Factors to Consider When Choosing Patio Furniture

As you set out to find the perfect additions to your backyard setting, there are a number of factors to consider when choosing patio furniture. You’ll want to make sure it complements your home’s overall aesthetic since it’s an extension of your indoor living space. The furniture you choose should suit your desired purpose, as well as have the ability to the elements.

Because your outdoor furniture will be exposed to the elements of nature, it’s important to choose the most durable patio furniture materials that are able to handle a range of weather conditions season after season. You’ll also want to consider the maintenance requirements, cost, and eco-friendliness.

Rain & Moisture

Indiana summers have a habit of being rather on the humid side at times, so it’s a good idea to choose patio furniture materials that are resistant to moisture. Rainwater that builds up and creates standing water can damage material. It can also pose risks to your health from bacteria and become a breeding ground for insects.

Mildew, Mold, and Rot

Humidity can cause fungi and other unwanted organic materials to grow on your outdoor furniture. If these organic materials retain water, it can lead to mold and mildew, which may cause respiratory problems or other health issues. Fortunately, organic contaminants can generally be cleaned off of most materials. Natural materials (like wicker and certain woods) are susceptible to rot, which is a much more detrimental issue since it involves the actual destruction of the material.

Corrosion and Rust

Furniture made from certain metals (like iron or steel) is prone to rust when exposed to water and oxygen over time. As the metal corrodes, it will weaken and can develop permanent discoloration and spotting. For this reason, if you choose metal furniture, be sure it has been powder-coated to dramatically reduce the risk of rust and corrosion.


Materials that allow water penetration (such as more porous woods) can dry unevenly, which results in twisting or bowing of the original shape. A slight amount of warping may not be a big deal, but over time, the distortions will become more extreme. Noticeable warping can and lead to loosened screws or misaligned seams, compromising the structural integrity.

Sun & Temperature

The sun’s rays can cause UV damage, so you’ll want to be on the lookout for furniture materials that are specifically designed to withstand heat and sun. And if your furniture will be outside year-round (as is typically the case), it’s important to have furniture that can hold up under extreme shifts in temperature. As Indiana summers can hit 90+ degrees, and the winters frequently see days below freezing, your outdoor furniture should be up to the task!

Fading and Cracking

Prolonged sun exposure can cause many materials to lose their original brilliance and fade over time. Sometimes, the natural change can be aesthetically pleasing (e.g. patina of wood and metal). In other cases, fading can cause uneven spotting or an undesired decrease in vibrancy. Fluctuations in temperatures can also cause cracking in materials that expand and contract when heated or cooled. Overly dry air can also cause cracks and bending.

Heat Retention

Patio furniture left out in the sun for long periods of time can retain heat and become uncomfortable to sit or lay on. If your furniture will not be in a shaded area, consider lighter color furniture or fabrics that won’t retain as much heat. Adding a patio umbrella to your furniture setup can also relieve discomfort caused by heat retention in addition to protecting you from the sun’s UV rays.


When you pick just the right place for your patio furniture in the backyard, you expect it to stay there. While lightweight furniture might be nice and easy to move initially, consider how it will hold up on windier days. Wind can be  problematic for lighter furniture pieces. If your furniture will be in an open area that doesn’t have much protection from wind, you may opt for heavier pieces. Powder coated steel furniture, for example, is less likely to be affected by wind than aluminum.


Some materials are made to last for years, while others will need to be replaced more frequently. Since Indiana experiences widely varying weather conditions throughout the year, durable patio furniture materials are an important consideration. Synthetic materials (like resin wicker and HDPE / poly) fare better in a range of weather conditions when compared to natural materials like wicker and untreated wood. Of course, the amount of use your furniture gets will also play a role in how long it lasts.

Maintenance, Cleaning, & Care

Maintenance is another of the important factors to consider when choosing patio furniture. Some materials require very little in the way of maintenance – a simple wipe with soap and water and they look good as new. Other materials require significantly more maintenance to keep them looking new (such as natural woods that need to be re-stained every few years). Consider how often you will need to clean your patio furniture and the effort involved. This could save you some potential headaches and unwelcome surprises down the road. And, of course, how well your furniture holds up over time will also be determined in part by how well you care for it so it makes sense to protect your investment.


Of course cost will have to be considered when you decide which patio furniture is best for your backyard. And while it’s important to stay within your budget, be sure and consider the longevity of the materials you’re choosing as you make your decision. If you opt for a lower cost material, will you end up needing to replace that piece (or pieces) in just a year or two? If so, it may well end up saving you money in the long run to spend a little more upfront for furniture that will last for many years.

Environmental Considerations

How eco-friendly is the material you’re considering? Is it sustainably sourced natural material or responsibly created synthetic material? As landfills increase every year, it’s important to do our part to contribute to a sustainable future. And by purchasing durable furniture that will last for many years, you’ll be helping to reduce waste and save money by not having to purchase new furniture every couple years.

The Perfect Patio Furniture for Your Space

With so many factors to consider when choosing patio furniture, you may be wondering where to begin. We recommend deciding what the primary function of your outdoor living space will be to help narrow down your choices. Will it be a space mostly just for you and your significant other to relax? Do you plan to host outdoor dinner parties? Or do you need a place for the kids to be able to hang out with their friends? Once you have an idea of how you plan to use your furniture, you’ll be able to decide what and how many pieces to look for.

If you need help selecting just the right furniture for your patio, Recreation Unlimited is here to help. We’re located in Noblesville, IN and are proud to serve Indianapolis and the surrounding areas including Fishers, Zionsville, and Carmel with high quality patio furniture to fit your lifestyle. We know you have options when it comes to places to buy patio furniture in Indy, so we appreciate the opportunity to earn your business!

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