When it comes to buying outdoor furniture, style is only one part of the puzzle. Any designer piece you spend your hard-earned money on not only needs to look gorgeous, but should tick a number of other boxes, too. Here's what to look for when choosing the newest addition to your outdoor space...
1. COMFORT IS KING
Above perhaps all else, outdoor furniture needs to be comfortable. After all, the whole reason outdoor chairs or loungers exist is to help us R E L A X... to give us somewhere to retreat to, putting the busyness of life aside for a while in favour of a good book, a favourite drink or just some fresh air.
So, when you sink into your outdoor chair, you shouldn't want to get up. You shouldn't have to invest in additional cushions or padding just to make your new piece of furniture comfortable to sit in. And if you feel OK for 5 minutes, but sore and fidgety after 15, it's not the piece for you.
If buying a bean bag chair, choose one that has a defined structure, something that securely cradles you in its form.
2. WEATHERING THE ELEMENTS
The summer months are, of course, the time of year when we're all more likely to be investing in outdoor furniture. But be sure to think ahead to all those other seasons and the weather they bring. The last thing you want to have to do is cover up your furniture or bring it inside every time you're finished using it!
Choose pieces that have been specifically designed to weather the elements - water repellant, breathable, mildew and mould resistant and made from hardy materials and fabrics.
Salt corrosion is also a consideration of those who live close to the ocean.
As well as weathering the elements, your new outdoor furniture also needs to stand up to regular use! Choose furniture that has been designed (and tested) to withstand many years of regular use, as well as being stain-resistant and easy to clean.
3. COLOUR-FAST TO LAST
Too many hours of harsh sun and bold blacks can fade to sludgy green-grey; vibrant reds can become washed-out pinks!
To ensure the colour stays true for years to come, look for words like fade-resistant or colour-fast; these fabrics are tested and proven to keep their hue for longer. The best designer outdoor furniture will often come with a warranty.
4. NEUTRALS ARE TIMELESS
As lovers of interior design, we know only too well the heady rush of buying something we've seen in all our favourite magazines. But when investing in outdoor furniture, it's better to choose neutral colours for larger pieces. Think black, dark blue, sand or taupe shades, and greys. These colours will never go out of style, and can be easily teamed with the latest more vibrant shades.
Express the trends you love through more affordable, easily updateable items (planters, outdoor candles, tableware and other accessories), while the canvas you display them on stays classic and classy.
Ideally, the outdoor furniture you use will serve more than one purpose, giving you more bang for your design buck - ottomans can be used both as low tables and as comfy footstools, outdoor stools can also double as small side tables.
Buy outdoor chairs that are light and easy to move, so you can chase the sun around your property or easily re-arrange seating when guests come to visit.
Stylish and sleek but but also blissfully comfortable, and made with the world's finest-quality outdoor fabrics and materials.