Choosing patio furniture for your home can seem like an overwhelming task, but it doesn't need to be. By working through a checklist beginning with space and aesthetic then ending with accessories, you can focus on what will truly meet your needs, work with your patio space, and make you want to spend time outside. These are our top ten tips for choosing furniture for your patio.
Tip #1: Consider the size of your patio
Before purchasing patio furniture for your home, it's essential to consider your patio's size. Some backyards have a space large enough for both a seating area and a dining area, while others need to condense both into one flexible option.
If you have enough space, dedicate one section of your patio to a sitting area. This is perfect for casual get-togethers with friends where you'll be enjoying appetizers while watching the kids play. A mixture of chairs and sofas centered around a table is ideal.
For the dining area, choose a table that is based on how you entertain. If you hold larger dinner parties throughout the summer and have the space, a rectangle or oval patio table will suit your needs better. If you're lacking in space or prefer a more intimate space, a table that seats four to six people is ideal.
If you don't have an awning or tree coverage, it's a good idea to find a table with an umbrella hole, so you can add an umbrella for added shade. There are also free-standing umbrellas you can reposition based on the sun’s position throughout the day.
For patios with limited space, you can choose a setting that meets both needs. A casual dining environment designed as a sitting area maximizes your usable space.
Tip #2: Know your design aesthetic
There's an array of possibilities for patio furniture, which is beneficial. But it can also be hard to choose! Before you begin your search for specific pieces, narrow down your design aesthetic, and pick a few styles that appeal to you. This will refine your search, so you can find the perfect patio furniture for your home.
Our Pinterest channel is an invaluable resource, and can help spark inspiration for the final product. Once you see different finished spaces, you can begin searching for the right combination of pieces.
Tip #3: Choose materials based on location
Depending on where you live, some materials will perform better than others. Humid areas will suit teak furniture while iron frames are best for dry climates. Living in a dry, hot city like Phoenix will damage wicker furniture in the same way that wrought iron furniture will rust when living near the beach.
"If you live in a climate where temperatures dip below freezing routinely and remain there for extended periods than it’s best to consider solid surface, cast style or slatted aluminum table tops, compared to a mosaic stone or mosaic porcelain tile table top," explains John DiOrio of Peak Season.
By taking this into account, you can find the best patio furniture for your location so it will last for many years.
Tip #4: Invest in high-quality patio furniture
Even if you choose the right material for your climate, patio furniture is subjected to the elements. If you’re unable to move your furniture into storage during poor weather, the elements can affect the material. Durable pieces are key. It can be tempting to snag a good deal but investing in high-quality patio furniture, especially dining sets, means these pieces will last for many years.
Jess Flanders of Lloyd Flanders explains, "Far too often people fail to invest in quality furniture that will withstand the elements and end up having to re-purchase after a year or two. Higher quality costs more but could last 20 years or more with minimal maintenance."
When you prioritize these high-quality pieces, your patio will serve you well into the future.
Tip #5: You don't need to purchase a set
Patio sets are often a good choice for those wanting an efficient solution, but it's possible to make your own, too! Mix and matching your patio furniture can help create something that's truly you. This means you'll also only purchase what you need, so you don't have extraneous pieces that need to go somewhere.
DiOrio explains Peak Seasons' motivation to help buyers shop in new ways, "Historically, patio furniture was sold in full collections where all pieces matched… (i.e. all wicker, all cast or all iron) and therefore most consumers limited the styling of their outdoor space.
"We find that families don’t furnish their indoor spaces this way. … We introduced an eclectic offering of accents, from side & coffee tables to poufs and unique stone products. All accents are designed for outdoor use and coordinate across collection lines. The home owner can now create an outdoor room without sacrificing style, comfort and functionality."
To begin mix and matching, select a focal point. This could be a color, unique chair, or a dining table. Then, begin to add pieces based on your aesthetic, available space, and goals. Don't forget the cushions and other accessories that often come with sets that you won't receive when purchasing a la carte.
Tip #6: Know how you will use your patio
Similar to knowing the size of your space, it's also important to know how you're anticipating using the space. Some prefer a kid-friendly area with toys and furniture that can be washed easily. Others want to create an oasis perfect for relaxing after a long day of work.
If you enjoy an oasis but also want it to easily transform into an entertaining-friendly space, choose dual-purpose furniture like ottomans that can be used as a footrest, table, or seat.
When you design based on need, you can create a space you'll love coming home to.
Flanders continues, "The only true 'must have' is the right furniture that will make you want to use your patio. The prettiest table setting in the world won't make you want to linger after dinner if the chairs are uncomfortable, just like the perfect throw pillow can't transform a poorly made sofa. Start with the priority pieces and add from there."
Tip #7: Extend your patio's use with outdoor heat
Fire pits are for more than s'mores with friends! Outdoor heating is another patio addition that can extend your patio's use each season. There are fire pits in every possible style, including those that convert into a table, making smart use of your space.
Patio heaters are another way to use your patio when the temperature begins to drop. These propane heaters have a tip-over sensor and radiate heat throughout a space.
Tip #8: It's more than the furniture
When choosing your new patio furniture, consider the surfaces you'll need. Jess Flanders also suggests a rolling bar cart for the ultimate in flexibility. It acts as storage, additional serving space, and can help you transport food or drinks from your house across the patio.
"After selecting your staples (a sofa or sectional for seating, and a table and chairs for dining), consider multi-purpose pieces that will add flexibility to your space. Ottomans and benches can serve as a footrest, table, or extra seating. Caster carts can easily be moved around. A couple of extra dining chairs add seating without taking up a lot of space."
Reserving part of your budget for these types of items will maximize the functionality of your patio, which is particularly helpful if you will be entertaining frequently.
Tip #9: Remember accessories
Once you've found the larger pieces like tables and chairs, it's time to bring your patio together with accessories. This includes accent pillows, lanterns, and decorative pieces.
Cushions and accent pillows are especially helpful for otherwise uncomfortable seating like certain metal chairs.
Lanterns provide beautiful mood lighting for relaxing evenings spent on the patio, and there are options for all design aesthetics. Decorative pieces may not be purely functional, but they help bring the space together.
This is particularly important if you're not purchasing a patio set, because you may need to purchase items that would otherwise be included.
As DiOrio explains, "The balance comes with the other appliances that allow you to enjoy the outdoor room, such as the outdoor kitchen, and flat screen TV, and the fire or water feature. The non-essentials just cap it all off and finish out the room."
Tip #10: Choose what you love
Ultimately, it's your patio! Regardless of style guides and recommendations, you should love the space you create. Focus on creating a space that meets your functional needs and design aesthetic and enjoy the process of creating your own unique patio.
When you begin with focusing on what your space needs and how you can fully utilize the space, you can ensure the final product is just right. Adding heating, shade, and accessories help tie your patio together so you can enjoy it for years to come.
At Evans Lane, we love helping our customers find the right pieces of outdoor furniture to make their patio perfect. Call us at (866) 845-8485 to get started now. Not only we can we offer expert advice over the phone, but we can send you a fabric swatch or a wicker sample to help make your purchase an easy decision.