Tips for Choosing Commercial Outdoor Furniture for Your Space
All commercial outdoor spaces must be designed in a way that meets the needs of customers, employees and government regulations. Whether you’re developing an outdoor area for a park, restaurant, college campus, office space or something else, you want your space to be functional and visually appealing to draw in customers or people who will use the space.
By understanding the impact of your design and furniture choices, you can make smart decisions about how best to design your outdoor space. This comprehensive guide will help you create an ideal commercial outdoor space that enables you to meet consumer needs and your business goals.
Why a Well-Designed Outdoor Space Is Important
In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency reports that Americans spend 90% of their time indoors. Increasingly, people are looking for outdoor spaces that can allow them to get outside while working, socializing or relaxing. By creating a versatile outside space, customers are sure to be drawn to your business, and building outdoor areas for your employees can help boost productivity and retention.
Other benefits include:
- Increasing vitamin D levels: Getting outside for even a few minutes a day helps increase vitamin D levels. A limited number of foods contain vitamin D, so spending time outdoors is the best way to fulfill your needs naturally. This vitamin plays an important role in supporting bone health, controlling infections and reducing inflammation.
- Lowering the risk of eyestrain: Research has found spending time outdoors can prevent children from developing myopia, also known as nearsightedness. It’s believed time outside can also help adults lower the risk of eyestrain and even slow down the natural deterioration of eyesight that occurs during aging.
- Reducing stress levels: Nature is known to help destress and calm the body. Spending time outside can reduce heart rate, blood pressure and muscle tension.
- Adding property value: For both residential and commercial properties, outdoor spaces are desirable. By investing in an outdoor space at your current facility, you increase your return on investment and can expect to receive a higher offer if you ever sell the property.
- Enhancing mood: Time outdoors helps us physically and mentally. A 2019 study found that people who spent more time outdoors experienced improved mental health and feelings.
- Boosting work performance: Access to outdoor spaces can help employees clear their minds and return to work more motivated, engaged and happy.
- Strengthening short-term memory: According to research, interacting with nature strengthens and improves memory. Outdoor spaces that included trees and other plants were also found to improve memory better than strictly urban environments.
Keep the above benefits in mind as you plan and design your business’s outdoor space. This way, you can create the most functional and attractive area possible for your customers and patrons.
10 Tips for Choosing Commercial Outdoor Furniture for Your Space
Adding an outdoor space to your business can bring a lot of benefits, though you must design it correctly. One of the most critical aspects of your outdoor area is the furniture, which should be functional and appealing to draw people in to use the space.
Here are our tips and tricks on how to choose commercial furniture for your space:
1. Define the Space’s Purpose
First, define the way you anticipate the outdoor space to be used. Is it an outdoor working space, an area for socialization, a dining area, a study space or maybe a combination of all of the above? Defining how the space will be used allows you to narrow down the type of furniture you need — shopping for commercial patio furniture will look different than shopping for commercial outdoor dining furniture.
Defining your space’s purpose helps you choose furniture that will better appeal to your intended audience, too. For example, the furniture college students use might differ from the furniture working professionals use. Keeping that point in mind helps you build an outdoor environment that perfectly suits the people who are most likely to use it.
2. Plan for Various Types of Weather
Do you experience a lot of rain in your area? Are your summers exceptionally hot and sunny? If you invest in an outdoor space, you want to make sure it can get the most use despite the weather.
Incorporate commercial umbrellas into your outdoor space so employees or customers can enjoy protection from the rain and cool shade from the sun. Consider adding an outdoor grill or fire ring to encourage socialization and attract an audience day and night. If you’re designing an outdoor space for a park, college campus or another public area, adding a bike rack makes your area more accessible when people bike to work or class, rain or shine.
3. Maintain a Cohesive Design
When choosing the style and design for your commercial outdoor space, consider the architecture of the building and the design inside the facility. If your space is next to a historical building, a funky, modern design may seem out of place. Keep in mind how passersby may view your space and design choices.
For college campuses, keeping a cohesive design may look like choosing furniture in school colors. For restaurants, review the style of your current furniture. Is it sophisticated and modern or more classic and vintage? Find outdoor furniture that complements your current style.
Ultimately, customers and employees should be able to recognize your outdoor space as an extension of your building and company.
4. Find Durable Furniture
When you create an outdoor space, you want to build it to last. Therefore, it’s crucial to find durable commercial patio furniture. The most high-quality furniture can withstand various types of weather and the daily wear and tear from patrons. Be sure to choose furniture with a protective coating that uses weather-resistant materials.
5. Make Your Space Accessible
Remember to design your space in a way that’s accessible for people who may need accommodations. Be sure to find ADA-accessible furniture and consider how you set up your furniture around the outdoor space.
