Creating designs for your outdoor living space has never been more exciting. Nowadays you don’t have to stick to the traditional designs that have been around for years. With a vast array of modern outdoor furniture accents and styles to choose from, you can find a look which will mark out your home as up to date with all the latest trends. Modern patio furniture gives your home a new life, because it makes your outdoor space an integral part of your home.
What’s Different About the Modern Style?
Up till a decade or so ago, patio or garden furniture was the poor relation of indoor furnishing. Indoor furniture was expected to be solid and substantial, while garden furniture often had a cheaper and more flimsy look, since the outside wasn’t thought of as part of the home. The focus was on economy and function, rather than design and style.
Outdoor furniture has come a long way since then, and the emphasis now is on a blurring of the distinction between the indoor and outdoor space. Much of the modern outdoor furniture designed today has such flair and panache that it can easily be used indoors without looking out of place. The selection of shapes, fabrics and colors strongly mimics what is found inside the house.
Trends in Modern Outdoor Furniture
The move towards a seamless transition between inside and outside is in fact one of the most notable trends in modern outdoor furniture. It can involve arranging your patio to look like your indoor living room, with little style difference except that the outdoor pieces are composed of more weather-resistant materials. It also involves paying careful attention to colors and decor both inside and out, to ensure one blends into the other.
However, this also goes along with a “less is more” focus, whereby the outdoor space is expected to be less crowded and cluttered than the indoor. This means modern outdoor furniture tends to be streamlined, with sleek, clean lines and un-fussy silhouettes. It also often means an emphasis on using pieces that have more than one use, such as utilizing an ottoman as both a seat and a table, as well as something for storage.
The move away from bulkier styles means there is more emphasis on weatherproof synthetic materials, such as fiber and resin, in the manufacture of modern patio furniture. As well as being lightweight and easy to maintain, these materials can be easily molded into a wide variety of intriguing forms.
This enables modern outdoor furniture to be available in an almost infinite range of designs, and in addition the malleability of these materials allows sharp corners to be replaced by curves, making the pieces more friendly to the human anatomy.
As far as materials are concerned, however, the hottest trend is towards rattan or wicker — that is, not the natural rattan, which splits and becomes brittle when exposed to the weather, but synthetic rattan composed of vinyl, resin or polyethylene. Resin wicker is especially suited to contemporary furnishing designs.
Manufacturers are also moving towards thicker strands, away from the narrow weave patterns. However, the trend is also away from the single-material furniture set, towards the creative use of mixed media, especially in table surfaces.
Modular design is another hot trend in modern outdoor furniture. Patio sets can be arranged and rearranged in endless configurations, to suit your needs and your different activities. The latest trend is for curved modular seating, replacing the traditional angled arrangements. It looks more graceful, and offers greater intimacy for the gathering.
Mid Century Modern
Many of the most characteristic trends in contemporary outdoor furniture actually originated more than half a century ago. The mid century modern style, which evolved over the period of World War II up till the end of the 1960s, gave us the idea of seamless transition between indoors and outdoors, the emphasis on clean unfussy lines, and the use of a wider range of colors.
The re-emergence of mid century modern outdoor furniture seems to be largely due to the popularity of the TV program Mad Men. Many people like to look for genuine vintage pieces from that period to furnish their outdoor spaces, but these are becoming increasingly rare and expensive.
One alternative is to look for new reissues of mid-century modern outdoor furniture designs — an example is the wildly popular Butterfly Chair, featuring a folding frame supporting a cloth sling, sometimes called sling furniture. This is a modern version of the Paragon Chair from 1970.
Another option is to find contemporary designs which recall or resemble the mid century modern pieces, such as the Case Study chair, based on the classic mid-century designs of Von Keppel and Green.
Options for Modern Outdoor Furniture
The variety of modern outdoor furniture options available is truly breathtaking. From garden chairs and patio sets to benches, bistro tables and sofas, the selection is virtually limitless. There are stackable chairs, folding chairs, bar stools and loungers, plus fire pits or outdoor fireplaces, as well as decorative items like patio covers, pergolas, arbors and gazebos.
One of the choices you have to make is the material for your modern patio furniture. Probably the most popular material is rattan or wicker, made in a synthetic version that stands up to the weather. All-weather wicker chairs and sofas come in a wide array of designs, including a contemporary look with geometric shapes — the currently trendy conversation sets, similar to lounge sets, are usually in rattan.
Also, instead of being limited to various shades of brown as previously, the new trend is to go for a range of bright designer colors. As well as rattan, aluminum is still a very popular option for modern patio furniture.
The metal, being lightweight, can be shaped and bent into all sorts of contemporary designs. These can be extremely creative and can resemble pieces of contemporary sculpture, as well as being both ergonomic and comfortable to use.
Although synthetic materials are coming to the forefront, wood, especially teak, is still used for modern outdoor furniture, and can yield some very attractive designs, with both curved and angular lines. Even concrete garden furniture has its place on the contemporary scene. This too provides very exciting designs, such as the Willy Guhl loop chair, or the Zephyr Lounger chair by Gravelli — sculptures and works of art, as well as furniture.
Shopping for the Latest Outdoor Furniture
The latest trends in outdoor furniture aim to combine both style and comfort, and are often hard to beat for their impressive looks. The downside is that many pieces can be very expensive, often costing more than indoor furniture, because they have to be made weatherproof. However, by shopping around, and looking for sale offers, it is still possible to find quite affordable modern outdoor furniture especially online.
One of the best-known names for style in contemporary patio furniture design is Zuo Modern outdoor furniture. Zuo Modern offer a unique range of chairs, tables and patio sets which impart an exceptionally elegant look to your patio, but aim to be comfortable as well.
In the UK, one company known for the “wow factor” in its modern outdoor furniture designs is Go Modern, based in Chelsea, London, where they have a showroom. Indian Ocean is another well-known UK retailer of modern patio furniture.
A reliable source of affordable modern outdoor furniture on both sides of the Atlantic is IKEA, who are known for their constantly varying selection of appealing and clever designs. Their attractive modern offerings are available at surprisingly low prices. In addition, they have a modern outdoor furniture sale at least once a year, with pieces available at half price or less.
Looking at the selection of modern outdoor furniture is always an exhilarating experience. It cannot fail to inspire you to look at your home with new eyes, so that you can be enabled to realize the full potential of both your indoor and outdoor space. Take care to choose pieces that will fully enhance and complement your home, and it will be an investment that will repay you, your family and your friends for many years to come.
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