Ideas for…Outdoor Furniture

View our guide to choosing the right outdoor furniture for your personal retreat.

Patio Furniture Arrangements

Photo by Troy Campbell

Think Functionally

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.

Swinging Hammock and Cushioned Chairs

Photo by Jean Allsopp

Consider Compatibility

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.

Durability of rust-resistant furniture and outdoor fabric

Photo 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.

Tropical Open Air Patio with a Pair of Wicker Chairs

Photo by Shelley Metcalf

Go Casual

Wicker gives outdoor spaces a casual, laid-back feel. For low-maintenance lounging opt for synthetic wicker (a metal frame wrapped in a vinyl or resin material). 

Patio Tabletops Made of Glass or Tile

Photo 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.

Screened Porch With Whitewashed Metal Chairs

Photo 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.

Weathered Colorful Chest of Drawers for the Deck

Photo 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.

Hanging Porch Swing with Colorful Beach Pillows

Photo 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.

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