Choosing Outdoor Furniture for Your Desert Retreat

Originally Published on January 21, 2020. Last Updated on June 11, 2024.

For those who favor solitude, few retreats deliver serenity quite like a secluded desert vacation home. If you finally bought a desert retreat and are preparing for your first family outing, you’re likely buried in logistics and planning.

While coordinating details like pool tiling and deck staining, don’t overlook the importance of choosing durable and personalized outdoor furniture that’s compatible with desert living. You’ll be exposed to some serious sun, and your furniture should endure the elements without degrading.

Desert homes have a specific yet malleable style that can be difficult to pin down for first-time buyers. Create an escape you cherish by following our guide on furnishing the outdoor spaces of your desert retreat.

Identifying Outdoor Spaces at Your Desert Retreat

How do you plan on spending your time in the desert? Are you centering the outdoor action around a sparkling pool, or a fully-loaded grill and kitchen area? Plan the main functions of your outdoor space to discover the best furniture options. 

Dining Area

Featured: Nautical Curveback Adirondack 7-Piece Dining Set with Trestle Legs in White and 9′ Tilt Market Umbrella Base in Bronze/Spa

Indulge in spicy Southwest cooking as you set up shop by a roaring grill. Outfit your cooking area with a few counters next to the grill for functionality. Patio dining furniture gives the family plenty of room to spread out and enjoy appetizers, main courses, and desserts at a leisurely pace.

To help beat the desert heat, all POLYWOOD dining tables are designed with an umbrella hole and accommodate our 9′ Tilt Market Umbrella & Base.

Conversation Corner

Maybe it’s a shaded spot under your balcony. Perhaps it’s the transitional area between your kitchen and your pool. Maybe it’s the area of the deck with the most direct view of the canyon. No matter where you furnish a comfy spot to unwind, do it right with plush deep seating sets. Conversation area furniture recreates the casual conveniences of your living room while holding its own against the desert sun.

Featured: Prescott Collection

Poolside Hangout

What better way to cool off than a refreshing swim as the afternoon hits triple-digit temperatures? A modern pool is the centerpiece of many desert homes’ outdoor area, and, to properly enjoy it, you’ll need plenty of waterproof poolside furniture. A small dining set is perfect when the kids want a quick snack before diving back in. A curved Adirondack set allows you to oversee the fun while catching up on the latest page-turner. 

Featured: Quattro 3-Piece Adirondack Set in Slate Gray

Sunbathing Spot

Work on your tan and doze off after sunset in a supportive chaise lounge. A chaise set can be situated on your deck, by the pool, or on the veranda — anywhere in direct line of the sun. If you want a chaise with a fabric sling, choose material that won’t overheat or degrade due to exposure.

Have more areas to fill in your desert vacation home? Get further inspiration from our blog covering potential uses for your outdoor space.

Featured: Coastal Chaise with Wheels in White and Parchment

Weather Considerations for Outdoor Furniture

Deserts are unique and unforgiving environments. Consider what materials can withstand the demands of a desert climate when shopping for stylish outdoor furniture. 

Sand and Wind

With little obstruction from trees or hills, deserts are prone to high winds that can blanket your property with sand and dust. Sand is notoriously tricky to clean off certain materials, and without constant maintenance, your cushions and fabrics can soil.

Unlike wicker or low-cost plastic, HDPE lumber is designed to repel dirt and debris. When sand accumulates, you can wipe down furniture with a cloth to remove grime. High-performance fabric cushions resist staining and bacterial buildup, so you don’t have to swap out cushions every season.  

Beating Sun

The saying goes that, in the desert, the sun always wins. However, when you invest in high-quality materials, you can extend the lifespan of your outdoor furniture and fabrics for years. Lumber with the color imbedding in the material will prevent furniture from fading.

UV-inhibitors will make high-quality materials more costly, but opting for standard materials can force you to replace worn out furniture after a year or two. When shopping for cushions and pillows, look for high-performance that is resilient against the sun.

Featured: Vineyard Porch Rocking Chair in White

Fluctuating Temperatures

Cheaper materials are no match for the double-header of brutal summer heat and the bone-chilling winter temperatures in arid deserts. Simple plastics will melt in the desert sun, and wood can warp and splinter due to drastic fluctuations in temperature throughout the day.

HDPE lumber is constructed to withstand extreme climates, lasting for a generation without cracking, rotting, warping, splitting, or peeling. For long-lasting outdoor desert furniture, choose lumber and slings up to the task.

Desert Furniture Style Tips

You can choose between distinct iterations of desert style. Several homes embrace the more rustic Southwestern style to emulate a dry-climate cabin, while other dwellings blend ultra-modern aesthetics with desert-inspired elements.

Best Color Schemes for Desert Furniture

Beige and Tans — Cream colors like beige and tan make up the fundamental neutral tones of desert décor. Practically, this minimizes the effect that sand has on the appearance of your furniture, floors, and decorations. Echoing the hues of the environment also creates a cohesion that blurs the line between outside and inside.

Bright Colors — Desert style embraces vibrant accent colors like turquoise, red, fuchsia, and orange. Spice up your design with cushions or furniture pieces that deliver a real pop of color. Blues and warm colors are the most common, but you can also incorporate green and pair it with cacti to connect your design with nature.

Style Guidelines

Lay the groundwork around your exterior with geometric kilim rugs that can accentuate your seating areas and dining spaces. For your decorative pieces, incorporate regionally important materials like terracotta, leather, and brass. Find local artwork to infuse your home with an authentic desert vibe.

Desert furniture layouts should mimic the sprawling open spaces of the region. Choose a few integral pieces like a deep seating set or a rocking chair and accessorize with side tables, an ottoman, and serape throws to complete the look.

Do you have lingering questions as you furnish your desert retreat? Share your thoughts in the comments!

To help you plan your space, check out the POLYWOOD Outdoor Furniture Planner. We’ll ask you about the size and shape of your space, 5 quick questions total, and then provide you with up to three furniture set results.

7 thoughts on “Choosing Outdoor Furniture for Your Desert Retreat

  1. The concepts and tiling designs are really spectacular, very ideal and the tiling is just superb.

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