View our guide to choosing the right outdoor furniture for your personal retreat.
Text by Suzanna Logan
1 of 8Photo by Troy Campbell
Make the most of your outdoor space with furniture that complements your favorite open-air activities.
Love the idea of dining alfresco? A traditional patio table set is an obvious choice, but conventional doesn’t necessarily mean boring. Look for styles with a center bowl that can double as an ice bucket or fire pit.
2 of 8Photo by Jean Allsopp
Need some solo time with your favorite beach read? A hammock is ideal for those lazy summer days when your hardest decision is whether to turn the page or take a snooze. To avoid the notorious imprint on your backside, opt for a hammock made of canvas instead of rope.
Want to have a backyard bash every weekend? An outdoor sectional with weather-resistant cushions accommodates a crowd. When entertaining, remember that furniture arrangements influence how your guests interact. A group of cushioned chairs and a low table will encourage guests to linger over drinks and conversation, while limiting seating options may cue them to mingle.
3 of 8Photo by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn
Choose Materials Wisely
Rust-resistant furniture stands up to years of sun exposure, and soggy bathing suits are never a problem on cushions covered in water-repellant fabric.
4 of 8Photo by Shelley Metcalf
5 of 8Photo by Jean Allsopp
Dining Al Fresco
Glass tabletops resist scratches and are easy to clean, however only glass that has been tempered to resist breaking should be used outdoors. Add a splash of color to your table with a glass top in bright aqua blue or a deep, marbleized red.
Tile tabletops can bring an artistic element to any outdoor space. They may chip, fade, or crack, depending on how it is sealed, though, so shield it from the elements to prevent premature wear.
6 of 8Photo by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn
Work Your Space
Think small spaces have cramped your outdoor lifestyle? With space-savvy furniture, you can dine, entertain, and relax even in the most spatially challenged area. A bistro table works on a cozy balcony, while stackable chairs can easily be tucked away when not in use. Even the simplest arrangement of casual chairs can transform an outdoor space into a popular gathering place.
7 of 8Photo by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn
Opt for Versatility
Whether rustic and sun-bleached or sleek and contemporary, versatile wood furniture looks at home on any porch or patio.
8 of 8Photo by J. Savage Gibson
Savor the Space
To unwind in space-smart style, choose a hanging swing or a chaise lounge that converts to a chair with a removeable footstool. A porch swing also invites you to take full advantage of coastal breezes.