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The Most Popular Colors and Styles in Outdoor Furniture for 2011


Jennifer Parrick By Laura Christianson

Jennifer Parrick has worked at Rich’s all her life. The daughter of Rich’s owners, Larry and Marianne Chapman, Jennifer has done everything from cleaning toilets to cooking hot dogs to answering phones.

She’s always had a passion for interior design and was an art major at the University of Washington.  “In Rich’s early days, we sold only wood stoves,” explains Jennifer. “When we started bringing in patio furniture, I always wanted to move the chairs around.”

And move them she does. She and her mom created the display department, and every year they completely redesign the showroom floors of all five Rich’s stores. If you’ve been in Rich’s, you know that the showroom floor looks nothing like most stores, which stack goods sky-high in straight aisles.

“We want people to feel as if they’re meandering down a garden pathway,” says Jennifer. The displays are designed around curving paths and structures, with strategically placed garden trees, bamboo, and ferns.

Each area of the showroom features a different theme. Jennifer says, “I want customers to be able to dream… to say, ‘This is how I want my patio to look.’"

Jennifer closely follows runway fashion trends, and she scans Vogue and other fashion magazines, which help her forecast the color and fabric trends that will soon make their way to the furniture market.


A huge trend this year is ”staycations.” People are doing less traveling and are spending their vacation savings on covered decks, outdoor rooms, and grills, so they can entertain at home. “They want to bring the outdoors in, or the indoors out, and they want furnishings that look beautiful both inside and out,” says Jennifer.

With that in mind, she groups products with similar color schemes and styles on the showroom floor.

Here are several of the hot colors and styles of outdoor furniture you’ll see this season at Rich’s:


Brown is still the number one frame and sling color nationwide. Here in the Pacific Northwest, Mocha (less brown, more tan) is a top seller.

Tropitone Mondovi Dining Collection 3
Pictured below is a chaise lounge in Rich Earth – the most popular frame color for Tropitone furniture.

Tropitone Sling

Accent Color

“Neutrals are extremely popular this season, but people are becoming more comfortable with color, so many fabrics include accent colors,” says Jennifer.

Both warm and cool colors are popular accents. For example, a brick tone called Terra Cotta is this season’s top color choice for cushions.

Other popular accent colors include grays, golds, and grayish taupe. Aqua and pale aqua are particularly hot accent colors.

The photo below pairs a brown-toned frame with a cushion in pale aqua with brown accents. The palm tree-like pattern creates a 3D effect that is pleasing to the eye (not to mention durable and unlikely to show stains).

Accent Color Sling

Chat Groups with Fire Pits

“People don’t want to sit in a dining chair all night,” says Jennifer. They’re discovering that a fire pit can double as a dining table. Combined with deep seating – a love seat and cushy chairs – a chat group allows for both dining and relaxation. (For details and photos, see our article on chat groups and fire pits.)

Pictured at the top of this article, Jennifer relaxes in what she calls the ‘marshmallow chair.’ “I call this a ‘guy’ chair, because it’s built extra-wide for large-framed people. It has marshmallow-puffy cushions that you can’t resist sinking in to.” 

But beware: these cushions engulf you and you won’t want to get up!

Parisian Bistro

Featured colors and materials in this area of the showroom are green-on-black and black and white.  Pictured: Opus cast aluminum table (Cast Classics) and Monte Cristo chairs with black and white cushions.

Opus Round Dining Table from Cast Classics1


This contemporary furniture features gray, silver, and black frames.

Airo 2 from Homecrest
Collections such as Homecrest’s Airo2 Deep Seating are modular; you can combine several pieces to make a sofa. This line uses “Sensations” fabric, which combines the comfort of a cushion with the easy care of a sling.  “It has ‘memory; and buoyancy,” explains Jennifer.


Topaz Folding Sling Chair from Jensen Leisure One of the most popular areas of Rich’s showrooms, the rainforest area features Ipe hardwood furniture from Jensen Leisure

The Topaz folding sling chair (right) is an extremely hot trend, says Jennifer. “It’s so classy-looking; we can’t keep it in stock!”

(Watch a slideshow of Rich's Jensen Leisure furniture at our blog.)


In this area, you’ll find contemporary all-weather wicker furnishings in the popular driftwood and blue color scheme. For detailed information about Rich’s coastal furniture, read our blog post, “All-Weather Wicker: #1 Trend in 2011 Outdoor Furniture.”

Other themed areas on the Rich’s floor include Neo-Classical (more formal) and Wine Country (cast aluminum furnishings in green, beige, and terra cotta).

Tango Bistro Table from Alfresco1

Color Stories

Rich’s stocks dozens of sample books to help you create what Jennifer calls “color stories.” You can finger fabric swatches and mix-and-match background colors with accent colors to create a completely custom look for your outdoor furnishings.

Jennifer knows that many people need to see colors in action on full-sized furniture, so she has created numerous dining and chat groupings that incorporate this season’s popular looks. Stop by any of Rich's five Puget Sound showrooms in Lynnwood, Bellevue, Tacoma, Southcenter, and Silverdale and take a self-guided tour!

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