Outdoor & Patio Furniture Buying Guide
From warm summer days to cool autumn nights, relaxing in your own backyard retreat brings peace and tranquility to any time of day. When it comes to extending home décor to your great outdoors, look no further than our extensive collection of exterior furniture and accessories, carefully curated to add comfort and personality to any space.
What to Know Before You Buy
Home décor is an investment, and your outdoor furniture is no exception. So, when it comes to selecting the right pieces, it’s important to focus on these areas:
- Lifestyle: As you shop, consider how the furniture will be used. Do you like to host large events like neighborhood block parties? If so, multiple seating options sprinkled throughout your outdoor space provide smaller, more intimate seating to keep the conversations going. If family gatherings and barbecues are more your speed, make sure to include an outdoor dining or bistro set. Another option is to create smaller dining spaces with chairs and end tables.
- Aesthetic: Your outdoor furnishings reflect your home’s style, so look for furniture and accessories that complement its current design. For example, if your interior style is modern, look for outdoor pieces with clean lines to create a cohesive look and feel.
- Value: Finally, choose décor that fits within your budget. New pieces can always be added over time. Plus, it allows you to curate the space based on changing needs.
Selecting the Best Material
Exterior décor comes in a variety of materials, with the most common being wood, aluminum, wicker, and wrought iron. When it comes to selecting materials, consider how much time you have for maintenance.
Regardless of the material you choose, make sure to read the manufacturer’s care instructions before treating or cleaning your furniture.
Materials range in price, depending on the type of wood, but the most common are teak, cedar, and eucalyptus. Each one will weather to a beautiful silver-grey patina if left untreated, and they each come with their own pros and cons.
Famous for lasting from one generation to the next, teak naturally contains oil that repels water and resists cracking and warping. The Canyon Teak Seating Set and Wildwood Seating Collection are beautiful teak options that will provide outdoor entertainment space for generations to come. Teak products last longer than other materials, so its longevity comes with a higher price tag.
If you’re looking for the weathering effect of teak at a more affordable price, consider eucalyptus. It’s a tropical hardwood like teak and has natural oils that prevent the wood from warping and cracking. Although eucalyptus is able to repel insect, water, and moisture decay, it cannot prevent damage completely. The average lifespan for eucalyptus is 25 years.
Another budget-friendly option is cedar, most commonly known for its distinctive scent that is pleasant to humans while repelling insects. Cedars fibers are lightweight and resist rot and cracks, making it an excellent option for both humid and dry climates. If maintained properly, cedar can last 20 years or more.
Long lasting, low maintenance, and natural beauty are prime reasons why wood is a classic choice.
Most outdoor furniture contains some type of metal component, from aluminum and wrought iron to stainless and powder-coated steel. Iron pieces tend to be heavier than their wood counterparts, meaning they are sturdier in windy climates, and many come with wheels to make rearranging easier. For damp climates, look for powder coating or aluminum options, as both are rust proof.
When it comes to wicker, it’s best to go with synthetic rather than natural for outdoor settings. Natural wicker is plant-based, so it doesn’t hold up to the elements. A better outdoor option is synthetic wicker, which resists stains, chips, scratches, as well as fading from UV exposure. Our Cabo Sectional Set is an example of contemporary design with deep seats for extended relaxation, which can also be removed for cleaning. Since wicker tends to be lightweight, these pieces are easier to move around and maintain.
In addition to foundational materials, it’s important to consider accompanying cushions for any seating sets you wish to add, so give them a test run in person to ensure they meet your comfort requirements. For added flexibility, look for cushions that can be easily detached from the furniture and, ideally, have a zipper enclosure. Being able to remove cushions allows you to flip and rotate them to ensure even wear, and if the cover needs to be removed – whether to replace or provide a deeper cleaning – all you have to do is unzip and treat.
Personalizing Your Space
Whether you're leaning towards furniture in neutral tones or contemporary prints, don't forget to add your own personal touch.
Outdoor Seating: As you're planning your outdoor space, think of it as extending your indoor style to the outdoors. Select pieces that mirror your current interior style, yet are designed to live up to the elements. Chairs, chaise lounges, and even dining sets create a stylish foundation, and we offer a wealth of options ranging from single seats to full sectionals as well as separates like chaise lounge chairs. Gazebos are a unique addition to any backyard space, and they come in a variety of options, including structures with retractable walls.
Dining: If you're looking to host an outdoor event, consider adding a dining set to the patio. We carry a range of sizes that work for intimate parties of 2 all the way up to 8 people or more. And since the chairs are moveable, they can be relocated to add additional seating to other gathering spaces.
Tables and Storage: Add tables to provide a platform for plants and a resting spot for cups and plates, or look for ones that can pull double duty like our Resin Wicker Cooler and Cabinet. This table-cooler combo keeps your party's canned beverages on ice and within reach. If you're looking for an alternative to a full dining set or want to create smaller dining vignettes, consider adding individual side tables to create a unique ambiance.
Umbrellas and Bases: The best hosts keep their guests' comfort in mind, so it's important to provide much-needed shade when the party hits high noon. An umbrella with a sturdy base keeps sun exposure optional, giving guests a cool space to relax while adding a layer of color from the umbrella itself. LED lights can be attached to the base for added visibility during evening hours.
Accessories: Vibrant throw pillows or an outdoor rug can add a splash of color and provide a “homey” feeling to your patio. Sets often come with pillows, but you can always add more in a different print or a splash of color to personalize the space and create additional comfort. Firepits create a warm atmosphere and help transition parties from day to night. Don't forget to bring the s'mores!
No matter what you choose, it's important that each piece is comfortable and user friendly. The Internet can provide pre-purchase inspiration, but we recommend you shop for outdoor furniture in person. Take some time and sit in the chairs, lounge in a chaise, and pull up to the table. Relax just as you would at home to see if each piece is the right fit for you and the space. Are the seats deep enough to be comfortable? Does the piece feel sturdy? Is the cushion material comfortable against the skin? Home is where life happens, and each piece you add needs to work for the life you have. So take your time to sit and experience the furniture to ensure it's the right match for you by visiting your local Watson's store.
Need Design Help?
Whether you have questions on specific products or are looking for fresh style ideas, our design experts are here to help every step of the way. Request an appointment or visit one of our superstore locations to start building your dream oasis today.