The right outdoor furniture can make your deck or patio feel like an extension of your house, and can help make those summer gatherings that much more comfortable and relaxing. Without the right furniture for your patio or deck, you may never make good use of this space and may miss the potential for summer barbecues and outdoor family dinners.

Typically caring for your outdoor furniture begins by purchasing the right furniture for your home and area. If you have lots of inclement weather you need furniture that will stand up to that while still maintaining its look and function. It's good to remember that outdoor furniture is not always the same as the furniture you may put in an enclosed sun porch or another area where it is not so exposed to harsh weather.

Once you have your outdoor furniture selected and in place, consider these important tips for caring for it properly.

Understand the Material

Is your outdoor furniture wood, metal, or rattan? Is it bamboo or teak? The material from which the items are made will determine how you care for it. If you have metal furniture and you notice some rust or discoloration, you can scrape this with a wire brush and repaint it. Typically wood furniture simply needs a good washing as does bamboo, teak or rattan. These types of outdoor furniture may sometimes get moldy areas if they're not washed and refinished properly.

When choosing a paint or topcoat for your outdoor furniture you also need to use one that is appropriate for the type of material. You don't use the same paint on metal as you do on wood or rattan. When you visit the home improvement store to get some paint for your outdoor furniture, be sure to check labels and purchase the types made for the particular materials you have.

Storing Furniture

One of the best things you can do to care for outdoor furniture is to store it properly. For pieces made of any type of wood, consider getting some covers for the furniture and using them during inclement weather. Take cushions indoors as well, so that these don't get wet and harbor dirt and debris. This will make cleaning and caring for your outdoor furniture much easier.

It's also good to bring in your outdoor furniture during the wintertime, even if it's meant to stay outdoors all year round. This will simply add to the protection you give it and will not allow snow and salt to collect around the furniture and cause damage. By storing your outdoor furniture inside, even in the garage, during the worst weather you'll see that it lasts much longer than if you left it outside in the snow.

Often these simple steps for caring for your outdoor furniture will do wonders for how it lasts. Care for your furniture properly and you'll notice that you rarely need to replace it, and can enjoy it for years to come.