If you plan to do some landscaping, have a cookout, or refresh the look of your backyard, chances are the patio furniture is in the cards as well.
Even so, the fun part of shopping for patio furniture can be easily dampened by the number of materials and styles you should glean through.
However, bear in mind that knowing all the key tips can remove the confusion and help you go for the right pieces.
Manufactured Home Patio Furniture Options: Eight Shopping Factors
Consider these factors if you want to choose the perfect pieces for your patio:
1. Frame Construction
Choose a product that will last.
The material used to make the frame of the furniture has a big say on the durability and even strength of the set.
Of course, you should consider the weight of the material as well especially if you have plans to move them frequently.
Tough and durable, aluminum will stand up to wear and tear for longer.
Because the furniture will stay outdoors the entire time, it needs to come with a finish that can stand up to weather insults like hot sun and moisture.
The good news is that aluminum works well with most finishes, and they adhere to it better than any other material.
Steel falls somewhere between aluminum and iron – it is stronger and heavier than aluminum but lighter than iron.
If your objective is durability, you can place your bet on steel-framed patio furniture. The main drawback of steel, however, is its susceptibility to rust.
No furniture framing material beats iron in weight and strength.
Iron chair frames come with one setback though – you can’t use them without cushions.
Also, wrought iron is designed to be rust-resistant – absolutely not rust-free.
For that reason, you will need to retouch your furniture with paint once in a while. Choose powder-coated wrought iron to repel rust.
Wicker is used to make both outdoor and indoor furniture, meaning it’s still great for your patio furniture.
Just like iron, its furniture works better with cushions on them.
If you prefer low-maintenance furniture, go for wooden furniture, more so teak furniture.
Teak is a hardy tropical wood whose reliance has earned it a place in the boat-building industry.
Left outside, it slowly weathers from dark brown to silvery or grayish hues and can keep delivering for close to a century.
If you want to keep your teak furniture brown, you will need to apply some Golden Care’s Teak Protector twice yearly.
Alternatively, you can choose cedar or eucalyptus options.
Eucalyptus is cheaper than teak and still lasts longer (about 20 years) but must be treated frequently if you must leave it outside the entire time.
When purchasing wooden patio furniture, look for stainless-steel screws (won’t rust easily) and a mortise-and-tenon build. Never buy stapled or glue furniture.
Plastic patio furniture is the most affordable of all, but it isn’t as comfortable and attractive as other materials.
Real wicker isn’t immune to moisture penetration or damage from the sun but all-weather wicker options can stay outside the whole year.
And it’s also easier to care for: all you need to do is hose it with mild soap and water.
Go for pieces that have been tightly woven — don’t buy a product you can see through.
2. Furniture Sets
The type of furniture set will depend on the size and purpose of the patio. There many types of patio chair and table sets, and also sets consisting of loveseats and couches:
If your patio is small or you intend the furniture for a tiny balcony, bistro sets are the best.
The best thing is that they are available in almost all furniture materials.
If you intend to use your patio for dining or chilling or sharing any other meal, go for dining sets specifically made for patios or balconies.
They are typically sold in groupings of 5 to 11 pieces.
You also go for sets that come with an extendable table, more so if you are in need of a sizeable table on the patio.
Well-cushioned or wooden chairs bring comfort in the patio the same way they do in the dining rooms.
These sets are typically set up to turn the patio into a comfortable living room.
You can go for pair or two of conversation chairs and accent tables or ottomans to set up a cozy sitting area in the back or front porch.
If you plan to entertain several friends on your patio or you have a sizeable family, choose a set with one or two couches and a coffee table to create enough room for spreading out.
Modular sets are advantageous in that they can be grouped into multiple configurations based on the occasion or number of people.
3. Function & Usage
Ask yourself: what and how do you plan to use the patio furniture?
Do you intend them for guests, in which case you’d want such items as armchairs and expandable dining tables?
If you plan to hang on the patio with your friends, then you’d probably go for lounge chairs and a huge comfortable couch complete with a decent coffee table for snacks and games.
Whatever function or usage you have in mind, take your time to think through the number of people you want to host and their needs.
Combine style and function
As you warp up the function and usage, consider style.
You will choose from the top 4 furniture styles –modern, rustic, eclectic, or retro.
The style of your outdoor patio furniture should mirror your indoor furniture and décor but isn’t entirely a bad thing to take a new approach.
However, it is always preferable to choose a single style to base all your purchases – this helps streamline the appearance and fit of all the pieces.
The color of the outdoor seating or dining sets works perfectly when they are congruent with the natural colors on your property.
Don’t forget to consider pre-existing items and structures as well, such as your porch and patio materials.
Often, the whole point of furnishing the patio is to establish a comfortable relaxed environment.
Whether that’s the case or not, it only makes sense that you equip it with the most comfortable furniture you could find. For that reason, remember to consider the comfort factor.
If lounges and chairs don’t come with their custom cushions, you can make your own pillows and cushions or purchase them separately.
Be certain to select or install good-quality outdoor fabrics that are mildew- and fade-resistant.
As you choose your preferred cushions, bear in mind you’re your furniture will outlast any type of upholstery you will buy.
Chances are high that you will replace the cushions and pillows numerous times during the entire lifespan of the furniture.
Of course, you will need to store your fabrics and upholstery safely somewhere when you don’t need them to keep them in usable conditions for longer.
On top of comfy chairs, such pieces as rockers, recliners, and chaise lounges are also recommendable for relaxing outdoors.
Also, try out the furniture before committing to buy them just to ensure they meet your comfort expectations.
