Patio Furniture for Small Spaces
Small Spaces and Patios
If you live in the city, chances are you have a smaller patio or balcony than your friends in the country. And if you live in a city townhouse or condominium, your outdoor space is likely smaller yet. Fortunately, there are plenty of furniture options designed specifically for compact spaces. Before you buy your new patio set, take the time to determine your needs and identify the chairs, tables and other items that make the most sense for you and your family.
Small Space Essentials
Patio Furniture Planning
The first thing to consider when buying new furniture for your patio or balcony is how the space fits with your lifestyle. If you use it for socializing and dining, you'll require a table-and-chair set, which will occupy considerable space. If your primary goal is to create an oasis for relaxation, your priority may be to accommodate a roomy, deep-cushioned chair or recliner. By thinking through your needs, you'll be able to select and configure the furnishing so that you get the most out of the space.
Backyard or Balcony Size
The size of your backyard or balcony will have a direct impact on the furniture you choose. In small spaces, it can be difficult to fit in the items you want while leaving enough room for people to manoeuvre comfortably. The good news is there are many furniture design ideas that help maximize the functionality of small spaces. For example, round or hexagonal dining tables will seat people more efficiently than equally-sized rectangular tables. Similarly, bistro and bar stools have compact footprints, making them a good choice for smaller locations.
Style and Design
A rule of thumb is the smaller the space, the more noticeable the furnishings. Keep this in mind when outfitting a small patio or balcony. You may love your roomy chair, but it could stick out like a sore thumb in your modest high-rise balcony. Completing a small space with just the right colours, textures and shapes takes more thought, but there are plenty of furnishing options available. Light or neutral colours work as space expanders, especially when set against a similarly coloured patio. Furniture with removable cushions allows you to change your decor by swapping in different colours. Couches and chairs that are raised on legs also help to create a sense of light and space. Furniture with enclosed compartments is a great way to hide clutter. And keep in mind that some pieces can be multi-functional, such as an ottoman doubling as a coffee table or sitting area.
Storage and Portability
Portable or collapsible furniture is a great solution if you need to temporarily furnish your patio for an event and afterwards reclaim the space. When it's not being used, you simply hide it away in a closet or storage locker. Even if space isn't an issue, you could benefit from having portable or collapsible furniture on hand for occasions when you are hosting a large number of guests. Folding and stacking pieces of furniture and furniture on wheels can be pushed out of the way when not in use, as a result creating more space when needed.
You should always consider sun exposure and climate when selecting materials for patio or balcony furniture. For example, if you get a lot of direct sunlight, you may be better off choosing wrought iron instead of cloth, since painted wrought iron is more resistant to fading than most fabrics. If left outside year-round, be sure to cover any furniture with fabric during the winter. You can also choose furniture with removable cushions, and take them inside when not in use. If wind is a factor, you should pick materials with sufficient weight to resist blowing away. You may need to choose furniture that can be anchored to the floor or wall.
How to Buy Your Furniture
Before heading out to shop for new furnishings, you should do your homework. This includes measuring your space and noting all relevant architectural features, such as steps, raised floors or odd-shaped corners. Next, draw a scale diagram to take with you to the store. When you see furniture items you like, you'll then be in a position to measure them and determine on the spot whether they will fit in your space. Also, once you return home, you can use the furniture measurements to cut old newspapers into scale footprints and lay them out onto your patio space for review.
Urban Patio Furniture
There is a wide range of urban patio furniture on the market designed specifically for small spaces. Many items feature incredibly clever stackable, foldable or nested designs that are great space-saving solutions for balconies or small outdoor areas. For example, chairs rest one upon the other upside down, tables collapse out of the way and foot rests slide conveniently underneath matched seating. You’ll be surprised at how much you can do with your small space by taking advantage of these compact, modular design concepts.
Condo Patio Furniture
Condo patio sets usually consist of two chairs and a small table to hold drinks and meals. Wrought iron is a popular material that makes a strong style statement. It’s also heavy, so less likely to get swept away in the wind (and more difficult to steal!). If you intend to move your furniture aside when it's not in use, you may prefer a lighter material such as wicker. Condo balconies are often subject to high winds, so lightweight plastic furniture is best avoided.
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