A comprehensive guide to outdoor furniture. Includes top picks for various sets based upon outdoor space, furniture characteristics, and where to shop for the best outdoor patio furniture!
It’s no secret I live for summer and months spent outside! And this year, with everything going on, I’m even more excited to get outdoors. Today’s post comes highly requested from several people. Although I originally published this post last year, I’ve updated it to include additional resources as well as updated product picks that are in stock this year.
Over the years, I’ve gradually learned more and more about what to look for in outdoor patio furniture and where to find the best value for your money. So, although I definitely don’t consider myself an expert, I’m going to be sharing the ultimate guide to outdoor furniture and patio decor today!
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What To Look for In Outdoor Furniture
When we were building our pool and I was asking for outdoor furniture recommendations, I heard the same things over and over and over again. And since the advice was from all over the country, it started to feel like universal truths. Following are my top functional characteristics to look for in outdoor furniture based on personal experience and from reader advice:
- Read as many reviews as possible! I’ve found them to be so helpful when deciding on furniture and to know what is most likely to last the longest term. This is also an important step if you’re buying online and won’t have a chance to test the comfort level before purchasing.
- Pay attention to fabric options. If you plan to leave your furniture out in the elements, fabric choices are critical. Sun and water can wreak havoc on your outdoor furniture so you want an option that is durable. I am a strong believer in the Sunbrella line of fabrics, but there are other great options that are also weather resistant and beautiful. Again, reviews can help big-time here!
- If you’re buying furniture with any sort of metal on it (even most woven pieces have a metal frame), look for powder-coated aluminum or steel. This will help ensure your furniture doesn’t rust all over your patio as it gets wet over time.
- If you’re looking for wood outdoor furniture, I’ve heard teak or cedar is the way to go and will ultimately be the most durable in the elements!
- If you’re buying patio furniture with cushions, be sure to look for frames that fit standard cushion sizes. We learned this the hard way with our first set of pool chaise lounges! We absolutely loved the chairs and bought them because of the oversized cushions. The only problem was that the cushions rotted after three years (definitely not performance fabric), and we weren’t able to find cushions that fit the oversized frame. As I bid out options, the cushions ended up being almost as much as the entire chair and cushion so it didn’t make sense to replace them. We ultimately ordered these chaise lounge chairs that come with a universal sized cushion that allows for a Sunbrella Rain slipcover (which sounds essentially indestructible). We’ve had them nearly a year and have been very happy with them!
- Store your furniture when not in use. We leave our furniture outdoors (uncovered for the whole summer) but then move it to our garage for the winter months. You could also purchase covers to keep your furniture covered when not in use.
Where To Shop for Patio Furniture & Decor
There are so many places these days that have a great selection of patio furniture and decor! I’ve actually used all of these sources at one time or another and think they’re all worth checking out! Each of the names below is clickable and will take you right to their outdoor section for easy searching!
- At Home – An affordable solution for outdoor planters, cushion replacements and furniture. They’re huge selection is hard to beat! They don’t offer online sales though, so you do need to have a local store.
- CB2 – A great option for those with a bit more modern taste.
- Costco – Although selection can be limited (and items move quickly), the quality is usually excellent and the prices are great.
- Crate & Barrel – They offer a good mix of traditional and modern pieces.
- Frontgate – Particularly known for luxury outdoor furniture and decor. They’ll have pieces you likely won’t find elsewhere!
- H&M – A great option for those on a limited budget but still looking for stylish pieces.
- Home Depot – Since you can now order online, I feel like the variety is much wider! Their prices are competitive and they’ve definitely upped their style game in recently years. They also have a comprehensive review section on their products that is very helpful!
- Lowe’s – A great option if you want need a quick turnaround. I’m also usually pretty happy with their plant selection!
- McGee & Co. – They launched an outdoor collection last year and it’s gorgeous! If you’re looking for a designer look (and typically prices that match) they have so many beautiful options! They also have a huge selection of outdoor rugs.
- Pottery Barn – Although lead times can be longer, I’ve heard rave reviews about the durability of their outdoor furniture. I’ve also been very happy with the outdoor accessories I’ve purchased here in the past. They have one of the widest selections of outdoor pillows, as well!
- Restoration Hardware – I’ve heard amazing things about their outdoor furniture if you can stomach the prices!
