When the weather is good and conducive for moving outdoors, there is nothing more relaxing and enjoyable than sitting pretty in a classic lawn chair at the company of your family and friends. After a tough day’s work, it becomes difficult to stay indoors because it gives a feeling of suffocation and it’s only natural to want to break free from the confines of your home and relax on the outdoor furniture.

Outdoor furniture is a key to decorating and enjoying your outdoor living spaces. There are many different types of outdoor furniture such as tables, chairs, parasol, picnic tables, long chairs, umbrellas and a garden hammock. For creating a relaxed outdoor living space, proper choice of outdoor furniture is essential. Here are important tips to help you purchase the right outdoor furniture for your home.

Buying Outdoor Furniture

1. Become familiar with outdoor furniture materials

When choosing your new furniture, the first thing you need to do is pick the material. The most common materials are wood, metal, plastic and wicker.

Wood furniture is very popular and durable. In general, this material can stand up to elements like hot sun or summer storms. It’s a good choice if you do a lot of entertaining because it’s very strong and rigid, thus can accommodate people of different sizes. It’s simple to change the look of the furniture with just a new coat of paint in the color of your choice. There are different types of wood to choose from including teak, white cedar, jarrah and redwood. Teak furniture is one the most durable as it can last up to 50 years.

If you like to move your outdoor furniture around, then wicker and rattan outdoor furniture would be a decent choice. Wicker is made from natural materials. Its durable, light weight and to some extent, flexible. This makes it ideal for outdoor furniture that needs to be brought indoors or moved around frequently. Compared to wood, wicker is less expensive and requires less maintenance.

Metal is often a more economical choice compared to hardwood especially for people who want the stability of wood but don’t want to spend too much. Metal is also a good choice for people who want a furniture with low maintenance costs. There are 3 main types of metals to choose from; wrought iron, tubular and aluminum.

Plastic or PVC is the cheapest option. Stackable plastic outdoor furniture is very easy to maintain. It stands up well to any natural elements except strong winds. However, plastic furniture is not very sturdy and can easily break.

2. Take extra caution when choosing cushioned outdoor furniture

If there are cushions, make sure it will not allow water into the cushioning material. Check for weather resistant materials that can be left out in the rain or sun without getting damaged. Also make sure the cushions are easily replaceable since you will need to replace them after a few years.

3. Go for Treatable furniture

If you decide to go for natural wood furniture, you will need to retreat it once or more every year. Make sure you understand the treatment requirements. Many cushions and outdoor furniture covers can be treated to increase their mold and mildew resistance. Make sure you understand all this before buying your furniture.

4. Decide what’s work for

This is simply a combination of your wants and needs. Consider who will use your outdoor space and for what purposes. A quiet reading space needs different furniture from a place to host your son’s baseball team.

5. Cost

Keep your budget in mind, but shop for value over price. Complicated assemblies and flimsy materials can be costly in the long. Also, make sure you ask about the maintenance costs and general life span of the furniture.

6. Try before you buy

This is extremely important. Check out the styles you like to be sure you will be comfortable in them. Sit on the benches, loll on the chaise lounge and pull the chairs up the table to make sure you will be comfortable all summer long.

Taking care of your Outdoor Furniture

Outdoor furniture is a great investment in your home. When you get ready to outfit your porch, patio, or yard, be prepared to take care of this purchase, just as you would your indoor furniture. Here are some important tips to help you in this task.

1. Regular cleaning keeps outdoor dirt and food from creating permanent stains. To clean your wooden furniture, you’ll need a soft scrub brush and a cleaner designed to be used on the wood. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when cleaning the furniture. Make sure you wear gloves when performing any cleaning task.

2. To clean plastic furniture, you can use a baking soda and a damp sponge. Baking soda makes a great abrasive. This method works well with resin-molded furniture. Once the furniture has been scrubbed free of dirt and debris, rinse them thoroughly with a garden hose.

3. To clean metal furniture, simply add some soap dish to a bucket of warm water. Use a soft scrubbing brush to clean the furniture. If you notice any rust spots, clean them away with sand paper. Rinse the furniture and then apply some touch-up paint on any rare spots you removed the rust. Touch-up paint prevents rust from returning so you can maintain your furniture in optimum condition.

4. Aluminum furniture is stain resistant. However, it can be susceptible to pitting, a condition that gives the metal a dull patina. Regular cleaning helps prevent pitting. If the metal is already damaged, rub the surfaces with a steel wood pad and kerosene or paint thinner. Once the metal is smooth, wash it with water and a mild detergent. When dry, apply a light coat to protect your furniture.

5. In most cases, you can clean the cushion covers by simply removing them and washing then in a washing machine. However, never use the clothes dryer to dry them.

6.Regular use of any outdoor furniture can loosen the hardware that holds the furniture together. Examine your furniture regularly and be ready to tighten the bolts, and replace the hardware if necessary. Lubricate all wheels and hinges seasonally.

7. Always cover your outdoor furniture when not using it. This can greatly help protect the furniture from rain and excessive sun.

8. Storing your outdoor furniture during winter is a great idea. Create some room in your garage or basement in the fall, or consider renting a storing unit for the winter season. Even if the furniture is designed to withstand harsh weather conditions, like snow and ice, your outdoor furniture will last longer if you keep it inside over the harsh weather months.

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