Your choice of wrought iron patio furniture, aluminum and other metal options, or wooden designs in teak, will alter the way your outdoor space looks and feels and will, to some extent, determine how your patio deck or garden area is used, how long the furniture will last, how much maintenance time you will have to invest, and how much the initial purchases will cost. It will also determine if you will need special size cushions, covers to protect your furniture, and how comfortable and functional, or decorative, your space will be. Here are some ideas to help you decide if wrought iron, aluminum or wooden patio furniture will be your best choice, and some tips on how to best incorporate whichever you choose into your décor or theme, as well as some specific recommendations on where to buy patio furniture online and what prices you can expect to pay for iron, aluminum and wood.
Metal and Wrought Iron
Untreated wrought iron will be prone to rust so try to choose iron patio furniture that has a powder coat finish or has had an electrophoresis treatment which will help the metal to be more durable, specifically with the biggest problem, rusting.
You can get treated wrought iron patio furniture sets that include 4 chairs with curved arms and full backs and a large 40 inch round style table for under $400. The cheapest small bistro sets can be bought for just over $200. In most cases these sets, although they are a bit of an investment initially, will be maintenance free and will last for many years even if exposed to the elements during inclement weather.
Patio Furniture Covers
Even if you choose treated or powdercoated finishes, it is advisable to cover your wrought iron or metal furniture when exposed to prolonged rainy conditions or during winter months. Vinyl or polyester patio furniture covers will protect and increase the lifespan of your tables and chairs for a very small investment. A good choice would be the Terrazzo outdoor covers sold through Sure Fit. They cost between $25 and just over $30 and are not just stylish but made from durable heavy duty fabric with elastic StayON loops and a cord around the bottom hem so that the covers won’t slip off. They also have vents so there is airflow, yet the outer material being Rain-Tie, will protect from moisture, rain, and even cracking in hot or extremely cold weather.
The Need For Patio Furniture Cushions For Wrought Iron Chairs and Lounges
One other consideration when choosing metal or iron (over wood, rattan or wicker furniture) is that in general the seats are lattice slats of iron and are not very comfortable for sitting on without some kind of padding or without thick patio furniture cushions. Iron tends to be more decorative than comfortable, and is therefore recommended for deck, garden or patio bistro themes, or for areas that you will use for entertaining and dinning and not for lounging in the sun or getting really cozy with a book. Although there are wrought iron lounge chairs, as a whole, iron furniture pieces are much more for formal usage and give an air of elegance rather than a laidback or casual atmosphere of relaxation.
We recommend, if you are looking for patio dining furniture because you enjoy outdoor entertaining and/or have afternoon tea or luncheons in your garden, then wrought iron is a great choice, however for poolside or garden leisure, or if you mainly use your outdoor space to have barbeques, play with the children, relax in the sunshine or read, then you may want to consider casual patio furniture styles in rattan, wicker or teak. That said, there are gorgeous iron lounge chairs that cost about $170. However, please note that these will come without any kind of padding, and obviously cushions will be a must.
The cushions you will need, unfortunately can cost almost as much as the chaise lounge iron frame, making a complete patio lounge chair or chaise cost over $250 in many cases. If this is within your budget, then you certainly will have an elegant and comfortable place to relax, however it is a more expensive option as a whole.
DC America makes some very elegant chaise lounge chairs, specifically the Charleston design, which is beautiful for a poolside or grassy backyard area, however it’s not really cheap. The frame costs over $200 and the cushions are sold separately. You can spend as much or as little as your budget allows by choosing the top Sunbrella weatherproof fabrics or cheap alternatives from discount cushion shops. Please see related information in Outdoor Patio Furniture Cushions that recommends some of the top Sunbrella products, and also find other ideas in Decorating Your Outdoor Space: Using Natural Fabrics and Exotic Motifs for Patio Cushions.
ICI is another furniture manufacturer you should keep in mind for high quality and uniquely designed garden patio furniture in wrought iron. They have the classic Mandalay decorative styles and contemporary models that are less curly and swirly but more angular/clean lined.
Artistic Luxury Patio Furniture by KNF
If you’re looking for something genuinely artistic and unusual to give your patio or outdoor space some extra personality, then we recommend looking into a shop called FrontGate where you can get unique luxury patio furniture designed by KNF. One such outstanding set is the Mosaic Outdoor Dining Furniture that features a stone tabletop with thousands of mosaic tile and stained glass inlays set together with powdercoated and weather resistant wrought iron. Matching chairs are delicate, simple and elegant, ideal with cushions to accent the colors of your bistro or outdoor dinning area. Exclusive KNF garden and patio furniture is not a cheap option, however it one of the most elegant options if your budget allows for a little luxury.
We’re not going to recommend very cheap patio furniture designs made from resin because, although they may be a practical solution, they’re available through most home improvement stores and are not a large investment. Therefore, we move onto aluminum patio furniture choices which we believe offer good value as an alternative to resin yet without the larger investment iron.
