Patio Furniture Buying Guide | Family Leisure
Patio furniture adds color and dimension to your outdoor living space and transforms an uninviting backyard into a charming and peaceful oasis. When you purchase patio furniture, you invite your family to unwind after a hard day at work and welcome guests to lounge after dinner. With all the available designs, styles and materials, patio furniture shopping can be overwhelming. Look no further than Family Leisure, the leader in outdoor entertainment, comfort and style. Find great designs that complement your style, colors that fit your palette and comfort that welcomes you and your guests.
Before you order patio furniture, answer the following questions:
1. How much furniture do you need to create the atmosphere you desire?
If you're unsure what furniture to buy, consider the following:
- Small backyards are ideal for bistro sets or chaise lounges bookending a tea table, perfect for a relaxing afternoon with your spouse or sharing a bottle of wine with a friend.
- A medium-size patio will look great with a square table and chairs, flanked by accessories like potted plants or cement planters.
- A large backyard might include a rectangular dining table and chairs, a grill, a bar and bar stools. Start with a table and add pieces as you acclimate to your new space.
2. What table shape should you purchase?
Tables come in a variety of shapes:
- Tea: Enjoy a glass of iced tea while you relax outside and read from a good book.
- Bistro: bistro set is perfect for a meal for two, whether a light lunch or romantic dinner.
- Square: Seats four. Think summer breezes and lunch on the terrace with the in-laws.
- Bar height: Gather friends on the porch for cocktails and a post-game discussion.
- Oval: Can accommodate six people comfortably. Good for a small dinner party.
- Picnic: Backyard parties start with this table, which seats eight, and looks great next to a gas grill.
- Rectangle: Seats 12 people. Excellent for an outdoor dinner with friends.
3. What type of material will withstand the weather conditions in your climate?
- Resistant plastic is long-lasting, recycled and is made to withstand all climates. Available in chaise lounges, rockers, swings, stools and more.
- Teak or cherry are sturdy, solid, beautiful and classic. Adds elegance to your patio and can retain original look or weather naturally to a light grey.
- Wrought iron is durable, family-friendly, rust-resistant and available in a variety of styles.
- Aluminum is rust-resistant, lightweight, rust-resistant and complements any style of furniture.
- Wicker is weather-friendly, hand-woven from synthetic materials and budget-friendly.
- Sling is great outdoors, especially around the pool, can come with or without cushions and is considered the most contemporary of all outdoor furniture.
4. How are you going to decorate?
- Above all, have fun when it comes to decorating your patio or backyard! Don't worry if you have no design experience or can't afford to hire a professional to help you. After choosing the shape and size of your outdoor furniture, allow your personal preferences and backyard’s landscaping to determine the pieces you select. Mix and match for a look unique to your interests and favorites.
- Decorate an empty space with a table, chairs and more, but make sure you allow room for guests to move around easily. Allow room for accessories as well, whether you'll be planting flowers, setting pool equipment to the side or installing paving stones for a walkway.
- Choose deep seating to recreate the look and feel of the indoors in your outdoor space.
- Complement your design choice by adding colorful and comfortable chair cushions. Bold, bright patterns draw attention to your patio while shades of green blend in with the environment.
- Purchase cushions with a zipper that allows you to change the cover depending on your mood. Solution-dyed acrylic and other all-weather materials withstand conditions in most climates and increase your outdoor enjoyment.
- Prolong the life of your outdoor investments with regular maintenance. Carefully inspect each piece when you move the furniture into the garden each spring and back to the garage in the fall. Some pieces will look their best if you keep them oiled regularly and some pieces will require little to no maintenance at all. If you won tubular metal be sure the drain holes, located at the bottom of each tube, are clear of debris and can drain. If excess water builds the water could freeze once the winter hits, expanding and cracking your aluminum or wrought iron patio furniture.
Additional Questions To Ask Before Shopping For Patio Furniture:
How is this furniture going to be primarily used? For example, do you have quiet family dinners or rowdy neighborhood parties? Will you use the furniture on a daily basis or just on rare occasions? Is this just for dining, or do you also want a lounging area?
Who is going to be using the furniture? Do you have a small family? Do you often entertain large groups of people? Do you have young children, teenagers or older adults utilizing your furniture?
Where is the furniture going to be placed? Inside a sun or four season room? Outside on a wooden deck or a paver patio? Will it be on the grass or concrete slab? Will it be in a sheltered area or fully exposed to the elements?
Are there any special considerations you need to account for prior to buying your furniture? Do you have a pool or are you near salt water? Do you live in a windy area? Do you have large trees? Do you have pets? Do you have a place to store the furniture during the winter?
What is your style? Do you prefer classic, traditional looks or do you favor clean, modern designs? Do you want your outdoor room to reflect the décor of the inside of your home or do you want to achieve a certain mood?
Types Of Casual Patio Furniture
The rising popularity of the outdoor living space has resulted in an astounding variety of patio furniture and accessories. The casual furniture market has to provide for a simple concrete porch and charcoal grill to an elaborately executed outdoor kitchen. This is great news for the consumer because there is a wide variety of styles, types, and brands of patio furniture and accessories available for every budget. Presently there are at least five types of furniture available for your outdoor space: metal, wood, wicker, poly-lumber and upholstered.
Metals commonly used in the manufacture of patio furniture are aluminum, iron and steel.
Wrought Iron & Steel Patio Furniture
Wrought iron and steel furniture are basically the same; wrought iron is a low carbon form of steel
Wrought iron or steel furniture tends to be budget-friendly; however high end, designer wrought iron furniture is also available. Wrought iron and steel furniture take abuse very well, and should survive heavy usage. This furniture is weighty and is perfect for windy areas.
