Styling Outdoor Spaces: Tips for Buying Garden Furniture

Furnishing outdoor spaces, whether small or large, is essential not only for improving the aesthetic appeal of your immediate outdoors environment, but also for creating valuable living spaces even outside your home’s walls. This makes your choice of garden furniture as important as that of your interior furnishings. As you take more of your life outdoors-lounging with friends around the pool, having tea on the terrace, or hosting a barbecue party in the garden-the right outdoor furniture can improve these experiences for you, your family, and other people in your social circle. If you’re on the lookout for just the right furniture pieces best suited to your needs, here are 5 factors you’ll need to consider to create stylish outdoor areas.

• Material and Durability
Your choice of furniture material has a large bearing on the durability and longevity of your furniture pieces. Furniture made of hardwood such as teak and other natural materials such as bamboo, rattan and cane are sturdy and long-lasting, making them popular garden furniture choices. Wrought-iron is also a hardy material that can withstand the elements, and aluminum is a great choice if you want lightweight furniture pieces that are resistant to fading, rust, and corrosion.

• Design and Functionality
One of the most important factors in choosing your outdoor furnishings is whether or not the design of a particular piece fulfills your needs or the purpose of your outdoor spaces. Consider the activities you intend to do outdoors. Are you planning to hold parties for a large number of guests? If so, you may want to opt for large table and chair sets that can accommodate more people or are easily portable. Do you want your garden to be a sanctuary for quiet reflection? If yes, then a simple rattan chair or lounge may be all you need to complete your outdoor space.

• Measurement and Scale
Before buying anything, make sure you’ve got all your furniture measurements right. It’s worth taking the time to measure the exact area you have back home, and be aware that you’ll need to allot extra room around tables and chairs to allow people to walk around them. As a basic rule, plot an additional 24-36 inches from the back of chairs to give ample space for moving around them. Knowing the measurements of your outdoor spaces and the proper scaling of the furniture you’ll need is one of the most important aspects you’ll need to consider to ensure the usability and improve the aesthetic appeal of your furnishings.

• Look and Theme
Given the many different styles and materials of outdoor furnishings, it’s easy to get confused as to which ones to go for. To guide you towards the right choice, consider the theme of your home interiors and the other components of your outdoor environment-you’ll want furniture pieces that can harmonize with both worlds and offer continuity between them. Know the look you are going for and choose your furniture accordingly.

• Comfort
Keep in mind that outdoor garden furniture are meant to be used. You’ll be sitting on them, lounging on them, and resting on them. Choose furniture pieces that are not only durable and stylish, but will allow you to relax and enjoy the outdoors environment as well.

Improve Quality of Life With the Latest Building Design Trends

In the 1980s and 1990s, people were worried about lead paint fumes, fluorocarbons, asbestos and other toxic chemicals found in our homes and offices. This fear was so widespread that the news media dubbed it “Sick Building Syndrome.” As a result, much attention has been focused on sustainable, energy-efficient, health-promoting building design. Making the necessary adjustments to your home may be as simple as choosing compact fluorescent light bulbs and Energy Star appliances, or it may be as complex as trading in that dated carpet for recycled bamboo flooring.

Green interior design lighting is important because light sucks up electricity, generates heat and costs us money. A green lighting designer would tell you that compact fluorescent lamps are much more efficient than incandescent lamps, using 80% less energy. “CFLs last 10 times longer than incandescents and normally pay for themselves,” explains David Lee, a 23-year lighting designer with The Lighting Source.

Each bulb replaced with a CFL could save you $30 on utility costs, experts say. Of course, since these bulbs contain mercury, disposing of them is just as critical when it comes to green building design. Home Depot stores have orange bins to collect and recycle these bulbs. For those who wish for sunnier lighting color, halogen lights still offer 30-40% energy savings, compared to incandescents, although they are not as good as CFLs.

Many eco-friendly consumers are also looking for green interior design furniture and furnishings too. As you may know, indoor air quality can be affected by mold, moisture, organic compound emissions from paints, and formaldehyde emissions from cabinets and ventilation systems. Some building design materials collect contaminants and dirt as well. When shopping, you will want to avoid phenolic resin derived plastic laminate found on inexpensive furniture.

Make sure your wood products are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council to ensure the harvesters followed sustainable building practices. Wool that has not been treated with moth-proofing chemicals is preferable to polyester. Beware of polyurethane foam padding that contains polybrominated diphenol ethers, which are flame retardants.

