Madison Avenue outdoor furniture by kathy ireland styled by Rachel Moriarty in front of a shed with multi-colored doors.

Outdoor Furniture Buying Guide

Picture this: it’s a beautiful, sunny day, and family and (if you’re ready) a few carefully selected friends are enjoying a backyard barbecue on your patio. The food is delicious, the drinks are cold, and everyone is having a great time as they relax on your outdoor furniture or gather around the bar. What could make for a better day?

To create a stunning outdoor living area, you’ll need the right outdoor furniture (like the kathy ireland Homes & Gardens Madison Ave. collection shown above, styled by Rachel Moriarty) to make your space comfortable, inviting, and attractive. Yet if you’re not sure where to start, choosing the right pieces can feel a little overwhelming. Find out everything you need to know about outdoor furniture with our simple buying guide. It will help you understand materials, styles, and how to find the right options for your deck.

 

An outdoor seating set with white cushions, brown woven resin wicker, and gold frames on a porch.

The right outdoor conversation set can make it feel like you’ve added a room to your home.

Outdoor Furniture Construction

You’ll find outdoor furniture in a variety of materials at almost every price point. As you evaluate your choices, it’s important to understand the construction of the frame, as well as the general materials used. In general, resin wicker and aluminum are an optimal choice for most buyers – here’s why.

Materials

The best outdoor furniture for your needs depends on a number of factors. Available materials include:

  • Wood, like teak, acacia, cedar, eucalyptus, and shorea
    • Pros: Wood offers a beautiful, natural look and ample strength.
    • Cons: Wood requires regular upkeep via sanding, painting, and staining, so be ready for maintenance. Additionally, wood is vulnerable to mold and rot after exposure to moisture. Plus, it can crack or splinter in excessively hot and dry conditions.
  • Wicker/rattan
    • Pros: Wicker provides a classic appearance that complements almost any outdoor seating and dining area. This furniture is comfortable, plus lightweight and flexible for easy placement and relocation.
    • Cons: Natural wicker is susceptible to moisture, just like wood outdoor furniture, and UV rays often cause fading over time. Its fibers also loosen over time, making it less comfortable and structurally sound as the years pass.
  • Resin wicker
    • Pros: Built for durability, resin wicker outdoor furniture guards against moisture, pests, UV exposure, and soils. It requires little maintenance over the years and can be simply rinsed clean as needed. You’ll never need to paint or stain it. And, it can be placed directly on the ground without worry about damage to your deck or patio. Resin wicker also offers the same beauty as rattan without the risks of fading and deterioration.
    • Cons: There are no real negatives to choosing resin wicker outdoor furniture. It’s strong, beautiful, and enduring to keep your patio comfortable season after season.
A light colored resin wicker loveseat with orange cushions on a beach next to blue crystalline water.

A resin wicker loveseat with an aluminum frame is beautiful and durable.

 

Frames

You might not see the frame of your outdoor furniture (like the loveseat shown above), but it’s just as important as the parts you can see. Its construction will determine the strength and stability of your seating and dining furniture. So, choosing high-quality options known for durability is important.

While steel and wrought iron provide ample stability, it’s important to remember that both materials are ferrous. This means they are susceptible to rust when exposed to moisture, especially in areas where the finish is damaged. Aluminum, a nonferrous metal, offers a superior alternative with all the strength and stability offered by iron and steel. In addition to resistance to rust and corrosion, aluminum is also known for excellent finish adhesion for strength and good looks that will last.

Outdoor Furniture Options

Now that you know how to choose the best quality outdoor furniture, it’s time to think about the pieces you’ll need for your home. Many homeowners with ample room prefer a mix of seating, bar, and dining furniture to create the ultimate outdoor living area. However, smaller spaces make a cozy outdoor retreat with a sofa, chairs, or sectional for conversation or a bar table for intimate dinners.

A pair of resin wicker chaise lounges with black cushions on a Mediterranean style balcony.

Chaise lounges are one of the many seating options for your outdoor space.

 

Available options include:

Outdoor Seating

  • Chairs: They are perfect for smaller spaces and creating additional seating.
  • Sofas: With a modular design featuring curved and straight sections, plus pieces with and without arms, it’s easy to create a custom seating configuration.
  • Chaise lounges: Stretch out in comfort to enjoy a good book, a nap, or a little sunbathing. Adjustable back angles provide personalized comfort in chaise loungers like the ones shown above.
  • Daybeds: Bring home resort-style luxury with a spacious daybed, where you can curl up with a loved one or savor the space alone.

A daybed is a luxurious way to relax on your patio.

Outdoor seating is often offered in sets, and with good reason. Choosing several pieces in the same finish and style make it easy to create a cohesive aesthetic across your deck. Best of all, it’s possible to match your outdoor dining furniture and bar to complete the look.

Outdoor Dining Furniture

Choosing the best outdoor dining furniture depends largely on your space. Long, rectangular tables are ideal for larger spaces, making it easy to host dinner parties and special events. For smaller spaces, choose a square table (like the one shown below) that’s perfect for date night on the patio or a family dinner. Meanwhile, outdoor dining chairs are smaller in size but should be just as comfortable as chairs for lounging. Choose options with or without arms, or mix it up to round out your seating.

An outdoor dining set with four chairs on a wood deck next to a roaring fireplace.

An outdoor dining set can make you feel like you’re dining at a chic hotspot with outdoor seating.

 

Outdoor Bar Furniture

If you love sipping cocktails on the patio, invest in outdoor bar furniture. These pieces are perfect for frequent hostesses and individuals with smaller decks alike, offering a more compact footprint than larger dining sets. In addition to pub-style tables, stools, and dining chairs, you’ll also find bars, storage accessories, and carts that make it easy to offer guests libations, snacks, and more.

A light colored resin wicker pub height outdoor dining set on a wood deck overlooking green trees.

A pub height dining table for your deck is a fun option for outdoor furniture.

Outdoor Accessories

Putting the finishing touches on your deck ensures you’ll enjoy warm spring days, balmy summer evenings, and cool fall nights in comfort and style.

  • Fire pits: The warm glow of a fire is welcome in any season. Fire pits are an ideal accent to your gatherings, giving guests a place to warm up if a chill sits in. Plus, you’ll love the effortless operation of a propane fire pit – there’s no heavy smoke and no wood to cut, haul, and store. Add a lazy Susan to transform yours into an extra table when not in use.
  • Ottomans: Whether you need extra seating or a place to kick your feet up, ottomans make a great addition to your outdoor entertaining area. Look for options with hidden storage to keep pillows, throws, toys, and more neatly concealed.
  • Umbrellas: Shade makes your deck more inviting, especially on the hottest summer days. Create cool oases with easy-to-operate umbrellas that shield you and your guests from the heat and harmful UV rays of the sun.
  • Storage chests: Nothing ruins the look of your patio like clutter. Stow portable speakers, cables, protective covers, and more in a convenient chest that complements your outdoor furniture and keeps everything tidy.
  • Pillows: A bold pattern or bright color adds a pop of vibrancy to any outdoor furniture set. Just as importantly, these stylish additions are essential when you’re ready to doze off in the sun.

And don’t forget protective covers for your furniture! While your outdoor furnishings are built tough to withstand sun, wind, and rain, covers off an added line of defense against the elements when they’re not in use. Look for high-quality, close-fitting covers designed for your furniture to ensure best results.

Find the Outdoor Furniture You’ve Been Dreaming Of

Are you ready to choose outdoor furniture? If so, be sure to visit Twin Star Home® for more tips, suggestions, and clever ways to make the most of your outdoor entertainment area. For even more ideas, visit our blog or subscribe to our newsletter!

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