5 Reasons to Use Your Outdoor Furniture -– Inside
I purchased a lovely outdoor furniture set this year — the first I had ever owned. It was a delicate white faux wicker with green cushions and would have looked stunning on my future patio. The problem was that the patio never got built, the wind this year was awful, and we soon moved to a place that made it even more impractical to use. Our solution? Bring it inside. It turned out to be the best decorating decision we ever made!
What was supposed to be a temporary arrangement (using our new outdoor furniture in our living room until newer furniture could be bought) soon became the answer to all of our previously troubling decorating issues. Here are the five reasons we will continue to use the outdoors inside, and why we may never go back to traditional furniture.
1. Kids ruin things, and outdoor furniture is virtually indestructible.
My youngest three kids are all boys. At ages 6, 4, and 2, nothing is safe from their reenactments of the fight scenes in The Pirates of the Caribbean and their desire to have their palms forever covered in peanut butter. For these reasons, I love my outdoor furniture. It wipes clean without any special upholstery equipment, and since it was designed to withstand rain showers and the occasional mud fight, it can handle an unexpectedly leaky diaper like a champ. In a few words: My stuff will look new after many months of wear and tear, and I won’t have to scream, forbid fun, or suffer from extremely high blood pressure to ensure it. The same cannot be said for my plush loveseat and sofa. (They smell just like the life they sadly lived for the past few years.)
2. $500 is usually all you need.
Did the idea that I could get a loveseat, two chairs, and a glass coffee table for under $450 appeal to me the most? Undoubtedly. With the amount I would expect to pay for just the traditional living room sofa, I could get a brand-spanking new set of furniture and have it look fresh out of the box. If you’re thinking ahead for next year, you can score a set on super sale at most any retailer once they start pulling out the fall displays. (July or August is when most will start dropping in price.) Even if you go very high-end, you can time it right, and get a more lavish set for up to 12 people to comfortably hang out for no more than five $100 bills. That’s pretty sweet, if you ask me.
3. The look is timeless.
If you play your cards right, you can pull off a complimentary look for most any time period. My white wicker, for example, went nicely with the sandy brown walls in my home. Even if the decor had been pink with blue polka dots, however, I could have switched out the cushions and updated with each change in styles. Outdoor furniture is basic, clean, and ready to rock your choice of interior design — no experience needed.
4. You really can DIY.
The other night, my husband and I found ourselves having a hard time hearing the movie we were watching. We could have turned up the volume and risked waking up our youngest, most-fickle son. Instead, we picked up our light-weight but sturdy outdoor furniture and moved it closer to the tube. No sweat, no fuss, and we could put it right back when we were done. The ability to move the furniture by myself is also a plus when I want to vacuum well, or when we have a vicious game of The Bigs 2 going on the Wii. Even my son can move the furniture when he needs to.
Another advantage is that the furniture came in a box that I could easily fit into my van. I paid no outrageous delivery fees, and I could set it up myself with a screwdriver and a bit of patience. If you’re single or unwilling to rely on others to get your furniture home from the store, I can’t say enough about using outdoor furniture.
5. You can still always use it outside.
Unlike typical indoor furniture, which has a shelf life that may vary by how hard you use it, outdoor furniture can live for a very long time. If you find that you eventually want to go ultra chic and invest in that leather sofa and recliner set, you can — without the guilt of feeling like you’re betraying your perfectly good existing set. Outdoor furniture can always be placed outside again.
If you don’t personally have room for it, it can be donated to a nursing home. You may also find that the set itself may make a nice “starter set” for a college dorm room or newlywed’s apartment. The possibilities truly are endless, and usually don’t require that you set anything out on the curb.
Outdoor furniture is a growing, exciting market. With new variations that include eco-friendly, recycled materials and designer coverings, you will almost certainly be able to maintain all your dignity when substituting traditional furnishings with this more affordable alternative.
*Note - A keen reader over at Lifehacker, brought up a good point about flammability standards. Generally speaking, outdoor furniture is not always labeled and sold as indoor furniture. For this reason, it may not have to pass some of the same flammability tests that your normal furniture will. If you're usure as to whether it does, check the tags and labels on all components (it will usually tell you.) Many sets are made for either indoor or outdoor use, and should not be a problem. Consumers who will be using their furniture near open flame or while smoking should probably be checking their furniture carefully, regardless. (Futons, office furniture, dining chairs, and the mattresses inside fold-out couches are not generally subject to some of the same standards as "indoor furniture." The same goes for slipcovers, ottomans, throw pillows and throws -- some of these can also be highly flammable.) If in doubt, check it out -- before you buy. (And if you store your outdoor furniture indoors over the cold season anyway, be careful of how you store it.)