Outdoor living and entertaining brings an added dimension to contemporary life, and there’s no doubt that beautiful, well-crafted modern outdoor furniture enhances the experience. Once the neglected stepchild of modern décor, outdoor furniture has become a key component of the contemporary home, rivaling in range and style its indoor furniture counterparts. And while the styles and materials available for contemporary outdoor furniture are more varied and plentiful than ever, it may be useful to adhere to some basic guidelines before plunging headlong into purchasing that flashy modern patio furniture set or pair of contemporary outdoor lounge chairs.
Beyond the obvious—furniture that appeals to you on a visceral level—the same rules that apply to buying any piece of modern design applies to contemporary outdoor table and chairs, stools or modern outdoor chaise. In other words, focusing on quality and longevity, in additional to esthetics, will always pay dividends. While it’s true that it’s tempting to tap into the abundance of cheaply made deck furniture or contemporary patio furniture readily available, avoid thinking of outdoor chairs and tables as temporary, throwaway pieces made to last a couple of summers, and then dumped for the next trendy color or style. When outdoor design is considered with the same care as any other purchase—meaning, when it’s bought thoughtfully and wisely—it will yield a collection that ages gracefully and brings years of enjoyment.
Think of your outdoor space, whether used year-round, or only during the warmer seasons, as an extension of your home, rather than a separate component. Ideally, there shouldn’t be an esthetic break between indoor and outdoor spaces because a patio, deck, or pool house are as much part of your home as the areas that reside within the walls of your house.
Think of your modern deck furniture or the contemporary furniture you buy for your pool as items that would, if needed, look perfectly at home with the furniture you have inside your home, comprising a harmonious design scheme. When you think of modern outdoor furniture this way, you’ll be less likely to settle for a poorly crafted outdoor table and chairs, for instance, and more likely to splurge on one beautifully constructed modern outdoor bench.
The size of your outdoor space—and the size of your budget—will, no doubt, primarily inform your outdoor furniture purchases. But before you embark on a shopping spree, it’s best to carefully consider how you typically use your outdoor space, or how you’d ideally like to use it. Whether or not you eat and entertain outdoors, or whether you only use your patio or deck to read or sun yourself will ultimately help guide which pieces of furniture you’ll deem essential to your outdoor space.
Generally speaking, however, if you use your space to dine outdoors or entertain on weekends, a well-crafted table and comfortable outdoor seating will be essential. But if you only use your space to relax and read, a stylish and sturdy modern lounge chair and outdoor stool or occasional table may be where you’ll spend your furniture budget. Whichever choice you make, it’s always a good idea to invest in one or two well-made pieces of contemporary outdoor furniture that also enhance your outdoor space visually, instead of buying an entire ensemble of poorly made furniture that won't withstand the elements for more than a couple of seasons.