Preparing for the Summer: Tips on Purchasing Patio Furniture!

We are blessed with beautiful weather almost year-round here in Ventura County. Our daily lives seamlessly blend from the indoors to the outdoors...which brings us to the topic of the day…Purchasing Patio Furniture!  More than just form and function need to be taken into account when purchasing outdoor furniture.  Don’t trip over pennies today if these decisions could cost you $$$ in the future! Here are a few tips to consider:

1) Needs vs. Wants:  How are you going to be living in your outdoor space?  You may like the look and want a “living room” outside with a sofa and chairs or is outdoor dining more on your agenda? What about sun bathing or lounging?  Consider what you NEED to fit your lifestyle outdoors before spending the money just on what you “want”.

2) Matchy-Matchy: If you are blessed to have enough yard or patio space and need all of the above then consider buying everything to match versus having a bunch of mismatched sets.  Keeping everything cohesive in style and color lends to the feeling of a vacation destination instead of mismatched sets in chunks all over the yard.

3) Woods, Metals and Wicker, Oh My!: Style, function and personal taste need to be taken into consideration in choosing what will work best for YOU. 

Wood patio furniture is beautiful and usually comes in teak or (more expensive) Mango Wood...but keep in mimnd wood furniture will require some maintenance.  Even pressure treated wood needs to be sealed and/or stained at least once a year just like a natural wood deck would need to be taken care of.  It will fade and/or splinter after 2-3 years if not properly taken care of. 

Metal furniture can come in either heavy wrought iron (more expensive) or simple aluminum (which is what you get at the big-box stores).  Both are virtually maintenance free. Look for collections that are powder coated to protect it from rust.  Do take into account Santa Ana or coastal winds when buying metal furniture..  Aluminum is very lightweight and can literally fly away.  Heavier wrought iron pieces are a safer bet in unsheltered areas. 

Wicker” really isn’t the wicker of our grandmothers - today’s outdoor wicker is rubberized casing over aluminum frames and wires.  Extremely durable and low maintenance, today’s wicker styles come in everything from casual country to streamlined Zen. Just consider that cushions typically cannot be “anchored” or tied down to whicker pieces and cushions will need to be brought in on windy days.

4) Upholstery:  The adage “You get what you pay for” certainly holds true. When purchasing sets online don’t be fooled by the “lowest cost” upholstery.

It will be delivered with basic white muslin fabric.  Although understandably enticing to order the “clean, white” fabric this simple, cheap (yes, I said it CHEAP) fabric was not made for constant outdoor usage and direct sunlight.  Since the fibers are loosely threaded dust and dirt will work its way into the fabric instead of being able to wash off.  The “clean, white” feeling will not last long.

There is no UV protection in inexpensive fabrics, so usually within 1 year of exposure to sunlight and weather elements, the interior foam in the cushions will disintegrate.  Thus it will cost you MORE money to replace not only the upholstery, but foam inserts as well.

Look for upholstery made by a reputable company that is tightly woven and has a warranty against fading.  The UV protection (consider it sun screen for your cushions) will keep the color longer, will not tear or rip easily and will protect the integrity of the interior cushion foam.

5) Rugs:   Most “outdoor” area rugs are made for spaces that are still partially protected by Mother Nature, such as under a pergola or patio cover.  They really are not made for areas with full and direct sunlight for more than 2-4 hours per day.  Colors will fade much faster and the fibers of most natural woven rugs will break down.  Find outdoor area rugs that are either synthetic fibers or natural rugs that have a rubber backing to better hold the fibers together longer.  

6) When do you need it? Have a big springtime BBQ planned? Although it may seem premature to be thinking about patio furniture; keep in mind that once you have made your final decision: Patio furniture in the home centers can be delivered same day but ordering any additional pieces can take 2-3 weeks.  Specialty items can take  6-12 weeks for delivery and set-up depending on the manufacturer.

7) ENJOY!  Once you have made the decision to invest in your outdoor furniture, make sure to enjoy it. Invite your friends and family over for a party to celebrate your great taste! Better yet, throw a REALLY BIG party and invite all of your fellow readers of Conejo Valley Guide!!

-  Connie Tebyani, Platinum Home Staging, Inc.

Note from Conejo Joe: Connie Tebyani is a Professional Home Stager, Interior Design Consultant and Owner of Platinum Home Staging, Inc. She is also the Preferred Interior Designer for Pottery Barn and a member of the Real Estate Staging Association.  Connie has lived in the Conejo Valley for 20 years with her husband and 2 boys.  Visit her website at or 805.553.9952.