The pool is clean, the weather is warm, but there’s one thing missing from your backyard oasis — somewhere to sit! When it comes to selecting pool furniture, you need to strike that delicate balance between comfort and durability. After all, pool furniture is exposed to the hot midday sun, summer thunderstorms, high winds, and chemicals like chlorine and sunscreen.
Here are some key factors to consider when buying pool furniture.
Size and Scale
It would be a shame to buy the perfect deck chairs just to realize that you can’t walk around them without taking an accidental dip in the pool!
Measure out your space in advance so you’ll know your maximum furniture dimensions. Even better — tape off your proposed furniture layout before you place your order. Walk around the extra space to ensure that you can comfortably maneuver around your tables and chairs.
Living Your Best Life
How do you usually use your poolside space? Are you a deck-lounger? A cocktail-sipper? An al fresco diner? Maybe a bit of all three?
Make sure that your pool furniture will satisfy your needs. If you prefer to sit upright and read by the pool, maybe consider Adirondack chairs rather than lounge chairs. If you like to eat outside every night, make sure you have enough room in your plan for a dining table. If you like to throw pool parties, you may need a mix of multiple styles to accommodate all of your guests.
Clime and Punishment
Consider your climate before deciding on pool furniture. Different types of furniture perform better in certain zones, and a little research can help prevent choosing a material that doesn’t do well long-term in your area.
Salty air, like that near the ocean, can promote rust. If your heart is set on metal furniture but you live near the coast, make sure it’s stainless steel or aluminum rather than regular steel.
If you live in the south where temperatures can soar to the triple digits through most of the summer, it may be a good idea to avoid metal as it can get incredibly hot to the touch! Consider a heavy-duty vinyl or poly lumber which will stay comfortable to the touch and will be able to stand up to the summer heat.
Wicker furniture can be a lovely, natural-looking choice. But if you have a lot of pine or pollinating trees in your yard, you’ll be fighting a losing battle to keep all those nooks and crannies clean of pine needles and pollen.
And if your area is very windy, you may want to avoid lightweight aluminum furniture in favor of sturdy wood or metal, to avoid turning your deck chairs into projectiles!
One last material consideration — if a piece of furniture has screws, make sure that they are stainless steel or powder coated to prevent rusting. Unfortunately, it can be a little difficult to tell if screws are stainless if the manufacturer hasn’t noted them as such.
A quick way to tell if a metal is stainless steel is to test it with a magnet. If it’s magnetic, it is probably stainless steel. But certain additives can reduce the magnetism of stainless steel. So you may want to confirm with the manufacturer before you rule it out.
What is your plan for winter furniture storage? If you live in the south, you can probably leave your pool furniture out year round. But if you’re in a colder climate where winters are harsh, you’ll want to store your pool-side furniture somewhere that it is protected from the elements.
If you have minimal storage space, consider furniture that folds up to make sure you’ll be able to tuck it away until winter is over.
If your furniture is going to stay outside all year, remove cushions and pillows to a shed or closet when not in use. By leaving them outside only during the warm months, you will extend the lifespan of your outdoor textiles.
Make sure to pay special attention to the fabrics used in cushions and pillows for your pool furniture. Check seams for heavy duty stitching to make sure they will hold up to years of use.
Fading is the most common problem with outdoor fabrics. Make sure that your cushions are made from UV-protected materials, and resistant to fading and mildew. Also, look for a cushion that is reversible so you can flip it. By using both sides, the color will fade evenly.
There is no fabric in the world that can sit in the sun forever and not fade. But by using specially treated outdoor fabrics and keeping them protected when not in use, you’ll be able to preserve those vibrant colors for as long as possible.
If you’re short on space, look for pieces that do double duty. A long bench with a storage compartment is a great place to corral pool noodles and floaties. An ottoman can double as a side table when you place a cute tray on top.
Keep cool out there! An umbrella or a sail shade can keep you and your guests comfortable when temps are at their highest.
Finally, consider adding a rug to your outdoor living space. It will create the feeling of a “room” by the pool and anchor your furniture, adding an extra dose of sophistication to your pool deck or patio.