02 Nov 2012
The trends in garden furniture have come a long way in the last 20 years, with style and comfort being two of the most important factors. However, it is not difficult to keep up with the latest outdoor trends, no matter what your budget is.
The type of patio you have will ultimately determine what kind of outdoor furniture you can have. If you have an exposed patio, it would make sense to buy furniture that will weather rain, frost and heat, like cast aluminium or steel furniture.
However, if you have a covered patio, you can opt to have furniture made from wicker, wood or plastic, as it will be out of direct contact with the weather elements.
Although most of the outdoor furniture produced these days is quite weather resilient, if you are fortunate enough to live in a coastal area, it would be wise to hose down the furniture occasionally to avoid corrosion.
"We have noticed that an increasing number of South Africans are realising that outdoor spaces are equally important as their interior decor," says Mia Delport, marketing manager for the Patio Warehouse.
To make the most of outdoor living, she advises homeowners to choose their outdoor furniture wisely.
The designs and styles of furniture are constantly changing, and it's the same for patio furniture. Each year, there are new, funky styles on the market, and every year, they get better.
Wicker is all the rage, according to Alon Sachs, director of Mobelli Outdoor Furniture. It is durable and comfortable, if manufactured correctly, and can come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Many of the trendy hanging chairs are made using wicker, as it is weather resilient, but pliable at the same time.
Tip: Try to insert your fingers in between the wicker. If the wicker is tight you can be assured that a lot of attention went into the chair both in production and in quality control.
Day beds are sneaking their way back into the trendy pages, coming in a variety of materials such as wicker, aluminium and wood. These are a stylish way to kick back comfortably and enjoy the South African sunshine.
Although a couch on the patio may seem like it's going a bit far, couches are proving to be highly popular, as they offer the same comfort as a lounge suite. Most of them are made from aluminium and wicker.
Streamline aluminium tables and chairs are light, durable and stylish. They incorporate both aluminium and wicker into the design, and come in a variety of colours. The wicker, along with the long lines of the tables and chairs give the whole selection a contemporary, artsy feel to it.
Stepping away from the conventional look of chairs and tables, round based chairs and swivel chairs are coming out in full force. The round bases, usually made from wood are popular among buyers. They do not only look good, they are comfortable and lightweight as well, making them ideal for the garden.
Mobelli have a funky product called the Torre, which is a stackable, multi-purpose circle. Not only can you use it as a table or chair, you can use it as a light. The torre lights up in a variety of colours, which makes them perfect for any occasion.
Delport says the golden rule is “Do not clutter your patio” so avoid buying a bunch of chairs 'just in case'. What you need are the basics, a table and enough chairs for the people who sit outside regularly.
How to spruce it up
Clean and simple lines are great for outdoor furniture and Delport advises selecting natural colours as a base. You can then spruce up the seating using a variety of bright vibrant cushions with bold designs. Then, when the trends change, you need only change the cushion covers.
Sachs suggests using fabrics like acrylic or olefin. Acrylic material is resistant to mould and mildew and is coated with Teflon, ensuring that water and grime don’t penetrate easily causing the foam inside to rot.
Taking care of your furniture
Furniture is an investment, so you want to take care of it properly. Most outdoor furniture can simply be sprayed down every couple of weeks but some of it will need special attention to ensure it lasts as long as possible.
When cleaning wicker furniture, it's best to start with vacuuming the cushions and chair, to suck up excess dust. Then you can use a bristle brush with medium stiff bristles and warm water to wash down the chair.
Keep the amount of water to a minimum, as too much water can damage it. When you are done, wipe it down with quick absorbing towels.
Wooden furniture can be wiped down with a damp cloth and polished at least every three days to ensure it keeps its shine. Aluminium and steel furniture can be hosed down with water every two weeks (and all this will depend on how often the furniture is used) and left in the sun to dry and cushions can be popped into the washing machine and cleaned, but be sure to check the labels first, just in case. -Victoria Taylor
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