Nothing says summertime quite like enjoying a cold cocktail and a good book outdoors on a comfy piece of wicker furniture. In fact, many consumers conjure up this very image and gravitate to wicker furniture because of its timeless elegance, simplicity, and the coziness it adds to backyard. This is why wicker furnishings have been a mainstay in North America and Europe for over a century; though it originated in Asia, the Victorian era saw the popularization of wicker-style furniture in the western hemisphere, and it’s remained so every since.
Purchasing modern wicker furniture for your patio is a more complicated task than it might have been for our grandparents because there are so many different materials used in wicker furnishings today, not to mention the variety of styles on the market. Check out the buyer’s guide below to decide which type of wicker furniture best fits your needs.
Think About Materials
One of the keys to choosing the right wicker furniture is understanding the differences between the materials that wicker pieces are made out of today. In general, wicker furniture materials can be grouped into two categories:
- natural wicker furniture is made out of plant materials such as rattan, willow, or bamboo
- synthetic wicker furniture is usually constructed from plastic (PVC, PE or PP) or vinyl, and often referred to as all-weather wicker or resin wicker
There are benefits and drawbacks of both natural and synthetic wicker, so this is where knowing your needs comes in. If your patio is covered and you plan to bring the furniture indoors when you’re not using it, natural wicker is a good option. Many people find natural fibers more comfortable and they have a more classic appearance.
However, if your patio isn’t covered, you plan to leave the furniture outside, or if you live in a very humid climate, a synthetic resin is probably the way to go. Natural wicker fades in direct sunlight and warps when weather conditions are wet or muggy, but synthetic wicker is durable and easy to care for. Take a look at the options from Velago Patio Furniture.
Of course, one of the most important things to think about when buying furniture is style. Generally speaking, white wicker has a more classic look. If your tastes are more traditional, going for lighter-colored or white wicker is the route to take.
On the other hand, if you’re going for a modern look, dark brown or black wicker furniture will bring a contemporary feel to your backyard. Remember, too, that no matter which type of material you choose, wicker furniture is easy to spray paint. This means that you can customize your furniture to exactly the style you’re looking for.
Be Sure You Know How To Care For Wicker
Caring for your wicker furniture properly goes back to the materials it’s made of. If you’ve chosen a natural wicker, it will need to be treated periodically with wood oils to maintain its appearance. Also, it’s important that if something is spilled on natural wicker that it’s cleaned up immediately – liquids especially can seep into its fibers.
Synthetic wicker is much easier to care for – because most are treated with resin, a topcoat that acts a sealant, synthetic wicker can be hosed off or wiped clean with a wet cloth. If you’re turned off by the idea of high-maintenance furniture, then be sure to take this into consideration when you’re picking your wicker and go with a synthetic.
For Comfort, Cushions Are Key
Wicker furniture – particularly synthetic wicker – has sometimes gotten a bad rap among designers and homeowners for being uncomfortable. It’s true that some wickers are more naturally comfortable than others, which is why it’s important to test out the furniture before you buy it. But most issues related to comfort can be solved by selecting the right cushions for your new furniture, so spend some time investigating your options. Also, as you’re envisioning how the wicker pieces will look on your patio, be sure to take cushion patterns and textures into account.
Enjoying your summer downtime is all the easier when you’ve chosen the right furniture to relax on – keep these tips in mind to select the perfect wicker furniture for your outdoor lifestyle!
by Angie Picardo – staff writer at NerdWallet, a financial literacy site dedicated to helping people master the art of money management, whether it’s budgeting for a new set of outdoor furniture or choosing a traditional or Roth IRA