For stretching out or relaxing flat on your back, you may also think of looking at the offered daybeds and hammocks.
5. Time of the Year
This may come as a surprise to some homeowners but you can’t just buy furniture any time of the year and still expect to get great deals.
The best time to buy patio furniture and pretty any other kind of furniture is a few weeks before or shortly after the summer.
Many deals listed after Labor Day— more so in late September—tend to cause prices for outdoor furniture to plummet as stores scramble to free up more space for their incoming inventory.
Also, it is never a great idea to buy patio furniture in the middle of actual Labor Day.
The deeper you go into autumn, the higher the chances you will come across summer-friendly products with discounted prices.
Since you have spent a big part of the season outside lounging, the best time to design and make changes to your patio and the rest of the outdoor entertainment areas is the start of the fall.
Your necessities and ideas are still new in your mind. Even better, you have a whole season in front of you to test and enjoy the new furniture.
Besides the fall, May—shortly before Memorial Day—is yet another great opportunity for acquiring new patio furniture at good prices.
It is around this time that furniture stores price down their leftover items from the previous season to pave more storage space for new stock.
6. Size & Seating Capacity
Besides material and style, another thing you need to get right is the size of the furniture.
Outdoor tables are sold in all sizes, plus expandable options designed to accommodate surprise dinner visitors.
Allowing 18” to 24” per guest means more ease (and few food/drink spills from clumsy hands) when dining. Ideally, you need to keep 6” – 12” between place settings.
And because dining tables are normally 28” – 30” tall, the ideal dining chair height chairs should be 18” – 20” between the ground and top of the seat.
A homeowner in Miami, Florida probably doesn’t need the same patio furniture as an acquaintance in Seattle, Washington because of the difference in the climate.
If your home is located in an area prone to heavy snow, a lot of rain, or storms, you will want to select outdoor patio furniture that can withstand moisture and strong gusts of wind.
Conversely, a patio in the sunbelt will be exposed to the searing heat from the sun most of the year.
As such, you will want to buy patio furniture that won’t warp, become discolored, or crack under the sun, or even rain.
Some kinds of wood can wear easily when exposed to excess moisture.
The good news is that you can coat them with a waterproof stain or simply store the furniture away from the danger when the weather too hot or wet.
Also, if your area is prone to storm and strong winds, go for heavy patio furniture (made of wrought iron, for example) that can stand up to the gusts.
Plastic is the worst material you could choose in such a climate.
It is recommended that you buy furniture from a certain recognizable brand or a trusted store that deals in genuine and brand new pieces.
It is understandable that many people prefer to buy from second-hand furniture stores. These establishments are famous for their affordable second-hand furniture.
Chances are you have one close to your home and would rather take advantage of the convenience than wander far and wide to get a set.
While you could save some money on such sets and even save more in traveling costs, used furniture should not be brought on the patio.
The last thing you want to bring home is used pieces of furniture with tons of bedbugs in them.
If the original owner was the unhygienic type, you risk bringing these critters into your patio and the rest of the home.
Bedbugs are can be an ordeal to eliminate.
Secondly, it is hard to walk into a second-hand furniture store and find what you really want.
Even worse, used furniture has already seen its best days, which means it won’t last long on your patio.
So, unless you are willing to settle for less and even risk bringing bugs at home, stay clear from used furniture.
Here are the advantages of buying brand new branded patio furniture from recognized establishments:
- A brand name is a show of credibility especially if it is famous
- The pieces in your furniture dealer’s store carry a warranty which means you can get a replacement in case of a problem
- Brand new furniture means you get to enjoy the full lifespan of the pieces
Here are the best furniture stores worth visiting: Etsy, West Elm, Anthropologie, Amazon, World Market, CB2, Target, and Apt2B.
Patio furniture isn’t the easiest lot to glean through and settle on one set.
You need to sift through numerous materials, shapes, sizes, and styles to find out pieces that meet your needs.
However, things can be a little easier for you if you consider the most definitive factors.
They are furniture sets, function and usage, comfort, time of the year, size and seating capacity, climate, and brand.
For example, if your home is located in an area prone to heavy snow, a lot of rain, or storms, you will want to select outdoor patio furniture that can withstand moisture and strong gusts of wind.
Conversely, a patio in the sunbelt will be exposed to the searing heat from the sun most of the year.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is it OK for patio furniture to get wet?
Yes. Virtually all patio furniture is made of material that can withstand moisture.
You just need to be careful about the pillows and cushions.
If possible, store your cushions and pillows somewhere clean and dry when it rains or snow.
Also, just because the material can withstand moisture doesn’t mean it will do so indefinitely – steel, for example, will rust if it stands in a moist environment for a long time.
Q: Can you leave patio furniture out in the winter?
Yes. However, make sure you seal it with protection material because the winter season is going to last months.
You might want to rethink this if your location is prone to heavy snow in which case it would be wise to bring your furniture inside.
Q: Is it ok to put patio furniture on grass?
No. Firstly, patio furniture doesn’t look good on grass – most of these pieces were never designed for such arrangement.
Secondly, unless the ground is dry and hard the entire year, the legs of the furniture will start to sink into the ground.
No avid gardener would place furniture on their adorable gardens.
Even worse, you are going to have a hard time using furniture installed on bare grass because of the unevenness of the ground.
Q: What type of fabric is best for outdoor furniture?
Go for polypropylene fabric.
This fabric first made a name for itself in the marine world before getting acceptance at home.
It comes with excellent UV resistance capabilities, dries faster, and doesn’t come with dies in it.