When you have guests over, furniture is one of the things they will notice the most. Furniture is a major visual element, both for an interior room and an outdoor space. In addition, it has a functional element which means that guests will notice how comfortable and convenient it is, as well as how it looks. The furniture you choose sets the tone for your space, and should reflect your personal style and fit your design goals. Here are some of the key 2014 trends in outdoor furniture.

Vintage outdoor furniture

There are so many reasons to love vintage furniture that it’s easy to see why this is such a popular trend. Vintage pieces can add a unique sense of style to your patio, and they are often very well made compared to cheap, modern pieces. Buying older furniture at garage sales or secondhand stores is an inexpensive way to get the furniture you need, and renovating it to look good gives a sense of accomplishment. On top of that, reusing furniture is good for the environment.

Different cultures

To add interest and style to your outdoor furniture, consider adding some elements from other parts of the world. You can find furniture that’s imported from foreign countries, or that is inspired by different world cultures. Look for uniquely carved wood, inlays, or brightly patterned upholstery.

Glamorous touches

The trend in 2014 is toward more opulent, glamorous furnishings inside your home, and this trend can continue outside as well. When you add some lavish touches to the furnishings on your patio or deck, it can give it the “wow factor” that will get your guests’ attention. A special piece here or there can make a significant impact.

Indoors / outdoors

These days, the trend is towards blurring the line between indoor and outdoor furniture. You’ll see wicker furniture inside that looks a lot like patio furniture, and stylish wooden furniture outside that looks like it would be equally at home in the dining room. For this versatile type of indoor/outdoor furniture, wood, wicker, metal and glass are favorite materials. Following this trend is certain to make your outdoor space look more sophisticated.

Custom pieces

Custom made furniture is another big trend this year. While this has typically been the preserve of the wealthy, there are places where you can find custom made furniture that doesn’t cost a fortune. Look for artisans who pursue their craft because they love it, not for the enormous profits they make. You can find some remarkably artistic furniture, and it’s sure to be a unique conversation starter.

Smaller furniture

A lot of times homes have limited space on the balcony or patio. Rather than crowding it with as much as you can fit, look for smaller furniture, instead. Using furnishings with a smaller footprint leaves you more free space available, which makes your balcony or patio seem larger.

The environment

When you are shopping for outdoor furniture, consider how environmentally friendly it is.  Reusing vintage furniture is at the top of the list for the best environmental impact, but also think about this if you’re buying new patio furniture, too. You can buy outdoor furniture that uses recycled materials, or which is made of wood from a certified sustainable source.

Dining tables outside

Fine dining is the most recent trend in home decor. Modern homeowners are starting to enjoy alfresco dinners, and they want to do it in their backyards. A statement dining table is exactly what your patio needs to look contemporary. Embellish the table with standout furniture, choose striking chairs made of wood, and give it a touch of opulence. Add floral arrangements and candles to create a romantic mood, and your guests will certainly appreciate your effort.

Some outdoor trends are meant to make you feel like you’ve stepped into a different world. Whether we’re talking about cultural decor influences or about custom made furniture, there’s no doubt that homeowners want to be unique. They want their spaces to look personal and  feel fresh. To make that happen, it’s important to invest in the right type of furniture; if you can’t afford innovative furniture, make things work with nice garden accessories and your guests will adore your backyard’s intimate allure.