Definitive List of the Best Materials for Outdoor Furniture
When it comes to outdoor furniture, you’re looking for something durable and comfortable, but still stylish. Don’t end up with furniture that’s difficult to clean or will be a rusted mess by the end of the summer. Instead, choose furniture made out of the finest materials, ones that are made to withstand the elements all year round. We've done the research and seen all kinds of options, and these are the best materials for outdoor furniture:
Ninety-nine percent of the time, outdoor wicker patio sets are made from synthetic wicker. Also called resin wicker, it’s made to look like natural wicker, only it is much more durable.
Natural wicker is made from plant materials, and is a technique that has been utilized by cultures all around the world. It was used even by the Ancient Egyptians to make wicker baskets. As beautiful as it is, unfortunately natural wicker is susceptible to rain, sleet, snow, and moisture, making it a poor choice for outdoor furniture (sorry Ancient Egyptians).
Synthetic wicker furniture is made from resins that are extracted from plant matter, which are capable of hardening permanently. High quality resin material is very dense, so it is extremely durable in all outdoor conditions. This synthetic wicker is:
-Infused with UV Inhibitors that prevent fading in the sun
-So durable it won’t break, chip, or scratch.
-Sometimes 100% Recyclable
It is easy to clean, and can be quickly hosed off or gently scrubbed to remove dirt or spills. Synthetic wicker is used to make stylish outdoor tables, chairs, and loungers, perfect for a natural look that stands up to outside forces.
For natural furniture that also durable, teak is a great outdoor furniture material choice. Teak is a dense, close-grained hardwood with a natural oil content that makes it resistant to the elements. It is actually one of the few woods in the world containing this natural oil which repels water, keeping it from warping, cracking or becoming brittle. If you doubt its durability, most outdoor furniture at ski lodges is made of teak, so it can clearly withstand dozens of winters and still look beautiful. You can even find century-old teak park benches in England made from dismantled ships!
The same resins and oils in teak that protect against weather also serve as repellents against insects like termites and marine borers.
Another benefit is that outdoor furniture made from teak wood doesn’t need paint or varnish! The wood starts out as a honey-brown, and will eventually fade to a patina grey. A natural teak sealer will help maintain the brown color, but grey teak is a striking statement on its own.
Buying FSC-certified or reclaimed teak like what is used on the Oko Collection from MamaGreen is a great way to ensure that your furnishings are environmentally friendly, perfect if you’re working on going green.
No more furniture that warps, rots, stains, splinters, sags, or falls apart if you forget to bring it indoors in bad weather. Concrete is the way to go! This material is going to withstand the harshest elements. Even hurricane season is no match for this stuff, it's the superhero of outdoor design. It’s one of the oldest, strongest, and most durable materials that humans have ever made. And with lines like the DeWulf collection it can be sexy as well. Who knew?!
It brings a cool, modern feel that also seems timeless. Concrete can be poured into a huge variety of shapes, but works great as a sturdy dining table, side table, or cool chair. These pieces bring heft to your backyard, and are something you can enjoy for generations. High-quality concrete furniture is hand-finished to produce a smooth, buttery feel, and can be found in five different shade options. It’s much nicer than the sidewalk-grade concrete you might be imagining.
Hands down, the best fabric for upholstered outdoor chairs and sofas is Sunbrella which is used by luxury brands like Harbour Outdoor or Cane Line. These fabrics come in dozens of great colors and patterns, and are completely durable and fade-resistant. Traditional dyeing processes only leave color on the surface of fiber, so they easily fade. Sunbrella fibers are saturated to the core with highly UV-stable pigments, making Sunbrella fabrics resistant to fading and the degrading effects of sunlight.
The fabric is also engineered to resist mold and mildew, so you don’t have to work to keep them clean. If they do get dirty, it can be cleaned with bleach, because the color is so concentrated. Sunbrella is also a smart choice for an umbrella, because it prevents 98% of UV radiation from passing through.
The fabric can be found on ready-made furniture, used for custom pieces, or you can purchase pillows, table cloths, and other items made from this high-tech fabric. If you’re craving an outdoor space that’s just as comfortable as your living room, a Sunbrella covered sofa is the way to go.
Powder coated aluminum is an excellent choice for outdoor use due to its highly weather resistant finish. The coating provides a scratch-proof surface, keeping the furniture safe from rust and UV damage. Aluminum furniture is also incredibly light-weight, perfect for rearranging if you’re entertaining, or moving to the garage during the winter. It has all the style of a heavier metal like steel, but none of the heft.
Aluminum can also be molded into a variety of intricate shapes, creating a artisan-looking piece of furniture for less. It can be painted in any color imaginable, perfect for incorporating a vibrant side table or chairs into your backyard design. Aluminum creates a versatile range of outdoor furniture that works with any space. Just take Bend for example, or the brand Fermob. It's been featured in Paris since the 1800s including the iconic chairs seen all around the famous gardens and Eiffel tower.
Stainless steel is heavy, making it very strong and durable. No wind storm can blow this furniture away, and it's timeless look seen at a lot of luxury hotels and pools. The properties of steel also make it rust resistant, so you won’t need to move it inside once the season ends. Easy breasy.
Steel furniture is often made of recycled metal, making it a green choice for your backyard. It’s a breeze to clean and maintain, so once you put it outside, you don’t have to worry about it. It can be coated in any color you like, or you can let the natural metal look shine.
You can’t go wrong with any of these modern outdoor furniture materials. Decide what your needs are for durability, then you get to decide which you like best!