Here at Fireside Furniture, you know we love the cold New Jersey winter–our store is named after getting cozy by a nice warm fire! But there is a lot of preparation to do to get ready for the winter. So before winter hits, you should ensure your home is fully furnished for cozy nights in while protecting your outdoor furniture from the elements. Here’s how:
Protect your wooden garden furniture
Outdoor wooden furniture requires maintenance if you want it to last. Key tasks include:
- Cleaning: You should clean wooden benches and tables at least once a year to get rid of bird droppings, algae, and dirt. Dirt can soak up moisture and leave your furniture vulnerable to decay, so we recommend scrubbing your tables and chairs thoroughly with warm water and a brush.
- Make repairs: Fix any loose screws and sand down uneven areas to ensure your furniture is ready to use in the summer.
- Apply wood treatment: Softwoods such as pine require treatment with wood paint or oil to prevent decay. Remember to use a clean brush and apply two coats if possible.
Clean your aluminum or plastic furniture
If you have aluminum or plastic chairs and tables, clean them gently with a soft brush and warm water. Fortunately, these materials don’t tend to rust. However, your furniture could get stained if you leave it open to the elements and fail to clean it regularly. If you own white plastic furniture, you can bleach it if there are stubborn stains.
Clean your wrought iron furniture
Wrought iron furniture is prone to rust, so you should not leave it to the mercy of the elements during winter. Although many wrought iron tables and chairs come with a rust-resistant coating, it is easily damaged by bird droppings or other types of dirt.
Start by removing any rust with fine-grit sandpaper. You can then wipe the furniture clean with gentle soap and warm water and touch up any paint chips. Finally, treat your wrought iron furniture with a rust neutralizer and apply a coat of car wax for maximum protection. If possible, you should move your restored furniture to a sheltered space.
Store your garden furniture indoors
Ideally, your garden furniture should be stored in a garage, shed, or conservatory during winter months, particularly if you own wicker or rattan furniture. Make sure that the furniture is totally dry before packing it away, and try to stack it neatly to save space.
And if you don’t have extra space…
If your outdoor furniture is too cumbersome to pack away, there are other ways you can protect it. Firstly, you may wish to invest in some protective covers. We recommend investing in some waterproof options, particularly if you own rattan garden furniture that can deteriorate in wet conditions.
Before covering the furniture, make sure to remove any seat pads or soft furnishings such as cushions. These can be washed with your regular laundry and stored away until summer. When applying the furniture cover, make sure there is adequate air circulation so that moisture can escape if it comes into contact with your tables or chairs.
Another option is to keep your furniture in a sheltered part of the garden, such as under an awning, tree, or large garden umbrella. If possible, move the furniture to a concrete surface to minimize exposure to moisture.
How to select your furniture covers…
Furniture covers come in all sorts of sizes and materials, so you should conduct a little research before making a purchase. Small covers won’t provide adequate coverage, while overly large covers could create pockets of moisture. In this way, you must measure your furniture using an accurate tape measure. You should also consider what kind of elements are most likely to affect your furniture (e.g., snow, rain, wind, dirt), as different materials offer different sorts of protection.
Break out your outdoor winter furniture
Although the colder months are creeping in, you may still wish to spend time in your garden. This is where outdoor winter furniture and lighting come in. Key pieces to dig out (or, indeed, purchase) include:
- A firepit: Firepits are great for staying warm and roasting marshmallows during al fresco celebrations.
- Rattan furniture: Generally speaking, rattan furniture with cushioned seating is the coziest kind of outdoor furniture for winter. Just remember to store away the cushions and padding after use.
- Outdoor lighting: Outdoor fairy lights, spotlights, or lamps will add a touch of magic to your winter seating area.
- Outdoor heating: Outdoor heaters are easier to use than firepits and will keep you and your guests warm when the weather is cool.
Move your vulnerable plants indoors
If there are potted plants in your garden, you may need to move certain species indoors as frost and cold weather can damage (and even kill) plants that are acclimatized to warmer weather. Start by checking the plants for pests and (if necessary) removing mites and bugs using a hose or insecticidal soap. Next, place the plants in a spot with plenty of sunlight and remember to water them every week or so.
Invest in warmer bed covers and other cozy accessories
If you want to save on heating bills while staying cozy on warm winter nights, add extra-thick covers to your bed. There are plenty of options to choose from, including quilts, throws, and duvet covers. To ramp up the coziness even further, why not invest in furniture and accessories for the rest of your home? You may wish to invest in a faux fur blanket for your sofa, for example, or a small bio-fireplace to inject a little winter magic into your home. Get creative, and don’t be afraid to experiment!
Start prepping for winter today!
So, there you have it – a step-by-step guide to keeping your home luxuriously safe and cozy throughout winter. Remember – the earlier you get to work, the more money you will save on heating and repairing damages caused by cold weather. And when you’re looking to upgrade your furniture or add more pieces, come into Fireside Furniture and check out our massive showroom!