We’re in the market for some new patio furniture now our extension is nearing completion, but what time of year do you get the best deals?
Patio furniture is at its cheapest in the winter months, with sales starting towards the end of August. For the best deals, hold out until late Fall, or even Black Friday/Cyber Monday. You can also pick up a decent deal on patio furniture in the January sales after Christmas.
Let’s discover in more detail the best time to buy patio furniture – and find out how we can secure an amazing deal…
What Time of Year is Patio Furniture Cheapest?
Patio furniture is at its cheapest in the winter months. The best stuff has all sold, nobody (well, not so many people) wants to barbecue in colder, wetter weather, and the stores want to shift their inventory of summer-related products.
Expect to start seeing discounts towards the end of August, with these increasing the closer you get to the winter. If you’re after those deep discounts, wait until late Fall, or even Black Friday/Cyber Monday.
However… as the cost goes down, so does the choice. If there’s a nice patio set that you want in place for next spring, you might be content with just a 20% or even 10% discount, because the desirable pieces sell through first.
On the other hand, if you’re happy to take home a bright orange bistro set with only one chair “because it was such a great deal”, wait until November.
Shopping online? You can sometimes get some good discounts on outdoor furniture early in the year. If you don’t mind hanging on until January or February, you might find a good online deal.
What Month Does Patio Furniture Go on Sale?
Patio furniture generally starts to go on sale in late August. If you’re lucky, you may find a dining set or a couch that you’ll be able to use this summer.
The outdoor furniture sales then continue until early winter, with prices continuing to drop as stores try to lose that out-of-season inventory. It’s like something out of a gameshow: do you buy in September when there’s more choice, or hang on until Black Friday, when prices will be rock bottom but the choice isn’t as good?
Is Outdoor Furniture Cheaper in Winter?
Yes, any remaining outdoor furniture is cheaper in the winter. The stores (or storage depots, if we’re talking online purchasing) really don’t want to hold onto out-of-season stock. Patio furniture is large and unwieldy and takes up display space in the store and shelf space out the back.
As we mentioned earlier, by the time we’ve reached Black Friday, we’re left with the stock that nobody else really wanted. If cost is more important than choice, hang on as long as you can.
How Much Should You Spend on Outdoor Furniture?
There’s a huge price range for outdoor furniture, with a dining set for example costing anywhere between $400 and $6,000. Why is there such a big range?
A lot of the difference is down to materials and how mass-produced the furniture is: a plastic set from Lowe’s is going to be cheaper than a hand-finished white oak equivalent.
You’re paying more for build quality, as you’d expect. You might pay more, but it should last for a lot of summers (and come with a good warranty).
Then there’s design, with contemporary styles tending to cost more, and whether or not you get things like cushions and an umbrella as part of the set. A complete set may work out better value than buying things individually.
And we’ll be honest: there’s the retailer. Some places are naturally more expensive than others, and you may find the same set cheaper elsewhere if you’re prepared to browse online.
How much should you spend? That’s entirely up to you and your budget; however, as with most large purchases, the thing to weigh up is outlay versus longevity. The more you pay, generally, the longer the furniture will last.
What is the Markup on Patio Furniture?
It’s thought that the retailer’s markup on patio furniture is at least 200%, and can possibly go as high as 400%.
This means there is plenty of room for discounting, although haggling isn’t that easy in a national homewares store… Because of this large markup, you really can pick up what looks like a bargain at the end of the season.
What Should I Look for When Buying Patio Furniture?
Choosing some new patio furniture? Here are a few things to look out for (in no particular order. It’s all important!).
- Durability. Will it stand up to life outside? If it has to be winterized outdoors, it has to be super-sturdy. By durable, we mean robust, UV-resistant, and waterproof. Does it come with a good warranty?
- Looks. Patio furniture really sets the scene for your outdoor space. Do you love the design and color scheme? If not, look elsewhere
- Size. Is it right for your family? Don’t scrimp on size unless you have to, because you want everyone to have a seat. Does it fit OK on your porch or patio, or do you all have to squeeze around it?
- Maintenance. If it’s wood, it’ll need more care than resin, for example. How easy is it to look after? Can any cushions be wiped clean or washed?
- Winterization. Can it be folded or easily moved and stored away? If you have to leave it in the yard, can you easily buy covers that fit it?
- Cost. As we discussed, there’s a big range of costs associated with outdoor furniture. If you’re hanging on for the sales, how long are you prepared to wait? If it’s a cheaper set, are you confident it will survive the summer?
- Comfort. Don’t put style before comfort! After all, this is meant to be a relaxing space…
Is High-End Patio Furniture Worth It? (Or Should I Go Budget?)
An upscale patio set can be worth the investment if it’s made from fine-quality materials and comes with a good warranty. If a $3000 dining set lasts 15 years but a $1000 set barely struggles through three seasons, you’ve not saved any money.
However, budget brands still have their place. If you have a tight budget, you have to stick with it, and if it’s the choice between a cheaper-quality set and sitting on the grass to eat, it’s the cheap chair for us, every time!
There is a middle way, of course. Look out for used pieces that can be restored or upcycled. You may find a great iron bistro set in a secondhand store, which will make a great project and if properly treated, will last for years.
For inspiration, take a look at this short film that takes you through restoring a wrought iron patio set, which was bought for just $175.
And again, there are those fall and winter sales, where you might pick up a high-end piece or set for a more budget-like price. Don’t forget to check out the early-year online sales, just in case you find a great deal.
Summary: Why is Patio Furniture So Expensive?
Patio furniture does seem expensive: why is this? Well, we do actually ask a lot from our outdoor furniture. We want it to be as comfortable and stylish as the furniture in our living rooms and dining rooms, while still standing up to wind, rain, UV, and all sorts of spillages.
So, outdoor furniture has to be tough. The materials have to be water, rust and fade resistant, so this can push the prices up. Cheaper furniture won’t stand up as well to the elements, so can work out more expensive as it will need replacing sooner.
Then there’s the issue of supply-and-demand. Since the Covid pandemic, we’ve all rediscovered the joy of hanging out in our own yards.
Lifestyle outdoor furniture like couch sets and comfortable dining sets started to sell out fast. When a product becomes desirable to consumers, the prices inevitably go up.
So wait until August when the sales start – and the run into the winter months with Black Friday and Cyber Monday along the way – and you’ll be sure to get some great deals on your patio furniture. 🙂
Homeowner and property investor Larry Jones founded Take a Yard in 2020 to bring you the very best outdoor living content, based on his years of experience managing outside spaces. Read more >