Let’s face it. It’s basically summer (or at least, we’d like to imagine it is). And that means garden parties, rooftop cookouts, al fresco dining… and a mad scramble to get all of your outdoor furniture ready. Well, don’t worry! We’ve got you covered with our brand new collection of outdoor furniture launched just in time for the spring season. With all of the outdoor and patio furniture out there, it can be difficult to know which materials and pieces are going to be worth your purchase. What is the maintenance? Will it rust? Will it last for years to come? The Kuotes has taken the time to outline the top nine natural materials that we love and use for our outdoor products on the site. Let’s get started:
1 – Aluminum
Aluminum is by far the most popular outdoor furniture material you’ll find (even wicker is typically woven over an aluminum frame). What’s the reason behind this allure of aluminum? Easy. It’s strong, but it’s not too heavy, not too costly, and most importantly—it won’t rust. All of our outdoor aluminum products, such as our Bleeker or Wooster counter stools, are constructed from durable aluminum that is safe for outdoor use and brushed in silver for an elevated, more stylish look. Aluminum seating looks absolutely delightful in a rustic industrial outdoor space reminiscent of an old Parisian cafe. Care: Minimal. Spray with water or a mild soapy mixture to eliminate dirt. Maintain the finish by touching up paint as needed to avoid oxidation.
2 – Powder Coated Metal
Powder coated metals use a dry paint to form a protective finish for outdoor use. With this technology, the paint does not run or drip, which allows for an attractive and durable coating in an excellent color selection. Our powder coated products are extremely resistant to corrosion, heat, impact, and abrasion, making them perfect for the outdoor space or homes with pets and children. Care: Minimal. Clean every 6-12 months (or when necessary) with a mild soap solution, and scrub, rinse, and dry. Avoid abrasive cloths that could damage or remove the coating from the surface. Never use ammonia or bleach on powder-coated furniture.
3 – Rattan Core
Rattan core (Wicker) is a weaving of fibers milled from the core of rattan pole. Whether you’re using it for a basket or for a sofa, the material is light while being sturdy and beautiful. Rattan pole is another outdoor material you’ll find on our products. Rattan is native to tropical climates and similar to bamboo, except the stalks are solid instead of hollow which makes for strong and durable frames. At Kathy Kuo Home, we use only the most dense and and highest quality rattan to ensure long lasting, better furniture. Care: Moderate. Brush off or vacuum as much of the surface dirt as you can. Then, wash wash your rattan furniture with a soft brush and soapy water. Rinse well and let the piece dry outdoors in the sun.
4 – Reclaimed Wood
Reclaimed wood is rescued from old barns, factories, and warehouses, and it’s a popular material in our collections due to its unique appearance and contribution to green building. Reclaimed wood is salvaged, refurbished, and then repurposed into furniture. This material proudly showcases its history and origins through its varying textures and variations. If you ever receive a piece of reclaimed wood furniture that doesn’t look like the online image… don’t worry! No two pieces will ever look alike, and it’s this aspect of the material that brings a truly bespoke addition to any outdoor setting. The wood, rich with patina from use and age, is enhanced and protected with an oil finish. Care: Minimal. Regular dusting with a soft cloth is recommended. Avoid spray on furniture polish. For more information on caring for reclaimed wood, read our Hard Goods Guide.
5 – Seagrass
Seagrass is an abundant natural material found all over the world, and (as the name suggests) it lives entirely submerged in marine environments, growing in shallow and sheltered coastal waters. We form complete pieces with this exceptionally strong and enduring fiber. Care: Minimal. Dry wipe seagrass furniture with a soft cloth along the rows of grass.
“What’s the difference between seagrass and wicker?”
Both wicker and seagrass have a beautiful coastal look, and both are lightweight. So what’s the difference? Wicker furniture can be woven from different types of materials: cane, rattan (what we primarily use at KKH), and bamboo, and these vines generally grow in the rainforest. Seagrass grows underwater and it is naturally waterproof so it doesn’t need to be treated. You’ll notice we carry a lot more rattan wicker furniture on the site than seagrass. This is because seagrass is very difficult to dye, almost impossible to find in a custom color, and it requires a frame (whether wood or metal) while wicker is strong enough to be used without any kind of support. All of that said, seagrass can be a more affordable option to wicker if it’s not a piece that’ll be in frequent use.
6 – Steel
Steel is lighter than wrought iron but heavier than aluminum, and it provides strength, stability, and endurance in extreme temperatures. Powder-coated finishes aid in rust resistance. Typically used for framing high-end modern chairs and bistro-style seats, steel is also often used for retro designs. Care: Minimal. Wipe up spills promptly. Clean with a damp cloth. Wipe dry.
7 – Teak
Teak is, hands down, one of our favorite woods for outdoor furniture. In his interview with the Kuotes, Aaron MacIntire touted teak for its all-weather capabilities, strength, and beautiful grained finish, saying “I just used teak club chairs facing a banquette in a recent project” (shown above). Teak produces its own oil, so it’s unique to other types of naturally occurring woods. It’s also a hardwood, so its surface is very strong and difficult to ding or dent. Teak also lasts up to 50 years, and if it’s left to weather, it retains a beautiful silvery patina. Care: Moderate. Wash with mild soap and water with some bleach or vinegar mixed in. Make sure to use a soft plastic brush as metal brushes can scratch and damage the wood’s surface.
8 – Wrought Iron
Wrought iron is prized for its distinctive appearance and wind-resistant sturdiness and strength. It’s heavier than aluminum, and in its natural state is more vulnerable to the elements. However, the best contemporary wrought iron furniture is specially treated with weather-resistant finishes that help seal out moisture and prevent rust. Care: Minimal. Hose down your wrought-iron piece. Wipe wrought-iron furniture with the sponge and mild soap, using a circular motion to scrub away all dirt and debris. Hose off the soap.
Share your favorite outdoor looks with us below!