6 Signs It’s Time to Buy New Outdoor Furniture, According to Pros

Yellow pouf next to a rattan armchair on wooden terrace with striped pillows on sofa
 KatarzynaBialasiewicz / Getty Images

Is your patio furniture in desperate need of a glow-up? Outdoor furniture is crucial for turning any backyard into one of luxury and comfort, but just like indoor furniture, it’s eventually time to upgrade.

Outdoor furniture is an investment and should outlast, but there may be indicators that your investment reached the end of its life. Here are six signs it’s time to update your outdoor furniture, as told by expert designers and furniture sellers. 

MEET THE EXPERT

  • Josh Rowell is the owner of Casual Furniture World, the premier outdoor furniture showroom in the Carolinas.
  • Kelsey Thomas is the owner and co-founder of Blake Interiors.

Sign #1: The Paint Is Chipping

First, if your outdoor furniture has seen better days, it’s time to treat yourself to a new set. Outdoor furniture tends to see wear and tear from being outside, whether it’s from someone (or something) hitting it or it’s caught in a storm. If your furniture is starting to chip excessively and looks as if it’s seen enough, a new set is on the horizon. 

Chipped paint can also lead to other problems such as mold and mildew or your frames weakening, since this exposes the material underneath the paint. Once you notice your furniture chipping, check for other spots that may be chipped to indicate the overall condition of your furniture.

Sign #2: It’s Dirty or Stained 

No one likes a dirty or stained furniture set. With your furniture being outdoors, it could see bird droppings, stains from pollen, or debris stains that will leave a mark. If you notice a lot of stains or dirt that won’t come off, it’s definitely time to upgrade your furniture set. 

Preservation is key to keeping your outdoor furniture clean and stain-free. When it comes to taking care of your outdoor furniture, Kelsey Thomas of Blake Interiors recommends buying furniture covers to protect furniture while it isn’t in use, and storing it (if possible) during the winter months.

Covers are great for protecting your frames and cushions from weather, dirt, or stains to preserve their appearance, and Rowell of Casual Furniture World agrees.

“Our furniture can really stand the test of time but it doesn’t prevent the element, rain, droppings, pollen,” he shares. “Covers really serve a dual purpose for protecting and enjoying.”

One handy trick Rowell shared with us for keeping your outdoor furniture clean is to keep a bottle of clear spray-on car wax on hand. “It can restore aluminum that’s begun to oxidize and block from UV rays,” he says.

Sign #3: There Is Mold or Mildew

Outdoor furniture sees a lot of rain and excess moisture, which can cause a buildup of mold and mildew pretty easily. If you don’t have a cool, dry place to store your furniture when it’s not in use, or covers when it rains, mold and mildew can quickly build up.

Mold and mildew will show up as dark spots on your furniture that have a powdery substance. If a few spritzes of vinegar don’t remove the spots, this means your furniture has been building up mold for quite some time—and it’s time to replace your furniture. 

Outdoor fireplace inside a slender white hearth behind outdoor furniture and seating
 The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

Sign #4: You Can Hear It

If your outdoor furniture is creaking, groaning, or making other sounds when you sit down, it could be time to give your set an update. Old outdoor furniture can wear out and become weak, causing the sounds you hear every time you sit.

Wooden outdoor furniture can rot from excess moisture which causes the material to break down and creak from any added weight. Other outdoor furniture materials such as aluminum can also start to creak from weathering over time. 

Although, Thomas gives some good advice before you toss your furniture out from a funky sound.

“If your furniture creaks when you use it, don’t throw it out right away. It may just need a screw tightened or some oil added to the hardware.” If this doesn’t fix the noise, it’s worth considering when the set was bought and if it’s time to replace it with something new. 

Sign #5: The Cushions Are Worn

Cushions are a big factor to consider when looking to update your outdoor furniture. When properly taken care of, Rowell says they can last 10-12 years, though he’s seen some last up to 20 years.

Outdoor furniture with upholstery starts out firm and comfortable with lots of support, but it weakens over time. This is because the more people sit on the cushions, the more the fibers begin to break down. If your cushions are flat and feel weak in support, this indicates they’re worn out and need to be replaced.

Upholstery or cushions that sit out in the sun can fade in color. Color fading is another element on Thomas’s radar that she notes could mean it’s time to replace your current furniture set. Replacing your cushions once their color has begun to fade keeps your set looking vibrant and new, as well as fully supported. 

Sign #6: It Is Outdated—and That Bothers You

When it comes to replacing your outdoor furniture, our experts both agree that style plays a large part in your backyard setup. Have you remodeled lately, or spruced up your landscape? If so, Rowell says this is the perfect time to update your furniture set.

“Pay attention to your surroundings and environment to make sure you’re coordinating with your space,” he says—no one wants a modern home paired with outdoor furniture from the ‘80s.

Your tastes and preferences are always going to change over time, which is why Thomas recommends choosing pieces that are timeless and classic in terms of style that also consider comfort.

“Right now, I am loving big, fully-upholstered outdoor furniture,” she says. “Pieces that have soft, rounded edges and make you want to spend all evening in them.”

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