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How to Buy Patio Furniture: The Comprehensive Guide

outdoor furniture

Buying patio furniture is a key step in the process of making a home, well, home. Many homeowners dream of creating an outdoor oasis on their porch or in their backyard. For some, this means adding in a pool or setting up a BBQ station, and for others it is simply creating a place for the family to spend time together.

No matter what type of backyard or outdoor area you’re going for, one of the key parts of creating this space is buying patio furniture that elevates the décor.

It is no wonder that American families spend about $5,000 investing in outdoor renovations. Typically, one-third of this spending goes towards patio furniture alone!

This complete guide on buying an above ground pool will help you consider various factors from buying to installation.

New Outdoor Living Elements in Outdoor Projects

Patio furniture can be as simple as a set of chairs and a table or as elaborate as a full outdoor seating area with recliners, sun shades, and even fire pits. Perhaps your dream is to set up a full outdoor bar station or even a theater setup to watch movies in the backyard!

You can find outdoor patio furniture for all of these ideas. But all of these options can make it a bit overwhelming if you are in the market for outdoor furniture

So, if you are wondering how to choose patio furniture that will elevate your outdoor space, look no further than our definitive patio furniture buying guide. We have broken it all down for you so you know exactly:

And so much more.

The Purpose: Why Should You Invest In Outdoor Patio Furniture?

Creating a beautiful space with outdoor furniture and accessories can be beneficial for countless reasons.

First, it can increase the value of your home, even if you do not leave the furniture behind after the sale. According to the National Association of Realtors, 39% of sellers sold a home at up to a 10% higher price when it was staged with furniture!

Percentage Change in Dollar Value Offered of Staged Home

Secondly, having an outdoor space with adequate seating can make it the perfect place to host family gatherings like birthday parties, holidays, or other important celebrations. This can even save you some money in the long run by holding festivities at home rather than going out!

However, there are plenty of details that you need to take into consideration between buying patio furniture. Let’s dive in.

Consider Your Outdoor Layout

outdoor patio furnitureSource

First and foremost, you must take into consideration the physical amount of space that you have in your outdoor area. You will need to leave room so you can easily move around the furniture, pull out chairs, or recline seats back fully. If you have a small porch, you may not be able to fit a full outdoor dining set and will need to compromise on a smaller piece of furniture.

There are two types of measurements you will need to determine how much useable space you have:

Measure The Size of The Area

First, you will want to measure the entire outdoor space where you will be placing the furniture, such as the area of the porch, deck, or yard. Take down the measurements of all sides of the space and multiply the numbers to determine the square footage as well.

Surface Area

You will also need to measure the specific surface area where the furniture will be placed. This could be hard cement or a wooden deck area or it may be a sandy or grassy patch in the backyard. This will help you determine the size and shape of the furniture pieces that will fit best in your space.

Do You Rent Or Own The Property?

backyard furnitureSource

It may not be a good idea to deck out your space with lots of large, heavy outdoor furniture if you are renting the property or there is a chance you will need to move at some point.

In this case, you may want to consider lighter patio furniture made of plastic instead of wood or metal. This will make it much easier to pack once moving day comes. Keep in mind that all your furniture may not fit in your new home, so instead of purchasing large pieces, stick to smaller furniture just in case.

You may also want to check with your landlord before you start decorating any outdoor space, too. Some landlords have restrictions on the types of furniture allowed, or even the colors and sizes, especially if your outdoor space is visible to other tenants.

Now, if you own your home, you (for the most part) have your own say in the type of furniture you can purchase. However, there may be some HOA restrictions in your neighborhood that you must be in accordance with.

Consider Climate When Buying Patio Furniture

You need to consider the climate you live in when buying patio furniture. The weather in the area can have a great effect on outdoor materials. If you choose the wrong type, it could wear down faster or get damaged by the outdoor elements.

Here are some of the big factors to keep in mind.

Bodies of Water

Wooden Outdoor Furniture

If you live by the ocean, a lake, or other bodies of water, it is generally best to avoid metal-framed furniture which will rust easily in the damp, humid environment. Instead, go for plastic or sealed and stained wood which will resist weather and water damage.

It can also get quite windy when storms blow in, so you will want to choose heavier furniture that will not tip over or fly away.

Hot Weather

Lighter Color Outdoor Furniture for Hot Summer

If you live in an environment which gets extremely hot during the summer months or midday, you should opt for lighter colors and avoid dark metals. Dark colors will attract more sunlight and get extremely hot – plus, the sun could fade the color over time.

Instead, stick to patio furniture for hot climates made of lighter wood pieces which will not get as hot as metal or plastic. Consider installing canopies or umbrellas to shade the furniture from direct sunlight.

Snow And Ice

Outdoor Furniture Protection From Snow and Ice during The Winter Months

If you get a lot of snow and ice during the winter months, it is probably a good idea to store your outdoor furniture when it is not going to be used. You may want to pack it up and put it in a garage or shed, or with a fitted protective covering. This will help to protect the materials from wearing down due to harsh winter weather.


