Category Archives: Comfort

Choosing outdoor furniture to suit your space

Choosing outdoor furniture to suit your space – When it comes to outdoor furniture the opportunities are endless. With plenty of styles, shapes and colours available in the market there’s sure to be something out there to suit every personality, style and space. The process of choosing outdoor furniture doesn’t have to be daunting though. If you take the time to research and evaluate your options you will ultimately decide upon furniture that reflects your personality and style as well as look great in your outdoor space.

Consider your space

The first point to consider when choosing outdoor furniture is to work out how much space you have to play with. Have a walk around and access your outdoor area. As you walk around and design your space consider any existing structures such as pools, plants, garden beds, decking, fences or sheds. These structures will determine how and where your furniture will sit.

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Furniture that folds or stacks tend to work quite well in smaller spaces. These space saving options are ideal for apartments and town houses where space may be limited. In comparison, furniture with rounded edges and numerous parts such as modular lounges or dining sets are better suited to larger areas.

Choosing colours

Selecting furniture colours ultimately comes down to personal taste, however it’s also important to consider the colours already existent in your outdoor area. Consider your paver colours, plants, existing furniture and house materials such as bricks/stone/decking as all of these will play a part in determining what type of furniture colours will work best. Outdoor Living Direct offers lounges, dining sets, balcony sets and hanging chairs in a variety of colours. By doing this we’re providing the customer with options to work with and consider. Another idea when choosing colours is to consider the colour palette inside your home. A nice idea could be to continue this palette outside, creating a consistent flow on effect.

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Materials options

Like colours, material choice is ultimately a personal one. There are a number of materials available when it comes to outdoor furniture. All have their advantages and disadvantages however the final decision should be based on what you like, what you can afford and what you think will work best within your space.

Rattan/wicker is a common material used in the manufacturing of outdoor furniture. Available in a range of colours, rattan/wicker will provide your outdoor area with a more traditional look and feel. Sometimes customers get confused by the difference between wicker and rattan outdoor furniture. In broad terms they describe much the same thing. More specifically, wicker refers to the woven construction method by which these items are made, while rattan refers to the material used for weaving. Rattan originally referred to a natural fibre harvested from a family of palms in Southeast Asia. These days we use a more modern, lightweight, synthetic material called polyethylene rattan. This material is more resistant to both ultraviolet light and water, and avoids contributing to the over-exploitation of the world’s natural rattan resources. To add to the confusion between the two phrases, synthetic rattan is also sometimes referred to as resin wicker.

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Timber is another commonly used material used in the production of outdoor furniture. Timber ages gracefully, maintaining both structural integrity (it is very resistant to rot and warping) and appearance, requiring only periodical cleaning and oiling in order to maintain its attractive surface colour and grain. If untreated, timber will weather to a silvery grey, which many people prefer if they are aiming to achieve a rustic or seaside look to their outdoor area. If on the other hand you wish to retain the rich, dark character of your timber you will need to clean and oil it periodically. Here at Outdoor Living Direct we have a wide range of timber products. Check them out here today.

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Aluminium is a sturdy material commonly used in the manufacturing of outdoor funriture thanks to its durability, rust resistance and lightweight characteristics. Aluminium furniture is also sleek and modern which may be the look you prefer. Steel on the other hand, is less expensive than aluminium, however it’s prone to rusting and will require additional care to maintain its appearance.

When it comes to outdoor cushions polyester/cotton is most commonly used. Outdoor Living Direct’s outdoor cushions are a polyester/cotton blend that have been UV and weather treated. These cushions can take a light soaking, but if they are constantly wet and out of the sun, mould will develop, as it does on any surface that is kept damp and out of sunlight. This mould can be removed with mould remover, however it will return unless the fabric is kept in a dry environment. We always recommend when the cushions are not being used to store them inside or in a dry area to prolong the life of the fabric and to avoid them going mouldy and/or dirty.

There is also another common outdoor fabric on the market known as Sunbrella. In comparison to polyester, Sunbrella is considered expensive however it is a specialty fabric built especially for outdoor conditions and is widely regarded as the leading outdoor fabric worldwide. Similar to polyester, Sunbrella is also UV treated as well as being fade, mould, mildew, water and stain resistant.

Environment considerations

The environment in which you live should also determine what type of furniture to choose. If you live in an area prone to strong winds avoid lightweight furniture that could potentially blow away. It’s also important to consider the amount of sun and shade your area will receive.

Corporate Buttocks

How do you decide?  It’s tough.  Even with a warehouse/showroom facility as vast as ours, you can never stock everything.  We size up tons of furniture.  Most of it doesn’t make the cut.  In choosing what to order, we have one secret weapon: Outdoor Living Direct’s corporate buttocks.  They travel the world, separating victors from vanquished.  They are the strongest armament in our war against unsatisfying homewares.  They play the key role in our most important business decisions.  They are the most important line of defence between you and bad furniture.

Outdoor Living Direct’s dedication to comfort starts at the very top of the business.  More specifically, it starts at the very bottom of the very top of our business.  Several times a year, managing director John Strahan visits international trade shows and factories to see what’s new and exciting in outdoor furniture.  Hopeful suppliers are interrogated on materials, workmanship, and durability in tough Australian weather.  Then comes the ultimate test.

“Whenever I see a nice looking piece of furniture we might stock, one question is always right at the front of my mind:

‘What’s it like to sit on?’

And there’s only one way to find that out”

Before we order anything, the boss sits on it.  He sits on it a lot.  Through years and years of visiting trade shows and factories, John has sat in judgement of outdoor furniture of all types and materials, from wicker to timber, benches to balcony settings, and more. “I wasn’t born with a discerning posterior,” John explains, “it’s something I’ve honed through countless hours of practice.”

“I sit on dreadful sofas so that you don’t have to”, says John, “The worst – and I mean the worst – outdoor sofa chair I ever sat in was at a trade fair in 2010. The manufacturers had designed this chair with an aluminium crossbar directly under the centre of the seat to support the chair. I’m sure it would have looked great on the design table – but when you sat in it the crossbar pressed directly up your bum, with the sides of the metal tubes pushing into your butt cheeks. It was less comfortable than sitting on an upended steel drum. If you want to recreate the effect – go into the backyard, and get two sticks, each about 20mm in diameter. Lay one stick across the other, so that it forms a perfect cross. Then sit in the middle.”

Is this really how you want you or your friends and family to “relax”?  Don’t laugh, it could happen to you.  The world is full of furniture that’s easy on the eye but punishing to the backside.  It’s an especially important concern when shopping online.  You can look at outdoor furniture on a website, but you won’t sit on it until you’ve spent the money and it’s delivered to your door.  This is why you need the corporate buttocks on your side.  They are essential to our commitment to only stock items we’d have ourselves.  They ensure furniture that not only looks great but is a delight to use.  Don’t spend good money on trash that makes your life worse.  We take your comfort very seriously.