ISSUE 37  |  Style on a Budget

10 Easy Pieces: Budget-Friendly Unfinished Wood Furniture

September 16, 2014 4:00 PM

BY Michelle Slatalla

There is no way to sugarcoat this: When you buy outdoor furniture, you are spending money on something that will sooner or later be destroyed by wind, rain, soot, dust, bird droppings, pollen, dried leaves, spider webs, termites, and a multitude of other plagues.

How do you justify buying something that is going to rust, rot, develop a patina of mold, or eventually fall apart? (One can of course forestall the inevitable ruin by buying weather resistant items. Redwood and teak and ipe pieces can last for many years. But still. In the end, hardly anyone inherits a great grandmother’s outdoor dining table and chairs.)

Sometimes simpler and cheaper pieces are better. For an outdoor living space, unfinished wood furniture has many benefits. For one, even the most well made pieces tend to cost less because you’re not paying for a finish. Also, unfinished wood is a material that blends well with many styles and materials; you can slip it into the mix seamlessly. And finally, if DIY is your thing, you can paint, shellac, stain, varnish, or oil it yourself–every year, if you want to extend its life expectancy–to suit your style. 

Here’s a roundup of 10 of our favorite pieces of unfinished wood furniture–dining tables, chairs, and storage–for outdoor spaces:

Dining Tables

Above: Made in Brooklyn, an unfinished maple Parsons Rectangular Table seats four comfortably; it is 48 inches long by 30 inches wide and 30 inches high. IT is $399 from Urban Green Furniture.

Above: For dining on a small deck, a solid pine Ingo Table will seat four. It measures 47 inches long by 29.5 inches wide and is $69 from Ikea.

Above: An Unfinished Wood Picnic Table made of pressure-treated pine boards has rust resistant hardware. It measures 72 inches long by 59 inches wide by 28 inches high and is $159 from Uline. 



Above: Made of unfinished maple, a compact Contemporary Chair measures measures 19 inches wide by 19 inches deep and is 32 inches high. It’s $299 from Urban Green Furniture.

Above: Made of unfinished solid pine, an Ivar Chair from Ikea is $25.

Above: Made of rubber wood, an unfinished Round Top Stool is 18 inches high; $34.13 from Wayfair.


Above: Made of pine, an unfinished Wood Outdoor Patio Chair can be folded for storage. It measures 26.5 inches high by 19.5 inches wide by 27 inches deep and is $89.99 from Overstock.


Above: Made of solid pine, an unfinished three-shelf cubby Sanford Hold-All measures 55 inches wide by 35 inches high. It is 11.5 inches deep. It is $149.88 from Mill Stores.

Above: An unfinished Outdoor Storage Unit made of spruce has a galvanized metal lid and measures 57 centimeters high by 77 centimeters wide by 42 centimeters deep. It is £170 from Cox & Cox.

Above: The Gorm System from Ikea offers simple shelving solution for the budget-minded. The Gorm 3-Section Shelving unit is made from pine and spruce; $81.96 from Ikea. 

Shopping for end-of-season bargains? See all our Outdoor Furniture picks. And if you’re in the throes of research to prepare for next spring’s purchases, see Remodelista’s Object Lesson: The Adirondack Chair.