The Different Types of Patio Furniture | National Outdoor Furniture

The patio outside your home has numerous possibilities in terms of use and decor, but they only happen if you pick the right furniture. It is important to take inventory of your space, examine your vision and style, and cultivate your own personalized outdoor atmosphere.

Consider Your Space

When you think about what a patio is, you might just see it as a blank canvas right now outside your home. However, what you really do with that open space determines what it becomes. Before you start choosing specific pieces of furniture, you need to consider your patio's size and shape in conjunction with the potential style and usage.


The specific advantages of having a patio might just come down to how big the space is. You might have a smaller 10' x 10' space useful for lounging or eating, but it might be a larger 15' x 15' area with a firepit or outdoor cooking. Regardless of the size, try to leave several feet of space around chairs so people have room to get up and move around. Larger patios might even be something you can section off with walls or shelving.


One aspect of choosing outdoor furniture involves visualizing the layout of the furniture, and that should mimic the patio shape. Many patios are rectangles or squares, but yours might be a circle or even a more unusual shape. Square and rectangular patios easily act like an extension of indoor rooms in shape, but a circular or oval patio can act as the focal point of an entire backyard.


You can always look up the current trends in outdoor furniture, but you should also keep your personal taste first and foremost. A patio isn't just a place to spend time outside so much as a space for specific activities, including recreation, socialization, cooking, and dining. Four primary patio styles include sundecks, bistros, outdoor living rooms, and dining spaces, so choose one or more of these elements and their corresponding styles based on how you intend to spend time on your patio.


When deciding the various activities for your patio, consider the implications in terms of people and movement. Are you looking for a space to spend time alone reading and napping? Do you want to let the kids play outside for a while? Both of those cases tend to imply your patio will be a space unto itself. However, your patio might also be an extension of your kitchen and living room, with people moving in and out all the time.

Different Kinds of Chairs

The best patio chairs look great, feel great, and get used. Depending on your patio, you might need lounge chairs for people to relax in, but you might also need dining chairs around a table for outdoor eating. In both cases, there are various kinds of chairs that you can choose from.

Sling Chairs

Sling chairs have a lot of benefits to offer, and versatility is one of them, if you want to make picking outdoor furniture easier on yourself. Easy to move, sling chairs are something you can configure into many different arrangements. These chairs are often beautiful and sometimes even elegant, but they're also easy to maintain thanks to their durability and long-lasting nature.

Cushion Chairs

These chairs are a frequent choice in the many styles of patio furniture for their reduced compression. Sitting or lounging outside should be relaxing and not cause your body wear and tear. The right padding redistributes your body's compressive strain so it's not entirely focused on your tailbone and hips.

Resin chairs

Resin chairs are a popular kind of patio furniture. Depending on where you shop, resin might mean wicker or rattan. Neither is made using metal, so you don't have to worry about oxidation or rust. These pieces are also often light in weight, and PVC or resin materials should last for years.


Regardless of your choice of decor, even the smallest patio should have at least one table when you go out buying patio furniture. The number and sizes of tables you need depend upon the seating you've arranged. Some tables might serve as umbrella holders and also feature storage options for patio organization.

Side Tables

You should put at least one side table out for every two chairs in place. These functional spaces can hold books, drinks, snacks, decorative pieces, and small electronics. Water-resistant options are effective choices even under a patio awning or covering so you can protect them from spills and splashes that might happen.

Big Table

A big table can be the social center for a dining group enjoying each other's company, or it can be where you enjoy a meal by yourself or intimately with a partner. Eating is the primary activity here, but mingling is always welcome. The right table can also be a place for games, arts, and crafts.

Coffee Table

A coffee table truly captures the living room vibe for a recreational patio, and that's especially true if you put it in front of a sofa. Set up a snack platter or game to pull a group together for fun and fellowship, or top it off with an accent decor piece that pulls your outdoor room's visual aesthetic together with a notable focal point.

Different Patio Furniture Materials

Patio furniture won't just have to deal with the wear and tear of people using it. Your patio pieces also need to stand up to the elements, even if they're covered from above. Reliability should usually be your top concern when shopping for the right patio furnishings. Several material options exist, and each has its own advantages.


Many pieces of patio furniture are made of aluminum, and this is a great option for your outside living space. Aluminum is lightweight but also strong, so you can move these pieces easily without assistance when you want to rearrange your patio. The same lack of weight also makes them easy to store when you need more room or the outdoor season is over.


Resin patio pieces let you fill your patio on a budget, and you have a broad selection of colors you can choose from. These pieces are lightweight, so you can move them around and rearrange things easily and quickly. They're also hard to break and are unlikely to be damaged from getting dropped, and that makes them popular with families with active children.

Cast Aluminum

Cast aluminum patio furniture has a very traditional look, and it's easy to clean so you can prevent rust. The risk of rust is less than other materials, however, and has a strength that surpasses the durability of many other furniture pieces in terms of not getting pushed around by the weather. Something made out of cast aluminum is also likely to be very comfortable when you sit down, and it can support the weight of most people well when accented with the right pillows and padding.

Outdoor Fabric Options

After you choose your specific patio furniture pieces and the materials they are made of, you also need to choose outdoor fabrics that will go on most of them. While most kinds of patio furniture can hold you without cushioning, they might not be comfortable for very long. How they feel is very important, but how they look is also crucial to maintaining a pleasant aesthetic.

Cushion Guard

These options stand up well to the elements, and they easily resist water, stains, and fading in hard weather. They're also well-protected from mildew and mold. High-caliber construction keeps their appearance and colors up for a long time, and soft-supportive foam inside helps you sink into them so you can relax.


Sunbrella fibers resist water, stains, mildew, and mold, and that makes this material a great long-term investment. Many boaters love this fabric on their watercraft, and that helps you know it's a durable choice for an outdoor patio that lasts a long time.



The accessories you get for your patio might be the last thing you shop for, but you shouldn't let decision fatigue ruin your choices. Great accessories bring serious functionality to your outdoor living space, and choosing the wrong ones or buying substandard options can impact how much time you spend on your patio or the quality of that time. Touch on each of these categories to make sure that you have your bases covered.


Umbrellas can provide three serious benefits to your patio. First, they can give you shade under a hot sun. Second, they might protect you and your possessions from the rain. Third, they can add height, color, and style to the visual aesthetic of your patio. Specific choices include table, cantilever, tilting, sail, and tiki patio umbrellas.

Chests for Storage

Storage chests might also be called deck boxes, and they are made from many materials. Options include wicker, wood, resin, metal, and wood. Resin chests are often waterproof, durable, and affordable. However, natural color options might fit your aesthetic better.


An outdoor serving cart helps you manage your patio space and brings serious functionality when you can roll things around where you need them. Use one for extra storage and surface space. You can find these in wood, resin, and aluminum options.


An outdoor rug has three primary purposes for your patio. The first is avoiding slip-and-fall accidents, the second is bringing another stylish element into play, and the third is preventing surface area damage. Breathability is always a consideration, as mildew is a potential issue without enough airflow. Most outdoor rugs are comprised of synthetic materials that mean affordability and durability, and they're also easy to clean and resistant to fading, mildew, mold, and staining.


Lanterns and lights can be corded or cordless, and that means you can find options whether you want to put something on tables, hang them, or mount them. Rechargeable models can be powered up many times, and solar-powered units can charge themselves if they get enough direct rays during daylight. Modern patio lanterns don't just provide illumination and safety but also a welcoming atmosphere.


Decorating your patio is an exciting endeavor! It is creating a space where countless memories will be made. Although the many different choices may seem overwhelming, stay true to your style and vision and you will create a space that is welcoming for all.

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