The best outdoor furniture according to the best interior designers
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Earlier this month my husband and I considered taking a vacation this summer. Then we remembered that we had a two and four year old who made the trip difficult. Instead, we decided to use some of the money we saved during the pandemic to make our new backyard in Savannah an earthly paradise. This included buying furniture, which is difficult for us as my husband is a furniture designer – he does not have an outdoor furniture line – and favors design over comfort. Meanwhile, I am an ordinary person and I imagine myself lounging in a comfortable, plush chair while wearing a bathrobe. Unable to come to an agreement on buying outdoor furniture, I turned to interior decorators for advice (scroll down for their choices).
What to look for when buying outdoor furniture
Before deciding what type of furniture to buy, think about the climate you live in, says Claire Watkins, an interior designer who works for Lowcountry Custom Built Homes. In a rainy or humid climate, the cushions will likely get wet and develop mold, unless you are extremely diligent in purchasing and using good quality rain covers. Furniture with cushions works best in dry, desert conditions like those in Palm Springs, Watkins notes.
For wet and damp conditions, Watkins recommends purchasing furniture made of powder-coated steel or another material such as plastic that will be able to withstand any climate without too much damage. And Jane Moore, a Brooklyn-based interior designer, recommends thinking about sun exposure as well as humidity. Light patterns can fade quickly if exposed to sunlight all day. If you plan to place the furniture in a sunny location, consider buying it in white or another light color that won’t be hot to the touch when you want to use it.
Choice of creators
A good combo of classic and modern: Hay Palissade collection, pieces starting around $ 275
Watkins loves the Hay Palissade collection, designed by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, and in particular the $ 495 lounge chair, pictured above. Made of sturdy powder-coated steel, Hay Palissade furniture is durable but also stylish. The collection, Watkins notes, is a “very good combination of classic and modern” and lasts a long time, she notes. For most rooms, you can purchase cushions if you want, but they don’t have to be. If you’re planning on dining out, the Hay Palissade dining table and bench set ($ 1,445) is a good option, she adds.
LEARN MORE: Hay Palissade collection, pieces starting around $ 275
Classic and modern, but at a more affordable price: World Market Aubrey White Metal Outdoor Armchairs, $ 349.99 for two
If you love Palissade furniture, but can’t stand the price, Watkins recommends the Aubrey White Metal Outdoor Armchairs from World Market. They look like the Hay Palissade design at less than half the price.
LEARN MORE: World Market Aubrey White Metal Outdoor Armchairs, $ 349.99 for two
Timeless and durable: Knoll Outdoor Collection, starting at around $ 200
Moore loves Knoll’s outdoor collection, including the 1966 lounge chair ($ 1,419) designed by Richard Schultz. Schultz designed the chair to withstand the corrosive ocean air in Florida, where he moved after his retirement. Furniture produced by Knoll, Moore notes, is timeless and classic. âThese are bullion coins that will last for years and years,â she notes.
LEARN MORE: Knoll Outdoor Collection, starting at around $ 200
Chic but affordable: Olivia patio dining chair, $ 175.99 for two
Similar in design to the iconic Sculptura collection, these chairs mimic the lightness and appearance of wicker, but are made from plastic that can withstand many weather conditions, including rain and humidity.
LEARN MORE: Olivia patio dining chair, $ 175.99 for two
Designed by Philippe Starck: Kartell Bubble Arm Chair, $ 855, from 2Modern (free delivery)
Watkins also really likes the Kartell Bubble Arm Chair, designed by Philippe Starck. Crafted from dyed-through polyethylene, the chair will survive in almost any setting, and it’s a one-of-a-kind piece you won’t see in everyone’s backyard. âI like the playfulness of the design,â says Watkins.
LEARN MORE: Kartell Bubble Arm Chair, $ 855, from 2Modern (free delivery)
Classic: Isola Frontgate lounge chair, $ 623
Watkins loves this Frontgate Isola lounge chair ($ 699), which is made from all-weather teak and wicker, and is suitable for both arid and coastal climates.
LEARN MORE: Isola Frontgate lounge chair, $ 623