Though Spring feels far in the future at this point — particularly with news outlets predicting “six more weeks of winter” from beloved groundhog — and cultural figure — Punxsutawney Phil, warm weather days will soon be upon us. With them will come the need for comfortable backyard furniture in which we can relax under the sun each weekend. Nothing soothes the soul quite like an afternoon spent in one’s favorite lounge chair in the backyard or on the patio — either reading a gripping book or spending much-needed time with friends. However, choosing the most comfortable lounge chair — and the most suitable for one’s needs, preferences and locale — can be complicated. This is particularly so given the hundreds of styles and dozens of materials available. To guide you on your patio furniture purchasing journey, follow below for a detailed list of the different types of outdoor lounge chairs and a bit of advice on how to choose the best lounge chair for your backyard!
(Left) Woodard Jax Wrought Iron Lounge Chair (Upper Right) Sunset West Quick Ship Provence Wrought Iron Club Chair in Canvas Flax with Self Welt (Lower Right) Lloyd Flanders Reflections Wicker Lounge Chair with Padded Seat
While one might think armchairs are best suited for indoor spaces, the cozy style is perfect for both warm and cold weather days spent outside reading a book or gazing at the scenery. Some of the best outdoor armchairs for hot weather are those made from wicker, rattan and cane. Woven reeds such as these allow air to pass through more easily, keeping the sitter cool and comfortable. Touchable metals that do not get too hot or too cold when exposed to weather are also ideal.
For outdoor armchairs with especially plush cushions, we recommend the Woodard Jax Wrought Iron Lounge Chair and the Sunset West Quick Ship Provence Wrought Iron Club Chair in Canvas Flax with Self Welt, both from PatioLiving. Both the backrests and the seat cushions are thick and supportive. The deep seat of the Woodard lounge allows the sitter to slightly recline while the streamlined aesthetic of the Sunset armchair makes it a space-saver. Our warm-weather pick is the Lloyd Flanders Reflections Wicker Lounge Chair with Padded Seat in “Woodland.”
There is perhaps no more classic an outdoor furniture legend than the Adirondack chair. Typically, made from wood or MDF, painted or coated in vibrant colors and boasting a no-muss, no-fuss design, Adirondack chairs offer seats low enough to stretch out one’s legs quite comfortably. In her article “Quick History: Adirondack Chairs” for Apartment Therapy, Anna Hoffman explains the enduring popularity of Adirondack chairs. Hoffman notes that time spent in an Adirondack chair is filled with memories and represents “the rustic luxury of a quiet hour” spent outdoors in nature. Invented in 1903 by Thomas Lee, Adirondack chairs were a swift success — particularly after Lee’s friend and carpenter Harry Bunnell stole and marketed the design.
Though the chair has “been adapted again and again,” a few hallmarks of the design remain. These include a “raked” back, “made out of between 3 and 7 slats of wood,” a slightly reclining back and a low, tilted seat. While the original Adirondack chairs were constructed from wood, today’s versions are made from alternative, more durable materials like recycled plastic and resin. Both resin and recycled plastic are often preferable to wood for outdoor furniture because they are weather and water resistant and degrade slowly when exposed to direct sunlight. Both are also incredibly lightweight, making them perfect for the often picked up and schlepped around Adirondack chair. Not only is the Adirondack a staple of summer Americana, but it is also a favorite of designers. If you have the space for one, an Adirondack chair is a timeless choice that will never go out of style, according to two of our designers. In her article “The Best Patio Chairs, According to Interior Designers” for The Strategist, Lauren Ro writes that “if you have the space for one, an Adirondack chair is a timeless choice that will never go out of style.” Our favorite Adirondack chairs from PatioLiving include the Frog Furnishings Adirondack Recycled Plastic Seaside Lounge Chair and the Panama Jack Adirondack Resin Chair.
(Left) Sika Design Georgia Garden Wicker Antique Cushion Daisy Chaise Lounge with Wheels (Upper Right) Panama Jack Onyx Wicker Cushion Chaise Lounge (Lower Right) Modloft Outdoor Netta Feather Gray Cushion Right Chaise Lounge
Ideal for those who prefer to stretch their legs out rather than sit upright, the chaise lounge is a frequent furniture guest alongside crystal-clear pools and fire pits alike. Separated into two major categories — adjustable and fixed — chaise lounges often feature thin seat padding and either a backrest or a side armrest. Most indoor chaise lounges are either right- or left-facing, with a single armrest, but outdoor chaises more often resemble extended recliners. The chic silhouette has long been adored by designers and continues to enthuse consumers across the globe. Best of all, outdoor chaise lounges can often seat two people at a time, making them the perfect choice for couples — or singles and their pets! Candace Osmond outlines the benefits of choosing a chaise lounge for your backyard in her article “15 Best Outdoor Chaise Lounge for Relaxing in the Backyard“ for HomeEdit.
