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Furnishing the outdoors

From dining room sets to cozy corners, outdoor furniture has never looked better


When it comes to outdoor living spaces and furnishings, high quality pieces are worth the investment.

Durable and long lasting in timeless classic materials and colors, think about the long haul before you take the plunge. Quality chairs, tables, sofas, chaise lounges and more will provide the seating and setting for years of outdoor living enjoyment, said Thomas Hebel, president and landscape designer at Bucks Country Gardens in Doylestown.

Better Homes & Gardens — — reports outdoor living trends for 2024 include investing in high quality pieces.

Do some research, “test drive” various sofas or chairs by visiting showrooms and actually sitting down on them. Look for endearing — and enduring — materials like teak, powder-coated aluminum, high quality wicker and rattan or even concrete pieces, the website said.

Keep climate conditions in mind when shopping for outdoor furniture for your home and property.

When purchasing investment pieces, keep the end of the season in mind and visualize or measure where you’ll store the outdoor furniture you’ve enjoyed all summer long.

If space is a constraint and outdoor furniture must remain in the elements during the winter months, make sure your pieces are covered and protected. That way, they’ll be in top condition to enjoy for the many seasons yet to come.

“There are always style influences over casual furniture,” Hebel explained, “and teak or wood with woven rope is a hot look right now.”

It’s no surprise trends in fashion influence trends in home furnishings — including outdoor furniture styles.

Hebel said wood furniture is popular among consumers, and performance fabrics mean cushions can stand up to warmer temperatures and regular use.

“Deep seating cushioned furniture (incorporates) fabrics that can withstand the weather,” he said.

Look for ultraviolet light (UV) rated performance fabrics — the higher the grade or star value the better — for long-lasting performance on which you can count.

Hebel said many consumers will tire of their furniture before the pieces actually wear out or become unusable — another reason to invest is classic quality pieces.

“Timeless lines and styles can endure for many years, and you won’t get tired of them,” Hebel said.

He advises clients to invest in hardworking, long-lasting pieces and accessorize their outdoor living spaces with new umbrellas, cushions, pillows or tableware for a quick trendy pop of color or pattern.

“Those small things will make everything look new, and pillows are the easiest way to make a fashion statement,” he noted.

Think of smaller seasonal accessories you can swap out from spring to summer and summer to fall, as a way to refresh outdoor spaces. This approach can provide a lot of impact for little investment.

“It’s relatively inexpensive for the effect you get,” he said.

Beware of buying something because you love the look — but discover the chair or settee may not be as comfortable to use as it is attractive to look at.

“Sometimes comfort is sacrificed because (clients) like the appearance. We try to find a happy medium between comfort and style,” Hebel said.

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