2017 Home Furnishings Survey: More Americans are Inspired by Outdoor Living

New Data Reveals The Season's Outdoor Décor Trends and Wish Lists

According to new research conducted on behalf of the International Casual Furnishings Association, a whopping 86 percent of U.S. households have an outdoor living space. Perhaps more impressively, 79 percent of those with outdoor space will frequent the outdoors at least once per week, with more than one quarter (27 percent) using their backyards and front porches almost every day in seasonally appropriate weather.

“We crave being surrounded by nature and the breath of fresh air that comes from relaxing outside,” said Jackie Hirschhaut, executive director of ICFA. “Whether you unwind alone or entertain friends, nothing beats having a beautiful extension to your home that you can step into at any time to shed some stress and feel rejuvenated.”

According to the survey conducted by Wakefield Research, change is in the air this season, as 66 percent of households will be making a purchase of new furnishings or accessories for their outdoor space this year, up from 42 percent in 2016. Priority purchases have generally stayed the same since 2016: chairs, tables, lighting, umbrellas, fire pits, pillows, sofas and hammocks. While 25 percent wish their outdoor living space was better furnished, even more (28 percent) wish it was larger. 

Highlights of the 2017 Data:

  • Of those who have an outdoor living space, 44 percent plan to purchase more than one piece/item, and 22 percent will buy one item only.
  • Top planned purchases include chairs (chaise or lounge, 43 percent), dining table and/or chairs (41 percent), lighting such as lamps or lanterns (39 percent), umbrella (38 percent), fire pit (38 percent), pillows (29 percent), sofa or sectional (27 percent), hammock (25 percent).
  • 28 percent wish their space was larger; 25 percent wish it was better furnished; 20 percent wish it was covered or enclosed; and 16 percent wish it was more functional.
  • Areas those with an outdoor space aspire to update include the deck or porch itself (36 percent), the furnishings (23 percent), the garden (15 percent) and the lawn (10 percent).
  • 79 percent use their outdoor space frequently, including 27 percent who spend time outside almost every day, 40 percent who are outside several times per week, and 12 percent once per week.
  • The top reasons people with an outdoor space expect to use it this season are to relax alone (60 percent), entertain or relax with family (59 percent), enjoy time with a significant other (49 percent), entertain friends (43 percent) or entertain children (19 percent).
  • 70 percent say that a big outdoor patio is more likely to impress houseguests than a big screen TV.

Top trends expected to continue at Casual Market Chicago, the premier showcase for new outdoor designs, include:

Living Large or Compact Comfort. Regardless of the size of the outdoor space, there’s a product to fit. There are lots of nice small pieces just right for downsized balconies and patios, plus giant sectionals, cabanas, tables and seating groups for those furnishing large outdoor spaces.

In a Modern Mood. As in indoor, the pendulum is swinging to the contemporary side. There are still plenty of traditional and cottage looks, but there is more of a focus on contemporary than we have seen in recent years.

Blurred Lines. It’s becoming harder than ever to distinguish where an “indoor” style ends and an “outdoor” style begins. With today’s fabric and style options, many pieces can be used either inside or out, and consumers are increasingly focusing on decorating their outdoor spaces as an integral part of their home.

“The breadth of offerings in outdoor products this year is truly amazing,” said Hirschhaut. “Driven by consumers’ growing focus on chilling out outside, manufacturers are meeting the demand with flourish.”