Now that the sun’s out, you’ll be spending a lot more time on your patio. Read on to find out how to choose outdoor furniture that’s as comfortable as it is practical.
• Don’t overcrowd the patio. Mia Delport of Patio Warehouse says that before you making any purchasing decisions, it’s vital that you establish how much space you have. You also need to settle on whether you want to use the space primarily for lounging or for dining (or for both). Consider the logistics of the space, too: if your patio is covered, you have a little more leeway, but if not, you’ll need to look for pieces that are durable and able to withstand that harsh South African sun.
• Spend time on the sales floor. You wouldn’t buy a lounge suite without sitting in it first, so don’t think of taking an outdoor set home unless you’ve tested it, says Alon Sachs of Mobelli Furniture + Living. “It may sound obvious, but don’t rush this. If your outdoor furniture isn’t comfortable, you won’t spend time outside,” he points out. He adds that it’s important to quiz the salesperson too: ask about the materials and construction of the pieces, as this will determine whether it’s suitable for your climate and usage.
• Consider how much time and money you are willing to invest in maintenance. If the answer is “not much”, a powder-coated aluminium framework is best, says Marc Gibbons of Creative Living Patio Furniture. Synthetic weaves should have UV and colour stabilisers, so they require nothing more than a wipe down at the end of the day. “Wood is, of course, beautiful, but it needs to be treated every season to ensure longevity, and must be sanded at the same time to get rid of splinters.”
• Don’t buy into trends too much. You’ll get more mileage out of your set if you keep it neutral and make sure it tones in with your interior. You can, however, keep the area current (and add an injection of colour) by styling it just as you would an indoor space, with throws, scatters and rugs.