The Best, Designer-Approved Patio Furniture

Time Several Hours

Budget $ $$$

Skill Level

WORDS BY Gillian Grefe

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Published on April 11, 2020

We all love patio season—that special time of year made for enjoying Vitamin D and dinners al fresco—and after a challenging winter and early spring, there’s extra pressure to make patio season 2020 extra special. But before you upgrade your space with the best, designer-approved patio furniture, there are a few practical and design elements to consider. 

Start with this question: how do you want to use your patio? Your vision of how you want to engage with the space should guide your choice of patio furniture. If your goal is relaxing with the family or toasting friends at an at-home happy hour, sofas and lounge chairs will create a space for connecting and entertaining. If weeks of cooking at home has turned you into a veritable chef ready to wow at your next dinner party, a full dining set would better suit your needs. 

Remember, your geographical location might dictate what kind of patio furniture is most appropriate. Most patio pieces are weather-friendly, but aluminum, steel, iron, and concrete can handle the elements better than wicker or rattan. Also, if you’re in an area with high winds, go for sturdier, heavier furniture to avoid a game of “catch the chair.”

One of the best ways to make a space feel more personalized and styled is to avoid “matchy-matchy” vibes. But it can take time to find pieces that complement one another in palette and texture while still adding in a welcomed sense of contrast. From our countless patio designs, we rounded up our best designer-approved and client-loved mix and match “sets.”

Pair CB2’s Tropez Black & White Stripe Sofa with Article’s Luna Lounge Chair: We love how this combo brings the feeling of a Riviera vacation right to your backyard. With its bold black and white stripes and contemporary frame, this sofa is a modern take on the classic cabana look that’s statement-making. To balance the sofa, we suggest pairing with these lighter framed Article chairs to bring in a contemporary twist on rattan and effortless style.

Style Article’s Kopelin Sofa with West Elm’s Outdoor Sloop Lounge Chair: This pairing has major Cali-spa vibes, and could look perfectly at home on the set of Big Little Lies (picture Monterey waves crashing in the distance). The sofa nicely balances simplicity and visual interest with the slatted frame and inviting cushions. To introduce more dimension and texture, we recommend these fun and fresh West Elm chairs that feature a modern twist on traditional wicker.

Use West Elm’s Portside Dining Table with CB2’s Brava Dining Lounge Chair: This stylish combo is the best of both worlds: casual and chic, natural and charming, comfortable and sculptural. We love how the weathered texture of the table creates contrast with the coastal-inspired chairs for a sense of relaxed sophistication. The result: idyllic dining al fresco.

Invest in a good patio umbrella. Not only do they offer welcome shade, they add height and act as a stylish decor element. You can go for a classic solid or embrace a cabana-inspired stripe for a playful feel. 

If you don’t have a covered patio, purchase furniture covers or store indoors during bad weather. Trust us, it’s worth it to get more years and usage out of your pieces. And last thing: Don’t forget the textiles! Arrange pillows on the sofa, and consider a rug to ground your sofa or dining area for a patio space that feels styled and complete.

Outdoor patio design

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Words by Lee Mayer