The Best Time to Shop for Outdoor Furniture

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If you're thinking about sprucing up your backyard for what we can only imagine will be a summer full of outdoor entertaining, you're probably looking into buying a few new pieces. Before you hit your favorite furniture stores and drop thousands of dollars on outdoor furniture, we'd like to give away a few hints. We chatted with RetailMeNot's Shopping & Trends Expert, Sara Skirboll, to learn insider tips for how to be a savvy outdoor furniture shopper.

Here are some of the secrets she's spilling that will, spoiler alert, save you lots of money.

The Best Time to Buy Outdoor Furniture

Before you even wander into the store, we wanted to give you more insight into when you should begin your furniture shopping spree. Sara says, "According to historical deals from 2020, the best discounts can be found in May, September, and October, aligning to holidays like Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Prime Day." She also promotes doing your shopping in the spring because "Promotional activity on furniture also increases in the spring, when Spring Black Friday promotions and other events like Wayfair's Way Day occur."

Promotions to Look Out For

You should definitely keep a sharp eye out for flat-rate discounts like 50% off at your favorite retailers, but even if you do not see any, there are other great ways to get a discount. According to Sara, "shoppers can find extra savings in the form of loyalty codes, like signing up for emails, and using cashback offers." Think those pop-ups (the ones you probably instinctively close out of) — you can hand over your email and immediately receive a coupon. 10% off goes a long way when you're dropping $500 on a bistro table.

Then, when it comes to shipping, Sara advises to keep an eye out for free shipping deals. She says that "occasionally, retailers will promote a lower free shipping threshold instead of a code or sale — this is still a good deal in the furniture category where shipping costs can sometimes be high."

Remember, just because you don't see a sale doesn't mean there aren't creative tricks that can save you lots of money.

The Pandemic's Effect on Shopping

It's no secret that the past year has been unlike any other. But for furniture companies, there's been an uptick in demand. Remember all those outdoor-only socially distant hangouts back in summer 2020? According to Sara, "there was a surge in demand for outdoor furniture at the start of the pandemic, and now we see that demand has started to stabilize and is in line with pre-pandemic trends. As we enter the spring and summer months, we can expect an uptick in demand, especially over Memorial Day weekend when retailers typically have deep discounts on outdoor, garden, and patio essentials."

This increased demand translated to fewer discounts last year with the "average [at] about 17% for the year." Right now, Sara says, "Discounts are still averaging at 17% off, but we can expect them to increase significantly over long weekends when retailers host big sales like Memorial Day and Labor Day weekend."

That's all music to our ears as we contemplate purchasing an ultra-modern patio set and fire pit to host fancy cocktail hours.

Best Places to Shop

We couldn't hang up with Sara without asking where she shops for outdoor furniture: "My top two favorite places to browse for outdoor furniture are Overstock and Wayfair" — which both offer free shipping, FYI. "I'll normally start my search by figuring out what style I want and how much I'm willing to spend, then start with finding a deal first." She also urged us to check out local Nextdoor and Facebook marketplaces for some gently used furniture from neighbors.

Here are some of our favorite pieces of outdoor furniture this year.

1. Overstock 3-piece Resin Wicker Patio Furniture, $439.99

Make being outside cozy with this sofa and coffee table duo. Just imagine nights with the girls, sharing stories, and connecting after a whole year apart.

2. Wrought Studio Virginio 4 Piece Complete Patio Set, $173.99

Looking for an easy, modern patio solution? You just found your answer. This neutral set is sure to fit in with any outdoor occasion.

3. Christopher Knight Home Wicker Chair Set with Side Table, $286.19

Boho-chic goes outside. This trio gives you an eco vibe while also creating a fun aesthetic. All you need to do is add some plants.

4. West Elm Portside Outdoor Low 3-Piece L-Shaped Sectional with Corner Coffee Table, $2,997

If you're ready to bring midcentury modern into your backyard, then this is the set for you. With stunning wood finishes and cozy couches, you'll be the summer go-to house for get-togethers.

5. Christopher Knight Home Carolina Outdoor 6-Seater Conversation Set, $867.49

Keep things simple and elegant with this set. The wood and blue contrast are fun enough for any look, while the coffee table makes group snacking a breeze.

6. Anthropologie Concrete Indoor/ Outdoor Dining Table, $1,798

This outdoor dining table is here for every classy dinner party that you throw this summer. Fun cocktails, crab dip, and fresh fruit — everyone's going to beg for an invitation.

Lucy is a freelance writer based in Washington D.C. She loves modern design, travels often, and gets weekly bubble tea. She's a big believer in "less is more" (except planner stickers) and is always looking to create that perfect 10-piece capsule wardrobe.

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