Setting up outdoor furniture seems easy enough. Buy a table and a few chairs, set them up on the patio, and be done with it.
At first, you’re excited. You eat dinner outside once or twice. Maybe you host a barbecue.
Then, the novelty wears off. You find that you’re not using your outdoor space nearly as much as you thought you would. All of that time spent on making the backyard look great seems wasted.
Creating the perfect outdoor living space takes more thought than just buying a cheap set at the home improvement store and assembling it. Some things that you should consider are the type of furniture you purchase, the spaces that you delineate with the furniture and the purpose of the furniture.
Here are some tips and advice for purchasing and arranging your outdoor furniture.
What’s The Purpose?
Different parts of your backyard serve different purposes. The area just outside the kitchen is often ideal for dining. You don’t want to have to trek through your garden with a hot plate of food or dirty dishes.
Do your exterior doors open out from the living room? Consider the space on the other side as an extension of your living and entertaining area. That’s the perfect spot for furniture that encourages you to gather around.
As you walk through your backyard, notice the areas that invite you to stay a while. If you have a fragrant garden, maybe you’d like to spend more time lounging there. A conversation or reading nook can be placed under a shade tree.
A potting area near the vegetable garden is practical. Conveniently placed benches give you a place to rest when you’re not gardening. When you know what you want to do in each area, you’ll have a better idea of the furniture that you should buy.
What’s The Weather?
Your outdoor furniture will have to withstand the elements. Even durable outdoor fabric can fade and deteriorate in the sun. Will you need to store any pieces of furniture when it rains or snows?
The furniture that you choose for your pool area may be very different than the pieces that go under the awning on the deck. If you need to mix and match materials, stick with a theme to provide consistency.
Choose metal, wicker and wood in dark chocolate, for example. If you go with a more modern look, stick with silver, blond wood and stone. You can also make your backyard style more cohesive with accessories.
How Will You Accessorize?
Speaking of accessories, don’t neglect them when you’re choosing outdoor furniture. Pillows and cushions aren’t the only way to add a pop of color.
Potted plants can serve as seasonal accessories. The containers will still look chic when they’re empty in the winter.
Accent furniture can give you a place to put down your book or set your drink. These are also wonderful pieces with which to infuse some personality. You can even use decorative tile or painted murals to add interest to dull areas of the yard.
Don’t forget the lighting. Permanent fixtures, lanterns and string lights can define the different spaces in your yard. Don’t hesitate to hang a chandelier from the rafters or a curtain from your pergola.
Don’t Forget To Organize
Your furniture won’t be the focal point if your outdoor area is cluttered. When buying outdoor furniture, look for pieces that serve double duty as storage containers.
Boxes that double as benches can hold pillows or small items during storms. Screens and shutters can conceal tools and toys.
How to Arrange Your Outdoor Furniture
There are infinite ways to position outdoor furniture. Think outside the conventional table and four chairs.
Ballard Designs calls the combination of a sofa and two chairs a “classic arrangement.” A coffee table and ottoman add extra comfort and convenience. Two sofas can also be arranged to create an “L” shape for a more intimate layout.
If you have two smaller sofas or loveseats, you can arrange an assortment of chairs around them. This can create an inviting space for several guests to gather without looking mismatched.
You don’t necessarily have walls in your outdoor space. Therefore, you’ll need to use furniture more creatively. Sofas, bar tables and benches create visual definition that separates one area from the next.
Better Homes and Gardens recommends against using a patio table in a small space. It’s easier to gather more people together when they don’t have to steer around a large piece of furniture.
Whatever you do when you set up your outdoor furniture, maintain your sense of style. The look that you love indoors will be equally appealing outside.