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Finding the Best Outdoor Seating (Part I)

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outdoor chairs,outdoor furniture,outdoor seating

If you’re the type of person who just can’t quite get comfortable in that Adirondack chair, even though you know it’s supposed to be comfy, then you’re the one who may benefit most from this outdoor seating overview.

Sitting – well, lounging – out in the breeze is more or less what summer is all about, which is why it should be easy to find a comfy outdoor chair. Sometimes, though, that’s not the case and there’s a good reason for it.

Durability vs. Comfort

A good outdoor chair has to be able to stand up to the elements, which means Corinthian leather is pretty much a no-go. In fact, it places more than a few limits on what kind of materials are going to work well.

Remember that old, splintery Adirondack chair? You may not think it’s too comfortable, but it’ll still be sitting there long after you’ve given up on it and that's half the point. But, it's only half the point.

So, how do we get the best of both worlds? First, in Part I, let’s focus on material.

Comfortable Outdoor Chair Materials

It all depends on your preference, but when it comes to comfort your options can be broken down to 1) firm, 2) medium and 3) soft. Let’s start with the firm options, because those are the most obvious.

1. Wood vs. Steel: If you prefer a firm seat, wood or steel are your best bets, although it’s a fair guess that steel will be too hard for proper lounging. Your wood options generally include oak, cedar, teak, eucalyptus and pine.

All have their benefits, the most important being their water-resistant qualities, but oak and teak may feel a little firmer than the other three over the course of a few chapters in your summer page-turner. If that sounds like trouble, you may want to go with something in the medium range.

2. Wicker, Rattan & Bamboo: Bamboo is the firmer by far in the medium class, but still has more give than wood, especially when used in a weave. All are durable options, but will not hold up as well as wood in direct exposure without serious water pretreatment.

Even so, the slight downgrade in durability may be worth it for the added comfort these materials provide. On the other hand, you may opt for a synthetic version of these styles to preserve strength while maximizing comfort.

3. Synthetics / Cushioned Seating: Synthetic outdoor seating can be more rigid, of course – POLYWOOD furniture is a good example of this – but all of your softest options will be synthetic. Polyester, olefin and acrylic are all common materials in outdoor furniture, and all are highly durable.

You’ll find these materials used in extruded form in synthetic wicker, but they may also be used in outdoor fabrics, whether woven or as covering for cushions. So, if you’re looking at more cushiony outdoor seating and it’s not made of these materials, keep in mind it’s not designed to be left outside.

Tune in tomorrow for Part II, wherein we’ll explore various style elements in the search for the comfiest outdoor seating.

Keter''s top-rated "Corfu" armchair brings indoor comfort outside in a weatherproof resin design with a treated polyester cushion that delivers durable coziness. 

The original "Orbital" lounger from RST Brands folds up for easy portability and features a zero-gravity design that allows for provides ultimate pressure-free comfort. 

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