Can Patio Furniture Be Left Outside During Winter?

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With the weather turning, households across the UK are preparing themselves for frosty mornings and evenings spent in front of a blazing or beside a warm radiator. But while this change in season means our blankets and hot water bottles will once again be pulled from cupboards and storage boxes, what happens to all that patio furniture you spent your summer evenings surrounded by?

In this blog post, we are discussing the reality of outdoor furniture in winter, and how to know whether your furniture can survive the cold, wet weather of winter in Britain.

Can patio furniture stay outside during the winter?

The answer to this is very much dependent on the material that your furniture is made from – and we often find that homeowners are surprised by how much is actually able to be left outside.

Plastic furniture sits up there as one of the most durable all year round, largely because it is unaffected by water, snow, and cold weather. The only thing you need to be careful of with plastic is that it doesn’t blow away – however, in most cases plastic furniture can definitely be left outside throughout the winter.

Garden furniture in the snow

Wood is another one which tends to be okay outside, provided it has been treated. We tend to see that homeowners with wooden outdoor furniture use their items as indoor-outdoor furnishings, meaning they transition between the inside and outside of the home. As such, make sure that your specific items are dedicated outdoor pieces before leaving them out over winter, as this is a way of ensuring that they are treated and weather resistant. Anything homemade or designed for indoor use will need to be treated and weather-proofed before it can be left outside.

Metal similarly needs to be treated before being left outside to avoid rusting; meanwhile, wicker and rattan furniture tends to be best kept inside over winter as, despite being somewhat waterproof, the fragility of the material means it can be easily damaged in high wind.

What should I do with patio cushions and soft furnishings?

This is a much easier question to answer – anything that is covered in fabric is best stored inside over the winter months, to avoid the fabric from becoming waterlogged in the rain or damaged in the adverse weather.

If you don’t have the space inside for all of your furnishings and their cushions, consider investing in some covers which will at least protect the surface of your pieces from the weather conditions – and stack any chairs together to create a weighty structure that is less likely to become damaged in the wind.

Where to store patio furniture in winter

One of the biggest questions we get asked is about storage and how and where to store outdoor furniture over winter. While one of the most obvious answers is in a shed or garage, for those without this dedicated outside space there is a growing trend for versatile furnishings which can be used as functional and aesthetically pleasing items both inside and outside the home – meaning that there is always a place where it can be used whatever the weather.

From wood tables to rattan benches, metal chairs, and more, investing in some versatile furniture for both inside and outside of your home can be a great way to get the best use of your pieces and ensure it is always safely housed according to the conditions.

How to prepare patio furniture for the changing seasons

The best approach to maximise the lifespan of your patio furniture is to always prepare furnishings for the coming season, whether that’s winter storage or summer use. Coat furnishings in a protecting sealant prior to placing them outside, so that they remain unaffected by sun rays and summer downpours and cover them before they are stored for winter.

Finally, make sure that you factor in some time in the early summer or even spring months to spruce up your furniture before putting it back outside for regular use. Even the best stored furnishings can look a little dull and tired after an entire season stored inside – however, a clean and a lick or paint / outer surface coating can inject a new lease of life into your furniture and leave it ready for the coming season.

Here at Team Build Joinery and Interiors, we work with our clients and customers to produce custom made furniture for all occasions, all seasons, and all locations. Whether you’re after the perfect outdoor table for alfresco dining, or a set of chairs which can live inside during the winter and outside during the summer, we can help bring your interior (and exterior) furniture goals to life.