Your outdoor patio is an extension of your home. You host guests, relax with your morning coffee, play with the kids, and more, all outside on your patio. So why not treat that space with the same care and consideration that goes into designing your living space?
There are many decisions to be made when it comes to outdoor design, but one of the most important considerations when designing your space is furniture. Patio furniture comes in many different configurations, materials, shapes, styles, colors… you name it! Choosing the right patio furniture for your lifestyle takes some research; lucky for you, we’ve put together this Patio Furniture Buying Guide to walk you through the steps to achieve your dream outdoor oasis.
Once you decide you want to purchase furniture for your patio, the next question you should ask yourself is a very important one: How do I want to use my outdoor space?
If you and your family enjoy dining alfresco, you’ll want to consider purchasing a dining table. If you typically host a lot of guests, you may want to consider an even bigger dining table. If entertaining isn’t your thing, but you like to enjoy the fresh air from time to time, you might fare best with a few lounge chairs. In other words, your patio should be a reflection of your lifestyle, so take some time to consider how you’ll be using your patio before making any decisions on the type of furniture that would suit you best.
Another important question is how much space do you have to work with? Sure, in an ideal world you wouldn’t have to choose between a dining set and a lounge set, but perhaps your backyard or patio just doesn’t have the space for both. Or maybe it does! Before you can choose what kind, and how much, patio furniture you want, you need to consider the size of your space.
People use their outdoor patios for all kinds of things, from big barbecues to solo sunbathing and everything in between. Once you determine the desired usage for your patio and how much space you have to work with, there are plenty of different types of patio furniture for you to choose from.
Dining Sets: Dining sets are ideal for hosting meals, be it with your entire extended family or just your significant other. Depending on the amount of people you plan on typically hosting, dining tables come in a variety of sizes and shapes, so you’ll be able to find the perfect set for your space. Dining sets include a dining table and dining chairs, and come in a variety of styles and materials.
The overarching category “dining sets” includes a number of subcategories, including casual sets, bistro sets, counter sets, and bar sets. Each of these is primarily used for dining, but differ in size and function. For example, bistro sets are small dining tables typically accompanied by one or two chairs. Counter sets and bar sets are tall and provide a more casual experience.
Lounge Sets: Lounge sets are made up of any combination of chairs, sofas, chaise lounges, coffee tables, and end tables. Think of your living room set up, but outside! Lounge sets come in a variety of materials and are often cushioned for added comfort. The make a great hub for your entertaining space, providing seating for your guests and a place to gather away from the dining table.
Seating: You can achieve backyard perfection without purchasing an entire patio furniture set. Individual seating options are available so you can mix and match to create your ideal space. Lounge chairs, chaise lounges, adirondack chairs, loveseats, benches, sofas, and swings are all great seating options for your space (not to mention dining chairs to go with your table!). The different seating options are available in a variety of materials, colors, finishes, and sizes, so you have the ability to create a unique vibe on your patio.
Tables: You might typically think of a dining table when you imagine a backyard patio, but there are many different types of tables you can incorporate into your outdoor space. Coffee tables, bar tables, fire pit tables, bistro tables, chat tables, console tables, end tables… the possibilities are endless! Each type of table ranges in size, height, and function, so be sure to explore each type of table to see what would work best with your usage and space.
To learn more about the different types of patio tables, check out our Patio Tables Buying Guide.
Umbrellas: If you like to enjoy your outdoor space but sometimes need a break from the sun, definitely incorporate an umbrella into your design. Umbrellas come in market or cantilever style, different sizes and shapes, and tons of fun colors to customize your patio. Some patio tables have an umbrella hole in the center where you can place your umbrella to shade guests seated at your table. Umbrellas can also be positioned with an umbrella base or stand to be placed near a lounge area. Some umbrellas even have tilt mechanisms, so you can position your umbrella to move along with the trajectory of the sun!
Our Patio Umbrellas Buying Guide will help you figure out which umbrella works best in your space.
