After fixing up those flowerbeds and cleaning out your swimming pool, you might be excited to head to the store and buy a new patio furniture set. Unfortunately, if you load the first table and chair set that matches your décor scheme into your cart, you might find yourself regretting your decision later. Here are two tips for successful outdoor furniture shopping, so that your backyard can be comfortable and functional for the long haul.
1: Understand Standard Furniture Space Clearances
If you are like most people, you might assume that any old patio set will work on your deck or patio. Unfortunately, buying furniture blindly might make the chair set of your dreams feel cramped or oddly placed. Believe it or not professional decorators use standard space requirements to make sure that tables, chairs, and outdoor accessories are comfortable distances apart. Here are a few standard space clearances, so that you can plan accordingly:
- Tables: Experts typically recommend a minimum of 36 inches around tables and other obstructions, such as walls or other furniture pieces. When it comes to your patio furniture, make sure that tables are at least 36 inches away from deck side rails or the edge of your concrete pad. However, if you are installing booth-style patio seating, a clearance of around 24 inches is acceptable.
- Seating Areas: If you are planning a seating area, try to keep the chairs at least 3 ½ feet apart. This minimum distance will make it easy for people to talk, without making them feel crowded.
- Fire Pits: You might adore that toasty fire pit, but some of your guests might want a little room to back up. Try to allow at least 7 feet of space between the fire pit and the edge of your patio, and choose seating that is small enough to move around easily.
Before you head to the store to shop for patio furniture, measure your entire deck or patio carefully. Take these measurements to the store with you so that you can compare them to the furniture.
2: Think About Comfort
If you plan to spend a lot of time on that deck or patio, you should take the time to investigate comfort. Here are a few things you should pay attention to, so that your guests don't end up squirming in their seats or asking to head into the house:
- Table Edges: Look for ogee-shaped table edges instead of straight edges, which won't dig into your guest's forearms. If you end up playing cards or eating outside, a comfortable table edge might keep everyone happy.
- Cushions: Those expensive cushions might seem like a splurge, but they could keep your guests comfortable. Look for high-end, all-weather cushions that offer a lot of support.
- Shade: Before you shop for patio furniture, think about whether or not you will need to add shade. For a more dynamic approach, look for umbrellas that can be added or removed depending on the weather.
- Fabric Choices: During the warmer summer months, your guests might find themselves lounging on your patio furniture in swimsuits, short shorts, or tank tops—which is why it is important to find fabrics that are comfortable against bare skin. Look for lighter fabrics that won't absorb heat, and that offer a soft, non-abrasive surface.
During your shopping trip, take the time to use different patio furniture like you would in real life. Lay on lounge chairs, sit at tables, and fold away umbrellas. You might feel silly, but a little research might save you hassle later.
By taking the time to choose the right patio furniture, you might be able to create a backyard that is as functional as it is beautiful.