Novocastrians are lucky because we get to enjoy the sunshine with friends and family on your verandah, patio or deck for most of the year. Equipping your outdoor space with furniture is not only functional but sets the tone for your style and what you like. The best way to get started is to begin with a sofa.
When choosing a sofa, it should reflect your interior design aesthetic. It should also be tough enough to handle changing weather conditions. In terms of materials, ornate wrought-iron, plastic and faux wood have been replaced by rattan, teak and other woods as these are materials preferred by customers. With treated rattan, you don’t have to maintain your sofa as much.
Treated rattan is a favourite for outdoor sofas because it is durable, lightweight and portable. In addition, rattan can absorb many types of dyes and stains, making it more appealing to buyers.
There is also a more modern, lightweight and synthetic material called polyethylene rattan that is used for making outdoor furniture. It is water and UV rays-resistant and helps minimise the dependence on using natural rattan materials.
Don’t confuse rattan with wicker. Rattan is the material for making furniture, while wicker is the process or technique that involves weaving rattan and other natural resources into complex patterns.
The popularity of teak as a material in a variety of outdoor furniture is because of its vibrant colour tone and its hard-wearing quality. In addition, its high natural oil content allows sofas to withstand outdoor conditions much better. Also, it is not difficult to care for teak.
Though splits and marks will appear as teak ages, some people say that this gives sofas a sense of refined elegance and rustic appeal.
Steel is often used to make bigger furniture like sofas because it is stronger than aluminium but the furniture can be cumbersome, and steel tends to rust. Steel sofas must be treated with a protective finish like powder coating or it must be galvanised.
Resin and plastic
The high demand of plastics and resins for use in outdoor furniture is owed to their affordability, light weight and durability. They are also low maintenance. However, they may be unable to endure very high winds, so make a smart choice or place furniture in a highly protected area.
The demand for more comfort from outdoor sofas has never been as high as it is now. People prefer that the aesthetic should be more ‘indoor’ as they aim to combine indoor and outdoor patio spaces together. Spaces must evoke a “free” vibe. This can be achieved with the use of open weaves or thinner frames so they look transparent and don’t disrupt the space.
This is ideal if you a small patio, deck or backyard that you want to use for small intimate gatherings. It is basically a two-seater sofa that goes beautifully with a set of chairs and a table.
Sectionals are the right choice for larger gatherings and parties. Their versatility allows it to be arranged in many different ways, depending on the occasion. You can customise or re-arrange it to suit your style and requirements.
Daybed sofas are the way to go if you want to just laze the summer away. You can lounge and laze on it, and it comes with features such as shade canopies and footrests for extra comfort.
Cushions for outdoor sofas
Lets face it sofas of any kind are unattractive without cushions. Cushions come in a variety of outdoor-friendly fabrics, but acrylic is the most hard-wearing and breathable among these fabrics. They are more resistant to colour-fading compared to others.
Consider the weather
Think about what the weather is like in your area all-year around. Is it hot and humid, or is it dry? Do you live in an urban area or near the coast? Wood tends to split and crack in very hot and dry weather. Wicker furniture can be damaged by too much exposure to moisture, and metal furniture left outdoors can be damaged by high salt content in the area near the coast.
Measure your space
When planning to buy outdoor furniture, know your dimensions of your outdoor space. Make sure there is enough space surrounding your furniture to walk around it easily. Use the same principles of traffic flow as you would to your indoor space.
The right place for the sofa
Where should the sofa be placed? On a paved surface? On a wooden deck? Or on the grass? It is recommended that soft wood not be placed on grass because continued contact with moisture can result in rotting of the wood. And metals will corrode when repeatedly exposed to moisture.
Think about comfort
Prioritise comfort when choosing a sofa because outdoor space is all about rest and relaxation. Create a cosier feel by adding in a few more cushions, and choose fabric that can withstand mildew and fading.
Don’t overlook your budget. It’s easy to find cheap furniture, but it tends to not wear well. What is more important is to buy the highest quality pieces that fit your budget.
Why not check out some ideas on the following Pinterest pages.