Create Your Oasis

Transforming your outdoor spaces into places for entertaining, relaxing and escaping can yield a vacation spot that is very close to home. Outdoor furniture trends for the summer of 2014 focus on giving you an experience that is more like a holiday retreat.

Trend #1 – Enhance and expand your outdoor spaces

Viewing outdoor spaces as extensions of one’s home has been a growing trend for some time now. People are looking for products and accessories that will not only stand up to the rigors of Chicago’s weather extremes but are attractive and inviting as well. Your backyard vacation spot can be enhanced with indoor-quality furniture made in the latest weatherproof materials to coordinate with your outdoor kitchen remodeling.
Wicker, once the mainstay of parlors and front porches, has come out from under cover with new wicker materials that are made from resin products. These resin, or all-weather wicker, fibers will not split, peel or crack like natural wicker does when exposed to the sun and the elements. All weather wicker comes in a wide variety of weaves as well as flat and round fibers, mimicking the real thing. It also won’t fade or mildew which makes it suitable for sunny or damp spots in your yard.
Wood furniture is beautiful to behold but also has its issues when used outdoors. Teak will weather to a silvery-grey over time unless it is stained or oiled regularly. Oak and pine need to be stained or painted every few years and does splinter if left to age in the sun. One solution is to buy furniture that looks like wood but is made from engineered polymers. Polywood, one such manufacturer, crafts its “plastic lumber” from recycled milk bottles. It is colored and formed into dimensionally stable wood that is cut and assembled just like real wood into chairs, tables and lounges. From far away, you would never know that this material is completely waterproof, insect resistant and scratches never show because the color goes through and through. If you like the look of wood, but don’t like its shortcomings, this option is an upscale solution to the look you want and the maintenance you don’t.
Aluminum Outdoor Furniture has come a long way since the tubular strap patio furniture of the 1950s and 1960s. Now, you can get cast aluminum furniture that has all the appeal of hand-wrought iron furniture, but without the corrosion. Cast aluminum furniture is heavy weight, rust proof, and can be found in dozens of finishes that keep their good looks season after season.

Trend #2 – Hot Summer Nights

Outdoor fire features, including outdoor fireplaces and especially the latest firepit tables, spice up your outdoor spaces with a focal point and the perfect place around which to gather friends and family. Traditional coffee tables with firepit inserts offer dual functionality and can be fueled with propane just like your barbecue grill. The creative options are practically endless for these fire features, and you can select from scores of colored glass stones, called fire media in industry parlance, to design an entertaining display. Since these tables are within a child’s reach, you should take care to supervise their use around children.
You will see tiki torches lit at night in tropical locales, or chimineas at desert resorts. Borrow these ideas from far away resorts and create a little holiday magic right at home.

Trend #3 – Deep Seating

Look for laid-back, versatile dining options outdoors this summer. Comfortable cushioned dining chairs, with plush, deep seats, allow guests to enjoy a more casual dining atmosphere. These cushioned options focus on providing lounge-chair comfort and encourage long after-dinner conversations. Chairs are spacious with ergonomic properties that have back support and conform to a wide variety of body shapes.
Cushion fill that is used in these deep cushions is made from materials that drain and dry quickly. Most manufacturers use Sunbrella or other solution-dyed acrylic fabrics for upholstery covers. These fibers won’t fade in direct sunlight and are stain, mold, and mildew resistant so that the cushions can stay out of doors.
Leisurely dining is a luxury that is usually experienced while on vacation but can be attained at home when you add irresistible comfort to your outdoor dining table.

Trend #4 – Color

Playful colors and patterns that reflect a feel-good holiday vibe will strike a cheerful note on summer patios this year. Vibrant, deep-hued colors in all shades of the rainbow give outdoor furniture the energy to compete with nature’s palette. Choose bright blues, reds, lime greens or tangerine for your upholstery or, spice up neutral brown, white or gray outdoor furniture with pillows in colors that will pack a visual punch. Colors that may seem overpowering in indoor décor are perfectly pleasing in outdoor settings. Remember that new pillows alone will freshen up any outdoor furniture seating no matter what color or material.

Recall the last magical vacation spot that you enjoyed and reflected on the feeling that the textures, colors, and materials inspired in you. You can duplicate that same feeling with outdoor furniture pieces and accessories right in your backyard and experience a stay-cation every day of the summer.