Garden furniture trends for summer 2012

Crazy as it sounds, replacing your much loved, well-worn garden furniture with something new that can stand up to the British weather, and is still bang on trend can be more complicated than you’d think. Interior trends are changing more and more frequently and with recent technological advancements in the patio furniture industry, its difficult to know what’s the latest must have piece. Mind you, not that’s all about the latest trends.  You need to be looking for the timeless, outdoor furniture that will last for many years to come in terms of both style and durability. 2012 has already proved (even if the the weather here in the UK has not) to be another exciting year for outdoor furniture aficionados, with design trends that feature crisply classic colour, curved lines, decorative textured surfaces, and a some fresh thinking in terms of material combinations.

Historically, garden furniture in the UK has not change that drastically from year to year. The materials have been pretty standard, and a real trend has always taken a good few years to develop. However, in recent years we’ve really seen that shift and we’re seeing much more in terms of different styles and new materials appearing in stores and online retailers. At Lazy Susan our garden furniture collection has expanded and diversified dramatically over the last 24 months. So with that said, we wanted to take a little run down some of the trends we’ve really seen coming to the fore this year. By no means definitive, and in no particular order, this list is simply the garden furniture trends and technological/industry developments we’ve seen emerge in 2012 and that we’d expect to carry over into 2013…

The outdoor sofa is here to stay

Garden furniture trends for summer 2012

It started a year or two back but the modern indoor living room set outside look (as we like to call it) is set to continue its rise. But while they look like they could be designed for indoor use, the materials are made to withstand the elements in your garden with all that living room comfort. Stainless steel frames are outdoor grade, and the synthetic resin weave is UV, fade, mold, tear and stain-resistant. As more people are wanting to bring the indoor comfort outdoors, they’re the ideal trend in the marketplace that is moving towards more solid shapes and forms that are created with fabric. Pictured above is our very own Fleur set. Classically styled with a new pioneering outdoor lounge cushion technology. The mix of subtle curves with fully upholstered outdoor cushions makes these sectional units the perfect set for outdoor entertainment and relaxation.

Grey is the new black on the patio

Garden furniture trends for summer 2012

For many people, neutral colours just don’t inspire enough enthusiasm in an outdoor setting. In fact, the most passionate arguments about grey are usually over how one should spell it—grey or gray. That’s all the more reason why grey’s emergence in 2012 is such a pleasant surprise to Lazy Susan. The greys on display in this year’s outdoor patio sets are anything but drab.  Crisp and fresh are the words that spring to our minds. Wicker and rattan gardenfurniture is a great match for this year’s cool contemporary greys. If you want some ultra chic modern patio furniture, then check out some of the charcoal grey finished wicker patio furniture sets. Twinned with some silvery grey fabric cushions, they just look so stylish. If you prefer a more classical style, then this year’s weathered grey is a subtly stylish combination, a darker colour that’s still makes a real statement.

Wide weave wicker furniture

Garden furniture trends for summer 2012

With the elevating interest in larger balconies and patios, expect to see chunkier outdoor furnishings too. One of the key places where you’ll check this out is in the wider weave wicker furniture. Manufacturers have begun to look for the next thing in rattan furniture, and one move we’re starting to see is a shift away from styles that feature narrow weaves towards weaves made from thicker strands of wicker. You tend to find that the larger weave designs offer a more inviting look with a unique style that really stands out from the crowd. Add to that the popularity of larger patios that need to accomodate large scale patio furniture, and it’s easy to understand why manufacturers are moving in this direction.

Less straight lines and more curves

Garden furniture trends for summer 2012

This year, we are definitley seeing patio furniture sets that have relaxed the straight lines, and the results vary from sensual to elegant to the completely relaxed. It’s a design trend that’s not without benefits. Case in point is the excellent modular modern outdoor furniture sets from South Africa’s Terrace Living. Their curved, half moon arrangements of their Boma sofa seats and side tables help to draw people closer together and create a real statement on any large patio area. Constructed from powder coated tubular aluminium with silver textiline and charcoal cushions.

Think about your table surfaces

Garden furniture trends for summer 2012

Surfaces is one of the big buzz words in the garden furniture industry at this moment in time. We’re seeing outdoor furniture designs that take greater advantage of the aesthetic possibilities of surfaces and unique materials that are now available. Garden tables and outdoor dining sets are being constructed with everything from concrete and mosaic tiled centres to distressed finished that lend an antique texture to new pieces. The popularity of durable, low-maintenance resin wicker (both natural and synthetic continues to grow. The modern synthetic resin’s have opened up greater possibilities for durable yet decorative outdoor furniture, while cast aluminum patio furniture sets with a faux-stone tabletops are also making somewhat of a comeback.

