Maximize Your Patio: 10 Tips for Choosing Outdoor Furniture

Category: Article     Tags: How-To, Tips

Creating the ideal outdoor living space hinges on making strategic decisions about patio furniture. This isn’t just about aesthetics – although that’s undeniably important – it’s also about functionality and longevity. In this blog post, I’ll share some personal insights and crucial considerations to help you craft your dream patio.

Never buy patio furniture that doesn't fit your space.
This table does not fit in this space. How do you walk around it? How do you sit in it?

Know your Space to Ensure Your Patio Furniture Fits

Before you get swept away by the myriad of furniture styles and materials available, assessing the space you’re working with is important. This is a vital step that should influence every furniture choice you make.

Remember that the size of your patio dictates what you can realistically fit. Whether it’s a table, a couch, or a lounge chair, you need to be able to safely navigate around it. Consider the space a fully pulled-out chair would occupy. A piece that’s too large could impede movement and make your patio feel cramped rather than cozy.

For instance, you might envision a grand table for outdoor dining but consider your actual needs. Are large dinner parties a regular occurrence? If not, a smaller, more manageable table could better serve you. Even at larger gatherings, guests often split into smaller groups, so multiple smaller tables might be more beneficial.

Remember, it’s about creating a functional, enjoyable space – not about squeezing in the largest furniture piece you can find.

Easily create your own outdoor living space with our easy to follow patio layout ideas.
Designer tip: At most gatherings, three people won’t sit on a couch. This leaves unused and wasted seating space. Consider three loveseats instead of a couch and two occasional chairs. You get more seating in the same space.

Choosing the Right Dining Tables and Chairs for Your Outdoor Living Space

Dining al fresco is a simple pleasure that never goes out of style. Choosing the right outdoor dining set is key to facilitating this. Consider your patio size, lifestyle, and personal style when choosing dining tables and chairs. Whether you’re hosting grand parties or intimate family meals, there’s a perfect set for your outdoor living space.

I have a penchant for folding teak chairs. Not only do they exude a timeless charm, but they’re also handy for accommodating extra guests during large gatherings. I often add them to the ends of my custom-designed stone table, which is purposefully open for handicap accessibility.

Teak folding patio chairs are always a good idea.
Wooden folding chairs always come in handy- and store away easily.

Adding to the discussion about size and fit, it’s okay if the large aluminum table with rocking chairs you love isn’t right for your patio. Instead of settling for a 4-top that won’t meet your needs, seek a smaller table in a different style or material. Metal tables, for example, tend to be smaller. In the end, what matters most is that you have functional furniture that fits your space.

Creating a Comfortable Lounge Area with Couch Seating, Coffee Tables, and More

A patio isn’t just for dining – it’s a place to lounge and relax. Creating a comfortable seating area with outdoor sofas, chairs, and coffee or side tables invites relaxation and conversation.

Wicker patio furniture comes in traditional and modern styles.

Remember, comfort is crucial, so investing in plush, weather-resistant outdoor cushions can elevate your space significantly. However, be mindful that they require proper storage to protect them from the elements. From personal experience, I can tell you they can take up considerable space. If you’re limited on indoor storage, consider incorporating a deck box or porch shed into your patio design. Some cleverly designed outdoor furniture even doubles as storage – think sofas with hidden compartments.

Add Personal Touches and Style to Your Patio with Decor and More

Your patio should be an extension of your personal style. Incorporate elements that reflect your personality, such as outdoor rugs, throw pillows, art pieces, and planters.

Unless you have a proper outdoor kitchen, I recommend a decorative ice chest or beverage cart instead of an outdoor refrigerator that requires electricity and struggles to stay cold in the heat. These can be filled with ice as needed, chilling drinks instantly and providing additional cold storage for any beverages your guests might bring along.

Understand the Pros and Cons of Various Outdoor Furniture Materials

Your choice of patio furniture material can greatly impact your space’s longevity and aesthetic appeal. Here are some common materials and their pros and cons:


  • Advantages:
    • Economical and offers a wide array of colors and styles.
    • Lightweight and easy to handle, facilitating flexible rearrangement.
    • Requires minimal upkeep and can be cleaned easily.
  • Drawbacks:
    • May have a less refined look and potentially less durability compared to other materials.
    • Exposure to the sun may result in color fading over time.
    • Some plastic options may not be environmentally friendly.


  • Advantages:
    • Cost-effective, durable, and can be refreshed with different paint colors.
    • Typically stackable, providing a space-saving advantage when not in use.
  • Drawbacks:
    • The linear design and style may not be a universal fit for every outdoor aesthetic.
    • Potential for rusting if not adequately treated or maintained.
    • Additional cushions might be necessary for comfort.


  • Advantages:
    • Rust-resistant, providing an edge over other metal furniture.
    • Versatile with regards to design and relatively lightweight.
  • Drawbacks:
    • Tends to be costlier than other metal furniture.
    • Additional cushions might be necessary for comfort.
    • The bulkiness might take up considerable space.


  • Advantages:
    • Brings a traditional and luxurious feel to the outdoor space.
    • Flexibility in use with or without cushions.
  • Drawbacks:
    • Can be pricier and requires regular upkeep.
    • May need periodical restaining or refinishing.
    • Typically heavy and bulky, which might limit easy rearrangement.


  • Advantages:
    • Replicates the aesthetic appeal of wood but without the associated maintenance hassles.
  • Drawbacks:
    • Tends to be heavier and pricier than other materials.
    • May show signs of fading or warping over time.
Polywood is a great low maintenance choice for outdoor furniture.
Polywood is beautiful and durable- but it doesn’t come cheap. Nothing good ever does.

Stone and Concrete

  • Advantages:
    • Offers flexibility in design.
    • Low-maintenance and semi-permanent, making it a lasting choice.
  • Drawbacks:
    • Limited color variations.
    • Quality and aesthetic appeal may significantly vary, potentially looking inexpensive or luxuriously expensive.
    • Lack of cushioning might require the addition of decorative pillows for comfort.


  • Advantages
    • Adds a touch of elegance and comfort to any outdoor living space. Its classic design pairs well with both modern and traditional decor.
    • Lightweight and easy to handle, facilitating flexible rearrangement.
    • Available in a wide variety of styles, colors, and even materials, including natural rattan and synthetic options.
  • Drawbacks
    • Traditional wicker furniture needs some form of weather protection. Prolonged exposure to moisture can lead to mildew or even structural damage. Synthetic variants, while more durable, may lack the authentic appeal of natural wicker.
    • Requires a higher level of care. It needs to be cleaned regularly and may require occasional re-weaving.
    • While wicker pieces are visually appealing, they might require additional cushions for enhanced comfort during prolonged use.
Your outdoor living space should reflect your personal style
Outdoor furniture need not be fancy or expensive. If it fits your style and space- use it.

Your patio can become a stylish and comfortable extension of your home with the right outdoor furniture choices.

As you navigate the journey of selecting outdoor furniture, remember to consider your lifestyle, preferences, and available space. Thoughtfully chosen pieces can transform your patio or deck into a personal sanctuary or a lively social hub. Don’t stress over what others may think. Buy what makes you happy and shows your personal style. You are the one that will be paying for and living with your choices. Any guest should be thrilled to be a part of your social gatherings. If they criticize your furnishings, I wouldn’t invite them back!

In our next blog post, we’ll discuss the art of outdoor lighting and how it can dramatically enhance your patio’s ambiance, turning it into an enchanting night-time retreat. Stay tuned!

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