Style5 Tips for Choosing Outdoor Furniture
It's Labor Day weekend, so now's the time to reevaluate all summer gear—from swim trunks and pool floats to grills and firepits. Take advantage of the end of the season sales to replace anything that's worn or broken. We promise, you'll own summer 2017.
LA-based interior designer Adam Hunter advises clients to consider what material outdoor furniture is made from first since the elements will adversely affect everything. Burmese teak and Belgian tends to wear most gracefully; glued wood pieces have the lifespan of a banana. If you're looking for something lower in price, try shorea wood.
Christian Lopez Swafford and Lauren Larson, the duo behind Material Lust, agree that weather—and more specifically wind—is the main element to consider. "It's important to specify heavy furniture in windy areas so it doesn't blow away," says Swafford. Wrought iron is a great option, but remember to store it in the garage over the winter to guard against rust.
Other than the elements, what should you keep in mind?
Russell Groves, of Groves & Co., advises, "If you're buying lounge chairs, make sure they are not so heavy that they are cumbersome to move and adjust as the sun moves across the sky. Wheels are important."
If you aren't a dedicated sun worshipper and don't plan to orient your lounge chair to the sun, you can try one of these non-wheeled versions.
Swafford has been specifying Sutherland's Peninsula Collection for years. "It's my go-to. Timeless and durable."
Groves recommends the USA-made James Perse collection.
Speaking of cushions, should you buy furniture with them or without them? "Outdoor fabrics are becoming increasingly sophisticated and are actually capable of standing up to the elements," says Groves. "Choose cushions with quick dry foam and an outdoor fabric."
Larson disagrees. "Keep it simple. You don't want to have to run outside every time it rains."
Swafford recommends Willy Guhl from Green Form. Made from fiber cement, a 100% recyclable material that's simultaneously lightweight and resistant to light, heat, and snow, the design will also add a sculptural element to your backyard.
"Outdoor furniture can often be bulky," says Groves. "It is important to balance comfort and scale with the setting and mood you are trying to convey. Big double lounge chairs are great for a relaxed vide, but for a conversation, nothing beats a comfortable sofa."
Paola Lenti furniture is conversation starter. Braided plastic polymer rope, available in a wide range of colors and patterns, upholsters the aluminum frames. Formally very different, this line is a classic in its own right.
For something more budget friendly, Restoration Hardware has a new modern line with some great sectionals that are reasonably priced and very flexible designs. The Aegean aluminum customizable sectional won't rust and its low, linear silhouette will have you dreaming of the Greek isles next summer.
Avoid Matchy Matchy.
"Matching sets are not always the best choice," says Hunter. "Throw in a metal or glass table when the sofa frame is made of wood."
The Megan side table from Adam Hunter is made from charred teak, white bronzed wood, and double beveled acrylic. A stunning trifecta of materials perfect for any outdoor seating arrangement.
While not necessary by any means, if you have $10,000 to spend on a gaming table, you can't choose a better one than the James de Wulf Ping Pong Table. Beer pong anyone?