Osmond writes that “an outdoor chaise lounge is usually a piece of furniture that’s designed for relaxing, napping, and sunbathing.” Settling into a chaise is “both an elegant and stylish way to relax.” However, when choosing your outdoor chaise lounge, Osmond recommends first considering “the amount of space that you have as chaise lounges typically cover more square footage.” As such, a long chaise lounge might not be the best choice for a thin balcony or shallow patio. Three chaise lounges with which we are particularly enamored are the Sika Design Georgia Garden Wicker Antique Cushion Daisy Chaise Lounge with Wheels, the Panama Jack Onyx Wicker Cushion Chaise Lounge and the Modloft Outdoor Netta Feather Gray Cushion Right Chaise Lounge.
Though some chaise lounges, Adirondack chairs and even rockers fall into this category, many outdoor lounge chairs fall solely into the "reclining chairs" category. With ultra-cushioned seats and high backs, reclining chairs can provide a surprising amount of back support while allowing one to stretch out and lean back. Our favorite outdoor recliners include the Summer Classics Newport Wicker Recliner Lounge Chair, the Woodard Andover Cushion Aluminum Recliner Lounge Chair and the classic coastal Summer Classics Croquet Teak Recliner Lounge Chair.
(Left) Outdoor Greatroom Lyndale Aluminum Cushion Highback Swivel Rocker (Upper Right) Lloyd Flanders Low Country Aluminum Porch Rocker Lounge Chair (Lower Right) Lloyd Flanders All Seasons Wicker High Back Porch Rocker
If one were challenged to find a more comforting and nostalgic chair than the rocking chair, he or she would likely end up drawing a blank. We love those pictured above because — with their trendy mixed media designs — each is capable of seamlessly transitioning from your outdoor space into your living room, dining room or bedroom. Madeleine Burry explains the incredible versatility of rocking chairs in her article “The 9 Best Rocking Chairs of 2021” for The Spruce. For a rocking chair you truly can bring into your living room with pride, we recommend the dual-toned Lloyd Flanders Low Country Aluminum Porch Rocker Lounge Chair from PatioLiving.
Burry writes that not only can rocking chairs be used indoors and outdoors, but they can also be “old-fashioned or modern looking” and many varieties can be found in exciting materials like industrial steel and sustainable materials like recycled plastic. Lastly, writes Burry, “while they’re great in the nursery for soothing babies as part of a nighttime ritual, they’re also a joy for people of all ages.” If possible, search for a rocking chair with a “super-plushy cushion,” which is what Elise Taylor recommends in her article “The Best Outdoor Furniture to Transform Your Backyard or Balcony Into the Ultimate Summer Sanctuary” for Vogue. To this end, we recommend the Outdoor Greatroom Lyndale Aluminum Cushion Highback Swivel Rocker.
Cabana chairs are comparable to Adirondack chairs in that they are easy to carry around, typically quite colorful and boast a surprisingly modern aesthetic. This style of outdoor lounge chair is hallmarked by a fabric sleeve which slips over either a foldable wooden or foldable metal frame. Elise Taylor explains why cabana chairs are a great choice for outdoor dining and sitting around the pool — and particularly for small spaces — in her article The Best Outdoor Furniture to Transform Your Backyard or Balcony Into the Ultimate Summer Sanctuary for Vogue.
Taylor writes that a cabana chair — or a slingback chair — “is perfect for those who need something simple.” The fun and punchy cabana chair is “affordable and lightweight (therefore easy to shift six feet apart)” if social distancing remains a must this coming Summer. For a classic — yet wonderfully updated and oh-so chic cabana chair — we recommend the Royal Teak Collection Sailmate Folding Arm Chair - Gray Sling from PatioLiving. If one prefers a brighter hue, we suggest two technicolor options: the EMU Snooze Steel Lounge Chair and the Frankford Umbrellas Oak Wood Beach No Foot Rest Lounge Chair.