A backyard really isn’t an extension of your home until you’ve properly furnished it. Because while a few folding chairs may “do the trick,” it’s not inspiring the feeling of belonging you, your family, and your friends truly deserve. Our outdoor living experts are here to make your outdoor space one of comfort and community with an unmatched selection of outdoor furniture pieces from the best brands in the business. Even better, these experts have come together to create this essential guide that will educate you and make your furniture buying experience (almost) effortless.

Considerations When Choosing Patio Furniture

Before we can get to the fun of exploring furniture materials and configurations, let’s get a baseline. Below are a set of key questions that can help direct you on your outdoor furniture buying journey, so think long and hard.

What need are you hoping to fill?

Whether seating guests for relaxed, spread-out discussion or a delicious supper around a dining fire pit table, first determine the intended use of your outdoor space.

What size group do you need to accommodate?

After all, up to 12 people can fit at a dining set, whereas sectionals can accommodate up to 8 and sofas sit 3–5 guests. The number of guests will determine your furniture must-haves.

How much space do you have to work with?

Knowing the dimensions of the outdoor space you’re filling with premium furniture will best equip you in outfitting that covered patio or open poolside platform.

What are your local climate conditions?

Different climates call for different furniture material. For instance, a wrought iron table may be perfect for a New England suburb, but it may not survive a salty Southern coastline.

What Assortment of Outdoor Furniture Do I Need?

When it comes to breaking down patio furniture into categories, there’s generally two at play: seating and eating. But don’t let that simple distinction fool you. The individual pieces and sets that comprise those categories satisfy a variety of needs with their unique functions. Let’s dive in.

Outdoor Dining Furniture

Patio Dining Sets

  • Accommodates up to 12 people (more typically, 4–6)
  • Dining tables are usually between 26–30 inches
  • Great gathering space for games or conversation

Bistro Sets

  • Ideal for seating 1–2 diners
  • Repurposes and enhances small, cozy spaces
  • Leaves ample room for the rest of the area

Patio Bar Sets

  • Bar-height table seating perfect for a home bar
  • Keeps seated and standing guests on eye level
  • Great complementary set to other furniture

Outdoor Seating Furniture

Conversation Sets

  • Spreads out to encompass wide seating areas
  • Separate pieces provide great customization
  • Expanded seating is as easy as buying more


  • Comfortably seat more guests in the same space
  • Attached pieces for buy-and-forget seating
  • No more wasted space between seats

Deep Seating

  • Generally short, squat configurations
  • Plusher, thicker cushions for more relaxed positions
  • Wide variety including chairs, sofas, loveseats, side tables, etc.

Outdoor Tables

Dining Table

  • Typically, 26–30 inches tall
  • Best paired with seating 16–20 inches in height
  • Available in a variety of sizes, finishes, and designs

Serving Table

  • Narrower than a dining table
  • Multiple shelves offer enhanced organization
  • Provides a dedicated space for food service outdoors

Coffee Table

  • Ideal addition to seating/sectional sets
  • Commonly around 19 inches high
  • Convenient spot to place to your drinks

End Table

  • Typically, around 19 inches high
  • Best paired with a sofa or loveseat
  • Can be combined with smaller chairs for compact seating area

Outdoor Chairs

Dining Chairs

  • Available with or without arms for integration into dining configuration
  • Options for rocking and/or swivel chairs
  • Often can be folded or stacked for easy storage

Club Chairs

  • Seating designed for deep relaxation
  • Include thick cushions for added comfort
  • Perfect for patios or poolside areas

Chaise Lounges

  • Designed for reclining and relaxation
  • Adjustable backrest to accommodate lounging positions
  • Depending on the material, may or may not come with cushions

Outdoor Bar Stools

For those outdoor spaces that include a personal bar or kitchen island, outdoor bar stools can be the ideal seating style for you and your guests. Our Bar Stool Buying Guide offers all the information you need to purchase the proper bar stool that works for your patio’s setup.

Fire Pit Sets & Tables

Interested in an upgrade to the traditional style chat table? A fire pit table might be worth considering. With a burner in the middle, the outside of these tables provides ample space to entertain guests.

Commonly fueled by propane or natural gas, they offer a warm, cozy place to gather on a cool evening gathering. Please note, if you’re installing a natural gas fire pit table, a licensed professional is required. To learn more about fire pits and fire pit tables, visit our Fire Pit Buying Guide.

Outdoor Furniture Materials

When it comes to choosing materials for your outdoor furniture, you’ve got plenty of premium options to go with. What’s most important though is ensuring that material you select is best suited for your outdoor space based on the climate, weather exposure (mainly, whether your patio is covered or uncovered), and the intended use of the area.

Cast Aluminum & Aluminum

  • Naturally rustproof, solid, sturdy, and durable
  • Cast aluminum is a heavier material great for wet, salty climates
  • Extruded aluminum suffers knockback in windy weather

Wrought Iron

  • Offers superior strength and durability
  • Can be welded into various distinct designs
  • Susceptible to rust and corrosion, especially in salty climates


  • Valued for its endurance and water resistance
  • Resistant to mold, mildew, and pests
  • Without upkeep, develops a silver-gray finish


  • Made of resin—synthetic material that mimics the look of traditional wicker
  • High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) is durable and resistant to sunlight, fading, and stains
  • Natural wicker proves rapidly delicate


  • Breathable fabric that’s easy to clean
  • Designs are generally more foldable and stackable
  • Poolside and beach style, popular for chaise lounges

Recycled Plastic

  • Environmentally friendly and highly durable material
  • Minimal upkeep with a wide assortment of styles
  • Popular for endurance, malleability, and total absorption of color

There you have it—all the information you need to begin your patio furniture buying journey. With a few choice pieces or maybe a full set, you’ll be well on your way to making your outdoor space a true extension of your home. But the fun doesn’t need to stop there. We have all the outdoor living products to enhance your backyard experience. Be it an outdoor TV for high-level entertainment, a patio umbrella to protect your poolside guests, or an outdoor heater to keep the party going all evening (no matter the season), we’ve got everything you need. Because life is better in your backyard, after all.