The Best Outdoor Furniture
Anchor your outdoor dining area with a sturdy table and chairs and it will feel all the more like an agreeable outdoor room. Look for a table that's large enough for your family plus a few drop-ins. Chairs should encourage lingering (extra pillows help).
Aluminum designs are a sensible choice for this heavy-use area―the metal is inherently rustproof and durable, says Cheminne Taylor-Smith, editor in chief of InFurniture, a trade magazine. "It's a lightweight, long-lasting, and hard-wearing material," she adds. It can stay out year-round, and requires little upkeep (just periodic washing with mild liquid soap). Look for pieces with rustproof hardware, seamless welds, and a UV-resistant powder-coat finish for insurance against oxidation, which can cause chalky streaks on unfinished aluminum. Here, three common types.
- Tubular aluminum: A cost-conscious yet durable choice. Hollow tubing is cut and bent to form streamlined shapes.
- Wrought aluminum: Similar to tubular aluminum but pricier, due to more workmanlike and durable welding.
- Cast aluminum: Made by pouring molten aluminum into molds, this solid (and heavy) material retains fine design detail.
Read on for more stylish outdoor furniture picks, plus tips on how to keep your patio set sparkling all summer long.