- Serena & Lily – If you’re looking for that perfect beachy vibe, these guys are hard to beat! Their products come with a higher price tag, but their quality has always been consistent and top-notch in my experience!
- Target – Probably not the best option if you’re looking for something super long-term, but they have so many cute finds and pieces that would likely carry you through several seasons! They also have a great selection of outdoor rugs and pillows!
- TJ MAXX/HomeGoods/Marshall’s – This can be hit or miss, but when you hit the jackpot, you definitely hit the jackpot! The only issue is that it may be difficult to find matching pieces.
- Walmart – I’ve had a lot of luck with them recently (still obsessed with this set). And now they offer brands from other stores, like Hayneedle, so I find their site even more helpful! I ordered this outdoor dining table (also available here) last spring and we are in love with it! Hoping to share it in the space soon.
- Wayfair – This can be hit or miss, but I do love that they have such a huge number of reviews on their pieces, which is so helpful! I also love that they allow consumers to upload their own photos of products which can be super helpful if color is off on a stock photo.
- West Elm – Another great option if you’re looking for more of a modern vibe.
- Williams Sonoma Home – Comparable to Restoration Hardware in terms of quality and prices.
- World Market – We love our outdoor bistro chairs from here. And although I haven’t had long-term success with their house brand outdoor pillows (which is expected given the price) they also carry Sunbrella pieces that I’ve had great luck with!
Our Outdoor Furniture
As mentioned above, our original chaise lounges served us well for about three years until the fabric started to rot. Admittedly, we never covered them or brought them inside during the summer months. The frames were still in near perfect condition the day we sold them locally. So, these are ones I would recommend (especially for the price) if you’re willing to be diligent about covering the cushions or bringing them in! They were oversized and super comfy!
We’ve had these chaise lounge chairs for nearly a year now and have been impressed so far by the quality! They are smaller than our last set, but still comfy. It was apparently rather quickly just how much water and dirt the Sunbrella Rain cushions repelled compared to our prior chairs! And the tubing/wicker on the chair itself is incredibly strong and resilient. We’re hoping we can get 5-10 years out of these! I didn’t do a great job of taking photos last summer, but you can see a view of them below.
One of our favorites sets, and probably the one we’ve been most surprised by, is this conversation set from Walmart! We figured it would last a season or two, but it’s held up remarkably well. It’s also super comfy!
In our courtyard, we have an old fire pit set we bought from Costco nearly seven years ago! The set has held up really well over the years! I ended up getting new cushions for it last year from At Home, since the original ones had seen better days. You can read more on that courtyard refresh here. We’re huge fans of fire pit tables that have propane tank storage built-in! If you’re looking for a fire pit specifically, be sure to check out my post on fire pit tables & unique filler options!
We recently updated our table on our back patio to this round version, but these chairs from World Market have lasted us several years and are still in excellent condition! I found similar options here with excellent reviews since ours are no longer available. And this rug has been out here as long as I can remember (5+ years?) and is still going strong!
Now I’ll be sharing my top picks for current season outdoor furniture and decor! I’ve scoured the reviews and have tried to pick the best and most stylish options out there!
Outdoor Chaise Lounge Picks
Following are my top picks for comfy outdoor chaise lounges. Simply click any of the images below to learn more about each item.
Outdoor Dining Set Picks
Following are my top picks for outdoor dining furniture. Simply click any of the images below to learn more about each item.
Outdoor Living Sets
Following are my top picks for outdoor living sets. Simply click any of the images below to learn more about each item.
Outdoor Decor Picks
Following are my top picks for outdoor decor. Simply click any of the images below to learn more about each item.
Any other places/sources you love that we should all know about?
Additional Summer Inspiration
Looking for even more summer and outdoor inspiration? Be sure to check out the following posts. Click on any of the blog post titles below to be taken directly to the post!
- Fire Pit Tables & Unique Filler Ideas
- Building a Pool: Everything You Need to Know
- Our Pool: Thoughts After the First Year
- How To Plant Flowers In A Pot
- Summer Planter Ideas
- Front Porch Planter Ideas
- Outdoor Courtyard Ideas
- How To Create A Dreamy Outdoor Dining Space
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disclosure: some affiliate links used