(All items pictured are from Tommy Bahama Outdoor offered by Ennis Fine Furniture)

Spring can surprise you with its on-again, off-again weather moments.  Hopefully by now you’ve had at least a few occasions to enjoy your outdoor space for a morning coffee, an afternoon chat on the front porch with neighbors or even an al fresco meal.

If your deck or patio could use an update, Ennis Fine Furniture (in Boise, Spokane or Richland) is the place to start for expert advice on quality pieces that will last for years.  Ennis offers some of the most respected lines in patio furniture with a wide variety of styles and materials to suit any pursuit of outdoor leisure.  They include Brown-Jordan, Lloyd Flanders, Summer Classics and Tommy Bahama Outdoor.

If you’re like most people, you’ve fallen prey to those trendy sets offered each season at the big box stores.  They look great when you first get them – maybe for a second season as well.  Then they start showing signs of wear and age:  loose joints or welds, caning or wicker that comes unwoven, faded and torn cushions.  Just remember – ESPECIALLY when it comes to outdoor furniture: you get what you pay for.  Many people regard patio items as cheap, even disposable. If you’re willing to replace your outdoor set every few years – then big box selections are fine.  But if you want something of lasting quality, you will need to buy more durable materials and finishes and those things cost more.  But over the long term it makes more sense to do so.   Take your cue from pools or patios in public settings like restaurants with outdoor dining spaces or country clubs.  Their furniture is made to last.

We’ve come up with this quick list of considerations for your outdoor purchases (expecting full well that you’ll be inviting us for a refreshing beverage sometime soon!)

How do use your outdoor space?  If you frequently move your furniture around for different events, you may want something lighter weight like wicker instead of wrought iron. Do you like to have stackable chairs or lounges for extra guests? Do you keep your furniture outdoors all year ‘round – is it under a covered patio or is it in direct sunlight for extended periods? Do you dine, sit, recline or use furniture by the pool? All these questions will help guide your choice of materials.

How much care is required? The lowest care items are made of PVC, plastic or aluminum.  They’re rust-proof and do not require any special treatment beyond a good rinse with some soap and water.  Steel and wrought iron are super durable but usually require a weather-proof coating or paint from time to time to keep the rust away.  The same goes for rattan, wicker or seagrass outdoor furniture – they need a resin coating periodically.  Then there are the wood options:  teak, redwood, cypress or cedar.  They need regular treatment with an oil or preservative – but will last a remarkably long time when cared for.

Cushions and Fabric.  If you store everything during the winter, then your furniture bases and cushions will last longer. Both the cushion filler and fabric should be light weight and springy to allow for quick drying. This also prevents mold growth. And of course all cushions and pillows should be covered with UV and fade resistant fabric.  Zippered cushions allow for periodic disassembly so you can air them.  Also, cushions that you can rotate for even wear will last longer and retain their shape. There are excellent choices offered in acrylic, cotton duck, treated canvas or polyester.  These are they type of fabrics offered on outdoor curtains and umbrellas as well.

Multi-use pieces.  If you can use an item in more than one way, it’s usually a wise investment.  For instance, an umbrella with its own heavyweight stand can be moved around for shade.  Dividers or screens help give privacy or create a more intimate setting.  Some even have planters to add a touch of color.  Wheeled bars or carts are great for serving anywhere or transporting treats from the kitchen.  Small stools can also be used as drink stands handy for guests that would rather dine from their chaise than seated at the table.

Of course when it comes to comfort, size and scale – our Ennis Designers can help make certain every detail is perfect.  Yes-they even design outdoor spaces with portable heating, fireplaces and accessories.  Bring us your dreams today and we’ll have you enjoying the great outdoors just in time for those long summer days.