...because home doesn't happen overnight.

We finished the deck a few months ago. The moment it was done, HH and I started searching for furniture to put on it. We see ourselves hanging out casually on the deck – both as a family and as a couple pretending we don’t have kids after the kids are in bed. We’ll do some entertaining out there as well but most of our get togethers will be with family or friends whom have children so we envision a laid-back and super comfy atmosphere. Ideally, I wanted sectional. I’ve had this feeling from the start {before the deck was even finished} that an outdoor sectional should live on the deck.

deck 1

Even though we started looking at furniture shortly after the deck was completed, we weren’t itching to buy something right away. We wanted to get a feel for what was available, come up with a price point, save some money and read a bunch of reviews. We knew if we waited until closer to fall, we could potentially take advantage of end of summer sales.

The hardest part was setting a budget. After reading a ton of reviews and product descriptions and figuring out what we wanted from an outdoor sectional, we were in sticker shock. When it came right down to it, we were sure of two things: 1) we wanted a simple, modern sectional large enough to not be dwarfed by our fairly large {~15′ x 17′} deck and 2) we wanted whatever we bought to last a good long while. We quickly discovered those two things would cost a pretty penny. We searched craigslist, local outlets, home improvement stores and liquidation sales {there’s a Hayneedle liquidation outlet within driving distance} to no avail. If we found something with a great price tag, it was lacking in style and/or quality. When we found dreamy sectionals, our excitement was usually dampened by crazy high prices. {I fell hard for all things mamagreen until I saw the prices!}

After weeks and weeks of searching, we kind of dropped it thinking it would be another year before we would commit. We spent a lot of time on our naked deck {not on our deck naked}. The kids used it as a stage or outdoor floor for play. We had picnics on towels. I would workout on the deck while the boys were in school and Mabrey was napping. HH and I would pop out on the deck at night after the kids were in bed and talk about how nice it would be to actually have something to sit on. Once we saw how much we were using the deck without furniture, we were giddy all over again and decided to start the search back up. Hardcore.

Keeping our desires {aesthetics + durability} in mind, we set a limit of $1,500. OUCH. However, we didn’t want to throw money at something we didn’t really like and we didn’t want to spend less now just to have to spend more to replace lower quality furniture in a year or three.

After extensive efforts {i.e., a lot of googling}, we narrowed the selection down to these five options…

 

outdoor sofas

 

1 – IKEA Ammerö While the price tag of this sectional was enticing, we would essentially have needed two of them to furnish our deck like we want to. I tried out the sofa in person at our local IKEA and was less than impressed with the comfort. The cushions are super thin and not at all conducive to outdoor movie nights – which are totally happening someday. Also, I read about the thin legs buckling easily. So even though it was the cheapest option, it was, er, the cheapest option and we would rather spend more $$$ on something that would better stand the tests of time and comfort.

2 – Lloyd Flanders Soho Aesthetically, this was my favorite. But once I mapped out the dimensions on the deck with painter’s tape, it was smaller than what we had envisioned. We would have still needed to purchase a few side chairs to provide the extra seating we were after and the sectional alone was already well beyond our price limit. Sadly, we had to cross this one off the list. But I still love it in my dreams. Soho for.evah.

3 – La Jolla This bad boy had all the seating we wanted and more, all within our price range! We really liked the white wicker-like bases and we thought the peridot cushions would be a fun outdoor color against the red brick of the house. But, again, we read less than stellar reviews claiming the skinny legs – which I prefer aesthetically – bent easily and the peridot cushions faded quickly. In the end, we chucked this one because we didn’t want to fall for the “buy as much as you can!” trap and we also questioned the quality.

4 – Corona {white & peridot} This sectional + table + chair turned out to have the exact dimensions we were looking for to fill the deck nicely but still allow good traffic flow. We thought the white wicker would tie in nicely with our outdoor dining chairs but were skeptical of the peridot cushions, fearing they would fade or we would tire of the color over time. We did like that this option had a squattier base and better reviews than the styles with taller, thinner legs. The main reason we threw this one out was because we found…

5 – Corona {sepia & white} YAY! It’s the perfect size in our price range with good reviews, squat legs, neutral colors and just enough funk to take it off the beaten path. HH and I were both immediately smitten when we found this set but we slept on it just to be sure it was the one. It was. We think the patterned wicker is awesome and weird. It’s sort of a modern take on vintage houndstooth or plaid. It’s not necessarily a pattern I would use inside the house but exterior “rooms” can handle bolder patterns and colors. I think the pattern gives the furniture more interest and texture, too. The white cushions shouldn’t fade as noticeably as the peridot cushions and they give us the freedom to explore different color schemes over the years. We read that the back cushions weren’t super comfy on their own and that added throw pillows really improve the comfort. Um, yes, I can do throw pillows. Bring it. The only thing I’m not crazy about is the matching coffee table but I couldn’t find where we could opt out of it. We’ll see what it looks like in real life. If we’re not feelin’ the matchy-matchy look, we’ll probably sell it and try something else.

As for where we bought the sectional from, we googled the sofa’s name and followed every link until we found the best deal. We’d never heard of LexMod before but they ended up giving us the best price + free shipping. I was able to find a 5% coupon online so our total was ~$1,300. $200 under budget!

The new outdoor furniture is set to arrive in a few days. I’m excited to see it in person on the deck and SIT ON IT. Furniture on a deck. Now there’s a novel idea. Oh, and for your viewing pleasure, the dimensions of the furniture – minus the coffee table – taped off on the deck…

taped off deck

With the sofa decided, I’ve started messing around with ideas for plants, pillows and other deck décor. The ideas probably won’t come to fruition until next spring but it’s fun to think about!

images: 1 & 3) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking 2) polyvore collage, linked within

21 Comments

18.September.2013

So exciting! You’ve got me dreaming about new deck furniture now… We have a sunroom and a deck, both populated with hand-me-down furniture for the last six years and I am ready to upgrade. Thanks for the window shopping! Can’t wait to see how your swank deck turns out. You have such great ideas for stylish+casual living.

