Having patio furniture you can leave out all year can be surprisingly beneficial. Along with convenience, it also means you shouldn’t have to maintain the furniture too much.
The options might seem obvious, but there are some important buying considerations when weighing up the different kinds of furniture that can be left out year-round. So, let’s take a look.
Why Might You Want to Leave Furniture Out?
We can break this answer down into 2 likely scenarios. The first is that you can’t be bothered to store it, which is absolutely fine. Shuffling your shed or garage around to fit in a dining set and deck chairs can be a lot of work.
The other reason is a simple lack of storage space. Other than folding and stackable chairs, furniture takes up a lot of room. There are plenty of small apartment storage ideas out there, but finding somewhere to store a full-size table is a challenge, regardless of whether you live in an apartment or house.
What Furniture Can Be Left Outside?
The quickest answer to what furniture can be left outside is anything synthetic. Metal is also an option, provided it’s coated. You could have bare metal, but there’s every chance it’ll rust.
Here’s a quick rundown of the different types of outdoor furniture that’ll last year-round.
1. Synthetic Fibers
By this, we mean things like synthetic wicker and rattan. It’s a pretty popular type of outdoor furniture that’s designed (to varying degrees of success) to look like real wicker or rattan.
The obvious benefit of choosing a synthetic material is that it’s plastic, meaning it’s completely weather-resistant. Most of it is UV-resistant too, meaning it won’t fade in sunlight.
- Some models can look pretty realistic
- Plenty of options for chairs, tables, and more
- Not too expensive
- Although durable, once you have a rip in the rattan it can unravel
There are plenty of different kinds of metal outdoor furniture. We’ll focus on 3 here: aluminum, stainless steel, and wrought iron. Each has its pros and cons as a material for outdoor furniture.
Aluminum is incredibly lightweight and is rust- and corrosion-resistant. This means it doesn’t need to be coated, making it a good choice if you’re going for an industrial or modern theme for your space.
It’s also pretty inexpensive. However, its weight means it can be unsuitable for high-rise balconies or anywhere that gets more than moderately windy. While this might not be an issue if you plan to take it indoors, we’re specifically looking at furniture that can be left out year-round.
Stainless steel is something of a middle ground for metal outdoor furniture. It can oxidize when exposed to water, but we can get around this by choosing powder-coated or painted furniture.
Unlike aluminum, steel has a bit of weight behind it, so it won’t blow away as easily. It’s more expensive, though, but not drastically so.
Wrought iron is perhaps the most classic looking type of metal outdoor furniture. However, it’s also the most prone to rust – iron oxide is probably the type of rust we’re most familiar with.
You can get around this by buying painted furniture, which you can then touch-up when needed with metal paint. As such, it requires the most maintenance of the 3 types of metal, but it’s not difficult.
Wrought iron furniture will also be the most expensive. That said, a good set of iron furniture will last decades if cared for properly. Also, it’s the heaviest, so you won’t have any issues with it blowing away.
- Metal is an incredibly durable material for outdoor furniture
- There are almost unlimited styles and colors available
- Perfect for modern or classic looks
- Make sure you consider the furniture’s weight in relation to your weather
- A lot of metal furniture uses wood elements, which can impact its weather resistance
What is there to say about plastic outdoor furniture? It’s the least expensive but also the least attractive. Plastic outdoor furniture is perfectly durable, although it’s certainly more functional than attractive. That said, there are plenty of chairs that mimic natural materials (such as this).
Even if the furniture is labeled as UV- and weather-resistant, it can become brittle over time. It also can’t bear as much weight as other types of furniture (specifically metal), but this’ll be negligible in most situations.
- The cheapest outdoor furniture
- Easy to replace
- Chairs are easy to stack, making outdoor storage easier
- Plastic furniture is light – perhaps not suitable for windy places
- It can become brittle if exposed to the elements for too long
Teak isn’t the only wood you can leave outdoors during the winter, but it’s one of the most durable. It’s ideal for outdoor furniture because it has a naturally high oil content, making it more water-resistant than other types.
Plus, teak is pretty heavy, so you shouldn’t have any issues with it blowing away. If you plan to leave it out year-round, expect to maintain it at least twice a year. You’ll need to scrub it down and oil it using teak oil. Even doing this, it’ll fade to a silver color after a few years.
- Heavy – won’t blow away
- Plenty of furniture styles available
- Fairly durable for wood
- Very expensive
- Even with maintenance, it can be affected by rain
Prolonging the Life of Outdoor Furniture
Even if your outdoor furniture is durable, it can be worth covering it over the winter with a furniture cover. This reduces its exposure to rain, wind and snow, which can all affect its lifespan.
Along with that, make sure you perform annual maintenance in the spring. It can be as simple as rubbing it down with a brush, but you should also oil wood, check for loose screws, and touch up any paint. Being proactive with your maintenance will make it last a lot longer.
Final Thoughts on Outdoor Furniture
If you want outdoor furniture that’s suitable for all weather and requires minimal maintenance, metal is probably the way to go. Depending on the type, it’s fine for windy balconies and backyards and can match a range of styles. But if you want something more natural, go with synthetic wicker or rattan.
Of course, the most important thing is that you choose furniture that matches both your weather conditions and outdoor style.