Spring is Coming: 56% of Americans Plan to Revamp Their Outdoor Spaces in 2020

March 10, 2020
HIGH POINT, N.C. – Spring is coming, bringing with it good weather and good times out on the patio. A majority of Americans (56%) will be making the most of springtime by buying at least one new piece of outdoor furniture, according to a recent survey of 1,000 U.S. adults ages 18+ by Wakefield Research for the International Casual Furnishings Association. And these outdoor additions should be just the thing to shake off the winter blues.

Top 2020 Trends for the Greatest Outdoors:

Youth Will Be Served Al Fresco.
Millennials are reaching the perfect age to entertain, and they’re determined to do it in a big way, with new outdoor pieces for the new year. Over half of Millennials (53%) will be buying multiple pieces of outdoor furniture next year, compared to 29% of Boomers.

Can’t Get No Satisfaction.
With a clear majority of Americans with outdoor spaces saying they’re dissatisfied with these spaces (88%), it stands to reason they’ll want to upgrade in 2020. Of those who have an outdoor space, two in three (66%) are not completely satisfied with its style, nearly three in five (56%) are not completely satisfied with its function and 45% are not completely satisfied with its comfort.

Hosts with the Most.
Entertaining-minded Millennials are bringing traditionally “indoor” pieces to their outdoor spaces. Millennials are more likely than Boomers to have a sofa or a sectional (40% vs. 17% Boomers), a bar (37% vs. 17% Boomers) and décor such as rugs or throw pillows (25% vs. 17% Boomers) on their shopping lists.

Party First, Earn Later.
Judging by their wish lists, it’s no surprise that Millennials are more likely to upgrade their outdoor oases out of a desire to entertain than their older counterparts (43% vs. 28% Boomers). What is surprising, however, is the pragmatism with which Millennials are approaching their property. Nearly a third of Millennials (32%) want to renovate their outdoor spaces to add value to their homes, compared to just 20% of Boomers.

Renovation Nation.
Those who plan to give their outdoor spaces a makeover know what they want. Outdoor lighting (52%), lounge chairs or chaises (51%), a fire pit (49%), and a dining table with chairs (42%) top the lists of those who want a refurbished outdoor living area.

The Fun in Functional.
Americans don’t just want their decks, patios and porches to be aesthetically pleasing showpieces, they want to get real use out of them. Over half (53%) want to create enjoyable and functional space. Other top reasons include the ability to entertain (36%) and to create a private retreat (34%). Only a quarter want to upgrade their outdoor spaces simply to add value to their homes (25%).

Klaussner Outdoor

Put Your Feet Up.
While building equity is great, most Americans are more interested in building spaces that work for them now. Three-quarters (74%) of Americans use their patios for relaxation, while nearly three in five use them for socializing with family and friends (58%). Over half (51%) use their outdoor spaces for cooking.

“It looks like 2020 will be the year that Millennials come of age when it comes to creating outdoor spaces that complement their homes and lives,” said Jackie Hirschhaut, vice president of the American Home Furnishings Alliance and executive director of its outdoor division, the International Casual Furnishings Association. “They should be inspired by what’s trending now for homes of all sizes and styles.”

Lloyd Flanders

2020 Outdoor Furniture Trends

Home furnishings suppliers are rising to the challenge with advances in materials that continue to blur the line between indoor and outdoor looks. From “living room quality” performance fabrics with surprisingly soft hands, intricate patterns and trims, to innovations like sling fabrics that respond to movement (no more sagging or puckering!) for a luxuriously comfortable seating experience, to super durable marine-grade plastics that fool the eye with simulated wood grains, many of the newest outdoor designs look just as at home inside as they do out.


At the same time, residential styles are taking cues from the hospitality sector, and the luxe outdoor spaces travelers encounter at boutique hotels. “This season keep an out for styles influenced by the competitive sailing set,” Hirschhaut says, pointing to the heft of new teak and stainless steel umbrellas from TUUCI that open with a crank similar to hoisting a sail. And, to SAIL, a new collection by Palm Beach-based interior designer Allison Paladino for Century Furniture.

Born of spending a lot of time on the water, the powder-coated aluminum and glass-topped tables and upholstered seating is inspired by the look of white, crisp material against blue skies. Though a lot of contemporary outdoor styles are low to the ground, the Century collection takes aim at older consumers who want luxuriously comfortable, deep-seated furniture with great style that it is also easy to rise from after dining and lounging.


Though contemporary styles are coming on strong, designers continue to draw inspiration from the Mid-Century years with sleek, clean-lined looks. The latest, like Forte by Jensen Leisure, a new collection designed by Seth Alguire, updates modern with sustainably forested Ipe (pronounced “ee-pay”) hardwood from Bolivia, combined with an intricately woven Virofiber for great texture and visual interest.

“As consumers seek to appeal to all their senses outdoors, texture is the name of the game,” Hirschhaut notes. “All manner of rope and woven fibers are being incorporated now in outdoor designs. And, though there is still plenty of gloss to go around, the newest woven looks offer dry, matte finishes in unexpected colorways. We’re moving beyond the traditional white, green and black of wicker to denim blues to basil, fawn and terra cottas.”


Designer Barclay Butera opted for blue and coral options, and the look of 18th Century chinoiserie designs and bamboo rendered in cast aluminum for his Savannah Collection for Castelle. Faux bois elements also figured in the company’s Antler Hill Collection in its Biltmore by Castelle line, a nod to the continuing appeal of farmhouse chic.

Along with the new more matte finishes, colors and materials, Hirschhaut relates, “is an overall focus on a more eclectic mix when it comes to decorating. Just as few consumers these days purchase indoor furniture in sets, people are mixing their styles outdoors as well, and manufacturers are stepping up their game with combinations that might include teak, wicker and vinyl, all in the same space for a more layered vibe.


“Sustainability is also on the minds of a new generation of shoppers who are opting for quality furnishings over disposable goods that will end up in a landfill,” she continues. Reclaimed wood is a popular element for outdoor tables, from accent tables to full-size dining groups. Another environmental initiative gaining in popularity is the use of recycled plastics that are repurposed into board lumber that can be used in the same way as natural wood. Interestingly, any production scraps can be reworked over again. The material can be colored in a range of hues inspired by nature as well as bright, lively tones that create a festive ambience.


Elaine Smith

Most important, though, in any conversation about current trend is comfort. “As people spend more and more time outside, they expect to be more and more comfortable. For this reason, we’re starting to see a move toward fully upholstered modular seating, and easy-care accessories like beautiful accent pillows with faux down inserts that dry quickly and stand up to the elements.

“Finally,” she says, “when it comes to comfort, be on the lookout for outdoor furnishings that incorporate power motion reclining mechanisms, which convert chairs to chaises with the touch of a button. Now that’s the ultimate in relaxation!”

The research was conducted by Wakefield Research on behalf of the American Home Furnishings Alliance and International Casual Furnishings Association among 1,000 nationally representative U.S. adults ages 18 and older between December 9, 2019 and January 13, 2020.


CONTACT: Jackie Hirschhaut, 336/881-1016 or jackie@ICFAnet.org