When Is the Best Time to Buy Patio Furniture?

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Who says you have to spend a fortune to create an outdoor oasis? Here's the best time to buy patio furniture to save a bundle.

Unless you live in a region where the weather is warm year-round, you probably aren’t thinking about how to spruce up your outdoor area into a backyard oasis until the temperature starts to heat up. But if you want to get a deal and not pay top price, you need to think about this purchase a lot earlier. That’s because the best time to buy patio furniture is not when folks want it the most. And if you buy at the right time, you won’t just score a discount—you’ll also have plenty of options to choose from.

Even if you haven’t taken the time to figure out when the best time to buy anything and everything is, you’ve probably noticed that certain categories of items are marked down at certain times of year. That means the best time to buy patio furniture is going to be different from the best time to buy a TV, the best time to buy a hot tub or even the best time to buy furniture for the indoors. When eyeing the best outdoor furniture brands, consider these tips for bringing their coveted pieces home at budget-friendly prices.

What are the best months to buy patio furniture?

This question isn’t quite so cut and dry. For example, if your top priority is getting the latest and greatest in backyard furnishings as opposed to scoring the best price, you’ll want to pay attention to when brands unveil their new lines. That’s when you’ll find items with current color trends and brand designs. But because they are brand-spankin’-new, they will come with a heftier price tag. The best time for this type of shopping is generally at the start of spring—typically, the end of March and early April. Since supply chain issues are still, well, an issue, ordering early will also help to ensure that your patio is furnished by the start of summer.

When your wallet is taking the lead on patio furniture decisions, finding the lowest price on quality products is the goal—and those deals pop up much later. “The end of season, in August, is when you’ll see a lot of outdoor items being discounted,” says Lex Bombino, Merchant Account Manager with Skimlinks, a monetization platform for online publishers. “If you want to get that lower price on something you know you’ll need or want for next year, end of summer is the time to look.”

Bombino adds that markdowns will start around 10 to 20% at the start of the month and get increasingly steeper toward the end of it. And you’ll definitely want to look for all the Labor Day sales.

Wondering about the real off-season in winter? Retailers are less likely to have patio-furniture inventory at this time, but it’s still worth taking a look, particularly online. Whatever is left is likely to be on clearance to make space for new, impending stock.

Best time to buy patio furniture
March and April for the best selection; August for the best prices

What is the worst time to buy patio furniture?

Much like the best time to buy patio furniture, the worst time depends a lot on what you’re looking for in a set and how much off-season storage you have for these pieces. Ultimately, if you’d prefer not to pay full price (who wouldn’t?), the worst time to make purchases for outdoor items is at the start of the warm-weather season. While Memorial Day and the 4th of July are obviously big holidays for sales, you aren’t likely to find the best deals on patio furniture then. If it is on sale, it will likely be marked down by only about 10 to 15%. You’ll also be hard-pressed to find markdowns when retailers have just received their new shipment of inventory.

As Bombino mentioned, August is when you will start seeing markdowns on patio furniture, with deals lighter toward the beginning of the month and deeper discounts at the end. If you wait until the very end of the month for that big blowout clearance sale, inventory may be limited, so factor that into your shopping decision as well. Is it worth it to possibly miss out on a patio set because you’re waiting for even further reductions? That’s an important question to ask yourself.

Tips for buying patio furniture

Whether you’ve purchased patio sets in the past or you’re furnishing an outdoor space for the first time, keep these helpful tips in mind when shopping.

  • Consider the materials. If you want outdoor furniture to hold up over time, look for pieces that are made of teak. This wood is strong and durable, standing up well to a variety of different environmental elements. “Furniture made from plastics are probably going to be less costly,” Bombino says, but they aren’t as durable. “And high-end furniture that’s metal will need to be covered during the winter or stored somewhere indoors.”
  • Be mindful of buying used patio furniture. Someone else’s trash may be your treasure, but only if it has been well maintained. If you’re looking at yard sales or online groups, inspect the pieces for any major wear and tear, like cracks that may mean the piece is on its last legs (literally and figuratively). If the structure is sound, you can spruce up solid but tired-looking pieces with fresh outdoor pillows.
  • Look for one-off deals. If you’re searching an online retailer like Wayfair, check for open-box deals on items you want. “Open box” means that the product was likely returned because it didn’t suit the original buyer’s needs or space. Retailers will mark down these items because, as the name suggests, the box has been opened once before. If you’re shopping in person, floor sample sales can be a great way to get a killer deal on a coveted item. For patio furniture, you’re likely to see floor samples on sale at the end of the season.
  • Try negotiating. Unless you’re dealing with a secondhand seller on a site like Facebook Marketplace, your opportunity to negotiate will be strictly in person. Your best bet will be with pieces that appear to be estranged from a larger collection. For example, an outdoor coffee table without its matching chairs, or lone pieces of a sectional sofa you think you can make work in your space. Negotiate with a store manager to get these orphaned furniture pieces at a better price. Floor samples are also likely up for negotiation because they may endure some wear and tear just from being out of the box and on display in the store.

Where to buy patio furniture

Once you know the best time to buy patio furniture, you need to know the best places to look for it. “Sometimes people forget that Home Depot and Lowe’s sell outdoor furniture, as well as indoor furniture,” Bombino says. “These are really great places to shop, even if it is last minute. If you need to grab patio furniture quick, look online and see what’s available for in-store pickup.”

Be sure to check out:

Should I buy used patio furniture?

This depends largely on how well the previous owner maintained these pieces prior to selling them. If they are constructed of durable materials, like teak wood, and show few signs of wear, buying used can be a great way to get a quality patio set at a deep discount. Here are some places where you can find someone else’s unwanted stuff—or sell your own!

How long should patio furniture last?

Well-made and well-cared-for patio furniture can last a decade or more, but there are variables. The life span of outdoor furniture depends on the materials it is constructed with. Teak wood holds up best to the elements, and wrought iron is also quite durable.

Another factor that contributes to furniture’s staying power is whether these items are covered or stored indoors during harsh weather seasons. Low-cost pieces don’t necessarily mean poor quality, but if they aren’t properly maintained (even teak needs to be oiled once a year), they will not last.

How much should I spend on a new piece of patio furniture?

A small patio conversation set typically retails for around $250, while full outdoor dining sets can hover around $2,500 (less if you only need seating for four). Patio sofas and sectionals can run anywhere from $500 to $3,000. Assess your budget, and look for the best-quality pieces you can afford.

Get the most for less

Whether you’re buying patio furniture, a washer and dryer, or small appliances to outfit a kitchen, you can trust Reader’s Digest to deliver on advice from top experts in all things home and shopping. We make sure you have the latest information to make the best decisions for both your lifestyle and your wallet. Next, check out our article on the best time to buy a house for tips on the biggest and best purchase you’ll ever make.

Sources:

  • Lex Bombino, Merchant Account Manager at Skimlinks
  • Wayfair: “Outdoor Furniture Materials Guide”

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