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Don’t Waste Money on Outdoor Furniture. Ask these Questions First

Now is about the time of year we start thinking about new outdoor furniture. And if you’re anything like me, you’re facing the usual conundrum; do you go dirt-cheap or designer here?

Outdoor furniture seems to fit into one of those two categories only. In my experience, it’s either really cheap or it’s a little on the pricey side. There is rarely an in-between.

So should you skimp or splurge on these important pieces? If you ask me, it all depends on a few key factors…

Cheap Outdoor Furniture: Yay or Nay?

Atlantic outdoor setting from freedom cheap outdoor furniture

Loving this Atlantic outdoor setting from Freedom

Where is the furniture going?

Are you decking out an entire patio that your dining room opens out onto? Is this setting in your line of site every day? Then you probably want it to look as good as possible, and you’ll probably use it a fair bit when guest come over too.

If this is the case, you’ll want to invest in something durable and divine to look at. 

If the outdoor furniture is sitting on a balcony outside your bedroom, where you and your partner are the only ones seeing is, then you can drift toward an option that’s a bit more cheap and cheerful. Dress the space up with some cute outdoor cushions like these ones and you’ll be set.

It’s a pretty simple rule but it works; the more you see a piece, the prettier it should be!

kmart black outdoor dining chairs cheap outdoor furniture

Kmart outdoor chairs are only $25

How often will you use it?

Outdoor furniture should be a bargain if you’re only going to use it a few times in summer. But if you’re addicted to a barbecue and know that your outdoor area will be your second home when it’s warm, cheap outdoor furniture just won’t do.

You want something sturdy you can sit on daily, and an equally padded and comfy cushion to sit your tush on 24/7. In this instance, you need to road test the furniture the same you would a sofa or armchair. Don’t rush the purchase.

I hate to go back to my usual “think about function” advice, but it works. If you carefully consider how often you’ll use a piece of furniture (in reality), you’ll be better placed to figure out how much to spend.

Amart Furniture outdoor daybed in white beside pool

The Casablanca daybed from Amart Furniture.

Is there overhead coverage?

This is probably the most important factor in considering what price point to go for with your outdoor furniture. If there’s no overhead coverage in your outdoor area than you need to invest in the durable materials that’ll resist fading and won’t rust when it rains.

You’ll want to look for quick-dry, mould resistant foam for outdoor chairs. You’ll also want covers to be UV protected, as well as fade and water resistant.

Keep in mind that woods like teak and acacia will need staining over the years to prevent the wood from drying out and splitting. So some upkeep will be required on your part.

If you can’t afford to invest money in outdoor furniture, just be aware that the cheaper options can rust, stain and crack easily. Do you have room in your garage to store these when it rains?

globewest antigua outdoor setting beside pool in back garden

The Antigua outdoor furniture collection from Globewest

Outdoor Furniture, from Cheap to Chic

Here’s a list of my top five places to buy outdoor furniture, ranging from cheap to chic:

The Life Creative interiors outdoor room design

I designed this outdoor room for a client with pieces from Globewest.

Do you have Cheap Outdoor Furniture or did you Invest?

What’s your verdict on cheap outdoor furniture? Have you gone more affordable in the past only to be disappointed with the quality? Sound off below and share your story!

Outside of writing the TLC Interiors blog, Chris is an interior stylist and author. You can also catch him on your TV screens as a designer on Channel 10's Changing Rooms. If you'd like to book a design consult with Chris, you can find out more here

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