Trends are notoriously difficult to predict, even for those closest to the subject in question; we all know hot fashions can go out of style in the blink of an eye. On the other hand, sometimes emerging trends are impossible to miss. As outdoor furniture insiders, we're receiving some clear signals as to what's going to be in vogue for 2013.
Transitioning to Transitional
Transitional pieces are going to be big this year. A hybrid between classic and contemporary, transitional outdoor furniture combines severe, modern lines with subtle suggestions of the ornate decoration found in more traditional furniture. These pieces often have sculpted seats, arms and backs for improved comfort while maintaining the eye-pleasing simplicity of minimalist styles -- the best of both worlds.
Outside is In
A trend that has been growing for several years is the concept of "outdoor rooms;" essentially extending your living space to the patio. As materials become ever more durable and available in an increasing variety of items, we're seeing a surge of interest in products more traditionally found inside; outdoor rugs, for example, as well as outdoor throw pillows, outdoor lighting and other accessories.
With everything from dining tables to fire pits on the patio, creating a stylish and comfortable outdoor living area is no longer a fanciful dream.
Comfort is definitely in! Plush cushions and inviting, oversize seating is a must for outdoor furniture in 2013. If your patio is to be an extension of your living space, it should be every bit as cozy and enjoyable to linger in as your living room.
Quality construction is also crucial for comfort. The days of delicately perching on the edge of a flimsy, teetering plastic chair are long gone -- any outdoor furniture worth its weight will be solid, stable and durable. Wrought iron is among the toughest outdoor furniture you'll find; cast aluminum offers strength without the extra weight. Both hardy and gorgeous, stone tables also appear to be a highly sought after item this year for those looking to create a unique outdoor dining experience.
Between the economy, retiring baby boomers and new families just starting out, there's definitely a trend towards smaller housing. Smaller housing usually means smaller patios.
Stackable outdoor furniture is increasing in popularity, and doesn't have to look like something you grabbed out of the discount bin at the local big box store. In fact, you can even get stackable wrought iron transitional pieces -- sturdy, durable and stylish. There are stackable bar stools and wicker chairs, too!
There's also appears to be growing interest in outdoor shelving, trunks and similar space-saving containers that won't fall apart with minimal exposure to the elements.
Furniture in Motion
Though typically not stackable, we're also seeing a growing interest in furniture that moves; rocking chairs, swivel chairs, gliders and so forth are looking good for 2013. This trend, too, is probably a derivative of the "outdoor room" movement; bringing the indoor relaxation experience outside. With modern materials, moving parts now last longer than ever, even with minimal maintenance.
In keeping with the upward trend of moving furniture, the availability of style and materials such pieces can be found in is also growing -- keep an eye on your favorite brands for new additions.
The Natural Choice
In the color department, classic, natural tones continue to be widely popular in materials and frames. Neutral colors, such as beige, ivory, black, white and grays have lasting appeal and generally go well together, ideal if color coordination is not your forté.
Cushion fabrics are a different story. Bold, vibrant colors that make a statement are in right now and don't appear to be going out anytime soon. Reds, oranges and yellows all appear to be in fashion for this season. If you're looking to stay updated on the latest color trends, a quick scan through the Sunbrell blog will have you in the know.
If none of these current trends sound very appealing, that's okay too. It's your patio -- add your own creative flair, and maybe you'll set a few trends of your own!