Contract Outdoor Furniture: A Buyer’s Guide

So, you’ve got an outdoor space to furnish. Where on earth to even start? Shopping for anything these days can be overwhelming because there are so many options, and this is certainly true when it comes to buying furniture. Most of us want to make sure a product is worth it before we actually open up our wallets and commit. Sometimes, we get so frustrated during that process that we impulse buy just so we can check something off our lists. When it comes to contract furniture, please do not do that, you will regret it! First, take a look at this overview of the most important things to consider when shopping for outdoor furniture…

The Materials

This is arguably the first aspect to consider in the shopping process. What your furniture is made out of can affect all of your other decisions, so it’s important to get this part right. Is your outdoor space often moist from perception or dewy grass? Is your budget bigger or smaller? What style is the place being decorated in? The answers to all of these questions should affect material choice, so we recommend reading “Top Four Materials Used for Outdoor Furniture” so that your decision will be an informed one.

The Space

The actual overall area you’ll be placing the furniture in is the next thing to think about before shopping. This includes asking yourself questions such as…

  • What is the climate like and what are our typical weather patterns?
  • If there is any overhead cover or will most of the furniture be fully exposed to the sun and other elements?
  • What surface will the furniture be on?
  • Literally, how much space is there? It is crucial that you take measurements before shopping, and it wouldn’t hurt to double or even triple check them. Not only do you want to make sure all the pieces you buy can fit, but you also want to make sure they look right and function properly together. Are there enough seats and surfaces for the projected amount of people that will be in the area? And is there enough room to get around all this furniture as well as use it? This opens up room for creativity! If your dining space is small, consider ditching traditional tables and going the bar, café, or bistro route. If your space is large, use bigger pieces, and make sure you have enough of them to avoid having an eerie, empty feeling in your outdoor area.

The Comfort Level

All furniture should be comfortable. However, it is also important to consider what people will be doing in your outdoor space. Are they eating and need simple dining furniture, or is this really a place for relaxing? If your area is meant for lounging, consider seats like chaises, rockers, and recliners for maximum comfort.

The Budget

Furniture is an investment. Know your budget, but big or small, buy the best pieces you can afford. Quality furniture is important for a number of reasons, but it will also likely save you money in the long run by lasting for a solid period of time before needing to be repaired or replaced.

The Style

Of course, you want your outdoor furniture to be attractive, and for the most part, that is subjective. So, we won’t tell you what colors and shapes are trendy, but there is something you should consider no matter what your personal taste is. The furniture you buy should complement the outdoor space it’s in, as well as any surrounding architecture and nearby interior design. It’s unpleasant to walk outside and be shocked by how different it looks compared to the space you were just in moments ago. It’s a much nicer experience when everything is created with a cohesive vision.

The Accessories

A great way to add some of that personal style to your outdoor space is through accessories, such as rugs and decor pieces. Don’t forget about these, they can really pull a space together, indoors or out! An important accessory to consider is cushions. Once you’ve taken things like climate and overhead coverage into consideration, you will have an idea of just how waterproof, washable, mildew-resistant and fade-resistant your cushions should be. Other finishing touches include umbrellas (these should be sturdy with quality, weighted bases) and outdoor heating (fire pits are particularly fun).

For all of these reasons, it’s important to fully visualize your space before signing a check, both from practical and stylistic points of view. Be sure to make the best material choice for your unique space and have a good idea of all the odds and ends you’ll need to finish it off. Those areas that don’t have any cover? Shade is easily created with some of those umbrellas. Does your space get cool during certain months or in the evenings? You’ll need some heating options. By thinking ahead, you ensure that your outdoor space is the best it can be in every way.

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