One of the things we love best about resorts is the fabulous outdoor spaces.

Decorating your outdoor spaces with stylish and comfortable furniture expands your living space and lets you take advantage of beautiful weather when it happens. Here are a few things you should consider when selecting furniture for your outdoor oasis to be sure you can enjoy it for many years.

Photo Inset: Cozy, thick cushions invite you to come and stay a while the easy-care outdoor drapes add shade and a feeling of a private cabana at a luxury resort.

First decide on the placement of your furniture. Will it be under cover like on a lanai or covered patio or will it be outside in the direct sunlight? For furniture that will be exposed to the sun and rain, you will want to select furniture that is labeled “Outdoor Waterproof”. If your furniture will be covered and exposure only to indirect sun and dampness, then you can use furniture labeled “Outdoor, Limited Exposure.”

Natural rattan and grasses are attractive, but they cannot stand up to the moisture and sun exposure in the South and the extreme cold in the North. Fortunately, there are many woven plastics that give the same look and feel of rattan, but are meant to withstand the weather.

For the frames, we recommend aluminum or PVC because they are lightweight and hold up well to the elements. While steel and iron frames can also look very pretty, they will quickly rust and require a great deal of upkeep.

Wood is another beautiful choice, however wood does need to be protected with a sealant to keep the wood from drying out and cracking. Good outdoor furniture woods include teak, cedar, cypress.

When you close your eyes and think about that wonderful 5-star resort, one of the things that always stands out is how comfortable everything is. Comfort is important — very important. You may want steel or wood construction in your patio furniture for stability and longevity, but don’t forget that without some homey comforts like soft, plush cushions, your outdoor furniture will go largely unused. Go for thick cushions with polyester filler that are specially designed for outdoor use. Keep your cushions looking bright and clean by regularly cleaning them with water and a small amount of mild detergent.

Seek out attractive, well designed fabrics. You do not have to settle for the traditional outdoor look of awning stripes and the like. Make your decisions not just about function. Decorate your outdoor spaces to be pleasing to the eye and you will be proud to share it with friends and family and create your own Resort at Home.