19 March 2011

Weekend special report: Outdoor furniture trends

The following report was submitted by the American Home Furnishings Alliance, High Point, N.C., which represents more than 200 leading furniture manufacturers and distributors of residential furnishings, including nearly 100 producers of outdoor furniture. Consumers seeking more information should go to FindYourFurniture.com

Lloyd Flanders Great Lakes collection
Fresh Color, Improved Function, Maximum Value Await Furniture Shoppers This Season

HIGH POINT, N.C. – Daylight-Saving Time not only signals the onset of longer days, but also the beginning of the outdoor living season. Homeowners shopping for new outdoor furnishings this year will find stores stocked with fresh color, surprising new motion furniture and maximum value in all categories.

Alfresco Home's Blue Hawaiian Margarita Bistro set
“Once we change our clocks, we know the first day of spring is right around the corner. That causes a lot of us to take a long look out the backdoor at our outdoor living spaces. It’s time to begin planning improvements for the warmer days ahead,” observes Jackie Hirschhaut, vice president of the American Home Furnishings Alliance.

After the long gray days of winter, the first thing many homeowners want to add is a splash of color to their porch or patio. “Crisp shades of blue and green are expected to be favorites this year, but for those who already have cushions in neutral earth tones, a pop of red or orange is a quick and easy way to brighten your space,” says Hirschhaut.

Blue this season is more tropical than nautical, with shades of aqua waters and azure skies more popular than marine navy. Forest green remains a staple at popular prices, but softer shades of sage and celadon are a better complement to this season’s new neutral: gray.

“Gray rolled into the outdoor living palette this year like a fast-moving summer storm,” Hirschhaut notes. “It is the trend-forward choice in every major material for outdoor furnishings.” From polished steel to hand-forged iron, weathered gray teak to driftwood shades of synthetic wicker, gray is the backdrop for all other outdoor color directions this season. Stripes, geometric prints and florals large and small pair gray with everything from butter yellow to poppy red to those tropical blues.

Agio's Haywood fire pit chat group
Whether shopping for dining or lounge furniture, homeowners will find it’s increasingly difficult to sit still this year. Dining chairs bounce and swivel, while lounge chairs rock, recline and rotate. “And two old-fashioned favorites are making a strong comeback this season: rockers and gliders,” Hirschhaut points out.

Villa Bistro set from O.W. Lee
Finally, in all price points and in all styles, the added attention to small details is hard to miss this year. Design flourishes – from detailed scroll work in chair backs to shaped table bases to those ubiquitous motion features – mean added value for outdoor furniture shoppers.

“It’s a great time for sprucing up outdoor living spaces,” Hirschhaut notes. “Even shoppers on a limited budget will find a lot of style and a lot of function without a lot of looking.”

Acropolis collection from Woodard
Telescope Casual Furniture's Adirondack Sling collection

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