You want to spend your money wisely on beautiful, comfortable, well-built furniture that lasts season after season. But how can you tell if the products you’re eyeing are good quality? Not to worry—we can help you. We’ve created a guide to help streamline your furniture search and make a sound investment.
We also sought out Sallie Lord, Principal Designer of GreyHunt Interiors, to assist us in offering tips and advice for identifying high-quality pieces and reputable businesses, so you can make informed decisions when shopping for outdoor furniture.
Pay Attention to These Furniture Features
Patio seating has more to contend with than repeat use. Blizzards, thunderstorms, humidity, UV radiation, salt spray, and animal droppings are just some of the things outdoor furniture has to withstand daily. Outdoor furniture companies should rely on durable, heavy-duty materials to create long-lasting products for their customers, but not all materials are created equal. “In addition to standing up to outdoor environments, you want materials that look beautiful and make your life easier,” Lord says. “Furniture that dries fast, cleans easily, and can hold up against fading and stains means less work for you.”
Terms that indicate high-grade outdoor materials:
Red flags that suggest poor-quality outdoor materials:
- Faux wood laminate
- Particle board
- No information listed
You can learn a lot about the quality of a product by how it’s made.
Performance fabric is the best choice for outdoor cushions and pillows because it’s made to resist weather, moisture, fading, and other elements. Companies that use this type of fabric will proudly say so, and you won’t have trouble finding it in the product’s description. Cushion filler is also important. You want your pillows to hold their shape, so look for products with thick, dense filler that bounces back easily.
Higher-quality materials tend to have more heft because they’re dense and often completely solid, which enhances their durability: Teak weighs more than particle board; high-density polyethylene is heavier than acrylic, nylon, and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (the most common materials used in injection-molded plastic furniture); etc. In addition to better durability, outdoor furniture is designed to be heavy so it can withstand strong winds.
To protect your investments, purchase products backed by dependable warranties. When companies offer reliable guarantees, it means they believe in what they built. It also gives you peace of mind, ensuring that arising issues will be handled quickly and without hassle.
Outdoor furniture is priced according to the construction and quality of materials. A reputable business that emphasizes craftsmanship will spend more money to get the best materials, they won’t cut corners on equipment, and they’ll keep their employees competitively compensated. To turn a profit and cover these expenses—as well as overhead costs, companies must charge more for well-made furniture.
Responsibly Sourced Goods
Businesses may rely on suppliers to get manufacturing materials. When you buy furniture from companies that prioritize responsible sourcing, you’re supporting their efforts to obtain goods and services in sustainable, ethical, and socially conscious ways from every point in their supply chains. This means businesses not only work with suppliers that operate responsibly, but they also change their internal practices to ensure they’re only having positive impacts on people and our planet.
Investigate the Furniture Manufacturer
Transparency fosters trust, and trust is the foundation of any relationship. Regarding business, transparency allows a company to maintain credibility and build strong customer connections. Here are some things to look for to check a business’s transparency:
- Consistent pricing in-store and online
- Honesty about customer data collection
- Company values are published
- Quick and continuous communication
- Detailed product descriptions
- Clear, accessible warranties and policies
- Consistent follow-through
- Visible customer reviews, even if negative
Most shopping is done online nowadays, so reputable businesses are putting time and effort into creating polished online presences. When browsing a company’s website or social media pages, you may want to shop elsewhere if you spot one or more of these red flags:
- Missing contact information
- Broken links and pages
- Frequent spelling and grammar errors
- Outdated blog
- No customer reviews
- Absent About Us page
- Nonexistent social media pages
- No trust seals to show site security
Blogs are effective marketing tools that let businesses convey their expertise to consumers in useful and interesting ways. Credible furniture brands that stay up-to-date on the latest trends will consistently update their blog with fresh design and decorating tips, buying guides, how-to posts, and other relevant information that helps their customers.
Good customer service is just as important as furniture quality because when you’re treated well by a business, you’re more likely to shop with them again. Here are some indicators of exceptional customer service:
- Multiple contact methods, such as email, chat, and phone numbers, are available.
- When interacting with you, employees demonstrate professionalism, patience, and empathy.
- Communication is clear and quick across all channels.
- Employees are knowledgeable about products, policies, and warranties.
Customer feedback can build or break a brand’s reputation. “One of the best ways to learn about a business and its products is through other people’s experiences,” Lord states. “Highly rated furniture gets its five-star ratings from customers who’ve tried it, loved it, and wanted to tell everyone about it.” The same is true for those who’ve had bad experiences. People will take the time to warn others about what they went through to help them avoid similar incidences.
Not only will you learn a great deal from the reviews themselves, but also from the company’s reaction. Do they reply to positive reviews with genuine interest and gratitude? Are they quick to respond to a negative review with an apology and offer solutions to the problem?
Return and Exchange Policies
Return and exchange guidelines should be clear, concise, and easy to locate on a company’s website. Knowing the policies before purchasing helps manage expectations and factors into your choice to be a repeat customer. You can rely on a company that follows its own rules and provides hassle-free customer service interactions.
Is it worth buying expensive outdoor furniture?
If you want outdoor furniture that will last year after year through bad weather and repeat use, it’s worth the extra expense. Remember that what you’re spending now on durable furniture will be much less than what you’ll pay later if you buy low-quality pieces that must be continuously replaced or repaired.
What are the things you should check when buying outdoor furniture?
Keep these factors in mind when buying outdoor furniture:
- Size: The furniture should fit on your patio with enough space around it for family to move freely.
- Appearance: The materials should maintain their looks year after year.
- Design: The right furniture will fit your outdoor aesthetic.
- Utility: The piece you’re considering must meet your family’s needs.
- Upkeep: Outdoor furniture needs to be easy to clean and maintain.
- Durability: Well-built furniture can handle harsh weather and repeat use.
What should you avoid when buying furniture?
Avoid buying furniture before establishing a budget and measuring your space. It’s no fun to fall in love with an outdoor furniture set only to find out that it’s too expensive or large to fit on your patio. And as mentioned above, don’t buy poorly designed products and look elsewhere if a furniture company seems untrustworthy.