Buying Guide: Outdoor Furniture
Alfresco entertaining is a breeze with stylish, high-quality outdoor lounge and dining furniture. Be the perfect host indoors, as well as enjoy these functional and fashionable tips on how to take it outside - live it up all year round with outdoor furniture.
The "Outdoor Room"
With the architectural emergence of open-plan design and living, interior spaces have opened up to connect with outdoor areas. Today, exterior zones — such as decks — are more like extra living rooms. Therefore, outdoor areas are being furnished to a high level of comfort and quality.
Shape a stylish open-air entertainment area with a quality outdoor lounge or dining set available in a wide collection of styles, designs and sizes to suit. As more people are entertaining family and friends at home, bigger outdoor dining settings (like expansive 9- and 11-piece ones) are becoming more popular. Similarly, the open-plan indoor space is spilling outside, flowing into an outdoor living "room" incorporating the backyard and garden. Coming onto the market are versatile outdoor furniture that can be used as either dining or lounge sets, which can include a recliner and bed.
In The Framework
Outdoor furniture is constructed from a variety of natural and high-tech synthetic materials, in terms of both the frame and fabric coverings. The frames of outdoor furniture can be made from:
- Solid and sturdy, timber outdoor furniture can withstand the elements with proper maintenance. Harvey Norman recommends oiling timber outdoor furniture four times a year. It's an easy, five-minute process of applying the timber oil with a rag.
- All timber outdoor settings available from Harvey Norman during season 2012/13 are constructed using FSC-certified* timber from sustainable forests, showing the company's commitment to the environment.
*Forest Stewardship Council
- Lightweight and easy to move around.
- Low maintenance, durable, highly recyclable and very resistant to fade or rust.
- Powder-coated and available in a variety of colours.
- All of Harvey Norman's metal outdoor furniture sets are aluminium.
- A composite synthetic material that's low-maintenance and hard-wearing.
- Lightweight, durable, recyclable and flexible.
- Available in a variety of colours and textures.
Other frame materials include:
- Sturdy, lightweight and stackable.
- Weather-resistant, easy to clean, recyclable and won't rust.
- Sturdy and durable, it's a high-end material usually used in frames or finishing details.
Different fabrics in various textures bring a touch of luxury to outdoor furniture. Today's range of cushions is made from:
- Olefin, a synthetic fibre that's strong, lightweight and long-lasting. It's also colourfast, which means it stands up to weathering against the natural elements, chemicals, sweat and so on.
- Textilene, a PVC-coated polyester fabric that's UV-treated and weatherproof. It's normally used as the sling on aluminium furniture frames. 'Single textilene' (one-sided) is easier to maintain, while padded textilene (double-sided) offers more comfort.
The most popular styling options for today's outdoor areas are natural, neutral textures and tones — like charcoal, brown and cream — to create a rustic, reclaimed look, with accent pieces and accessories in on-trend colours.
A number of Harvey Norman's aluminium and resin wicker outdoor dining and lounge suites are sold with cushions included. If you buy a timber setting, Harvey Norman also sells cushions separately, including fitted ones for chairs as well as decorative scatter cushions.
Inside Out – Some More Tips For Buying Outdoor Furniture
- Constant and direct exposure to the sun's rays can cause patio furniture to fade. If an outdoor setting was fully exposed to the elements, all year round, it would dull quickly. However, outdoor furniture covers sold by Harvey Norman can extend the lifespan by protecting against rain, sun damage, bird droppings, dust and pollution.
- Consider adding an outdoor umbrella to protect outdoor furniture and create a more comfortable lounge and dining environment. They provide protection from the sun and soften harsh light, while still allowing air to flow in and out, so you stay cool in the shade. Outdoor umbrellas are available with centre poles or cantilever style. Just a tip: make sure you firmly secure outdoor umbrellas, especially if it's windy.
- Outdoor heaters let you enjoy open-air entertaining at home all year round, even in the cooler months of autumn and winter.
- All outdoor dining and lounge settings sold by Harvey Norman require some assembly.