How to choose the right outdoor furniture for your backyard
Whether it’s kids playing backyard cricket or friends gathered around the firepit in winter, Australia’s sunny summer days and relatively mild mid-year temps provide a climate that is ideal for outdoor entertaining all year round. In fact, according to a Houzz landscaping study, half of Aussie homeowners use their backyards for hosting – the highest percentage among the 13 countries surveyed. If you want to ensure the outdoor setting you’re buying is the very best, then these tips are a great place to start.
Outdoor furniture Lesson 1: Factor in function
When purchasing patio furniture, it’s important to take the location of your home into account.
If you live in a region renowned for its rainfalls, consider buying outdoor settings resistant to water-based damage. Conversely, if your home is located in a humid environment – where funghi, mould and mildew thrive – opt for materials that will withstand these conditions. Finally, if you live in a coastal property that is prone to corrosion and rust (owing to the sand and salty air) and fading (due to the high UV rays), it’s important to pick outdoor lounges and chairs with that in mind.
Regardless of your specific location, all outdoor furniture should generally focus on durability. For this reason, we recommend seeking out materials that are long-lasting, sturdy, naturally weather-resistant and easy to maintain.
Wood is one of our favourites. However, while our property stylists love sustainably sourced softwoods like cedar, pine and fir for interior decor, when it comes to outdoor settings, hardwoods – such as teak, cedar, oak and eucalyptus are the preference.
Similarly, metals such as stainless steel, aluminium and wrought iron all offer durability come rain, hail or shine (or wind!). And, although their strength makes them a great option for outdoor dining sets and sofas, it’s important to ensure they are properly maintained with a powder coating or a weather-resistant finish to maximise their life span.
Finally, while natural materials such as stone are excellent for exterior applications (thanks to their organic nature and tonal variations), don’t be scared of synthetic fibres either.
For example, although cane and rattan can certainly be used outdoors, resin wicker offers the opportunity to create a similar look, that withstands humidity, rain and UV light, without compromising on appearance.
But don’t forget about form
Practical considerations aside, outdoor furniture offers the opportunity to refresh and reinvigorate your property, while extending your style ethos to every inch of your home. Start by deciding the primary purpose of your outdoor space: Is it to create a new entertaining and eating area, extend your interiors outside or simply a place to relax by the pool? Adjust your furnishing choices accordingly.
Then, make the most of the area you have available by focusing on generously sized furnishings suitable for hosting, but that are not so large that they take up your entire space. It’s also important to opt for something that complements the aesthetics of your entire home. Whether your interior living spaces offer a relaxed coastal oasis experience or touch on more luxurious living, create a cohesive home by purchasing outdoor settings and accessories that bring this vision to life.
A few finishing touches
Once you’ve worked out how you hope to enjoy your outdoor living space and choose furniture that is both durable and design friendly, the final step is to have fun with a few stylish finishes. These will truly transform the back of your home into something beautiful and encourage everyone who passes through to take advantage of the haven you have created.
Perhaps, you could paint a feature wall in a rich, bold shade, to allow the design details of your outdoor settings to really stand out. Or a bold piece of artwork (kept under cover, of course!)?
If you’ve opted to build an outdoor bar or kitchen, a sophisticated set of stools alongside a spread of luxe glassware for easy DIY cocktails can really channel a resort-stay experience. Sunloungers look beautiful, decorated with colourful cushions to really make them pop. Invest in colours that contrast with the seat (a cream lounge looks great with an orange pillow), or a striped print to channel French Riviera vibes. And finally, don’t be afraid to add a few pot plants to enhance the overall outdoor experience. After all, green is the new black.
Whether you need a little support, or would prefer to leave the entire process to the experts, get in touch with our interior design experts – who can help you curate, procure, deliver, install and style spaces for you. Drop us a message by filling out the contact form.