Take a cue from nature itself when choosing furnishings for the outdoors and find fabrics that wear well in the sun and can take a bit of rain — or a lot of it. In a protected area, like a covered porch, bring some of your favorite indoor furniture outdoors for the season. To protect indoor upholstery from sun damage, dress it for the summer with weatherproof or canvas slipcovers.
When decorating outdoors with weather–resistant or weatherproof furnishings, there are as many styles and materials to choose from as there are for indoor decorating. Wicker furniture is a mainstay due to its sturdiness. Choose the real thing but keep it covered overnight and in rainy or excessively humid weather, or choose synthetic wicker, which looks just as beautiful but is completely weatherproof. Ring–spun polyester chair and upholstery covers keeps traditional furnishings made out of natural materials protected and looking new summer after summer.
Small groups of weather–friendly chaise lounge chairs attended by lightweight galvanized outdoor tables, make it easy to move seating around. A mat underfoot made of seagrass, a fast–growing aquatic grass, is strong like straw and smoother than coir or jute, and proves resilient when exposed to moisture. Add in a classically–styled dining table in a wood specially treated to withstand the elements, and that will weather well outdoors over time.
For entertaining, consider a range of accessories made just for the outdoors. A sleek duo of weatherproof galvanized buckets can double as extra seating or be easily reconfigured as side tables. Choose dinnerware that's acrylic, melamine or metal coated in layers of enamel. Shatterproof polycarbonate glassware looks as beautiful as real glassware, and adds an elegant touch to dinner under the stars.