How To Pick The Best Outdoor Furniture - Pier 1

How To Pick The Best Outdoor Furniture

Summer is in full swing! With the weather coming in hot, it calls to create the perfect patio setup that ticks all boxes for sun-drenched activities. What exactly constitutes an all-encompassing alfresco oasis? Function, comfort, and style are at the top of the list. It’s the twin to your indoor rooms that will make you want to lounge just as long as within your four walls.

But while those elements are important, durability tends to get overlooked in place of them. A homey and stylish zone consisting of outdoor dining furniture pieces and accessories also needs to weather the storm, survive the heat, and stand the test of time whatever the season. This is where finding the right materials comes in and is fundamental to making worthwhile furniture investments. 

Types Of Outdoor Furniture

Certain materials can last through any type of weather but may not be as flexible to movement. Or they might be perfect for the look you’re going for but would need extra maintenance for weatherproofing. Let’s look at the different options. 


It’s the most lightweight and low-maintenance of the bunch. Aluminum offers ease when moving things around in your space and requires no treatment with its rust-proof quality. 


Timeless and strong, steel checks all the outdoor requirements with its ability to hold out against harsh winds. It’s even a breeze to paint without denting the surface, making it the perfect material for firepits and patio heating. However, its durability comes with heftiness and is not ideal when moving furniture. 

Synthetic Resin & Plastics

Synthetics are light, sturdy, and easy to clean—with some designed to mimic the look of wood and wicker, particularly with resin which achieves the modern outdoor aesthetic wonderfully. Although in comparison to its natural counterparts, it doesn’t match up to durability and isn’t as elegant.


Wood is unarguably the most popular choice for patio furniture. Choosing the right type of wood is crucial to avoid bugs and splitting. Maintenance-wise, it’s quite high with a need for regular preservative treatments for weather and UV protection.

Natural Rattan 

Rattan provides that warm, casual look that makes an outdoor space feel so chic. It’s eco-friendly, naturally insect-resistant, and much softer and longer lasting than synthetic rattan. The only caveat is that it’s more suitable indoors and needs to be weatherproofed for protection.

Tips For Choosing The Best Outdoor Furniture

1. Measure your space

Consider the amount of space and overall shape of your area to determine the right size of furniture to buy. This is key to ensure that everything comes together seamlessly and will accommodate all items and sections—including the space to walk around comfortably. 

2. Know your materials

It’s essential to familiarize yourself with the proper, durable materials that are meant to be impervious to the elements. This will allow that brand-new look and feel for many years to come. Be mindful of each considered material’s possible changes after long-term exposure and how much maintenance you’re willing to do. 


3. Try before you buy

Outdoor lounging is even more inviting with cozy furniture. Take a seat when shopping for chairs and get a feel of their backs and cushioning to certify maximum comfort.
4. Pick furniture with minimal upkeep

Your patio time should be used for leisure more than cleaning. Choose easy-care pieces that can withstand even the toughest of weather and require little maintenance. It’s best to stick to materials like rattan, teak, ​​all-weather cane, cedar, and most metals.

5. Match your theme

Take indoors outside and treat it just like how you designed your interiors. An easy way is to set up an extension of your dining area with outdoor dining tables and chairs, patio bar furniture, and an inviting outdoor lighting setup. Tie it with your home’s existing design and play up the space with colorful and printed décor to accent neutral hues. These little details make your spot more pleasant to stay in.

6. Provide storage

Sometimes covers aren’t enough protection. Always have extra storage to stow away furniture or at least fabric items. If you have limited space, consider buying foldable furniture or ones that you can use indoors during colder months. 

7. Add accessories

Inject character in your space via color and comfort. Ground it with an all-weather outdoor rug, incorporate lamps, and layer outdoor pillows that coordinate with your other pieces to meld it all together. 

8. Think sustainably

In addition to building a relaxing reprieve, consider where your furniture comes from and how it’s made. There are excellent choices out there made of reclaimed resources like wood, upcycled old furniture, and a fusion of other materials to create rustic and durable pieces that can outlast non-sustainable options. 

9. Dual purpose is the way

Make the most out of your patio with furniture that serves multiple purposes. Not only is this cost-efficient, but it’s especially wise when you have limited space as it eliminates the need to add more. Ottomans, outdoor cushions, and gardens stools can double as patio seating, while garden benches can also function as a table.  

10. Invest in high quality

While some furniture may look aesthetically-appealing, they might only last for a year or two and will end up fading or brittle in the long run. Shop consciously and check reviews before making a purchase. If you’re on a budget, it’s better to save on small accessories, like outdoor pillowslanterns, and sculptures and decor, and spend more on items you’ll use the most—such as outdoor dining furniture and patio furniture


What To Avoid When Buying Outdoor Furniture 

Treating your outdoor spaces with the same care as your interiors will be your best decision in the long run. It’s more economical and less of a chore on your to-do list without having to think of constant replacements and tedious maintenance. These are the mistakes you never want to make when buying outdoor furniture. 

1. Cutting too much costs

The number 1 mistake is skimping on quality in place of a lower price. Saving money on accessories is fine but larger items that you’ll be using all year round need to be of high quality to be usable for a long time. Remember to consider materials and comfort before prioritizing pieces that are visually-appealing yet cheap.

2. Buying furniture that’s too big for your space

Living in a small space might make it hard to find perfectly-sized furniture—which is why it’s crucial to measure it and find items that are both small and offer double purpose. Instead of a rectangular dining table, trade it for a bistro table. Or enlist a wide storage ottoman to serve as seating. 

3. Ignoring your surroundings

Harsh weather can do a number on materials that aren’t made for outdoor conditions. Avoid having to spend more repairs or replacements by ensuring that your furniture has a weatherproof design that’s able to endure the climate of your location.

