Outer furniture
By Kirk Miller / February 28, 2019 9:00 am

If you’re already dreaming of summer … well, put those warm-weather fantasies on pause. First, your lazy-day backyard plans need an immediate update. Folding chairs and plastic cushions ain’t gonna cut it.

So try Outer. The just launched outdoor furniture brand offers modular seating that’s everything-proof and still mattress-level comfy — for about half the price you’d expect.

Based in Santa Monica, CA, Outer is another in a long and welcome line of direct-to-consumer brands, meaning they’re able to pass along savings to customers by cutting out the middleman.

Outer furniture

Founders Jiake Liu and Terry Lin told us they wanted to create “outdoor furniture as comfortable as our beds, as stylish as our indoor furniture and as durable as our camping gear, that can keep itself dry and clean with an integrated cover system.” All while remaining eco-friendly and utilizing family-run, fair-wage factories (note: co-founder Liu’s family owns the factory making the sofas in China).

Tall order. But they seem to have accomplished it, and added an interesting twist to the staid outdoor furniture showroom.

Outer’s two designs — a corner version and an armless version for easy customization — are available in Clamshell White or Pacific Fog Grey, and they feature a multi-layer foam cushion and a fabric that’ll stand up to water, mildew, and pretty much everything else. When not in use, the sofa can be quickly zipped up in an additional, patent-pending OuterShell cover. All of this is sitting atop handwoven recyclable wicker and a powder-coated, weather-resistant frame.

Outer furniture

Because the seating is modular, you can also combine and arrange the sofa in any way you see fit; The Standard package, for instance, is two corners and two armless chairs that you could configure into a longer sofa and one chair or a shorter loveseat with two chairs.

The pieces themselves can be put together in minutes; you’ll just need to attach the feet using the provided screws and ratchet tool.

Wanna test them out? The company showcases the sofas in backyards belonging to real customers (in the Los Angeles area for now, but accepting applications for other parts of the country); you just need to schedule a day and time through Outer’s website. Hosts get paid per showing, but (probably/hopefully) won’t harass you like a department store clerk working on commission.

If you live in L.A., next-day delivery is free; for the rest of the country, it’s $145. Each sofa comes with a 14-day risk-free trial, and can be returned up to year after purchase with only a 20% restocking fee.

Right now Outer’s concentrating on seating, but they told us, “We will be focusing on three general categories in the future: Lounge. Dine. Play.”

Photos: Outer