All Decked Out: Sidebar

Before you plunk down money on new outdoor furniture, first decide on how you’ll use it. If you do a lot of entertaining, you may need furniture that can be moved around easily, whether you’re gathering a small group for brunch or having a clambake in the backyard. Solid-cast aluminum chairs are heavy, but they’re also durable.

If you dislike the idea of bringing outdoor furniture inside when it rains, look for rust-free alternatives. Fabric furniture retains moisture compared to tables and chairs that you wipe down after a summer shower. Some seats are also built with drainage holes that make the job even easier.

Concerned about comfort? Heavy metal furniture can be softened with removable cushions that are easy to pick up and take inside at night. Consult local fabric companies and designers for creative cushion ideas that will give even the most basic set from the Home Depot a fashion-forward makeover.

Exotic woods, like teak, may need to be treated depending on the effect you wish to achieve. Weather can cause the wood to fade unless you treat it with stains to prevent cracking. Depending on how much exposure your outdoor furniture gets, treat the wood at least once a year to maintain its original look or let it age gracefully for a shabby-chic style. When arranging your tables and chairs, consider the direction of sun, wind and weather. Even the hardiest outdoor furniture could use a little tender loving care. If you can’t store it indoors for the winter, then cover it when it’s not in use.