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18.September.2013

We just put in a stamped concrete patio this summer. We knew that it would be great to have a sofa and fire pit but my hubby and I were also shocked at how expensive that stuff is. I guess I understand because it has to be more durable than indoor furniture, but I was still a little bit surprised. We ended up splurging on the Ravello curved sectional from Tropitone and I am shocked at how much we have already used it and how amazingly comfortable it is. Unlike other outdoor seating we have tried out, this is more comfortable than the furniture we have inside our house!

http://www.tropitone.com/outdoor-furniture/residential/product/660921

Love the looks you picked out!

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18.September.2013

Why don’t you build a foe wood shed over the electrical etc. Something wood with wood doors and not too deep or maybe a shelf on the left with a long door on the right to cover electric. It would be handy storage for BBQ tools, lighters, candles etc.

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replied on September 18th, 2013

That’s a great idea! Our grill sits on the adjacent patio {to the left} so I think we’ll try to keep the BBQ tools over there. I was picturing a tall trellis in front of the electric meter with some sort of trailing greenery growing up it. We still need to be able to access the meter and it would provide a bit of layering since the sectional would sit in front of it. We’ll see what happens…

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18.September.2013

Can’t wait to see it too! Our patio is our favorite room in our house. I got our sectional at World Market (Solano) I totally love it. I was really worried about having white cushions outside but I’ve had it for 2 years and the cushion covers wash up beautifully! And white don’t fade!

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18.September.2013

I love the furniture you picked out, I look forward to seeing it on your deck. We added a colored concrete patio this summer but are waiting to get furniture until next year. Their are so many choices I should probably start researching now. I can’t wait to have something comfy to sit on next year.

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18.September.2013

I am loving the furniture you picked out!! I think you could totally paint that coffee table with some outdoor spray paint and do something to set it apart. Agreed with the matchy-matchy. Can’t wait to see what you do, I love your style!

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18.September.2013

Question – will you guys cover it up with something? It didn’t look on the site like it came with covers. Or just plan on bringing in cushions when not in use?

Beautiful set!

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replied on September 18th, 2013

We’ll definitely be covering it during the winter months as we’ve heard this can really lengthen outdoor furniture’s life. We talked about getting some durable furniture covers as opposed to blue tarp but we haven’t bought anything yet.

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18.September.2013

I’ve never thought about marking things out with tape before purchasing them! Gosh that would make life so much easier. I usually brute my way into fitting furniture where it doesn’t fit! thanks for the idea friend.

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18.September.2013

Are your string lights going out there somewhere? I loved your solution and want to see where you put them. Thanks!

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replied on September 18th, 2013

Right now the string lights are draped over the dining patio. The supports we built to tether them to are totally portable so we could move them to cover the deck if we wanted. I could also see us using the tether poles to stretch out a large white sheet as a movie screen for outdoor movie nights.

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18.September.2013

Hi Dana! I love you guy’s choice. Its going to look great on your deck. Im loving seeing this space and your home come together.

I think it would be kinda cool to do some sorta living wall situation along the house covering the electrical. Maybe some nice modern wooden screen structure with either a built in narrow horizontal planter or a row of modern planters along the bottom with equisetum (snake grass) growing in them. Im not sure if youre gathering ideas… I found a couple pictures for reference.

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/199213983487068318/
http://www.pinterest.com/pin/381539399651967517/

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replied on September 18th, 2013

You know me too well! That first image is pretty close to what I have in mind to disguise the electrical box. Love the idea of a living wall or modern trellis with greenery climbing it!! Thanks for sharing the links.

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replied on September 18th, 2013

Yay! I’m so glad. As soon as I saw your furniture choice that was the first thing that came to mind. It’s very modern but not cold. It’s very much in line with the rest of the Underdog:)

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18.September.2013

I had to stop reading just to comment and tell you that I’m sooo excited to see that I’m not the only crazy person who uses painters tape to make sure furniture will really fit the spaces I think it should!!

k, going back to finish reading now…but you totally made my day. My dining room has some painters tape on there while I figured out if I wanted to do a banquette built in, or just purchase a table and bench…the hubby thought I was a bit nuts when he came home to a room void of furniture with blue outlines on the floor.

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18.September.2013

Love your choice. Can’t wait to see it all set up! It will be perfect for fall evenings!

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19.September.2013

I’ve always admired outdoor couches, but never could figure out what people do for the rain. I can’t stand the idea of removing ALL the cushion every time we are done using it. They are bound to be left out occasionally and what if that’s when it rains? They might be able to handle the rain, but they will take FOREVER to dry out (and therefore can’t be sat on) and then very prone to dirt and mildew. We’ve even had mildew issues (in the rainy season) on our covered deck! And our cloth hammock is spotted with mildew because it’s been left out several times. I’d worry about keeping your white cushions clean.

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20.September.2013

I cant wait… good choice!!

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22.February.2014

I just ran across your site an have been rummaging thru it most of 3hrs. How is the patio furniture holding up? How are you caring for it, what are you doing in the winter months? I find now that I’m getting older I want to be more artistic I designed an made a chandelier for over my dinning room table

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replied on February 23rd, 2014

So far, so good on the outdoor furniture. Currently, we have it covered and pushed up against the back of the house under the eaves to protect it from weather. We’re in Ohio and have had quite the brutal winter. I’ll be sure to post an update once spring arrives.

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