Thinking about overhauling your patio area but not quite sure what direction to take it in? There are a lot of choices out there, and it can be a little overwhelming to try to find outdoor furniture that matches your home, your outdoor space, and your entertaining style. This quick and easy patio furniture style guide will take you through the basics, and hopefully give you a few ideas for where to start.
One of the very most traditional types of outdoor furniture is the ornate wrought iron bench. Right at home in blooming gardens and whimsical pathways, beautiful patterned metal benches, seats, and tables are perfect for people with a lot of lovely landscaping and an entertainment style that focuses on lazy afternoons rather than late night soirees. This Florence Garden Bar Set (and matching Garden Bench) from Caluco are perfect old world style, but are made of powder coated cast aluminum, which is much lighter than wrought iron, and won’t rust. Plus, they come with comfy, weather-resistant cushions, so they’re a little more comfortable than the old fashioned way!
Casual But Classy
Wood is another extremely popular material for outdoor furniture. From picnic benches to the iconic Adirondack chair, planked wood is a logical choice for a kind of furniture to put on your (wood plank) deck. Wood seating and tables are comfortable and homey, and just a little bit rustic, which is a great way to give your patio a casual, outdoorsey feel. If you hate splinters, warped, faded, or splintered wood, opt for something like this 11 Piece Teak Dining Set. Teak and Ipa woods are naturally weather resistant, and will stand up to aging much better than almost any other type of wood, so be sure you’re getting patio furniture made with the right materials to maximize durability and life of your set. Of course, good design is important, too. In this set, the chairs stack and the table has an expandable leaf, so the set can easily be stored or adjusted to the size of your party – perfect for back yard entertainers and grill aficionados.
For a quaint, homey look and feel that’s a little more inviting (and comfortable) than wrought iron, you can’t beat wicker. The woven material is iconic cottage style, and perfect for creating a timeless lounge space – great for a sunny brick or stone patio, or even an enclosed porch. Be aware, though, that natural wicker (sometimes called rattan) can be expensive, and aren’t exactly known for their longevity. Natural wicker is extremely susceptible to harsh weather conditions, and will become brittle and crack over time. If you love the look, though, opt for synthetic wicker patio sets like this Key West Set, which are made of rust-proof aluminum framing and weather resistant resin wicker (which looks just like the real thing, but wont crack or fade).
Modern patio furniture is starting to become hugely popular. With simple, sleek lines and subtle but stylish design, modern patio furniture is easy to like, easy to place, and easy to sit on. Especially because modern patio furniture often has a modular design to it and is sold in individual pieces as well as larger sets, it’s easy to accommodate a larger space and get a little more creative with your design. This Ipanema set is maybe a little curvier than most, but is easy to move around and adjust to create unique seating shapes to suit your party, no matter how many guests you have. Plus, a modern design will give your patio a sleek, sophisticated finish without a lot of ornamentation, which is great if you like to do a lot of your own accessorizing.
Retro patio furniture is starting to make a comeback. Especially with the wealth of new rust-resistant and weatherproof materials, old styles are finding new life in longer-lasting forms. From wire chairs to brightly colored clear plastic patio furniture like this Ruffle Chair and Prisma Stool, it’s easier than you might think to get a groovy, throwback style for your patio. A nice bonus? Many of these pieces are stackable and stowable, but a whole lot more stylish than your average plastic patio chair.
Island Resort Inspired
If you spend a lot of time poolside, or if your dream vacation is a fancy hotel with a big pool and a view of the Caribbean, this is the patio furniture for you. Often these are fairly modern in design, using synthetic wicker in dark colors and thick white padding. But instead of chairs or tables, we’re talking lounges, chaises, and outdoor beds. I particularly like this Hampton Outdoor Bed, which has a huge umbrella to shade the sun, two adjustable seats, and storage underneath for all your spare towels – perfect for lounging, tanning, or just soaking up the summer.
In one sense, going with compact or collapsible patio furniture is more of a practical choice than a stylistic one, but space saving outdoor furniture does have its own certain flair – especially when you start to get into the more creative designs. Stackable plastic chairs is one thing, but something like this Naples Table Set from Zuo is a whole lot more fun. Like stacking dolls, this whole set nests inside itself – ottomans inside the chairs, and chairs perfectly underneath the table, so when you’re not using them, you have a perfect resin wicker cube with a tempered glass table top, but when you have guests, you have seating for four (or eight, if you use the padded ottomans as seats!). So if you’re tight on space, make the most of it by choosing fun, innovative furniture designs to give your space some character.
What’s your patio furniture personality? Do you like intricate, English-garden style benches or are you looking to create your own hotel-style poolside lounge?