Outdoor furniture stylish enough to come inside

  • By Andrea Brown Herald Writer
  • Wednesday, July 31, 2013 5:24pm
  • LifeMukilteo

Jeff Barth has a house that could be in a home design magazine.

It’s sleek and modern with humongous windows, a grand piano, white cowhide rug and no clutter.

So when it came time to buy chairs for the kitchen, only the best would do.

The best plastic, that is.

He bought four outdoor chairs that came complete with little holes for drainage.

“There’s a nice design to it,” he said. “It is very well thought out. People sit in them, and they can be there forever. It’s extremely comfortable.”

The cream armchairs are by Philippe Starck, a French designer with a clean, minimalist look. The round metal-and-glass kitchen table is from Ikea.

The plastic chairs provide extra seating for holiday celebrations around the formal wooden dining table in the great room of his Mukilteo home of 12 years. He discovered Starck’s streamlined stylized products when he lived in Seattle.

Many people are finding a place inside for outside furniture.

That cute garden bench might be cuter in the foyer than in the yard.

A wicker ottoman fits with many fabrics and feet.

Those colorful mosaic accent tables at Pier 1 Imports or T.J.Maxx serve as drink tables in family rooms. No coasters necessary.

Barth uses small Starck plastic stools as side tables in the TV room and a Starck tooth-shaped stool in the foyer for putting on shoes.

There are perks to using outdoor furniture indoors.

It’s affordable. Manufacturers know that many people won’t pay as much for furniture for the deck as they will for the den.

It’s durable. Outdoor furniture is often virtually indestructible. It’s made to withstand the elements. Kids and pets can jump and claw away on it.

It’s fun. There’s a vacation or cottage feel.

It’s functional. If you get tired of it, you can always take it outside for good.

Or, you can do what Barth does, move it outside as needed.

“If the neighbors pop over we haul the chairs outside,” Barth said.

Of course, it works both ways. You can repurpose indoor furniture for outside.

A cot covered with pillows becomes a settee. A daybed makes a nifty porch swing. Instead of hauling that scratched-up coffee table to the curb for big trash day, brush on some weather resistant paint and use it as a bench for plants. Reupholster cushions with water-repellent material.

Kick up your heels and enjoy the great indoors outside.

Or vice versa.

Andrea Brown; 425-339-3443; abrown@heraldnet.com

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