Outdoor Furniture Buying Guide

The grill's fired up, the kids are playing catch in the yard, and the dog is snoozing in the sun. Time for margaritas! But where are you going to put them, and where are you and your guests going to sit while you sip? A good set of outdoor furniture can last for many years and enhance the usability of your outdoor space. Whether you have a postage stamp in a city or country estate, you need a place to sit down and enjoy the outdoors. Hot-off-the-grill burgers and hot dogs taste better when enjoyed al fresco, too. Whether you just like your coffee and bagel with a side of birdsong or you throw killer summer parties that last all night long, great outdoor furniture enhances any atmosphere.

The material is one of the most important factors to consider in patio furniture.  The material determines the style to a considerable extent, so the two are best thought of as one category. Also consider how you plan to use the space; if you love hosting big dinners, you'll need more than a bench and a pair of lounge chairs! Some types of furniture take up more room for the seating capacity than others, so if you're a little tight on space, you might want to avoid expansive wicker chairs. If you need flexibility more than anything else, heavy wrought iron might not be your best bet. Read on for more details about furniture materials and styles.

Dining Options

Whether you have a large family or it's just the two of you, it's always nice to enjoy a meal outdoors!  In order to do so, you are going to need to find the right kind of patio set for your space, your style, and your wallet. 


On Material



Tubular Aluminum


Wrought and Cast Aluminum


Wrought or Cast Iron






Other Features to Consider

* '''Comfort'''
** Above all, you have to like sitting on your new furniture!
** If at all possible, try it out in the store before ordering online.
** If you can't try your new furniture in the store, make sure the online retailer has a good return policy that will allow you to test the furniture.
** Look for: armrests that are wide and comfortable; enough clearance under the table that you can pull the chairs comfortably close; table at a good height, not too high or low; angle of chair back is comfortable; cushions are soft enough (important on cast iron chairs!); chairs are wide enough to feel comfortable but not so wide that you disappear into them.

* '''Umbrella'''
** If you plan to use an umbrella with your table, make sure it has the appropriate hole in the middle and sufficient room for an umbrella stand.
** If the table comes with an umbrella, make sure it is the kind you want and large enough for your yard.
* '''Covers'''
** Some kinds of furniture, such as wood and wicker, will last longer if you cover them when not in use to protect them from sun and rain.
** Do covers come with the set you want? Can you purchase generic covers that will fit your furniture?
* '''Cushions'''
** Are the cushions that come with your furniture easy to clean?
** Will you need a place to store them when not in use?
** Can you easily get replacements if the cushions wear out or become damaged before you are ready to replace your chairs?
* '''Additional Furniture'''
** If you are buying your furniture as a set, does the table come with enough chairs for everyone in your family?
** Can you easily buy more chairs, benches, or other independent pieces that match the pattern?

Prime Picks

If you're just looking for a few nice pieces to complete your set, check out the section below and some of our stellar recommendations.


Popular Pieces