Outdoor Furniture From Your Favorite StoresPatio furniture -- or casual furniture, as it's called in the industry -- does not change drastically from year to year. The materials are pretty standard, and a true trend takes at least a few years to develop rather than a short 12 months or less. But that doesn't mean that the consumer -- you or I -- won't see anything different in our favorite stores or online retailers.
To differentiate, stores like Target and Pier 1 Imports sell outdoor furniture that is considered seasonal -- if you're in the Northern Hemisphere, that would be during the summer months. Pool and patio stores generally tend to sell products that are made by the higher-end, name-brand manufacturers, like Brown Jordan (the 2011 and 2012 About.com Readers' Choice Award winner for Best Patio Furniture), Tropitone and OW.Le. Pool and patio retailers are often open for business year 'round.
It must have been about a dozen or more years ago around Mother's Day that I saw a Crate and Barrel ad for their version of powder-coated metal motel-style chairs and just had to have them. I also fell for a two-seater reproduction glider at Restoration Hardware a decade ago, and it was a gift for Mother's Day. Same goes for some vinyl string-wrapped outdoor dining chairs from IKEA. Detect a pattern here? Well, yes...I have a lust for patio furniture like some people do for shoes. And many retailers offer just enough new stuff that is reasonably priced to entice outdoor room aficionados to add something to their collection each year.
What's New for 2012?
For starters, the Pantone color of the year is Tangerine, which means all kinds of oranges are popping up in every product that needs to be designed, including outdoor furniture and accessories. Metal -- steel and aluminum -- has become more durable and lightweight, and is weather resistant when applied with a powder-coated finish. And more FSC-certified woods are being used in the manufacture of outdoor furniture. Let's find out what's new.