At least 5% of fixed furniture, which is any furniture connected to the ground or a wall, must be accessible and compliant with ADA standards. The ADA also requires accessible routes to be in place for any individual who may need them. These routes can include ramps or alternative ways of moving between levels and adequate space between fixed furniture.
6. Consider Furniture Maintenance
Unless you plan to have staff specifically for maintaining your outdoor furniture, you’ll want to find a furniture supplier such as Wabash Valley Site Furnishings that offers furniture designed for minimal maintenance. The furniture you choose should withstand various weather conditions without causing too much concern for maintenance.
7. Find Sustainable Pieces
Environmentally friendly furniture is great for the environment and your business. Sustainability has taken the forefront of many consumers’ minds, so aligning yourself with sustainable practices can positively impact consumers’ views of your business.
Furniture like commercial outdoor dining tables and chairs and outdoor benches from Wabash Valley Site Furnishings are made using PolyTuf. PolyTuf comprises 95% recycled materials. Furnishings made with PolyTuf are weather-resistant and offer the luxurious look of wood without the possibility of rotting.
8. Measure the Space
Before shopping for furniture, make sure to accurately measure your outdoor space. Then, determine how much furniture you can fit without overcrowding the space.
Your space may seem bigger when it’s empty, so you need to envision how the space will look and feel when people are utilizing the area. After all, you want to draw people to use the space, so consider what the correct amount of furniture will be to accommodate users and make them feel comfortable.
9. Remember to Purchase Accessories
Don’t forget to add some extra accessories to truly make your space complete. Add eye-catching planter boxes to complement any plants you want to include in the space. Also, consider the little details customers or employees will notice and appreciate, such as bench armrests that enhance user comfort levels.
10. Anticipate User Needs
Place yourself in the shoes of your target audience. What type of things would you expect to be available in the space? What additions would make your experience more enjoyable?
For restaurants and bars, consider adding outdoor TVs or an outdoor bar so patrons can enjoy everything they love about the inside of your business from your patio space. A practical addition should be visually appealing trash bins.
If you’re designing a commercial outdoor area for an office, think about how large, spacious tables would allow employees to bring their work outside with them. Also, decide if you will provide electrical outlets or other technology for users.
Other Considerations for Designing a Commercial Outdoor Area
Designing a commercial outdoor space doesn’t end with picking out furniture. Each of these additional factors can have a significant impact on customer perception and employee productivity:
1. Privacy Levels
For businesses like offices, restaurants and bars, a more private outdoor area is ideal. For office areas, private spaces can minimize distractions to keep employees productive while enjoying the fresh air. For food establishments, private outdoor spaces create a sense of intimacy and can make the dining area feel exclusive.
Enhance your space’s privacy with trees, hedges and other plants for a more natural feel. Fences or walls can also be used if they’re more practical for your space.
2. Plants as Decorations
While plants can be used for privacy, they can also help decorate your space. Potted or planted flowers, hanging plants or garden areas can enhance the natural beauty of the space. Plants can also make the space feel more inviting and luxurious.
When choosing plants, keep in mind the weather in your area and the maintenance required for each plant. While beautiful plants can bring customers in, dead plants can keep them away. Some plants are better suited for specific climates and maintenance schedules, so make sure the plants you choose are suitable for your space.
3. Lighting Options
The type of lighting you want to include will depend on your design style and the purpose of your outdoor space. For office spaces with a traditional work schedule, some basic lighting may be all you need, as most people will have left the office by the time it’s dark.
Meanwhile, for spaces like restaurants and bars that stay open throughout the evening, you’ll want to find aesthetically pleasing light fixtures. Choosing decorative lighting makes the space feel cozy and luxurious. String lights or unique light fixtures provide additional light and add to the design of the space.
4. Safety Requirements
Designing and decorating a space is the fun part, but safety is a crucial element of any outdoor space. Luckily, safety and design can come together. Look at safety requirements such as adequate lighting and handrails as an opportunity to maximize your design efforts while keeping your customers and employees safe.
5. Talk to a Professional
When designing an exterior area or choosing commercial outdoor furniture, it’s always helpful to talk to the experts. Designers and commercial outdoor furniture businesses can help lead you in the right direction for your business and vision. Especially when choosing outdoor furniture, the supplier knows their products best, so reach out for help finding the perfect furniture for your space.
Design Your Outdoor Space With Wabash Valley Site Furnishings
To build a successful outdoor space you need high-quality, durable commercial outdoor furniture you can trust. Our furniture at Wabash Valley Site Furnishings is designed to provide a look you love with the quality and minimal maintenance you need.
With our wide variety of products, you’re sure to find outdoor furniture that fulfills your commercial needs, including ADA-accessible and sustainable furniture. Browse our catalog of products and get started creating or improving your perfect outdoor area today.
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