Buying Guide

How to Choose the Best Patio Furniture for You

Types of Furniture

There are many types of furniture available for use on your patio, so the best time to select outdoor furniture is well before you need it. Draw out your outdoor layout on grid paper and experiment with styles and placements so you can get the best combination to serve your needs.


Chairs

The most common types of outdoor chairs are sling chairs, cushion chairs and caned or woven chairs. 

Sling Chairs

Sling chair

Sling Chairs

Constructed with a back and seat of soft material looped around a frame, sling chairs have the advantage of being lightweight, easy to move around and are usually the least expensive type of patio chair.

Cushion Chairs

Cushion Chairs

Cushion Chairs

Cushion chairs have more substantial bases and are sold with back and seat cushions, and occasionally, decorative cushion in coordinating colors.

Woven Chairs

Woven chairs

Woven Chairs

Woven chairs such as wicker or cane are traditionally made of natural plant fibers, but can now also be made of plastic or paper-wrapped wire. Woven chairs are noted for their beauty, and are often a choice for outdoor furnishings in the South. All-weather wicker is usually preferred for patio furniture that will be constantly exposed to the elements.

Large Format Seating

Large patio seating

Large Format Seating

If the size of your family or your social group requires more seating, rather than add more chairs, consider large format seating. A loveseat for two or a three- or four-seat sofa takes up more physical space, but can reduce the number of pieces needed to accommodate everyone comfortably. A larger outdoor seating option also serves as a visual anchor for your setup the same way it does indoors.

Accessory Seating

Non-traditional seating options such as benches or swings can provide fun variety to your outdoor décor.

Bench Seating

Bench seating

Bench Seating 

Usually available in wood or metal, bench seating offers years of durability.

Glider or Swing

Glider

Glider or Swing

Gliders or swings adds homey charm to your decor. A porch or patio swing will need a spot where it can be hung, either from a sturdy beam or its own frame. A glider is a better choice for small spaces and open air patios.

Chaise Lounge

Chaise

Chaise Lounge

Comfortable and versatile, a long chaise adds a dramatic look to your outdoor set.

Garden Stools

Garden Stools

Garden Stools

Before selecting a garden stool to serve as seating, make sure to check the weight rating. Some are not meant to be used as seats, only as decor or occasional tables.

Tables

Tables

Tables

Your patio tables should harmonize with your seating, but also be functional. Think about how you’ll use the outdoor space most often and design around it. 


  • Provide at least one side table for every two chairs.
  • Large-format seating might look better with an outdoor coffee table in the mix. 
  • Bar-height tables make excellent buffet space, allowing guests at outdoor gatherings to easily help themselves.

Patio Sets

Patio Sets

Patio Sets


The easiest way to purchase patio furniture is to buy in sets. A patio set will come in all kinds of styles and sizes from a simple bistro set with two chairs and a coordinating table, all the way up to a dining set with seating for six or eight. 


The advantage of buying in sets is that you can easily outfit an entire patio for one price and all the furniture will be perfectly matched. However, you are limited to a single style; if you tend toward a more eclectic style, purchasing a set as your sole outdoor decor may be less satisfying. 


Use accessories to introduce additional color and texture into a patio furniture set and make it more personal.

Materials

Materials

Outdoor furniture is constructed from a wide range of materials. To help ensure you get the maximum durability out of your furniture, look for cushions with treated polyester fibers that allow water to run off and air to filter through, keeping them fresh.


Aluminum

  • Lightweight
  • Doesn't rust or fade
  • Low maintenance
  • Available in a variety of colors
  • Powder-coat finish provides durability
  • Use car wax or mineral oil to protect surface
  • Wash with soapy water and rinse


Plastic 

  • Lightweight
  • Often stackable 
  • May be made of recycled materials
  • Apply cleaners that prevent mildew
  • Rinse down with water


PVC (poly-vinyl chloride)

  • Lightweight
  • Low maintenance
  • Available in many colors
  • Wash with soapy water and rinse


Steel

  • Sturdy and durable
  • Requires little to no assembly
  • Comfortable
  • Apply protective finish to prevent rust
  • Wash with mild soap and rinse


Wicker and Rattan

  • Lightweight and flexible
  • Durable and comfortable
  • Available in a variety of color
  • Dust occasionally
  • Use all-weather fabrics unless furniture is protected
  • Wash with mild detergent and rinse


Wood

  • Types available include teak, cedar, cypress, pine and more
  • Teak provides an ideal combination of beauty and durability
  • Solid and sturdy
  • Use paint with UV filters to prevent fading
  • May require preservative
  • Wash with soapy water and rinse
  • Use brightener and oil to maintain original appearance


Wrought Iron

  • Sturdy and durable
  • May be mounted on wheels
  • Available in a wide range of designs
  • Use paint to touch up cracks
  • Apply rust protection
  • Wash with mild soap and rinse

Fabric Types

Standard Patio Furniture

Standard

  • 2-year warranty
  • Water resistant
  • Most inexpensive option

CushionGuard

CushionGuard

CushionGuard

  • 3-year warranty
  • Water resistant
  • Fade resistant
  • Stain resistant
  • Exclusive to The Home Depot

Sunbrella

Sunbrella

Sunbrella

  • 5-year warranty
  • Water resistant
  • Fade resistant
  • Machine washable
  • Highest upfront investment

Sun Exposure

Constant exposure to the sun's rays can cause patio furniture to fade. If your patio or deck has direct exposure to the sun, consider adding an umbrella or a retractable awning to protect seating areas from the heat and soften harsh light. In addition, consider UV- and weather-resistant fabric for cushions to provide your patio furniture with built-in sun protection and increased durability.

Patio Accessories

Patio Accessories 


If you don't want to hassle with manually deploying your awning, look for one that allows you to retract it with the push of a button.


Accordion tables expand and collapse as needed to create extra space or save room. They make great additions if you want to have enough table space for occasional parties but prefer to have more room to move around the rest of the time.


Carts are mounted on wheels and provide convenient storage and extra surface space in one stylish package.


  • Wheels/Casters 

Some items come mounted on wheels or casters for easier mobility. This is especially desirable in items constructed of heavier materials including wrought iron or steel.


  • Collapsible/Modular Design 

Some pieces of outdoor furniture are designed to collapse or come apart for easier storage and/or transport.


If you’re looking for inspiration, check these amazing patio design ideas and creative backyard patio makeovers.