Be prepared before outdoor furniture shopping

July 13, 2022

Things that make you go hmmm: Know these answers before buying outdoor furniture

Some of our customers arrive with a tape measure and a scale diagram of their outdoor area with clearly defined prerequisites for their outdoor furniture. Others adopt a slightly more organic approach, and we tease out their needs and preferences with a series of questions. Regardless of which type of customer you are  the more thought you put into your purchase,  the more satisfied you will be long term with your decision.

So here is a list of the questions to ask yourself, to ensure you make the optimal choice for you:

What are the dimensions of your outdoor space?

A great first step is to pull out your tape measure at home and capture the dimensions you have to work with, making note of any obstacles you have to contend with. Hint: make sure you make allowances for bi folding windows and doors that open outward onto your outdoor area.

Lounging, dining or both?

If you want both, ensure you have the space to accommodate them both. For example, a 2M outdoor dining table and benches alone need a footprint of at least 2.5M X 2.0 M. 

Is an outdoor umbrella part of your master plan?

If so, know where your umbrella will be placed on your deck  and make sure it will live in harmony with your outdoor furniture pieces. Hint: cantilever umbrella bases are big- make sure your furniture pieces will fit around the base. 

Is your outdoor space a north facing sun trap?

This could impact the frame and fabric colour you choose. You may wish to avoid dark or  black furniture as it may not suit.

How will you store your furniture in off peak?

Cleaning and maintenance is the less sexy part of outdoor furniture, but one that can’t be ignored. Storage of your cushions in the off season needs to be considered. Otherwise, consider covers.

Will you add to your outdoor furniture in years to come?

If you are planning to purchase a lounge suite this year and a dining set next, make sure the set you buy is versatile enough so that other furniture will work well with this year’s purchase. 

Will your outdoor furniture stay in one spot or be moved around?

With a corner sofa, you’re committing to leaving it in one spot, whereas two and three-seater sofas and single chairs can be reconfigured more easily. 

Do you anticipate moving in the next few years?

If the answer is yes, choose a sofa set rather than the corner suite. It’s more versatile and therefore more likely to suit your next home as well.

When do you need your furniture?

Many customers underestimate the time it can take to order and receive your furniture and end up disappointed.  It’s almost never too early to start looking.If you find something you like, and often the business where you make your purchase can store it  until you need it.  

What budget do you have to work with?

Few people have unlimited budgets so prioritise what you need most. Choose a range that can be added to in future as your budget allows. You can always ask if there are any ‘seconds’ available.

Whether you are the uber-prepared customer or the ‘wing it’ buyer,  I hope these 10 questions will help ensure you make the best purchase decision for your outside space. 

Kerry is the co-owner of OutsideSpace NZ, offering a range of contemporary outdoor furniture for coastal living kiwis seeking quality product and design at an achievable price.