Patio Furniture For Rainy Climates

Prolonged rain can quickly eat away at softwoods or rust metal patio furniture. The best patio furniture for rainy climates are made of plastic or synthetic resin - which can withstand rain quite well. These kinds of materials also dry quickly so you can use your furniture once the clouds clear.

It is best to place your furniture underneath a covering if you live in a climate with a lot of rain. This will help to protect the materials and make sure the furniture lasts longer.

Consider Your Budget

Outdoor Patio Furniture

The prices for outdoor patio furniture range quite a bit, depending on the style, material, size, and brand name you purchase. So, before you start shopping, make sure that you have a clear budget set in mind.

As with most types of furniture, higher quality materials tend to come at a higher price. So, you’ll likely need to invest in more expensive pieces if you want the furniture to last for years to come. On the other hand, if you change your style often or you only intend to use it for a few seasons, a lower-quality and lower price piece may be fine.

Remember: you do not need to redecorate your space all at once. If your budget is a bit tight at the moment, start with pieces that you will use the most and add more as you go along.

Types of Most Durable Patio Furniture

Given your specific décor style, environment, and overall budget, the next step in buying patio furniture is deciding what kind of material is best for your specific set of needs. Each type of material offers certain pros and cons, and some may be better than others based on your preferences.

1. Cast Aluminum Patio Furniture

Cast Aluminum Patio Furniture

Cast aluminum patio furniture is quite popular as it is sturdy and resistant to both rust and moisture damage. It is typically coated with a powder finish for added protection.


  • Rust and moisture resistant
  • Easy to clean
  • Lightweight so it can be easily moved around

Best Suited for all types of Weather

  • Versatile, durable material which can withstand rain, sunlight, and extreme weather


  • Can easily tip over with strong winds
  • Material will rust if the coating chips

Care Tips

  • Clean off with water and mild soap
  • Maintain any areas that are chipped to prevent oxidation


  • A four-piece chair and table set tends to cost between $600 to over $1,000.

2. Wooden Patio Furniture

Durable Wood Patio Furniture

Wood patio furniture is another popular style because it is extremely versatile and varied. Pieces made of solid wood are incredibly durable and long-lasting.


  • Numerous wood styles and colors, including: teak, eucalyptus, white oak, acacia, pine, cedar, and fir
  • Can be stained to create desired color and fit décor styles
  • Sturdy and long-lasting when taken care of properly
  • Some woods are naturally weather resistant

Best Suited for all types of Weather

  • When treated, wood patio furniture can be used in rainy weather
  • Can withstand humidity, sun and heat, and extreme cold


  • If not maintained or sealed, wood can crack, warp, or rot
  • Often needs to be sanded and re-stained after a few years

Care Tips

  • Wipe off wet spots quickly and clean with damp cloth
  • Keep away from direct sunlight and rain to pro-long staining


  • A wooden four-piece patio set generally costs between $400 to $800
  • Higher-end sets made of more expensive wood will cost you $1,000 or more

3. Resin Wicker Patio Furniture

Resin Wicker Patio Furniture

Resin wicker patio furniture is made of synthetic fibers of PVC, nylon, or polyethylene - which is woven together to give the appearance of wicker. Resin wicker can be made in a variety of colors or pattern styles and they are typically wrapped over metal frames.


  • Extremely weather resistant and durable
  • The material is UV resistant so the color will not fade
  • Long-lasting designs require virtually no upkeep

Best Suited for all types of Weather

  • Can withstand direct sunlight, rain, and humidity


  • Material is lightweight and can blow away in heavy winds
  • Plastic resin can get hot in direct sunlight
  • Some plastics can scratch or crack overtime

Care Tips

  • Rinse off with water and air dry


  • Smaller resin wicker sets cost just a few hundred dollars
  • Individual chairs can be found for under $50 a piece

4. Wrought Iron Patio Furniture

Wrought Iron Patio Furniture

Wrought iron patio furniture is used for outdoor furnishing to create a more old-fashioned, vintage appearance. Wrought iron is extremely durable, and it is often cast into beautiful designs.


  • Incredibly strong and heavy-weight
  • When treated with resistant finishes, it can last for years

Best Suited for Dry Weather

  • Best to keep away from rain
  • Metal can get extremely hot in direct sunlight, so it is best to cover with cushions or shading


  • Material can rust if coating is chipped, so it must be re-painted often
  • Metal seating can be uncomfortable so it is usually best to cover with cushions
  • Furniture is extremely heavy and difficult to move around

Care Tips

  • Wipe up wet spots immediately and clean with a lightly damp cloth
  • Repaint any chipped areas


  • An aluminum patio furniture set with several chairs and a table will tend to run between $800 to over $1,000

5. Steel Patio Furniture

Steel Patio Furniture

Steel patio furniture is a great compromise between wrought iron and aluminum - if you prefer a metal finishing. Steel patio furniture is long-lasting and is usually reasonably priced and long-lasting.