Heaters: Outdoor heaters are a great, safe way to warm your patio on a chilly summer night. If you live in an area with cold temperatures, an outdoor heater will give you the ability to enjoy your patio for longer than usual! Heaters are typically powered by propane or natural gas, and all are safe for your space. They can be freestanding, portable, table top, and wall or ceiling mounted, and are available in a variety of finishes to match your desired aesthetic.
Check out our Patio Heaters Buying Guide to answer all of your questions about purchasing the proper outdoor heater.
Grills: Who doesn’t love a good barbecue? Hosting family and friends and cooking on the grill is an all-time favorite summer activity, and having a grill on your patio will ensure that your backyard is the place to be! Grills come in different sizes and styles to fit your needs. They are available in different varieties like charcoal, propane, natural gas, electric, smoker, and wood pellet.
Find the right grill for you by exploring our Grill Buying Guide!
Lighting: Lighting is an important, yet often overlooked, part of your patio design. If you want to enjoy your space even after the sun sets (and why wouldn’t you?!), it’s important to select functional and stylish lighting to illuminate your patio. Outdoor wall lighting, post lighting, hanging lights, ceiling lights, spot lighting, floor lighting, path lighting, and lamps are all of the options available to light your space. We also have outdoor ceiling fans, ideal for use on a covered porch. Each has a different style and, depending on your preference, you can mix and match styles to create your own unique look.
Check out our Outdoor Lighting Buying Guide for an in-depth look at the different styles available!
Rugs: You may not typically imagine putting a rug on your patio, but using one in your space creates the homey feel of an outdoor living room. Like indoor rugs, outdoor rugs come in a myriad of shapes, sizes, colors, and patterns to give your space a personalized look. The bonus? Outdoor rugs are made with durable materials suitable for outdoor use, so no need to worry about rainfall or muddy shoes!
Our Outdoor Rugs Buying Guide outlines the different choices you have when it comes to choosing an outdoor rug.
Materials are an important part of choosing patio furniture, because different climates and areas may require different materials to ensure they remain beautiful and functional throughout the seasons. Different materials vary in weight and strength, so you may want to consider where and how you will be placing your furniture before deciding on a material.
Do you live somewhere that is typically very windy? You may want to invest in heavier furniture, like wrought iron, so you don’t have to worry about it blowing away. Do you think you’ll be moving your furniture around frequently? Something light like wicker might be best.
The different materials available for outdoor furniture are aluminum, cast aluminum, wrought iron, steel, wicker, rattan, recycled plastic, natural wood, and teak, and each has different pros and cons depending on your local weather conditions and desired look.
Check out our Outdoor Materials Buying Guide for a more in-depth look at the different materials available and what would be best for your space.
Choosing a style of seating, like lounge chairs or chaise lounges, is one thing, but choosing the type of seating is another. That is, do you want a cushion seat? A sling seat? A wood seat? It all depends on how you’ll be using the chair.
If you’re placing chaise lounges near a pool for sunbathing, you’ll probably want a water-resistant material like strap or recycled plastic. A sofa or lounge chair might be best fitted with cushions, because those seats are typically used for relaxing and need to be nice and cozy. Sling chairs are durable and water resistant, while natural wood chairs have a timeless look.
The type of seating you choose is entirely dependent on your personal preference and style. Don’t be afraid to get creative and mix and match textures!
Finding the perfect patio furniture depends on how you plan to use your patio, and how much space you have to work with. You can mix and match tables and chairs to create a unique spot, or you can opt for a more traditional dining set or lounge set to maximize your entertaining space. Furniture comes in all different configurations, styles, sizes, colors, and materials, so you’ll be sure to find something that fits your personal style. Just remember to consider the weather in your area so you get furniture that will last you for years to come. If you have an off season, be sure to get patio covers to protect your furniture and keep it safe until the summer.
Now that you know all the tricks to finding your patio furniture, browse PatioLiving for the best selection of furniture to complete your backyard oasis!