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Outdooring without (over)spending

03 May 2017 by National Bank
Find out how you can adopt this outdoor trend while getting value for your money, taking care of your furniture and avoiding overconsumption.

Outdooring is a way to enjoy the comfort of inside, outside. This style of outdoor furnishing, an idea that originated right here in Canada, has been growing in popularity over the past few years with no signs of slowing down.

Find out how you can adopt this outdoor trend while getting value for your money, taking care of your furniture and avoiding overconsumption.

Assess your needs

Before you buy anything, make sure you’ve thought about what you need now and in the future.

A young couple might want to choose a furniture style that could accommodate children a few years down the road; in the same vein, an older couple might want to opt for furniture that’s more compact. The same goes for the amount of space you have available. A condo owner who wants to buy a house might choose to put off buying condo-sized furniture until they move into their new home, where bigger garden furniture would be preferable.

It’s just as relevant to evaluate the way you use your backyard. A hammock or water fountain, which might seem like a great choice, could turn out to be completely useless once installed.

When it’s time to buy, buy smart

If a purchase is inevitable, start by looking at flea markets and classified ads where you can find high quality furniture for a fraction of the cost. Otherwise, be patient and wait for the end of the summer season to take advantage of sales or liquidations.

Remember that crazy savings isn’t always a reason to buy. A piece of furniture that you’ll never use or is badly made is not a deal – rather it’s a missed opportunity to save up to invest in something better down the line.

Prioritize quality and classic styles

For an outdoor setup you’ll love for ages, choose pieces with a simple design and timeless feel. You’re also better off opting for robust materials and durable constructions.

Pick materials that weather well, like aluminum or stainless steel. The new plastics are very durable and don’t crack in the sun like they used to. Rattan, which usually comes in dark browns and blacks, gives you a chic, casual garden style and is easy to keep clean.

Join the indoor/outdoor trend by choosing furniture that’s first and foremost for the garden, but that can be repurposed as charming indoor furniture once the sunny days of summer are over. Some tables and chairs can have a spot in the house, and move back outside come summer.

By choosing simple furniture with functional design, you’ll be giving yourself the luxury of changing up your exterior decor throughout the seasons and the trends. All you’ll have to do is switch your accessories to match your mood or the new colours of the season, and your new look will cost you a fraction of the price of new furniture.

Optimize the furniture you already have

You don’t always need to buy something new. Sometimes you just need to change how you look at your old furniture.

Take stock of the furniture you own, including everything stored in the garage, the basement and the shed. Vintage is in style – take advantage of the trend by getting out a few mismatched items to add to your current furnishings. If you need, you can freshen some of them up with a new coat of paint or tighten them up with some screws. Round it all out with some new cushions, a big area rug or a throw to create a harmonious, original space.

You can also enhance the appeal of your yard with architectural lighting that puts a select few elements in the spotlight, so to speak. String lights, for example, can add a certain bohemian flare while allowing you to extend your evenings outdoors. Choose a lighting system that’s solar powered, so that once you’ve absorbed the initial purchase price it won’t cost you anything further to light up your yard.

Maintain your furniture well

It’s inevitable that exposure to the elements will alter the colour of your cushions a little, and it’s not always possible to get everything inside before a big rain storm – but there are a few tricks that will allow you to extend your furniture’s life, in spite of unpredictable weather.

Try to equip yourself with a storage box you can throw your cushions, blankets and other accessories into before leaving on a long vacation or when you know a storm is coming. Also, make sure to close your patio umbrella or even put it under the table. If possible, do the same with your chairs – that way you’ll avoid damage from the wind. Finally, make sure the pergola is firmly attached to the ground and securely fasten all the panels.

At the beginning of the season, be sure to thoroughly scrub the wood of the pergola and the deck. Then, depending on the finish you’ve chosen, varnish, oil or wax the surfaces to ensure they’re protected from both the sun and the rain. For an iron pergola, make sure you clean it with a cloth, then apply an anti-rust treatment and an anti-discolouration treatment at least once per year.

Throughout the summer season, keep your furniture clean by wiping away any vestiges of sunscreen, chlorine, food or sand. No point in getting out the pressure washer or powerful chemical products that could alter the components of your furniture. Opt instead for a mixture of soapy water and vinegar, or even oxygenated water. Wash cushion covers in the washing machine in cold water, and lay them flat to dry to avoid them losing their shape.

When fall arrives, use your storage box to store all your accessories. If it’s not an option for you to bring your furniture inside, cover it with weather-resistant tarps. Make sure you put away your glass table and umbrella so the weight of the snow doesn’t damage them. In short, by taking good care of your furniture, you’ll get many more years of enjoyment out of your investment.

Finally, if you can, install an outdoor fireplace (that meets municipal standards), it will allow you to extend the summer right into the early evenings of autumn, and optimize your investment in outdooring!

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