Embrace the outdoor life with comfortable and long-lasting furniture that’s beautiful enough to be a design feature in its own right. Regardless of whether you’re a seasoned entertainer or prefer a blissful snooze in a hammock to break the hectic pace of daily life, your choice of furniture will have a huge effect on the value you can draw from your outdoor areas. With such an amazing variety of living solutions on offer, there is something suitable for every kind of space -- from the largest backyard to the tiniest balcony.
Dine or recline?
The first thing to consider when selecting outdoor furniture is what you’re planning to use it for. If you’re a social butterfly and entertain frequently, lightweight aluminium furniture is a good choice, as it can be moved around easily to suit the occasion. For dining, a complete setting is often the most economical solution, and items such as benches with integrated storage give you a convenient place to keep dinnerware and related items. If you use your outdoor space as a haven for relaxation, why not go resort-style? Sunlounges, day beds, hammocks and swing chairs are all excellent options for getting away from it all in the privacy of your own backyard.
One of the most welcome new trends we’re seeing is outdoor furniture being sold by the item, rather than as a multi-piece setting. Some brands specifically design different ranges with similar or complementary finishes so that you can mix and match a table from one setting, a chair from another and sofa from a third range, and they’ll all look fabulous together.
Buying anything less than the best quality you can afford is a false economy. Cheap furniture quickly deteriorates in harsh conditions, so you’ll have to keep it from being exposed to the elements as much as possible -- in other words, keep it in storage, which defeats the purpose. Choose UV-stabilised synthetic wicker, or polyester fabrics which can withstand our Aussie climate, and opt for aluminium frames which will not corrode.
TIP: Some people think heavy steel furniture ‘feels’ more solid than its aluminium counterpart, but it’s actually the cheaper option. Internal steel surfaces, which are not powder-coated, are prone to rust unless the furniture is kept out of the rain.
Not everyone lives on a sprawling block with a swimming pool and a backyard the size of a sports field. Fortunately, there is gorgeous furniture designed specifically for smaller spaces, such as a courtyard or even a balcony. Choose a three-piece bistro setting and enjoy your morning coffee in the fresh air, or go for a wicker egg chair or suspended sunlounge if you prefer a splash of resort-style luxury.