Before purchasing any furniture for your outdoor living space, consider how you plan to use the location. Are you looking for outdoor dining, a casual lounge area or will the space need to function for both social occasions?
“Think of what you like to do in that space and how you want to use it,” advised Laura Farge-Lowe, owner of Island Trading, a company with over 40 years of experience in providing the Island with quality outdoor furniture. “If you’re a big dinner party host you’re probably going to want dining.”
But for others, they are looking for “comfort, relaxation and conversation,” so the furniture is going to be about deep-seating and lounge furniture, particularly if you only have limited space. A lounge can be multi-purpose and also used for more casual dining.
“It’s important to have a conversation with someone who knows what they are talking about to help make the best decisions,” said Mrs Farge-Lowe. Whether that’s through a designer or Island Trading, which provides design services at no cost.
Once the function of the space has been decided the next most important thing to consider is the quality of the material.
Most importantly a high-quality material will last longer in our humid, sunny and salty environment.
“People should select less furniture of a higher quality than more furniture that’s not going to last,” continued Mrs Farge-Lowe.
Materials that work best for Bermuda’s harsh environment include teak, aluminum with stainless steel hardware and woven with aluminum frame.
Teak has a lot of natural oils so it requires very little maintenance, she said.
“Teak has true versatility whether left to a silvery grey colour or with some maintenance you can easily bring back it’s natural colour,” explained Mrs Farge-Lowe. “It’s important to have the confidence in knowing what you are buying based on the experience of the business and that they know Bermuda’s climate.”
Comfort is also a point to consider, and an area where buying locally is beneficial, as you will get to try out the pieces before purchasing.
“I always encourage customers to sit in different things and we can guide them accordingly,” she said. “It helps decide whether a cushion might be too firm or if you’re potentially in need of something with a higher back.”
Once all of those boxes have been checked the fun can start with adding some character to your space.
Most essential is to make sure the space is covered. This can easily be done with a stylish umbrella if a permanent solution is not in the budget.
“I would suggest material made with Sunbrella or equivalent, so it doesn’t fade but it also cuts down on UV rays and offers protection,” said Mrs Farge-Lowe.
Outdoor rugs, throw pillows and portable lighting can then be added in to give the space ambience and a touch of your own charm.
“That adds colour and texture and helps define the space,” she said. “Many of the products are outdoor quality so they can stay outside and they’re not going to fade and it’s okay if they get wet.” n