Aluminum Patio Furniture
When we talk about aluminum patio furniture it may bring to mind cheap aluminum folding chairs for $20 or $30 that have simple canvas seats. While this may be a budget shoppers choice for a quick fix, it isn’t a permanent solution to decorating your outdoor space, nor is it very elegant or decorative if what you ultimately desire is a dinning area or bistro or even a lounging space with some style. So, what we hope to help you with is finding affordable alternatives to iron by choosing what is called cast aluminum patio furniture that actually looks very similar to wrought iron but is CAST instead of forged or crafted by hand from separate pieces or soldered together.
The most popular and practical, as well as genuinely affordable, are the cast aluminum benches that can be used in a garden, on a deck or porch or even alongside tables instead of loveseats or traditional chairs in your outdoor dinning space. One affordable choice would be the Nassau Cast Aluminum Bench that is only about $170 through dealers like Living Direct. The beauty of this piece is that it’s totally rust free having been coated with many layers of powder paint, in either antique bronze or a black finish, that protects it from all the damage the elements may present.
A classic choice, although nothing new to the world of gardens and decks and patios, is the forever delicate and elegant bistro set, traditionally in wrought iron, but now available in cast aluminum. There is a patio furniture store, part of the Hayneedle shops, which offers a gorgeous three piece bistro set that won’t ever rust and is a real bargain at just $230 for two chairs and the bistro table that has a hole ready for an umbrella if you wish to add a little shade. The great thing about these pieces of furniture is that they’re really lightweight and can be moved around a lot more easily than the wrought iron ones. There are several styles to choose from, one that is larger will cost about $40 more, and is called the Tea Rose design.
Large Outdoor Patio Furniture Sets In Cast Aluminum
We’ve mentioned that patio dining furniture in cast aluminum is a more affordable choice, and that is basically true, however if you need a very large set, for example a table that seats 8 and the matching chairs, although it will still be cheaper than iron, you will need to budget a little over $2,000 even if you go with aluminum. There’s a beautiful and very functional choice by Oakland Living that’s called the Mississippi and comes in an antique bronze finish and features a large oval table and 8 matching chairs. The complete 9 piece patio furniture set costs just under $2,300 and is available for ordering online through dealers who specialize in outdoor Oakland Living furnishings.
Is Wooden Patio Furniture Still A Good Option?
When you decide to buy patio furniture and invest in quality products that will last, you may be wondering if wooden patio furniture is still a wise choice considering the maintenance free and long-lasting options that are now so readily available in iron, aluminum and innovative wicker resin designs. The answer to this question is that buying pine or wooden furniture that is just painted or stained, or choosing natural wicker that’s untreated, or going with really cheap patio furniture that has little or no weather protection, is akin to throwing your money, and hard work designing a comfy outdoor space, down the drain.
The wind and rain and sun will damage your furniture in a single season unless you have a full patio enclosure or a gazebo that is closed, or unless you use vinyl patio furniture covers every time it rains or snows and unless you repaint, seal, varnish or maintain the wooden or wicker pieces on a regular basis. There is a lot of work involved in maintaining wooden pieces, and they simply do not last. However, there is one exception and that is choosing high quality teak patio furniture that will withstand a great deal of abuse and require much less care than other types of wood or natural materials. Oiled, or treated, teak will withstand harsh weather. The wood will slightly change color over time, but it won’t rot or disintegrate like other woods.
One place to shop for teak is ironically called All Things Cedar, where you can find some good bargains on chaise lounge chairs for about $300, although that will not include the cushions. As you will notice, teak is not a cheap patio furniture solution by any means. In fact it is one of the most expensive routes to take when decorating your garden, poolside or deck.
Why is teak a good choice?
Teak is a very dense wood. Its natural density makes it resistant to wetness and therefore not prone to rot. It is almost impervious to the usual damage that sun and rain and wind and even snow and cold temperatures also because the teak wood is high in natural oils. If the furniture has additionally been kiln dried so as to have tight joints and also has been oiled for extra protection, you can be quite confident that your chairs, lounges and tables will not get damaged easily by the elements even over a period of time. In fact, the wood will develop more character, a richer tone and a warm outdoor look of wear that actually enhances its grace.
Why is casual patio furniture made from teak so expensive?
In part teak, otherwise know as Tectona Grandis, is expensive because it comes primarily from Java, Burma (Myanmar), India, Thailand and other Asian countries where deciduous trees can thrive. Although it is a tropical species, it requires unique conditions that are dry, and therefore not a rainforest species, and thrives in Southeast Asia where dry, hot temperatures combine with hilly regions that allow for the large trees to grow on plantations specific for harvesting the wood for commercial purposes. And that brings us to yet another price factor that concerns teak.
Teak is not a cheap wood to produce since it takes a lifetime for a tree to reach maturity, up to 60 yeas, and therefore new plantations may not see a profit for a very long time.
The most famous plantations are on Java and date back to the 1800s, and are now monitored and regulated so as to protect them from disappearing by poor harvesting methods.
So, due to the locations where teak thrives, the length of time it takes to grow and the strict harvesting rules involved, teak is the gold of woods and is therefore expensive. For more information please see Outdoor Teak Furniture where you will find detailed advice regarding shopping for teak as well as many more unique design ideas for those who absolutely have their heart set on wooden patio furniture.