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Modo Luce
Borsalina Outdoor Lamp

Shaped like a ladies' handbag, this modern table lamp provides whimsical grab-and-go outdoor illumination.  

Parkdale Stool

Polyethylene, woven over a metal frame, makes this durable stool a color-happy modern outdoor seating addition.

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Modern Outdoor Furniture

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.

What’s the rule of thumb for buying modern outdoor furniture?

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 a contemporary outdoor table and chairs, stools and or modern outdoor chaise—namely that 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 of modern outdoor furniture that ages gracefully and brings years of enjoyment.

How do I find the right style of contemporary outdoor furniture for my outdoor space?

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 resides 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, each part of 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 settle for one beautifully constructed modern outdoor bench.

What’s are the essential modern outdoor furniture pieces?

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 contemporary outdoor 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 direction you go in, it’s always a good idea to invest in one or two well-made pieces of modern 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.