The main concern and objection to wrought iron or steel furniture is the potential to rust. This should not deter you from purchasing it however. Modern manufacturing techniques include a zinc wash to inhibit the formation of rust. Also, if rust does occur, you simply sand the area and spray paint and it is as good as new. Slight rusting will not compromise the integrity of the frames.
Cast aluminum furniture is made by pouring molten aluminum into various molds. The molds fashion the shapes that are assembled to create the furniture. The result is a beautiful, heavy, weather-resistant piece of furniture.
Cast aluminum is extremely popular and is available for all budgets. One of the reasons cast aluminum is so desirable is its durability. Cast aluminum requires very little maintenance; an annual wash with mild soap and water should suffice. Cast aluminum has no rust issues which is another plus. High quality cast aluminum furniture is heavy, which makes it perfect if wind is a concern.
Extrusion is the process of shaping material, in this case, aluminum, by forcing it through a die. The resulting shapes are combined to create frames for chairs and tables. The result is a lighter weight, less cumbersome frame than cast aluminum, which still maintains the weather resistant properties.
Extruded aluminum is the type of furniture you would most often think of as “patio” furniture. This is the process generally combined with “sling” fabric to produce maintenance free, comfortable outdoor seating.
Cast aluminum and extruded aluminum elements can often be found in the same furniture.
Everything from simple pine to luxurious teak is used to manufacture wood patio furniture.
Dissimilar types of wood perform very differently and you should always take this into consideration if you are contemplating the purchase of wood patio furniture. Softer woods (those products harvested from needle-bearing trees) are going to weather quickly and will require annual maintenance. Harder woods (those harvested from broad leaf trees) will last longer and will not require as much attention.
If your wood patio furniture will be in a sunroom or covered area, this isn’t an issue. Soft woods such as pine, cypress, and redwood will be fine. However, if you plan to use your wooden furniture where it will be exposed to the elements, you should shop for a hardwood. These are traditionally Brazilian cherry, jarrah and teak.
Teak furniture tends to be the most expensive to purchase, however it may be worth the extra dollars. Teak is one of the hardest woods available, which means it is impervious to insect damage. It won’t rot or splinter, and it requires no special treatment if it is going to be exposed to rain and sun. New teak has a rich, buttery honey color and will maintain this look if you simply apply linseed oil to it once or twice a year. If left alone, teak will weather to a silvery gray finish.
Wicker furniture has undergone a revolution in the past several years. While traditional rattan wicker is still available, there is also a synthetic option which is very popular. Wicker furniture is available in classic weaves and styles; it is also available in a wide variety of modern weaves and styles. Wicker can be implemented into any décor.
Traditional wicker is usually rattan, but may be woven of other natural materials. It is suitable for indoor or covered areas. It will weather and will require some care if it is exposed to the elements.
Synthetic wicker can be used in any location. It is impervious to the weather, and requires no special maintenance.
In our increasingly eco-conscious world, many are deliberately trying to make “green” living choices. Poly lumber is a perfect option if you are searching for something eco-friendly.
Poly lumber is synthetic lumber which is often manufactured from recycled plastics. It is designed to mimic wood and is cut and assembled in the same way.
Poly lumber is weather-friendly as well as eco-friendly. It treated with UV inhibitors, will not splinter or rot, is heavy for high wind areas, and will last a very long time. It is also available in a variety of colors and styles.
A relative new-comer to the casual furniture scene, upholstered patio furniture blurs the line between indoors and outdoors completely. The availability of weather friendly and even water resistant fabrics has ushered in patio furniture that looks and sits just like indoor furniture.
When shopping for cushion furniture, replacement cushions, even toss pillows it is good to be aware that there are some differences in the quality and performance of outdoor fabrics.
Polyester is the most economical fabric option; it is also the least colorfast and will not weather well. If you are using polyester in an indoor or covered setting, it is an adequate choice. However, using polyester fabric is a poor selection for any area that is exposed to sunlight. Polyester cushions should be stored out of all weather when possible and can be cleaned with soap and water; do not use bleach or harsh detergents.
Olefin fabric is a synthetic fiber derived from polypropylene or polyethylene. This makes for a strong, stain and mildew resistant fabric, often used for automobile interiors. Olefin is not a soft fabric, and the resulting cushions tend to feel rough and stiff. Olefin can be cleaned with water, detergent and bleach if necessary.
100% solution dyed acrylic is the fabric of choice for most outdoor applications. It is water, stain and mildew resistant and is treated with UV inhibitors which provide exceptional fade resistance. Sunbrella and Outdura are two trade names of solution dyed acrylic. This fabric requires minimal care, is easy to clean and is a wise choice for areas where chlorine is used. 100% solution dyed acrylic has a pleasing texture, mimicking indoor fabrics with its soft appeal.
A relative newcomer to the outdoor fabric arena is Crypton. This fabric has been employed for several decades in hospitals and other institutions; it has now been adapted for outdoor use. If you need a cushion fabric that offers extreme stain and water resistance, is engineered for a minimum of 1000 hours UV protection and contains microbial resistance against mold and mildew, this is an excellent choice. The integrated moisture barrier which provides exceptional protection from the elements also makes the fabric a bit stiff, but is a fair trade off. Crypton fabric can be cleaned with water and laundry detergent if necessary; most of the time a damp cloth with water is sufficient.
Rest assured knowing Family Leisure offers top quality outdoor furniture, as well as extended warranties on most pieces. Create a comfortable and inviting outdoor space with furniture and accessories, all customized to fit your home, personal style and color palette. Purchase with confidence and sit back and relax in the great outdoor space known as your backyard. Shop our Patio Furniture, Patio Furniture Replacement Cushions and Patio Accessories. We offer Free Nationwide Shipping to all areas not serviced by one of our many locations.