High end outdoor furniture companies offer us sublime works of art, yet each piece can be more than our monthly wages. For those of us on a more earthly budget, I have been impressed with the line up in recent years from some of the classic “catalog companies” such as Crate and Barrel, West Elm and Restoration Hardware. I still think of these retailers as catalog companies because I live on and island and getting inside one of these stores is a production that involves cars, ferries and half of a day. I’ve also found that seeing a broad range of their lines in the stores is rare. Luckily, their online resources are extensive. I’m a fan of natural meets industrial & modern, and these retailers all have a take on this look.
Outdoor furniture should not only look good, but it should feel good. Outdoor time is for relaxation and it defeats this purpose if your furniture is uncomfortable. Also consider the scale of the space that you are furnishing and select pieces that are in step. Finally, consider your climate. Sometimes its best to store furniture away during the off season (I do), but if you live in a year round bonny clime, you can keep your exterior furnished year round too. Keep in mind that relentless sun exposure or morning dew in a coastal climate can wreak havoc on furniture just as much as a rainy climate. Make sure your cushions are weather and UV resistant, I tend to favor Sunbrella.
Promotions are on right now as we gear up for summer, so if you are in the market for an outdoor furniture refresh, take a look at a few 2012 favorites I’ve hand picked…
West Elm is part of the Williams-Sonoma conglomerate and has always been more my cup o’ tea than their other retailers. Their offerings are current, have clean lines and definitely appease my natural meets industrial bent.
Crate and Barrel
To me, Crate and Barrel has always symbolized affordable design, and their outdoor furnishings follow suit. Clean lines, colors and shapes, with a dash of natural. They are a go to choice for me for interior and exterior.
Restoration’s outdoor line has really expanded over the past decade – they have a wide selection of styles and the detailing is clearly top notch. Their online tools are exceptional and they offer many fabrics to choose from. This all comes with a higher price tag, but if it fits in your budget, be sure to take a look.