  • Sturdy material does not bend or dent easily
  • Steel can be molded into many shapes and styles
  • Powder-coated for added protection from rust

Best Suited for all types Weather

  • Steel can withstand rain, humidity, and both hot and cold temperatures quite well


  • Metal does retain heat, so it is best to cover up seating areas as much as possible if left in direct sunlight
  • Material can rust if exposed to lots of water and rain

Care Tips

  • Use soapy water to wipe down dirty areas and dry with a cloth
  • Treat any chipped areas right away
  • Apply a coat of car wax for added protection and shine


  • A patio set made of steel generally costs between $400 to $700

What Material Should You Buy Based on Where You Live?

Here’s a helpful map to show you what kinds of materials are best suited for the various climates around the country.

Best Suited Materials for Outdoor Furniture For Various Climates

Best Fabrics for Outdoor Furniture

Patio Furniture Fabrics

Choosing beautiful cushions or pillows to your outdoor furniture can make it much more comfortable, colorful, and inviting. Weather-resistant fabrics are good to add on patio furniture for hot climates, since the metal frames can get quite hot in the sun.


Acrylic fabrics are great for patio furniture that may get wet from time to time. This material is mold and mildew resistant and is quite durable. The textile style can be dyed in all types of colors and is easily hand washed with mild detergent.

Acrylic fabrics will stay bright and vibrant, even when they are in direct sunlight for long periods of time. This makes it one of the most popular choices for cushions, pillows, and patio umbrellas.

Care Tips

  • Can be washed on a gentle cycle with warm water and fabric softener
  • More delicate materials can be hand washed
  • Machine dry low
  • Iron if needed


Olefin is a synthetic fabric which is less expensive than acrylic but still incredibly durable and weather resistant. Olefin threads are colored before it is woven, so it can create beautiful patterns. However, it is not quite as soft as other material types, but it is stain-resistant and easily cleaned with soapy water.

Care Tips

  • Treat stains right away with damp cloth to blot up moisture
  • Hand wash with cold water and mild detergent to avoid shrinkage
  • Air Dry


Polyester patio furniture cushions and pillows are strong and water-resistant, and can be dip-dyed or even painted after it is woven together. It is often coated in acrylic or vinyl for added weather-resistance. Acrylic coating keeps the fabric soft, so it can be used for pillows and cushions. However, vinyl coatings stiffen the fabric - it is best used for umbrellas or screens.

Polyester fabric will fade over time in harsh sunlight, so it is best to use it in shaded areas. It can be hand-washed with mild soapy water.

Care Tips

  • Can be machine-washed with warm water and mild detergent
  • Turn cushion covers inside-out
  • Tumble dry low or airdry


Foam for Patio Furniture Cushions

When picking out patio furniture cushions, you should be aware of how to properly care for the foam inserts. There are several types:

  • Open Cell – This foam allows water and air to flow through so it does not mildew or mold. While it is convenient, this foam style tends to be on the expensive side.
  • Closed Cell Foam – This material is often used in flotation devices since it repels water, making it buoyant. This is good for cushions that will be often used near water. However, it is not as comfortable as other types of foam.
  • Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) Foam – This foam is often used for outdoor upholstery as it stays firm and does not lose shape. This foam is also quick-drying, mold resistant, and eco-friendly since it can be recycled.
  • Polyurethane Foam – This foam time absorbs water and takes a while to dry up. However, it is treated to prevent mold and mildew from growing. It is generally best to cover this type of foam in a plastic cover to prevent it from getting too water-logged.
  • Polyester Foam – This foam is one of the least expensive options and dries quite quickly. But it does tend to lose its shape over time, especially if it is frequently washed. To prevent this, it is recommended to wrap it with an additional protective covering.

How To Buy Outdoor Cushions

All of these options can definitely be overwhelming. If you are wondering how to choose fabric for patio furniture, take a look at this helpful video. It offers some good tips on how to find good quality patio furniture cushions that fit your budget and décor.


Bonus Tips

Tips to Buy Patio Furniture

1. When Is The Best Time To Buy Patio Furniture?

If you are looking to get the best deal price-wise on patio furniture, you will want to shop around at the end of the season to snag discounts and clearance prices. This is generally at the end of summer or early fall.

However, if you want the best variety of options, start shopping towards the end of winter. This is usually when stores are getting in their latest shipments for the upcoming designs for spring and summer.

2. How Much To Spend On Patio Furniture?

This is of course dependent on your personal budget.

However, as mentioned before, most people will spend between $1,000 to $5,000 for a full backyard renovation, meaning that about $300 to $1,600 will go towards outdoor furniture.


Having a beautiful outdoor space can really elevate your home – and make your summers and sunny days much more enjoyable. But, there needs to be a bit of planning that goes into buying patio furniture if you want to create a gorgeous space that will last for years to come. If you have any more questions about choosing outdoor furniture and want to speak to an expert, reach out to our team at Family Leisure. We carry a wide variety of patio furniture and other outdoor accessories to help you create the backyard of your dreams.

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