Nothing beats sitting outside having a beer with mates, sharing a coffee with a friend or looking out over the river whilst dining at a nice restaurant. Be it for a beer garden, roadside café, or garden restaurant, it is essential to make the right choices when it comes to choosing your outdoor furniture. So, I hope these 3 quick tips for choosing outdoor hospitality furniture help.
1. For Outdoor Furniture, Teak is King!
That’s right, it is no secret I am a huge teak fan. There are many outdoor woods that are great but teak is one of the best. It has natural resistance to weather, rot and pests and looks, feels and smells fantastic.
Nowadays, Indonesia controls a large amount of the teak trade, so much of the teak furniture is young teak from their plantations. You will come across many other types of ‘teak’, but quite often these are not from the same type of tree (though can have similar properties). An example would be African teak which is usually cheaper and not quite as good (and not often considered real teak).
Although teak is ideal for outdoor use, there is still a little upkeep required. Make sure you wax or oil it every 6-12 months, especially if it is getting a lot of sun and rain. Some people prefer to skip this to get a more silvery weathered look on their pieces which is fine if that is what you are going for.
2. Foam and Fabric
If exposure to the rain, or evening dew, your outdoor upholstery is going to need a quick-dry foam. Don’t neglect this, you will regret it 6 months down the track!
For outdoor fabric, Sunbrella is often touted as the gold-standard. Many fabric manufacturers make outdoor fabrics though and there are many good alternatives around. Often they are using either a polyester (or blend) or an acrylic, but of course there are exceptions. There are companies that can apply treatments to a range of materials for outdoor protection if these types don’t appeal to you (see Nanotex as an example).
Don’t forget to pay attention to the color fastness for light score to make sure your fancy furniture doesn’t fade. There are 3 ways this is reported:
- A blue light scale which has a range of 1-8, with higher scores representing a better holding of colour.
- The grey scale which is 1-5, higher the better.
- And the ASTM (American standard test measure) which is a score of I-V, where a lower score is better.
3. Stackable Outdoor Furniture
We are currently redesigning the outdoor furniture for a client who has already rolled out numerous restaurants. After many had opened, they realised how painful it is bringing everything in at night and finding places to put it. So, this may or may not fit your venue style, but wherever possible, make your outdoor chairs stackable and light. Of course, if you are leaving them out at night, consider bolting them down.
Short and to the point but I hope that can give you some things to think about. As usual, if you have any questions, send me an email at [email protected].