Having furniture out on your patio, porch, or lawn can be a lot of fun, but having it also means exposing your tables, chairs, and the like to the elements. It’s important to choose the right materials when furnishing your home’s exterior to make sure your purchases will last. Here are the five best materials with some of their advantages and disadvantages.
5. Wrought Iron
Wrought iron can be a wonderful choice if you’re going for a timeless, classy look. It’s highly durable, extremely unlikely to move or blow over with strong winds and rain, and can be shaped and painted to great aesthetic effect. A good spray-wax once a year can make it especially resilient.
Pros: Highly durable and tends to stay put when placed, many beautiful designs, can be painted.
Cons: Weight can make it difficult to move, tends to retain heat and cold, often requires cushions that must be brought out and brought back in, may rust if not properly cared for.
Aluminum is a light, strong, corrosion-resistant metal, easy to clean and generally low-maintenance in comparison to wrought iron, though aluminum pieces tend to be less intricate. It’s especially weather-resistant with a good powder-coat finish, though this may drive the cost up.
Pros: Easy to move, low-maintenance, highly durable.
Cons: Often highly expensive, especially for stronger and more corrosion-resistant pieces. Tends to hold in heat and cold to some extent.
Probably the most common (and by far the cheapest) of these materials, plastic has a lot of advantages. It’s inexpensive, easy to move around, extremely simple to clean (just soap it up and rinse), and essentially completely impervious to water. It’s not always terribly durable, however, and it’s not exactly known for its style.
Pros: Easy to move, low-maintenance, waterproof, highly versatile.
Cons: Sometimes flimsy and not necessarily very stylish. Can sometimes retain heat and cold, though not as much as the previously-mentioned metals.
There’s a pretty good chance this is what your house is made of, and it’s obviously capable of weathering the elements given the proper treatment or paint. Wood furniture can be relatively inexpensive, fit very well in an outdoor setting, and quite durable especially if hardwoods are used. It’s pretty high-maintenance, though, with sealants or paints or other treatments needing to be re-applied over the years. And of course there’s always the chance for splinters in especially undesirable places. Make sure you don’t put it directly on dirt or grass, as it’s organic material and can rot.
Pros: Can be very durable and long-lasting, often looks right at home outside.
Cons: Can rot if not carefully treated and placed, potential for splinters, might not do well in cold winters.
Wicker is really just woven, treated wood, but it’s much lighter than solid wood and can still be quite durable. It does tend to be a bit bulky (which might not matter on the lawn but could be an issue on a crowded porch). It’s also relatively expensive, though you often get what you pay for in terms of durability, and the addition of synthetics can bring the cost down some.
Pros: Strong and light, can last for a very long time even when left outside 24/7, lots of elegant weaves and designs are available.
Cons: Often expensive, can be a bit more difficult to clean, sometimes bulky.