Splurge or Save? Trendy Patio Furniture for Every Budget
Give your patio a facelift just in time for summer.
It's that time of year again. Porches and patios everywhere are having their moment in the sun, and homeowners everywhere are inspecting their outdoor furniture a little more closely. We all want our outdoor spaces to feel just as inviting as our indoor spaces, but sometimes dated furniture gets in the way. If you’re looking to update your outdoor furniture this year, I’m here to help. I’ve rounded up a few of the trendiest pieces this season, each with a budget-friendly option and a splurge-worthy option. Take a look, and see what you think.
COLORFUL LOUNGE CHAIR
Any old, metal lawn chair can be used to make this adorable macramé stunner.
Splurge: $399, westelm.com
Hand-woven from all-weather wicker, this color-blocked beauty is made to withstand the elements.
Make your own bench in one weekend with our DIY project. Bonus: This bench offers hidden storage under the seat.
Splurge: $1,249, potterybarn.com
English garden-inspired details and grade-A teak make this bench noteworthy.
BLACK ROPE DINING CHAIR
Save: $349.99 (set of 4), target.com
These armless, wrought-iron dining chairs are stylish yet budget-friendly.
Splurge: $299 (1), crateandbarrel.com
This chic chair is made of hand-woven synthetic resin rope, which is colorfast and UV-resistant.
METAL + WOOD DINING TABLE
Save: $419.99, target.com
Made of eucalyptus hardwood and wrought iron, this dining table is trendy and weather-resistant.
Splurge: $695, thosbaker.com
Similar in design, this dining table consists of teak and powder-coated steel.
TROPICAL CHAISE LOUNGE
Do you already have an old wood chaise? Instead of trashing it, redo it with our easy-to-follow instructions.
Splurge: $798, serenaandlily.com
How can a lounge chair be so dreamy? Sigh.
Save: $299.95, pier1.com
A powder-coated steel frame offers sturdiness, while synthetic rattan allows a slightly lower price point.
Splurge: $598, anthropologie.com
Intricately detailed macramé makes this just as much of an art piece as it is a hanging chair.
CONCRETE COFFFEE TABLE
Save: $349, westelm.com
This chunky drum table pairs well with industrial or bohemian style.
Splurge: $699, cb2.com
Matte black metal legs give this handmade table a sleek, modern look.
Save: DIY It
All you need for this super-simple DIY project is an old wheelbarrow and a few tools.
Splurge: $199, grandinroad.com
Powder-coated steel ensures this chair is sturdy and weatherproof, while its ability to rock ensures comfort.
DO seal your wooden deck every few years.
Save yourself some hassle and choose a one-step product that combines stain and sealer. Mitch Kalamian, owner of Solena Landscape Co., recommends Behr’s All-in-One Wood Finish for a good-looking, durable final product.
DON’T sand your wooden deck before sealing unless it’s really necessary.
This step is only a good idea if your deck’s surface has become too rough for comfort, because it adds several steps to your finishing process. “Sanding strips off that top layer of stain, so to do things the right way, you’ll need to put on three coats of stain and sealer afterward rather than just one,” Kalamian says.
DON’T paint your deck if you can help it.
“Priming and painting is always a two-step process, and any moisture trapped underneath will come through at some point,” Kalamian says. “Painting wood creates maintenance that you absolutely must do no matter what.” Where a stain simply fades — and can be replaced as needed with one coat of the right product — paint will chip and flake and is a pain to redo.
DON’T feel obligated to seal your patio.
“If you want a wet look all the time, then seal your hardscape,” Kalamian says. “But you’re creating maintenance, because you’ll have to reseal your patio every two years like clockwork.” Natural materials like slate and bluestone actually tend to self-seal under foot traffic and don’t need the extra layer of protection unless you simply like the glossy aesthetic.
DON’T go overboard washing your deck.
“You want to wash regularly, but not too regularly,” Kalamian says. Normal wear and tear plus constant pounding by the sun’s UV rays takes its toll on the wood’s surface, and if you scrub or power wash too forcefully — or even just wash with water too often — you can actually cause further damage. Plus, if you live in a damp climate, introducing too much moisture into the wood can lead to warping and splitting. Wash only when there’s visible grime, stick to plain water from a hose when possible, and save power washing for every few years during the sealing process.
DON’T overdo washing a stone patio, either.
Natural stone tends to flake, and overzealous washing can actually wear the surface away. It’s best to wash as needed rather than on a regular schedule. Use a mild household detergent occasionally if you see heavy grime or stains; stubborn stains and mildew can be removed with a very dilute mix of muriatic acid and water. (Muriatic acid is available at hardware, big-box or pool-supply stores; be sure to wear protective gear as you work with it.)
DO be careful with power washing.
Too much pressure can damage wood and stone surfaces. “Pressure washing should be done by an experienced hand,” Kalamian says. “If you’re savvy, you can do it yourself, but you might make some mistakes the first time. A guy that does it every single day knows how much pressure is too much.” To be safe, Kalamian recommends hiring a licensed, bonded, insured pro to do your power washing—and be sure to seal your wooden deck right afterward.
DON’T get harsh cleaners on nearby plants.
When you’re absorbed in getting your deck in tip-top shape, it’s easy to forget that your garden plants are in the line of fire. “Don’t hose muriatic acid off into plantings unless your solution is very dilute,” Kalamian says. If you have a lush landscape near your deck, drape plantings with a sheet as you work and choose the mildest cleaning solution first — say, dish soap or baking soda — before you try harsher chemicals. (Remember that plants’ roots are sensitive as well as the leaves, so anything you hose off onto the ground can affect their health.)
DO fix nail pops, split wood and missing boards promptly.
“If your deck was installed properly, you shouldn’t have a whole lot of that going on,” Kalamian says. “But wood expands and contracts as it ages, so anywhere there’s a span of wood, like a handrail or floorboard, you might get some creaking or something coming loose.” Screw everything down properly and sand any sharp splinters as soon as you find them, as small problems have a way of becoming bigger problems over time.
DON’T worry about concrete imperfections.
“Hairline cracks are an acceptable industry standard,” Kalamian says. There’s no need to fix them — and trying to mend them with additional cement or grout usually looks worse than the crack itself. Same goes for the whitish film that often collects on the surface of concrete, known as efflorescence. It’s the natural migration of salts and moisture to the surface, and can be considered a harmless color variation rather than something you need to clean. But if yours is extreme or you just don’t like the look, power washing will remove it temporarily. Sealing is necessary if you want to stop it permanently, and will require a strict maintenance schedule.
DO install irrigation for potted plants.
A container garden is a wonderful thing for ambiance, but it can wreak havoc on your deck or patio’s surface. Overwatering leads to puddling, which leads to mold and stains caused by mineral buildup as the water evaporates. “Anytime we install a deck, we always use saucers for potted plants, connect the pots to an irrigation system, and install a drain tied into the below-ground drainage system whenever possible,” Kalamian says. “That way no water pools around the bottom or leaks across the deck.” Stains caused by pots often can’t be removed, so prevention is your best option.