Magazine article Landscape & Irrigation

10 Outdoor Furniture and Accessory Trends to Watch

Magazine article Landscape & Irrigation

10 Outdoor Furniture and Accessory Trends to Watch

Article excerpt

During the past year, outdoor rooms have become progressively more important for homeowners, as evidenced by the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo June index of builder sentiment. According to the report, homebuilders' confidence has reached the highest level in seven years. As a result, this has led to an elevated demand for design/build projects as well as new patios, decks and backyard entertaining areas. Moreover, these types of spaces are regarded as extensions of interior spaces, and are being designed not only for functionality, but also to provide eye-catching aesthetic appeal.

Many homeowners are turning to landscape contractors and designers to help transform their mundane backyard areas into cozy, outdoor living rooms. With this in mind, landscape professionals looking to expand their installation and maintenance services can dig in by staying on top of the ever-changing trends in the outdoor furniture and accessories industry.

"Landscape professionals attend the Casual Market each year to help gain insight regarding outdoor space design trends and familiarize with outdoor furniture and accessories that will be available in 2014," said Jaclyn Kelly, senior director of marketing for the International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market/MMPI.

With the International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market being held Sept. 17-20, 2013, at the Chicago Merchandise Mart / MMPI, these 10 new and evolving outdoor furniture and accessory trends are hot off the presses.

1. Industrial-style fire pits

Although traditional outdoor furniture and accessories never go out of fashion, contemporary, industrial-style designs are also taking their place in outdoor rooms. Outdoor fire pits designed with an industrial flair, such as OW Lee's Aero Fire Pit, create the illusion of simplicity and sophistication for modern lifestyles. The signature industrial style often incorporates strong angular shapes, metallic colors and an overall sense of working practicality. Manufactured with new and innovative technologies, outdoor fire pits that exude functionality and rusticism are in high demand among consumers.

2. Functional shade systems

Another hot new trend that will be seen at the Casual Market this year stems from shade manufacturers embracing consumers' desire to fuse design aesthetics with sound engineering for more customized appeal. For example, some top shade companies are producing parasol stands from high-grade aluminum while offering a wide selection of hardwood finishes, such as TUUCI's Plantation MAX Cantilever. The aluminum provides strength and durability to help withstand weather elements. Conversely, hardwood finishes are used to create a visually attractive shade system that can blend seamlessly with professionally designed landscape settings.

3. Low-maintenance dining collections

Low-maintenance dining collections are gaining momentum, and Telescope Casual Furniture is on the fast track to paving the way with its Bazza Sling Collection. The collection, constructed from Telescope's marine-grade polymer, is cool to the touch on hot days and is mildew and mold resistant. As consumers are spending more time enjoying their outdoor spaces, the need for low-maintenance furniture is highly desirable. This enables homeowners to enjoy quality time with friends and family, rather than hassling with cleaning and maintaining outdoor furniture.

4. Amplified furniture accents

Banding and bolsters, these are just a couple of ways furniture manufacturers are augmenting their outdoor furniture offerings. Many consumers are looking for additional backyard space elements that reflect their personal tastes and preferences. This includes choosing artistically enhanced outdoor furniture collections that can be customized to complement existing color palettes and accessories. Skyline Design's Wilshire chaise lounger features a banded cushion of Sun-brella fabric and an exclusive adjustable bolster, making it a product of "outdoor couture. …

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