4. Having too many furniture pieces

An outdoor space is supposed to feel airy and bright, not cramped and cluttered. Make a plan and consider exactly what you need in order to prevent a hemmed-in effect that could make the area restricted.

Examine Your Environment

Do you live in a rainy city? Is it hot and dry? Does the sun shine directly in your backyard? Think of these questions firsthand before making any outdoor purchases. Moisture can develop rot, hot and dry conditions can cause cracks and splinters on wood, winds may blow away aluminum, while sunlight fades paint, bleaches fabrics, and degrades plastic.

A material being “weatherproof” relies on its type. Hardwoods like teak, eucalyptus, and acacia are the most hard-wearing timbers, steel requires treatments like a powder-coated finish to form a resistant barrier against rust and moisture, and aluminum would be best invested with an all-welded design. Natural rattan is far more delicate and is most suited for a covered porch. 

How To Measure Your Space

The starting point is your furniture and area measurements —double check and write these down to make sure everything fits your space well. Have masking or painter’s tape cut to the size of the item to map out the spot it will be placed in. If the furniture is close to a wall, take height into consideration as well. From there, create a layout plan to arrange your furniture in a way that meets your specific entertaining needs. 

Consider Your Budget 

Ultimately, your budget will determine what you can put in your space. It would be smart to buy the best you can afford instead of skimping on quality. You’ll end up getting more value for your money overtime than with pieces that are less durable. If you want to lessen expenses, pick materials that are cost-efficient but still hard-wearing such as aluminum, heavy-duty resin, or eucalyptus wood. Buying secondhand is also an eco-friendly option.

The Best Outdoor Furniture According to Your Set-Up


The front porch is a chance to make a great first impression for your home. Create a sunset-watching zone with laid-back lounge seating like sofas and loveseats, patio sectionals, and a bench cozied up with outdoor pillows. You can enhance your curb appeal too by decorating with planters that match your exterior walls’ colors. 


A well-manicured garden is best complemented with a sleek socializing space. Opt for a L-shaped patio furniture fronted by a firepit and patio heating for an instant entertaining hub. Take it up a notch for open-air parties with a wide, rectangular dining set, contrasting chairs, a warm outdoor lighting setup for a modern feel. Add sculptures and decor for that extra oomph.


Make your backyard a casual get-together spot with the classic combination of sofa, loveseat, and lounge chairs. For smaller gatherings, introduce a touch of French charm with café-style bistro sets perfect for afternoon tea or me time with your morning coffee. Add yard lights and outdoor rugs to rival a set-up from a home magazine’s page.


Limited spaces call for some smart arrangements. Appoint statement seating like hanging bench swings and papasan chairs with layers of shapely, bright pillows. You can make it a cozy nook for alone time or catch-ups as well with sofas and loveseats, bean bag chairs and fuzzy throws atop an area rug and hang pendant lights to illuminate. 

The Best Outdoor Accessories

Your dream patio isn’t complete without details. Beyond being beautiful décor, accessories can forge a warm, inviting touch to even the largest of spaces. Here are the best additions to elevate your outdoor furniture.

1. Outdoor Pillows

Overlap different shapes and sizes of cushions with vibrant covers to boost your conversation zones from lounge chairs to modular sectionals. 

2. Outdoor Rugs

These elegantly tie the space together by grounding furniture and presenting it with a sense of scale. Make sure it’s made of weatherproof materials to avoid mold and mildew.

3. Planters 

Greenery is always necessary to breathe life into an area. Make it pop with colored pots set upon stands, save space with wall mounts, or conjure up a rustic feel with hanging planters.

4. Outdoor Lighting

Nothing enhances the atmosphere like good lighting. Hang vintage-inspired bulbs for a romantic ambiance to your dinner parties or make a balcony more modern with geometric pendants. 

Maintenance And Care For Your Outdoor Furniture 

Paying attention to care instructions is the best way to assure longevity for your outdoor furniture. Knowing the suitable tools and treatments to clean and cure allows you to get the most bang for your buck. Take note of these quick steps to maintain your furniture effectively.

1. Wood 

For most woods, you can remove light debris with a soft bristled brush and clean the surface using a sponge with mild soap and lukewarm water. Let the wood dry naturally. For hardwoods like teak and eucalyptus, apply a protective sealant to preserve its natural color.

2. Steel 

Lightly spray with a garden hose to eliminate dirt and wipe down with a cloth. Rinse, repeat, and dry it off with a microfiber towel. White vinegar can also be a solution for fingerprints and smudges.

3. Aluminum

By far the easiest to work with because of its powder coating. A soft cloth and non-abrasive liquid cleaners will do the trick to remove scuff marks.

4. Plastics

Due to its tendency to degrade in direct sunlight, plastics can develop a chalky finish. Sprinkle baking soda on a damp sponge to the affected areas and once dry, apply automotive paste to restore the material’s shine. 

Off-Season Protection

Coverage is a must when it comes to protecting your outdoor furniture. 

  1. Have tarps ready to shelter even the most weatherproof items from elemental damage—whether it be summer or winter. 
  2. Hose and wipe it down regularly with soapy water and provide shade with an umbrella to secure it from harmful UV rays. 
  3. You can avoid water and sun damage on hardwood with a sealant which also lets it shine through and look good as new. 

In summary, an outdoor space is an extension of your home’s indoors—so it’s a no-brainer that it has to be just as welcoming and carefully thought-out. Take extra measures to study the materials, pay attention to details, and learn the proper maintenance to make the most out of your investment. With all these guidelines in mind, you’ll be able to build your dream outdoor sanctuary in no time.