I hear it all the time. Why is the furniture at (insert big box store name) so much less than what you have to offer. My response, “You ever hear the saying, “You get what you pay for”? Well the same is true with outdoor furniture. Very inexpensive furniture (i.e. a 12 piece furniture set for $299.00) will give you a set that starts out fine, but within a year or two…well, let’s just say you will be looking for a new set.”
I have been in this industry practically all my life and have seen plenty of outdoor living sets come and go. So you might wonder, “What do I need to look for when purchasing outdoor furniture?” Well, assuming you want something that will last more than a year or two, here are a few suggestions.
Warranty: A good manufacturer worth their salt will usually have a 10+ year warranty. Usually covering the structural integrity of the frame. Also, if something does happen, will the warranty give you the exact same piece of furniture or something similar. Most U.S.A manufacturers have the ability to repair or replace the exact piece you have and not just give you “this year’s model from China” which more than likely will not match at all with your other pieces.
Sturdiness: Does the furniture feel “tinny” or flimsy. You can tell a lot by comparing different chairs by picking them up and moving them.
Manufacturer: Has the company been around a long time? Did they survive the recession we just had? Most U.S.A manufacturers have been around 40+ years. There are a couple of manufacturers that have been making furniture for 100+ years. These are the ones to seek out in case you have a problem in the future or want to add more pieces of furniture.
Fabrics: Stay away from polyester, olefin, cotton. Solution dyed acrylic is the way to go. This fabric has been used on outdoor awnings and boat covers for decades. We usually see this fabric last 8-10 years without fading or deteriorating. It costs a little more, but will get 5-10 times the life.
Choices: Are you stuck with one color and that’s it? Will it match your outdoor living area’s color scheme? Can you get matching accessories like ottomans, umbrellas, chaise lounges, sofas, etc?
These are just a few things to consider when making any outdoor furnishing purchase.
Now, does this mean you need to spend an arm and a leg to get a set that will last more than 2 years? No. You can get some great quality furniture at reasonable prices. No, they will not be $299.00, but you also won’t be spending $299.00 every year or two. You also won’t be lugging furniture to the dump that often (which is also great for the environment). A win/win for you and the earth.