Home to summer activities like lolling and snoozing, the porch calls for furnishings you can really sink into. It also requires furniture that won't fall asleep on the job. Though partially covered, the porch is still exposed to the elements.
Wicker is the traditional choice, but it isn't immune to moisture or sun damage. "You have to either protect it or simply not care about it falling apart," says Becky B. Smith, editor in chief of Casual Living, an outdoor-furniture-and-accessories trade publication. Fortunately, there's an alternative: all-weather wicker, a synthetic (usually vinyl or resin) or coated natural woven material (treated with a protective finish) that are woven around an aluminum frame. It has UV resistance and an ability to weather the damp and the cold.
- Look for pieces that are tightly woven. You shouldn't be able to see through the weave or poke your finger through it.
- Most synthetic wickers can stay outside year-round without showing much wear. To clean, hose down with water and a mild soap.
- The luxury of low-maintenance will cost you: Expect to pay no less than $200 for a good-quality chair.