An Increase in the Variety & Availability of Casual Patio Furniture is Due to Many Factors
Casual or outdoor furnishings have been one of the fastest growing retail categories for the past few years. That’s why you can buy wicker at your neighborhood grocery store and a patio umbrella at the drugstore – everyone wants in. Which is great when you want to grab a gallon of milk and a set of wicker. It’s also confusing: there is such a glut of furniture, where do you turn? What do you buy? Who do you buy it from?
The increase in the variety and availability of casual furniture is due to many factors, primarily the advent of the “Outdoor Room”.
OUTDOOR ENTERTAINING & OUTDOOR ROOMS
People are doing a lot more in their backyards these days than roasting hot dogs and playing whiffle ball. Outdoor kitchens, multi-level decks, paver patios, fire pits, ponds, fountains, swimming pools, hot tubs, gazebos, land and hardscapes – there is no end to what can be done in your backyard and this has contributed to the desire to make the outdoor area extraordinary.
A beautifully landscaped, well-planned and fully equipped backyard has become a status symbol. There are dozens of publications devoted to it, television shows revolve around it, designer lines are available to furnish it, gourmet kitchens are made for it and there is a lot of money being spent on it.
High quality, unique, sophisticated and above all, comfortable outdoor furniture is in demand. No one wants to furnish their outdoor space with throw-aways.
SORRY, YOU DO GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR
Sometimes you can save a few dollars without compromising quality but this usually is not the case when it comes to patio furniture. Anyone who has used generic toilet paper can attest to that! Shop around, see what you can see. Visit the hardware store, the grocery store and the discount store and then go to a casual furniture specialty store and ask the question: “Why is your furniture more expensive?”
Allow them to show you why a set of Tropitone is more expensive than the set at the hardware store; ask them to demonstrate why a deep seating sofa from Woodard (the Jax Deep Seating Collection by Woodard is pictured right as an example) is more expensive than a deep seating sofa from Target. You will find that the answer to that question is QUALITY. Why is Northern bathroom tissue more expensive than the Wal-Mart brand? QUALITY. Save yourself from making an ultimately costly and definitely annoying mistake and don’t spend your hard earned money on disposable furniture.
NUTS & BUTT WELDS
Sometimes it is difficult to see “quality” especially if you don’t know what to look for. Here are some basics when shopping for patio furniture:
There are different grades of aluminum. Again, generic foil is thin and tears easily; Reynold’s Wrap is thick and does the job. If a set of furniture is built from better materials, its better furniture. Ask “What is this grade of aluminum?”
Something else to be aware of – better patio furniture will utilize full-circumference welds whenever possible. The welds will be even and will extend completely around the joint. Cheap furniture will have sloppy welds or will utilize pinch or butt welds which do not hold up well under stress, or Aunt Millie. Ask “Does this furniture use full circumference welds?”
You want polyester powder-coated paint finishes, the thicker the better. This method of painting (the same used in the automobile industry) assures that the finish will resist chipping and peeling.
As in aluminum, there are different grades of material used for synthetic wicker furniture. You want wicker that utilizes the highest quality vinyl or poly-resins, treated with UV inhibitors and tested against sagging. Some manufacturers, such as Summer Classics, have their own proprietary formula which promises to provide you with years of enjoyment. Ask “Does this material have UV inhibitors? How will it perform?”
If you are considering buying furniture with cushions (the Sienna Deep Seating Collection by Hanamint is pictured right as an example), make sure that the fabric has been engineered for outdoor use. Sunbrella, Outdura and Crypton are all exceptional brands for outdoor fabric. Also ask what the cushion is stuffed with – you are looking for Dacron, Dacron wrapped foam, waterproof liners or reticulated foam. This will ensure that your wet cushions will drain and dry more quickly and will prevent mildewing as well as that awful “oh my gosh this cushion is wet” moment when you sit down.
GO GET EM!
Have fun, don’t’ stress, and enjoy the hunt. Buying patio furniture isn’t even remotely as stressful as shopping for bathing suits. Ask questions, demand answers, and you will find the best furniture for your needs. View Patio Furniture from Family Leisure here.
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