The latest building design trends will focus on improving the quality of life and our planet in an affordable way. “Sustainable development allows economic progress and environmental quality to be compatible goals,” said Christine Ervin, Department of Energy assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy. “Communities are finding that sustainable development strategies save taxpayer money, improve the profits of local businesses, and make the community much more livable.”

Garden Furniture: Choose Sets to Blend With Your Interior’s Theme

In choosing garden furniture, it is vital to consider the interior of your home. The interior’s theme should continue to the exterior decor including the types of outdoor furniture you choose. Safest choice would be classic and traditional designs if they will blend with your other home furnishings. Garden fixtures and accessories will create a certain type of ambiance for your outdoor space. It will also enhance the functionality and visual appeal of the garden.

You have many styles and types to choose from There are also options to have your outdoor furnishings custom designed and produced. You have plenty of choices in outdoor furniture and fixtures. Consult with your interior consultant and your imagination would be challenged. With the right budge, there’s no need to limit yourself to a specific style. You can come up with a combination of American, Oriental, European, etc. depending on your taste.

If you want to inject a different, special and unique ambiance to your garden, you can redecorate you interior decor to suit the exterior. Look at your garden as an extension of your home. If your garden is wide, your artistic flair can be put to good use to create a French, Scandinavian, Italian, Japanese, American ambiance or any kind of ambiance suited to your personality and charisma.

The mixing of accessories, lighting, furniture and fixtures such as sculptures, handcrafted pieces, natural stones, can add or tone down, create the look and style. Your choice of bold and modern colors to your outdoor wooden or wrought iron benches and chairs can project a contemporary style. The selection of table cloths, vases, candle lights etc., can produce the elegance and sophistication you are looking for.

If you host parties and entertain a lot, your garden furniture should be the high-end quality type. Preferably, the teak or cedar wood furniture with umbrella will serve the purpose. Your garden furniture can either be made of aluminum, wooden, plastic or wrought iron types, other metals or a combination. You should have benches, tables, chairs, bar stools, bar table, lounge chairs, deck chairs, awnings and swings.

Even having greenhouses and arches can help a lot in producing the kind of ambiance which can elicit warm remarks of appreciation and admiration from your visitors. Gazebos, arbors, bridge, vines and your garden landscape have an over-all fascinating effect on your outdoor environment. Your garden furniture can serve as your family’s favorite focal point for relaxation and fun while watching kids play, taking a nap, breathing fresh air, enjoying the sun, having meals with your loved ones, entertaining guests, reading a novel, meditating and contemplating, watching the stars at nights, playing games and other outdoor activities.

Choosing Modern Garden Furniture

If you are looking to purchase furniture for your garden but you want to veer away from more traditional styles, there is an extensive selection of modern garden furniture to choose from in stores and online. But with such a variety of options, it is important that you know what you’re looking for before you hand over the money.

When choosing your furniture, consider these key questions:

1. How much room do you have in your garden?
2. What pieces of furniture must you buy (e.g. four chairs, two side tables, two loungers etc.)?
3. How much time do you want to spend taking care of it?
4. What is going to fit in well with your outdoor space and your lifestyle?
5. What is your budget?
6. How many years do you want it to last and will the weather be a problem?

When you’ve decided what you are looking for, follow the following simple guidelines which are sure to make your furniture look as if it was made just for you and your garden:

1. Choose colors that compliment the foliage and design of your garden. For instance, if your plants are mostly green, choose a natural color like dark brown or cream; if you have a yard with year-round colorful flowers, choose bold colors for your furniture like yellows, oranges and blues.

2. Go for some modern materials (like dark wicker, bold plastics and chunky cut wood).

3. Choose a shape that fits in with the surroundings. If your greenery is rugged and has an overgrown look, the you should go with an organic, curved shape. For gardens with tidily maintained, sparse plants, choose angled, neat furniture to fit in naturally with the surroundings.

4. If your chairs have cushions and pillows, make sure the fabric suits the surroundings – for instance, don’t choose a feminine, floral design for a highly architectural, tidy garden as it will just look out of place.

Finally, enjoy your updated garden! Gardens are places to relax and make memories, so choose key accessories that will compliment your new fittings and your garden’s landscape. Whether it is some hidden lights in the foliage that give the garden a bigger, magical feel at night, or a water feature that gives a zen feeling to the space, or, even, a modern sculpture that draws the eye to a focal point near your new furniture. The art of accessorizing your space will compliment the modern feel you will create with your carefully chosen furnishings.