A carefully planned outdoor patio will get used more, and it can turn into a lovely gathering space when the weather cooperates. In order to create this kind of sanctuary, you need a welcoming, sunny space with enough room, good food, libations and the best patio furniture for your needs and budget. You don’t have to spend a fortune to achieve this, but you should not skimp on quality, durability or comfort, either.
Choosing the Best Patio Furniture
Before shopping for patio furniture, know first that form needs to follow function. In other words, how do you plan to use the patio? Some homeowners will want a top-of-the line barbecue and a table for eight as the focal points for entertaining. Others will lean more towards soft chairs they can sink into, and a more romantic ambience.
Couches, side tables and fire pits are perfect for outdoor dining and cocktail parties. If there is enough room, you can set up a conversation area plus a separate reading nook that can serve as a small, private refuge. Can’t decide? There is no reason why you can’t create a versatile outdoor patio that does it all (or almost all), even with limited space.
Patio Furniture Priorities
Continuing along the function theme, outdoor living is all about relaxation, so your patio furniture should be easy to care for. Heavy and bulky pieces are hard to move, frustrating to clean and they can rust. Opt for all-weather wicker, cedar, teak or metal instead. To make your patio seating more comfortable, choose some cozy outdoor cushions or pillows with removable covers.
You can even add a rustic outdoor blanket when the temperatures dip down; just remember to take everything in before it rains. Speaking of which, you can pick up an inexpensive outdoor storage bin to toss the cushions in when you need to. Keep them inside during the cold winter months if that applies to your region, however.
Once you have moved on to the shopping phase, it is wise to try out the seating before buying. Remember, it all has to look and feel appealing. Some patio sets have plush cushions included, so make sure that the fabrics are weather- and fade-resistant. Of course, they won’t last forever, but higher quality means longer-lasting comfort and durability.
Best Patio Furniture Materials
Many people prefer wood patio furniture for its rustic, homey look. Choose durable, water-resistant grains like eucalyptus or teak, otherwise you may have to seal the furniture every year. Wood furniture may also be prone to cracking, splitting and rotting over time.
Some of the best patio furniture is made from aluminum, which is lightweight, easy to clean and does not rust. Look for pieces with UV-resistant finishes, powder coating, seamless welds and rust-proof hardware.
Wrought-iron patio furniture is definitely heavier, but it is lighter and more modern than old-fashioned versions. Still, it is harder to move because of its weight.
Best Patio Furniture for Small Spaces
Is your patio on the small side? Worry not; Southern Living emphasizes that size is not an indicator of greatness. Do not put large or bulky patio furniture on smaller patios and balconies, as this will overcrowd them. Find furniture that suits your space. No matter how much room you’re working with, start by picking a statement piece to serve as a focal point, and accessorize from there.
A wicker lounge chair can be a lovely way to start, and you can add a side table, potted plants and a footrest. This can be just enough in tiny spaces, offering a nice little escape when you need it. Small loveseats also look nice, as does seating with built-in storage on the bottom, like a bench. A bar-height dining set with two or four chairs is a great way to open up the space. You can also try folding chairs, which do not take up a lot of room.
Working within Your Budget
Patio furniture can be expensive, so you may want to set a budget before making purchases. While it is fine to purchase a few inexpensive resin tables or chairs for when you need extra seating, these should not be your main pieces. Buying cheap pieces can be wallet-friendly at first, but before you know it, you will have to buy things all over again.
Bargain-priced wood, metal and wicker can also be ready for the trash after just a few years. Do your research before buying, and look for patio furniture that is well-reviewed and affordable. You can spend less on accessories, like lighting, outdoor rugs, plants, cushions and blankets. Also seek out furniture that can serve multiple purposes. This is another good way to save money on outdoor patio furniture.