Is it time for some new patio furniture for your outdoor space? Perhaps your current set is old and worn out, or you are redesigning the space to coincide with your current tastes.
No matter the reasoning, we are here today with our complete modern patio furniture materials guide, so you can learn how to choose the best.
Mood and Theme
Table of Contents
- Mood and Theme
- Maintenance and Cleaning
The beauty of your patio furniture depends on your tastes. All other factors being equal, namely climate and how frequently you want to maintain and clean the furniture, choose whatever material you believe is prettiest on your patio and in your yard. Here is a guide to modern patio furniture materials by mood and theme:
Warm, Casual, and Traditional
Teak and softer woods like cedar, acacia, and pine are gorgeous and durable, but pricey, particularly teak, and the upkeep might test your commitment to your outdoor décor. They provide the feeling of an old-timey cottage, and with the right cushions, plants, and throw pillows, they can even make the place feel like a Nordic spa.
Plastic is usually made to resemble wood, so it fits with the aesthetic with much less initial investment and a fraction of the maintenance. Light a campfire and roast some marshmallows. This aesthetic is universal and timeless.
This Lorelei Outdoor 4 Seater Teak finished set with green water-resistant cushions may be just what you are looking for when creating a more modern, yet natural space.
Unique and Full of Character
Wrought iron provides unique and handcrafted designs, but this furniture is heavy to move around. It makes the yard feel like a bistro on a street corner in Versailles. Break out the wine and cheese and enjoy that you don’t have to bring the whole set inside when it rains. Practice conjugating French verbs.
Modern and Minimal
Steel and aluminum are lighter and very durable, but not necessarily enough for very large people you might have sitting in the chairs. No football teams can come over for a barbecue if you’ve opted for aluminum.
Instead, invite your colleagues or some members of your business network. Put out some canapés and foie gras. If your aesthetic is clean and cool, steel and aluminum will fit nicely. It is sophisticated and can take a beating from rain, sun, and wind.
This Flash Furniture Square aluminum table is modern, clean, and sleek. It has a smooth stainless-steel top, X-base design, and plastic floor glides to prevent scratching. It can be used indoors and outdoors.
Synthetic resin has the beachy, tropical feeling and won’t deteriorate as quickly as its predecessors, wicker and rattan. This furniture brings the feeling of an island vacation to a simple Saturday afternoon in the suburbs. Mix up some lemonade or margaritas and pretend you can hear the ocean.
This SunHaven resin wicker outdoor patio set is made from all-weather PE resin and has been designed to be weather-resistant, fade-resistant, and crack resistant.
Furniture as Art
Mosaic patio furniture takes the aesthetic to another level. The material can be slate, terra cotta, marble, or other natural materials. The colors in the mosaics bring a rich and intricate Mediterranean or Mexican feeling. Put out some salsa and pretend you’re in Cancun or the Mayan Riviera enjoying an afternoon siesta.
This Alpine Corporation 3-piece mosaic bistro set is the perfect conversation set for your patio, garden, and yard.
Longevity is a question of the material and where you live, plain and simple. Here is a guide by climate that can help inform your decision.
Mild and Wet Winters, Hot Summers (Seattle, British Columbia, Pacific Northwest)
Steel and aluminum must be treated with powder coating to prevent rust. They are otherwise sturdy and can take a lot of moisture and heat when they must. Avoid wood because it swells in humid conditions. Plastic and resin will work nicely.
Hot, Dry and Sunny (American southwest)
Resin wicker is durable but doesn’t stand up to the non-stop scorching sun. Always purchase High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) Wicker and not cheap PVC wickers. PVC synthetics will unravel, become brittle, and crack. HDPE is a much higher grade of material.
If you’ve heard of bad experiences with synthetic resins, it’s probably because the furniture was made from low-quality PVC plastic. Synthetic resin wicker is very light-weight, and it’s easy to clean.
Wood will probably not stand up well in the sun and heat either, even if it is well-varnished. Unless these are in the shade, pick something else. Aluminum and steel can stand up to heat but will be dangerous to sit on with bare skin. Warn the kids before they plant their swim-suited bums on the chairs.
A Variety of Extremes (American Midwest, Canadian prairies, East Coast)
If you want to leave your furniture outside for the winter, pick something durable that you can cover with a tarp. Cold North American winters kick the crap out of all outdoor furniture materials. If you can move the furniture to winter storage, it will be better for it, but you might choose the lighter materials.
Also, choose designs that don’t take up enormous amounts of space in the shed. Avoid the big, bulky resin round tables, day beds, couches, and chairs. In the summer, the extreme climates provide their share of abuse in the form of wind, rain, and sun, so you might keep the winter covers handy throughout the summer. That way, you’re not bringing cushions back inside three or four times a day to keep them dry.
Maintenance and Cleaning
Aluminum: Spray with clear water or a mild soapy mixture to remove dust and dirt. Maintain the finish by touching up chips in the paint to avoid oxidation.
Resin Wicker: Remove pollen and dirt by spraying with water. Let air dry. If unsure about your furniture’s resistance to sunlight, keep in a shaded area when not in use.
Plastic: Spray with clear water or a mild soapy mixture to remove dust, dirt, and pollen.
Wood: Always use coasters, pads, or felt to avoid the appearance of moisture rings and heat marks. Seal with varnishes or stains – this can help prevent warping in humid climates. If sealed wood, clean with a mild soapy water mixture to remove dirt, dust, and pollen.
If painted wood, avoid exposure to moisture, clean with a damp cloth. For untreated wood, keep out of the rain and direct sunlight to preserve quality – clean with a lightly damp cloth.
Wrought Iron: Clean with a damp cloth to remove dirt and dust. If you spot rust, clean with mild soapy water, sand the area, then seal with similarly colored paint.
Steel: Spray down frame with clear or soapy water to wash away dust and pollen. Immediately treat chips in the finish to limit exposure to the elements. Apply a clear coat of liquid car wax at least once a year to protect the finish.
Mosaic: Clean with a damp cloth to remove dust and pollen. If the mosaic is not sealed, keep out of extreme temperatures and rain to prevent cracks in the grout. Use a table cover when not in use to lengthen lifespan. Treat chips in frame finish to avoid rusting.