Summery Outdoor Materials Buyer’s Guide
With the summer about to kick into high gear, we wanted to dive into the materials that make our outdoor furniture really sing. From their unique, practical attributes to the styling vibes they give off. We’re talking real rattan, synthetic wicker, rope, powder-coated steel — a whole gamut of functional and fashionable materials. To do all that, we’re going to highlight a few pieces from our own modern outdoor collection in a casual, informative buyer’s guide of sorts, focusing on certain types of furniture and what they’re made of.
STEADY (AND STURDY) LOUNGIN’
When it comes to your outdoor space, the furniture you choose should be durable enough to survive the elements, especially if it’s where you’ll be curling up in the sunshine with a book for hours on end. Pieces like the Aeri or Tula Lounge Chairs are supported by powder-coated steel legs, a sturdy metal frame, and highlighted by a woven matte resin wicker seat and back—materials that aren’t afraid of a little inclement weather (just remember to remove the cushions if a summer storm sneaks up on you).
That said, prolonged exposure to the elements isn’t great for the long-term health of any piece of outdoor furniture, weather-resistant pieces included. Proactive care and proper storage will prolong the life and good looks of your chairs, so be sure to cover or store them if the rain or snow is sticking around. Especially with a modern lounge chair like the Ikast, which is made from real rattan (a material that is susceptible to moisture damage). Those pieces are best suited for covered outdoor areas.
For more on the proper care and storage of outdoor furniture, check out our handy guide.
Let’s talk about synergy. What does it even mean? Is it just something business folk chant while looking at earnings report PowerPoint presentations? What we can say is that when a piece of modern outdoor furniture successfully merges real and synthetic materials together in a way that looks natural and functions supernaturally — it sure feels like synergy.
In this case, we’re talking about the Calova Side Table. Its gorgeous resin-wicker woven base is topped by solid Acacia wood to create a piece that exudes laid-back island vibes while being durable enough to last for countless summers to come.
TAKE A (SMALLER) SEAT
Practical, versatile, gorgeous: get you a stool who can do all three. The Sankofa Stool fits the bill, and it’s made from real rattan, which is harvested from a fast-growing vine, making it an eco-friendly alternative to hardwood. Add “sustainable” to that list of superlatives.
On the taller end of things, the Kasiko Bar Stool’s intricate woven seat, made from weather-resistant synthetic rope, sits on a powder-coated steel frame that’s designed with your 5 o’clock cocktail in mind, rain or shine. What? You’ve never enjoyed a martini in a downpour?
LOOKS LIKE WICKER (DOESN’T ACT LIKE TINDER)
The Vezda Natural Table Lantern’s metal-wire frame still gives off the island vibes that a wicker piece would, while still following the fire code. This isn’t to say that a lantern can’t be made of natural materials, mind you. With a thoughtful, safe design, the rattan Bori Lantern can hang and shine with the best of them.
From style to function, materials are at the core of what defines your modern patio furniture, and subsequently, the look and feel of your backyard. So don’t sleep on what your lounge chair or side table are made of — unless it’s a daybed. Then please do sleep on that.