Patio furniture ideas can encompass a range of styles depending on the size of your outdoor space, the type of house you live in and your lifestyle. From outdoor seating areas for sipping sundowners and entertaining friends, to sheltered spots for alfresco lunches or moonlit meals, with a little imagination and planning, a beautiful outdoor space can easily be yours.
“Your patio furniture is often the first thing you see when you enter the garden, and with the recent popularity of glass-fronted extensions, they’re often clearly visible from your home, so they need to look good,” says garden designer Catherine Clancy.
From a design point of view, the furniture can make or break your patio ideas, so getting it right is crucial. Get inspired by these designer ideas for a super stylish, well-appointed patio.
10 patio furniture ideas for your garden
“It’s really important that you get out your tape measure, measure your patio, and then chart the locations of your patio furniture before you buy them,” Catherine Clancy continues. “Bring your indoor table and chairs outside so you can visualize the space and make sure you have the right size and amount of furniture. Choose quality pieces that suit your taste, the style of the garden and your home.’
1. Maximum space with dual-use seating
Built-in outdoor seating can maximize small spaces and serve as additional summer storage when waterproofed. If you are spatially savvy, you can make room for a fire pit or more patio furniture.
“Bespoke seating can be designed to flow with your garden style; Stone and brick can be manipulated to create comfortable bases for cushions, and wood can be used to seamlessly create elegant dual-use seating,” says award-winning landscape architect Kate Gould (opens in new tab).
“Individual elements can be adapted precisely to corners or difficult space conditions so that you can make optimal use of the garden. Sofas or benches with fold-up seats for storing cushions are also very useful, especially in a rainy climate where removing and replacing cushions can be more than a daily occurrence and a real chore.’
2. Choose design classics
As with interiors, furnishing your garden with modern design classics (or pieces influenced by them) gives a stylish, timeless look.
“Classic café furniture always looks good and is fun,” says James Mair, founder of design showroom Viaduct (opens in new tab). “Wood doesn’t age, and minimal, simple shapes do, too. However, remember that skinny legs can be an issue if they are skinny enough to fall through gaps, so chairs with metal poles are great.
“Personally, I prefer round tables for small gatherings. Remember the numbers the table uses to determine the correct size. For example, roughly calculate the perimeter of a table by multiplying the diameter by 3, then allow 25 inches per person.’
3. Consider low sofas to rest on
When it comes to relaxing outside on a sunny day, comfort is key, so consider the size and style of the sofa in relation to your garden patio and whether you want to sit, lounge or both.
“The best way to create a calming deck space is with furniture long enough to lie on, plenty of shade, and lush plants surrounding the space. I like to surround a cozy space with pots, which adds a soft aesthetic,” says landscape designer Kate Anne, founder of Kate Anne Designs (opens in new tab).
“The key is in the walkability of the space and out to the rest of the courtyard. I also try to position the dining area layout so that it doesn’t block the view of the courtyard from inside the house.’
4. Upcycle chairs for a mismatched style
Mixing vintage or upcycled pieces results in an original look that’s hard to duplicate. Even better when you’ve saved perfect furniture from the landfill and given it your own creative touch with the best exterior paint.
“A coat of chalk paint is the easiest way to instantly transform your patio furniture,” says color expert Annie Sloan (opens in new tab). “Strong white, Mediterranean neutrals or tropical light tones bring sunshine and keep you in a good mood all year round.
“If you’re feeling bold, paint each chair a different color. Or create a neutral spectrum from light to dark. Just remember to protect the furniture afterwards with waterproof UV protection chalk varnish.’
5. Add interest with earthy tones and textures
Natural materials and neutral tones look beautiful outside, but can look a little boring on a wooden deck if you’re not careful.
Keep patio furniture from looking soulless by using lots of wonderful textures and earth tones. These simple white wicker chairs look gorgeous paired with a reclaimed wood coffee table and lots of terracotta flower pots against an olive green wall.
“When you choose colors, pick up the tones you’ll find in your garden, house, or other outdoor decoration,” says garden designer Catherine Clancy (opens in new tab). “You can choose bold furniture colors or go for neutral furniture and reserve bolder colors for pillows and accent pieces so you can change them up.”
6. Separate dining and seating areas
If your patio space is limited, prioritize how you want to use it. Do you prefer dining on your covered patio and lounging in a sunny spot in the garden, or vice versa?
“Think about how you want the space to be used and how you want it to feel before you decide which elements to include,” says Catherine Clancy. “This creates a coherent, separate dining and seating area. Ideally you need to leave at least 3 feet around your dining table and chairs to allow chairs to be pulled out comfortably and safely.’
7. Mix furniture with foliage
Palm tree footprints have been a huge interior trend for a while and will remain so for a while with the rise of the biophilic design look. So where better to place a leaf print than on the upholstery of your patio furniture?
Using a botanical or palm tree print for your outdoor seating cushions is a fun way to mix indoor and outdoor style. Especially when you repeat it with the real deal.
In addition, research has shown that looking at natural colors like green lowers our heart rate and makes us calmer. This is how your patio furniture looks good – and feeling Well.
8. Introduce woven plant fibers
It goes without saying that natural materials work well outdoors, but think beyond wood when considering patio furniture ideas. More wood on a deck can look a bit ‘same’ and there is a plethora of plant fibers used to make stylish patio furniture.
“When it comes to textures and materials in the garden or patio, 2022 is all about incorporating elements that feel natural,” says Juliette Thomas, founder of Juliettes Interiors (opens in new tab). “From raffia and jute to rope, natural materials are an aesthetically modern choice. In addition to ensuring a seamless connection with nature, woven materials like wicker are a more sustainable option for outdoor spaces.”
9. Furnishings as inside
If you plan to spend a lot of time outdoors this summer, make your patio furniture as inviting as your interior with attractive accessories.
Choose durable materials like wood and steel for permanent pieces like mirrors, lighting, or side tables as they can withstand the elements.
And make sure you can store softer items like pillows, throws and rugs when the weather gets cooler.
“Always use quality furniture with aluminum or stainless steel frames if they’re metal, or hardwood if they’re wood. And any soft upholstery fabrics should be permeable and designed for the outdoors,” advises landscape architect Charlotte Rowe (opens in new tab).
10. Go for a sleek, integrated option
To save space on a small patio or garden, opt for built-in seating that complements your fence and surrounding walls. In the summer you can cover and hang it up with comfortable pillows and throws. While it becomes a perch for hardy potted plants in winter, it practically disappears into the background.
“The coordination of the materials is crucial to achieve a cohesive effect. By choosing elements that fit together or speak to your scheme, you achieve a much better whole,” says landscape designer Kate Gould (opens in new tab).
Which furniture is suitable for a terrace?
“Anodized aluminum works well, as does epoxy powder coated steel, and some woods will develop a beautiful patina with age,” says Viaduct founder James Mair. “The priority is storage. Where does the furniture live when not in use or in winter? Does it have to live outdoors all the time? If storage space is limited then check out the stacking and folding options.
“If wooden furniture is left outside all year round, then I would only recommend hardwood. In the spring, give it a scrub and let it dry naturally. The gray patina that develops over the years always blends in well with a garden.’
How should furniture be arranged on a terrace?
“Furniture should never crowd your patio, there should be plenty of room to move around,” says garden designer Catherine Clancy. “As a general rule, try not to fill more than two-thirds of the patio area with furniture or it will look cluttered. Less is more. People should walk around and feel comfortable.’