Business Real Estate

Patio furniture goes multifunctional, flexible and artistic

Is your backyard the party spot? Maybe it's your relaxing spot. Perhaps it's even your vacation spot.

Outdoor living spaces are one of the fastest-growing trends, according to a nationwide survey of the 10 must-haves in new construction (AVID Ratings Co.). The outdoor living room ranks fifth.

"Consumers plunging into outdoor living are looking for multifunctional and flexible pieces," says Carrie Sinclair, owner of PatioFlavor.com. Her line incorporates furniture with art. For example, one of the collections she carries, Art-Deck-Oh, includes four outdoor chairs with a matching coffee table to enjoy during the summer months. Once the colder temperatures arrive, simply stack and interlock the four chairs and coffee table to form a large, decorative bookcase that can be used indoors or out.

Todd Johnson, account executive at Design Within Reach says, "The trends for outdoor furniture this season are exciting and colorful.

"Many styles are going back to the retro designs that have been around since the '30s and '40s," says Johnson. "It's the Hollywood glam look, with simple, clean lines."

He's seeing two color choices emerge: java and mocha brown. Accenting with colorful cushions and pillows completes the look.

For those jumping on the green bandwagon, Design Within Reach offers an Adirondack set made from milk jugs available in an array of colors, including hot pink, red, green, yellow and blue. It's all UV protected.

That's important as constant sunlight, as well as harsh weather, can destroy your furniture.

"Homeowners are looking for durability and a good piece of constructed outdoor furniture," says Joe Forshaw, owner of Forshaw Furniture in St. Louis.

"Outdoor sectionals are becoming a popular trend this season too," says Forshaw. He has seen an increase in sales the past few months.

Forshaw Furniture stocks many different types of outdoor fabric, including a new fabric called Crypton. "It's very stain-resistant."

Fabric is a vital consideration. Clay Vogel of Edwin Blue, a furniture store based in Kansas City, Mo., suggests a die-cast fabric, which offers long-lasting color, "or you'll end up with rotten cushions or mildew issues within months."

How to choose

1. Figure out your style. Is it casual, elegant, contemporary or country?

2. What type of material do you prefer: wood, plastic, wicker, wrought iron or metal?

3. You may have to spend a little more for your pieces. Remember, if you choose better quality, your furniture will last longer.

4. If shopping on a budget, look for one piece at a time.

Table it

1. Try a picnic table for growing families with kids.

2. A bistro table can be a romantic outdoor dining setting for two.

3. If you entertain large groups, consider a sectional grouping with a large outdoor coffee table and end tables.

Add color

1. Add decorative pillows.

2. Buy colorful outdoor fabric for a tablecloth.

3. If your furniture is wood, consider painting some of the chairs.

4. Spray-painting wrought iron can update an old patio set.

5. Add a colorful or geometric outdoor rug.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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