Outdoor Furniture a Hundred Years Ago

Caption: Garden things never fail to give a pleasant little comfortable thrill that is worth more than money. (Source: Good Housekeeping– June, 1917)

I’m not into keeping up with the Jones, but I’m slightly envious of people with beautiful patios and outdoor rooms filled with stylish lawn furniture. People a hundred years ago also wanted nice outdoor furniture. According to an article in the June, 1917 issue of Good Housekeeping:

Garden furniture reminds one of cool summer drinks to be served.

32 thoughts on “Outdoor Furniture a Hundred Years Ago

  1. I grew up with porch swings and those vintage brightly-colored metal chairs. Later, we got a metal glider, which was nice. But the swing always was my favorite. You could put your legs up on it, put a pillow behind you, and read a book.

    1. Thanks for sharing the link to the glider photo. It brings back wonderful memories. My grandmother had a glider on her porch that she used to often sit on on hot summer days.

  2. I am envious too of beautiful patios or decks! Before my husband passed away we put in a new deck! It needs beautiful furniture now. The only drawback is that my deck is so visible to everyone that goes down our street! I need to get creative to make it private! Plants!

    1. When you come up with a solution you’ll have to do a blog post on it. Getting creative with plants to make your deck more private sounds like a fun project.

  3. I never thought about people having nice lawn furniture a hundred years ago and can’t really think of anyone having it growing up. I guess I can picture porch furniture with swings and wicker.

    1. People spent so much more time on their porches in days gone by. I can remember wonderful evenings sitting on the porch with family at the end of long summer days.

    1. It sounds like you have a project ahead of you. I always find it frustrating that lawn furniture pillows and cushions don’t look “new” for very long.

  4. “Comfortable thrill” is kind of funny. I’m like you, I’d love to have all that fancy lawn furniture they make. Guess I’ll just enjoy it via Pinterest. Ha.

    1. I must be getting old, too. 🙂 They look like something that might have been nice for a party – but not very practical for everyday use.

  5. We had a swing on the front porch, but it seemed to always be too hot or too cold to sit there. I enjoyed seeing this photo. The patio furniture looks uncomfortable.

    1. I wish that we had a porch to put a swing on – though your comment makes me realize that I might not actually use a swing very often even it I had one.

  6. I wonder if they really spent much time outdoors, since it wasn’t until the 30s that Coco Chanel “invented” suntan chic 🙂 I agree with Anne, the chairs look uninviting. That being said, I had no porch or patio or deck while growing up, and spent all my time reading on my bed nestled in the corner of my room with both windows open for “nature.” So now I am making up for lost time here in my 1900 house, making outdoor life the center of my little universe! (And I rummage yard sales and even junk shops for “decor.” Shabby chic for me!

    1. I have similar memories of reading with the windows open and a lovely breeze flowing through the room. I still really like how open windows enable me to enjoy the season, and often have my windows wide open, while all of my neighbors have all their window closed and their air conditioners running. Shabby chic works for me. I like to say that my decorating style is eclectic.

  7. Sheryl, this brought back smiles like you can’t imagine. In my grandparents’ back yard, they had a huge lawn swing. It was a bench, really, and a monster, metal, and covered. My grandmother used to come out the back door with apron on when my sister and I were swinging wildly and say, “Now be careful; you do not want to tip it over.” Well…that was practically an invitation. We had to be about six and seven when we got that thing a rollin’. We tipped the thing over and peeled with laughter. Grandma came out and admonished us properly while grandpa later righted the beast. I always thought he secretly laughed. What fun. Thanks for a great memory. 🙂

    1. LOL – what a fun memory! And, your memory reminded me of the large wooden swing we had on our front porch when I was a small child. There were steps up to the porch and porch was about 10 ft. higher than the surrounding ground. If I would get the swing swinging wildly, it would go over the railing – which was a lot of fun. My mother would come out of the house screaming that I could kill myself doing that because I might fall – and that if I didn’t behave that I’d be forbidden to use the swing. . . but then she’d go back in the house, and soon I’d be tempted to make the swing “fly” again. 🙂

      1. Well, that’s what they are for, right? 😉 There’s just something about temptation through the eyes of a child. I’ll never forget the look of worry–grandma was the consummate worrier–on her face, and the look of pleasure on grandpa’s face. She wanted to prevent injury; he was thrilled we gave in to temptation. 🙂 Great post. 🙂

  8. This post reminds me that I need to go to Ikea to get a table and chairs for my new balcony. 🙂

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