When you start shopping for furniture to fill your outdoor spaces, what types of materials will fit best for your patio Furniture Design Ideas. I will go over the top four styles of materials-Wood, Metal, Resin Wicker, and Plastic.
I will look at what materials will work best for the amount of time you want to use for upkeep. The second big thing will be what your patio furniture will be used for, seating, dining or just hanging out. If you know what material you want and just want to look at the furniture available, use the search bar above to look at different types of furniture and I have them sorted by materials.
Patio Furniture Design Ideas
The first step is to choose the material or style that you are looking for. Each will have a place in outdoor furniture, you need to choose what works best for you. I have listed the most popular styles, their pros, and their cons.
Most wood patio furniture will be made from Acacia, Eucalyptus, or Teak wood if it is quality furniture. These are all hardwoods that last very well in most outdoor weather conditions.
Three types of finishes are typical of wood, natural-a lighter wood tone, dark-a real dark brown color, and driftwood-a light gray color of faded wood. The driftwood color is a favorite of the people looking for a beach vibe.
Cleanup is easy as most spills wipe up with a damp rag. Once a year a deep cleaning is advised before using a proper sealing oil for the type of wood.
It is not unheard of this type of Patio Furniture to last several hundred years with the proper care.
- Easy to maintain
- Bugs and animals don't like it
- Will not rot unless left in standing water
- More expensive than other materials
- Boxy designs
- Only 3 tones available
Metal can be molded in almost any shape and has welds at most of the sharp corners. It can be a very strong frame without a lot of bulk. Two different materials are normally used in this category-Steel or Aluminum.
Steel products can be cast iron, square or round bar stock. Steel frames will need to be covered with paint to last more than a few months outside in the weather. Most will have a powder-coated finish that is baked on and last very well in outdoor conditions. It should be repaired if the paint is damaged or rust will start quickly.
Aluminum products will be either a bare stock or have the same powder-coated finish that comes on the steel frames. Most aluminum will handle outdoor weather conditions. If your frame is welded sometimes the material in the weld will start to rust because it is not all-aluminum materials, watch your welds closely if you do not have a powder-coated finish.
This type of furniture can have a larger weight capacity than any other patio furniture if has a tough frame. The thickness of the tubing and the shape of the frame will determine the weight capacity of each of the seating pieces.
- Most will have a powder-coated finish that can come in many finishes
- Powder coat finish will allow this to be left out in most weather conditions
- Aluminum will not rust
- May rust if paint is damaged
- Boxy designs
- Easily damaged in shipment, causing assembly issues
The resin wicker material that is sold today will be very durable in outdoor weather conditions. It is similar to the rattan wicker in appearance but is mostly made of recycled plastics, this makes it good for the environment.
The shape of this style of furniture is controlled by its frame, either made by steel or aluminum. You will have to look at each selection of this type of furniture to see which is used.
Resin wicker can be either painted or dyed when the product is made to give it its color. Most are made in either natural wood or white. If you look around, you can find many colors available in this style of finish.
The resin wicker is very durable, the biggest problem is being chewed on by pets, I have seen where dogs have chewed the legs to the frame, it is not pretty. Some pets just chew on things, if you have one, you may not want to have this style of furniture. Most wild animals will not bother with this type of material as it does not taste like food.
- Easy to maintain just a damp cloth
- Resin wicker can come in many color finishes
- Less exspensive than rattan wicker
- May be hard to fix if dog chews on it
- Needs metal frames-they may rust
- Painted surfaces may fade in sunshine-can be repainted if wicker is not damaged
The bench shown here is a very sturdy product, made to last years outdoors without much work. Benches like this one can be found in parks and schools that get a lot of use.
The quality of plastic furniture can vary between manufacturers to the point of some being very good and some being very bad. How do you find out if the plastic furniture you are looking at is going to be any good? I would look at the thickness of the plastic material. This bench has tubular railings and an I-beam-like structure for the legs. It is very well constructed. A single flat plastic structure found in some chairs is not a long-lasting piece of outdoor furniture.
- Can be painted any color
- Lightweight easy to move
- Chairs can be stacked when not needed
- Can be damaged by the sun and become brittle
- Not very tough, can be damaged easily
- Looks cheap if it is a single wall material
My final thoughts on matirials for Patio Furniture Design Ideas
Have you ever heard the term “You Get What You Pay For”. That is very true in materials for patio furniture. The hardwood will cost more than most any other material, if taken care of it could be passed down to your grandchildren.
Your budget and style will determine what you will purchase, I just wanted to give you a good idea of what was good and bad with each of the above choices. The wood can be the most expensive, with the others pretty close on price depending on the quality and style. I would stay away from the single flat plastic-type patio furniture.
I prefer to have metal frames-better weight capacity, with sling material for seating comfort-it lasts very well in outdoor weather conditions and does not need to be stored when not in use. These 2 chairs have been on my front porch for over 10 years with little or no work, just cleaning of bird debris at times, it is a covered porch. I do bring them in to put up holiday decorations during Christmas time, then they go back out.
If you have any questions or comments about this or any other article on my site, leave me a note with the forms below and I will get back to you shortly.