Mixed material garden furniture sets

Garden furniture trends for summer 2012

I guess you could say this is related to the surfaces trend, but the creative use of mixed materials is definitely one of the breakout trends in 2012. Such is the growth of patio furniture sets that combine more than one material, we though that is definitely deserved a separate section all of its own. While the all timber or all metal garden furniture set is hardly passe, its single material style might struggle to match some of the indoor inspired material combinations we’re seeing on the market. Table and chair combinations such as wrought iron and wicker, concrete and metal, or a triple mash up of aluminum, wicker and faux stone or aluminum, wicker, and timber are all bringing a new level of material sophistication to outdoor furniture. This is one outdoor trend that promises very interesting things for 2012 and way beyond. Some of the best offerings we’ve seen are constructed from woven resin frames combined with teak accents or combinations of stainless steel, teak and slings to create some truly unique and striking designs. We’ve even seen some fab tables with aluminum, stainless or teak bases combined with marble, granite or tile table tops. The Asta Dining lounge chairs pictured above feature stainless steel rods bent and welded to create a continuous curved form with a mix of vibrant coloured sling material panels. Truly stunning stuff!

Swivel chairs

Garden furniture trends for summer 2012

Their was a big buzz for these in interior circles a few years back, especially popular in conservatories. But we’re are seeing some great swivel dinning chairs out there that are a chic addition to the outdoor dining experience. Gloster’s Ventura swivel dining chairs are classic yet elegant. To put it simply, Gloster’s Ventura collection is one collection that all other dining chairs should be measured against. Designed by Povl Eskildsen who began gathering furniture design & production knowledge over two decades ago whilst working in his father’s furniture factory. Having furthered a significantly ‘hands-on’ early interest in furniture design, Povl studied and graduated in furniture design from the School of Architecture in Aarhus, Denmark in 1986.

Be bold and go orange

Garden furniture trends for summer 2012

For a starter, the official Pantone colour of 2012 is Tangerine, which means all kinds of oranges are popping up in every product that needs to be designed, and that also includes outdoor furniture and accessories. We saw these funky Zig Zag chairs by Enzo Berti at the Design Icons show. More statement than comfort these striking pieces are definitely happy and cheery: just what the world needs in our opinion. Made from moulded polyethilene, they’re vailable in transparent white, yellow, orange, red or black.

Sophisticated conservatory furniture

Garden furniture trends for summer 2012

Not so much a trend, but more of a new range for 2012. Whatever, here at Lazy Susan we love Target’s sophisticated Conservatory collection. Inspired by ancient Asian patterns in wood, the garden furniture itself is actually made from cast aluminum. With the square spa-bleu Olefin cushions, the collection has a modern feel. If you remove the back cushions to reveal a beautiful geometric lattice design, and it moves away from the modern to look more like vintage piece of garden furniture – just without the rust. Cushions also make the set more of a deep-seating style for comfortable outdoor living room configurations on the patio or deck. And I guess, even though I just said it wasn’t a trend, the multi-purpose part is another big trend we’re seeing this year.

Adriondack & Butterflies come to the UK

Garden furniture trends for summer 2012

Big in the USA and coming to the UK… The classic butterfly chair, which was originally introduced to the world in 1938 is just as stylish and as popular as ever. The Mariposa pictured above, is a on-trend orange water-resistant polyester sling, is foldable and wrapped around a black powder-coated steel tube hairpin frame. Joining the Mariposa is a modern take on the equally as classic Adirondack chair with CB2’s Sawyer II collection pictured below. Made from eco-friendly eucalyptus wood that is FSC certified, the space-saving square arms are ample and sturdy enough to hold a plate or drink. Add the optional Sawyer ottoman, and you just might take a nap. The Sawyer II collection has a hand-painted black finish that, left untreated, will fade. To maintain the original black finish, simply apply teak oil and, like any outdoor furniture you care about, cover it or bring inside during extreme weather or when not in use.

Garden furniture trends for summer 2012

Functionality over aesthetics

Garden furniture trends for summer 2012

More and more we are seeing homeowners prioritising functionality over design and looking to get the complete picture in terms of the “how’s” and “why’s” of modern furniture design. On the other hand, modern day furniture designers are also choosing to focus on integrating some fascinating features into patio furniture to meet the ergonomic and environmental demands of homeowners. For example, you can now get a range luxury chaise lounges which are inspired by a fully reclined first class airline seats that are committed to offering maximum comfort for its users. Similarly, for lovers of organic furniture pieces, natural rattan garden furniture is gaining further popularity due to its durability as well as eco-friendly nature of its manufacturing process.

Eco-friendly garden furniture

Garden furniture trends for summer 2012

Speaking of eco friendly furniture, in Lazy Susan’s humble opinion that definitely seems to be one of the most compelling and rising trends in UK garden furniture for the coming years. Interest in green furniture has been steadily rising for the past few years , but the progress its made shows no sign of slowing down. Google Search Insights is just one source that has highlighted that reclaimed wood is on the rise, with traditional wood-centric search terms falling out of favor, while online searches for “reclaimed wood furniture” and related terms are on the rise. So we expect green to stay as a key trend throughout 2012 and beyond.

So, there you have it. Much like 2011, outdoor furniture design trends in 2012 seem to be focusing heavily on functional factors like comfort and manufacturing with mixed, new or eco-friendly materials. We’re seeing a lot less emphasis on developing furniture that looks different for different sake. 2013 promises to be a year of great change and hopefully, the good solid design trends we’re seeing in 2012 will continue to move this industry forward next year!

About Lazy Susan

About Lazy Susan

Lazy Susan is a small family business that specialise exclusively in wicker, rattan and metal garden furniture, specifically cast aluminium. Visit www.lazysusanfurniture.co.uk to find out more and view our complete product range.

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