The Room Outdoors

Remember the Good Ole' Days?

Remember the days when outdoor furniture meant a white or green plastic table and matching chairs? You could also find wrought iron, but it seemed that was relegated to the outreaches of the yard and wasn't really meant to sit on - it just helped the pond look pretty. Then there was the picnic table, made of wood with benches attached. It turned a lovely shade of grey or maybe silver by the end of the season and left splinters in parts best not discussed here.

Things Aren't What They Used to Be

Things have changed dramatically in recent years and today's outdoor furniture does much more than provide a place to sit and eat from a plastic plate. Today's outdoor furniture purchases are as important as the indoor furnishings and many people buy with the expectation that it will last a long time.

There are many decisions to be made when choosing outdoor furnishings and it is best not to make up your mind based on what's in style this year. The architecture of your house is a good cue to selection of outdoor furnishings. You will want your outdoor furniture to compliment and blend with the style of the house, or perhaps tastefully contrast the architecture. It is possible to cross culture lines with design and put the clean lines of Asian furniture against a modern building. The lines complement one another and the furniture blends easily.

Keeping Things in Perspective

Scale is also important. If your home is rustic and woodsy, putting a "frilly" wrought iron table and chairs outside might look a bit out-of-touch. Today's gardens and yards are very much an extension of the house itself, so finding the right furniture for your patio or garden is very important. Porches and "summer rooms" extend out into the yard and if the furnishings are right, the extension can be seamless yet provide exactly the atmosphere you desire to enjoy the summer mornings with your coffee and newspaper.

It's Got to Wear - It's an Investment

Durability, construction and comfort are all important facets to consider when choosing outdoor furnishings. Some finishes require a lot of maintenance to prevent weathering and damage. Wrought iron rusts, so it will require painting every year. Wood, while natural and enjoyable, will weather and change color if not painted and sealed properly. Depending upon where you live, you may have to do the job a few times during the year. There are plenty of combinations available, such as wood and metal, metal and glass, and wood and glass, all with varying degrees of durability and comfort.

Coverings and More

Once you decide whether you'll use cushions, slings or straps for the chairs, you will be able to choose the fabric which will best suit your décor and needs. Today's fabrics are amazing and you can purchase coverings which look as gorgeous as your dining room chairs or living room sofa, but are treated so well that they will not fade or rot.

Take comfort in the fact that even if you can't purchase all of the outdoor furniture at one time, most manufacturers carry lines for several years - so there's a very good chance you'll be able to add to your "outdoor room" in increments.