The first question to ask is, what sort of outdoor lounge furniture do you need? Are you looking to create an outdoor living and entertaining space, with an L-shaped lounge to encourage conversation? Do you want occasional chairs that you can pull in close, or carry to the other end of the garden for a spot of solitude? Or, if you’re looking to create a holiday-at-home feeling, you might head straight for a hammock, sunlounge or daybed, complete with shade cover.
The size of your outdoor furniture will be determined by the number of people you want to seat (a crowd, close family or just yourself), but also the area you’re furnishing. Start by measuring up the space – a deep deck might have room for a conversation zone with two lounges opposite one another or the largest of L-shaped modular lounges, while a narrow space might be better suited to a slim garden bench.
Make sure there’s plenty of room to circulate around furniture, particularly if the area is a thoroughfare – ensure there is one metre clearance at least, and more if it’s near a pool, barbecue or other potential hazard.
For a seamless look, choose outdoor lounge furniture in colours and finishes to complement the interior of your home. Draw inspiration from the home’s style (contemporary, Hamptons, boho), existing finishes (timber, rattan, metal) and colour scheme (dark or light, warm or cool colour tones).
Neutral tones work best for large pieces like lounges and chairs, but you can enliven the look with vibrant outdoor cushions or have fun with a patterned hammock or an occasional chair in coloured powder-coated steel.
The best way to find the right lounge furniture for you is to try it out in-store. Test out the depth and back support, arm styles and cushion types. Corner lounges are great for seating a crowd, but also allow you to stretch out solo. If you like a narrower seat, you can utilise outdoor cushions to adjust the depth of the lounge, as well as to add style and colour.
Consider the materials your outdoor lounge furniture is made of – this is about more than just the look. Bear in mind the maintenance required by different types; for example, teak ages beautifully, whether you oil it or let it grey naturally, but other timbers will need regular oiling to stay in good condition. Aluminium, by contrast, is easy to maintain by simply wiping off any dirt.
Is it weather resistant? Look at durability, especially if your furniture is going to be subject to salt spray, pool splashes or heavy weather. This will make materials like rattan and even fabric sofas impractical, unless you’re committed to bringing the cushions indoors when not in use. If cushioned lounges are likely to take a beating from kids, pets or weather, look for those with replaceable covers.
Will you be moving furniture around regularly? If you’re bringing pieces in and out of the rain, or moving them from season to season, go for lighter lounges. But if you need furniture to stay put, even in windy weather, heavy pieces in solid teak or something equally weighty are a better choice.
Choosing from the same furniture family is the easiest way to make sure all your outdoor pieces match – buying a set is also convenient and can sometimes be cheaper than buying individual lounges, chairs or tables.
But if you’re confident enough to mix and match, this is a great way to create an eclectic look and inject an outdoor space with your own personal style. The best way to make this work is to ensure there’s a common element – be it colour, material or a specific style.
Photo Credit: Brigid Arnott and James Moffatt
Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.
When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.