Buying Outdoor Lounge Furniture? A Guide to Fabrics and Materials That Will Last

Choosing the right fabric and material for your outdoor lounge furniture requires research in price, durability, and aesthetics.

Outdoor furniture is made from different materials, each having its pros and cons. So, to decide the best for your home, you’ll need to consider a few key areas before decorating your outdoor living space.

Factors to Consider While Purchasing Outdoor Furniture

When looking for the best outdoor lounge furniture, make sure to consider these factors when making your decision:

  • Aesthetics
  • Functionality
  • Durability
  • Weather Conditions
  • Cost

Buy outdoor furniture that complements your existing interior and architectural style. If you have a contemporary style home, go for more modern-style outdoor tables and chairs. Whatever you choose, you also want to make sure the pieces are comfortable.

As there are various options available on the market, finding inexpensive outdoor lounge furniture may seem like the more attractive option; however, price alone shouldn’t motivate your purchase. Ensure the furniture is of the best quality and is built to last, especially since it will be used outdoors.

When looking for outside furniture, you want to find weather-resistant pieces; however, you also want to keep them as shaded as possible. Getting a patio umbrella with a sturdy stand can serve the purpose.

Make smart choices when choosing materials as well for your outdoor area. There are many great materials to choose from but, choose the one that fits best with your lifestyle as well as the location. Also, different materials will require different degrees of maintenance and care. So, if you don’t have a lot of time to spare, you might want to choose the materials that require minimal care and upkeep.

Read on to find which material is best suited for your outdoor furniture.

Type of Materials for Outdoor Furniture

Generally, the outdoor lounge furniture is made of the following materials:

  • Woods – Teak, Eucalyptus, and Cedar
  • Synthetics – Plastic, ABS, and Synthetic Resin
  • Metals – Aluminum, Steel and Wrought Iron


If you are looking for a low-maintenance option for your outdoor furniture, choose teak furniture. Teak is a rain forest wood that can last for up to 100 years when left outside. It is incredibly strong and durable and won’t warp or crack like other wood types when left in the elements. Above all, it is relatively easy to care for and can be cleaned with just mild soap and water.

christopher knight home outdoor pool / deck furniture

Alternatively, you can even go for eucalyptus or cedar furniture. Eucalyptus is less expensive than teak and is even durable. However, it needs to be treated several times a year with a water-based acrylic sealant. On the other hand, cedar is the least expensive of all, but it is not long-lasting. Cedar furniture will last only about 20 years and needs to be coated annually with protective oil.


If you are tight on your budget, choose plastic furniture. It is the least expensive, but not as comfortable and attractive as other materials. Real wicker is not ideal for outdoor furniture as it is not resilient to extreme weather conditions like heat and moisture.

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However, all-weather wicker is an exception and can stay outdoors all year long. Go for all-weather wicker in case of any tight budget constraints as it is easy to care for as well. Look for tightly woven pieces, i.e., it shouldn’t be see-through.


The types of metal used for furniture include aluminum, wrought iron, stainless steel, and powder-coated steel. Again, there are varying qualities of aluminum – tubular aluminum is the least expensive and lightest, whereas cast aluminum is the most expensive and heaviest.

christopher knight home cape coral outdoor aluminum chaise lounges

Aluminum is rustproof. If you plan to buy aluminum furniture, look for the one with a powder-coated finish, seamless welds, and rustproof hardware.

Another metal type is wrought iron, which is similar to cast aluminum. However, it is very heavy and also expensive. If you consider wrought iron for your furniture, make sure that everything is properly powder-coated to prevent rusting.

mainstays jefferson wrought iron chaise lounge

Stainless steel or powder-coated steel sets are moderately priced, easy to care for, and most importantly, durable.

Fabrics for Outdoor Furniture

Outdoor furniture requires fabrics that can withstand the weather. They are generally made of water-resistant synthetic fibers like vinyl, acrylic, and polyester. These materials are resistant to the damage inflicted from UV rays, moisture, and other kinds of outdoor damage.

Natural fibers lose vibrancy and break down over time. On the other hand, synthetic fabrics infused with plastic are great options for outdoor upholstery covers and outdoor seating. They hold their color longer and are more resistant to the weather. However, each synthetic fabric has its pros and cons.

Acrylic Fabric

Acrylic fibers are strong and resistant to weather, mold, and mildew. The fabrics are solution-dyed, which means that the threads are dyed before they are woven. This, in turn, helps in retaining the color when exposed to direct sunlight. Considering all the features, acrylic fabric is the best all-purpose textile for outdoor furniture.

Olefin Fabric

Olefin fabric is another durable, quick-drying, and fade-resistant option for outdoor furniture. Olefin is smooth, lightweight, stain, and abrasion-resistant, but it lacks softness compared to other textiles. If the acrylic fabric seems out of budget, go with Olefin fabric.

Polyester Fabric

Polyester is strong, flexible, and resistant to stains and water damage. It is generally coated with acrylic or vinyl to protect from the elements it is exposed to while outdoors. However, most of the polyester fabrics used on patio lounge furniture fade faster than other synthetic textile options you can choose from. Moreover, they are not solution-dyed, which means the colors won’t last long when exposed to UV rays in your outdoor space.

The Verdict – What Should You Choose?

If you ask what the ‘best’ outdoor furniture material is, the answer is – it depends. What determines what is best for you will differ from person to person, your outdoor space, as well as your sense of style.

However, if you want furniture made of wood, then go for teak. If you are looking for a sleek look in metal furniture, then go for aluminum. If you want a more eclectic design, consider wrought iron furniture.

If you want more modern outdoor furniture that is low-maintenance and lightweight, go with synthetic resin wicker furniture. So, explore every option, make a smart decision, and make sure that it will complement your lifestyle, preferences, style, and budget.

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