun is shining or the mercury on the thermometer is pushing upwards, it’s time to start eating, relaxing, and entertaining outside. Of course, all of this depends on the right patio setting and dining furniture to be comfortable. The right furniture can enhance or even transform an outside seating space. But how do you get the right patio dining furniture for your space? In this guide, you can find everything you need to think about to help you choose the right furniture, including key decisions about style, size, materials, and more.
Patio dining furniture style
One of the primary considerations when buying any patio dining furniture is what style to choose. Your decision will depend on what kind of garden or yard space you want to create. Do you want a modernist, sleek and minimal space? Then you need furniture that makes that kind of atmosphere. Think about choosing white, black, or grey furniture designed with clean lines and right angles. If you want a more traditional space, think about woody tones or even painted cast iron furniture complete with designs and patterns.
If you are unsure about your patio setting style, then take a closer look at your home and the property itself. Suppose you live in a modern villa-style home with modern materials such as polished concrete or cement rendering. In that case, it is unlikely a more traditional country garden patio furniture set will be the most suitable choice. Likewise, modern or minimalist furniture may look out of place if you live in a home built in the first half of the 20th century or before. You should probably lean more towards traditional designs and materials.
This is perhaps the most confusing decision you will have to make when choosing patio dining furniture, mainly because of the sheer wealth of materials there are to choose from. Each material has its own set of pros and cons.
Wood is one of the most obvious choices for outdoor furniture, providing a natural and classic finish to any outdoor dining space. Woods like teak offer a high level of resistance to wet and dry weather conditions and can even start to look better with age. But, being a natural material, wood does need some looking after. Mold and lichen can begin to appear on the surface, and intense UV light can cause the surface to break down. So, most wooden patio dining furniture will need regular treatment with oil or varnish and some light sanding.
Rattan is another natural material that offers excellent strength and versatility. Equally at home in traditional designs, as it is for modern patio furniture, rattan is always a popular choice. And a new breed of polyethylene rattan also adds increased longevity and less risk of breakage.
Metals like aluminum and steel offer an incredibly durable finish that can look stunning in any setting. However, it can also be cumbersome, and the material can rust over time if not adequately treated.
Other material choices like glass and plastic provide stylish alternatives, but any material kept outside for long periods will always begin to show signs of aging if not properly cared for or covered in bad weather.
Size and shape
Of course, one of the primary concerns when buying patio dining furniture is the size and shape. Obviously, you want to maximize your seating potential. You have as much dining capacity as possible for entertaining or big family meals, but this should not come at the expense of practical use of the space. Outdoor furniture usually comes in a choice of even-numbered seating arrangements – two, four, six, eight, or more. Two-seater dining sets are ideal for small balconies or yard spaces for intimate eating and relaxing. Larger tables with chairs and benches offer more capacity. Still, you always need to keep in mind circulation space, which means being able to walk around and access each individual seat without too much adjustment.
Your choice of shape – square, rectangle, circle, or oval – is both a practical space issue and a stylistic choice. But be sure to choose a backyard furniture shape that suits the area where it will be used.
Maintenance and storage
As mentioned above, almost all outdoor setups and backyard furniture will require maintenance at some point. The combination of UV from the sun and moisture from rain or in the atmosphere will combine to create rust, mold, discoloration, and more over time. So, it is always a good idea to store furniture in a shady and dry place during the winter months. If this is not an option, outdoor furniture covers can be used to protect from the worst of the weather.
If you know how to clean outdoor furniture, you can also help keep it looking its best. A thorough clean is always recommended at the start and end of each outdoor dining season.
What kind of patio dining furniture is the most durable?
For furniture that is going to be outside, it is an excellent choice to choose the most durable materials. These can include some kinds of hardwood, as long as they are treated regularly with an appropriate finish, as well as rust resistance metals such as aluminum. Glass and plastic can also be good choices for outside. However, no matter what material you choose, a good cover and storage can add years to the life of any outdoor furniture.
How do you pick the right size patio furniture?
Measure your available space, and then think about how many seats you could really get around your table. Bear in mind that you will need circulation space for access to and from the dining area and that too big tables can also make the space feel smaller.
When can you get the best deals on patio dining furniture?
Look out for sales and special offers, particularly at the end of the summer season. This may involve planning well in advance for the next year, but it does mean you can get good deals.