Choosing furniture for a garden building depends a great deal on the use of the building and the construction method used. For example, soft furnishings are likely to get damp if left in a wooden summerhouse over winter yet would be perfectly all right in a brick built, insulated studio or home office. What will be right for your garden building?
To be honest, if you have built a double skinned brick or block building, insulate it as well as a house, with double glazing, and paid attention to ventilation too, you can put almost any furniture in there. So for the purposes of this article we’ll be concentrating on garden buildings that are not intended to be used all year round, like sheds, summerhouses and others.
Plastic and Metal Garden Buildings
Plastic and metal buildings have more problems with condensation and extremes of temperature than those built of wood. They both get very hot in summer and very cold in winter so any material left in them will get damp and mildewed very quickly. Metal or wooden furniture would be the best although both have to be treated well to help them survive.
Metal furniture can rust so it will need to be painted or otherwise treated to keep it looking good. Galvanised steel chairs and will resist rust and look good all year round. They can be uncomfortable to sit on though, as they feel cold, so cushions are useful. However, you’ll have to leave the cushions in the house and bring them out whenever you want to use them, which will be a bit of a pain.
Wooden furniture will work well too, but will need to be treated or painted and inspected annually. Damp can soften the wood, leading to rot in the end, so care is needed. The beauty of wooden furniture is that it can at least be rubbed down and resealed or painted whereas this sort of reconditioning is harder with metal.
Plastic garden furniture is cheap and easily available and would suit being used in plastic or metal buildings. It isn’t as cold to the touch as metal and will last for quite a long time. It will eventually get brittle and snap without warning though, so do take care after a few years.
With wooden garden buildings such as sheds and summerhouses there’s a lot more scope. Wooden furniture does well, as does plastic, but there’s a greater variety of types of furniture and finish with wood. There’s nothing to stop you using metal chairs and tables either, but as they are less comfortable it seems a shame.
Cane furniture is popular for conservatories and could be used in a summerhouse as long as the cushions are brought in for the winter. Traditional internal furniture like upholstered sofas or chairs are not going to work well in anything other than a properly built and insulated building.
Caring for Soft Furnishings in Garden Buildings
In fact with any soft furnishing, like seat squabs for chairs or recliners, regardless of the construction of the furniture, it makes sense to bring them in for the winter period. Mildew is particularly hard to get rid of, washing will only exacerbate it.
Leaving the soft furnishings out on a hot sunny day then brushing the dead growth off is probably the only way, and even then stains are likely to be left behind. So bringing it all in is the best option.