Types of Outdoor Furniture

With the first hint of spring, many start thinking about dressing up their deck or patio in preparation for warmer weather. Visions of poolside parties, outdoor barbecues and simply relaxing and enjoying the stars on a warm night are all things to look forward to when itʼs no longer jacket or coat weather. Your outdoor furniture plays a huge role in how you enjoy your backyard during the spring and summer. From cozy sectionals that allow you to curl up and read a good book, to outdoor dining furniture that allows you to entertain guests, At Pottery Barn, we have many options when it comes to outfitting your outdoor space. There are a few things to consider when perusing the many types of outdoor furniture, which will help make your ensemble more enjoyable to you as well as easy to take care of.


Outdoor furniture falls into two distinct categories: outdoor dining furniture and outdoor lounge furniture. Because an outdoor space is likely a casual setting, thereʼs no rule that says you canʼt mix or match the two. For instance, you may want to place lounge chaises and sectionals on your deck, which offer ample seating for dinner parties and get-togethers. Alternatively, outdoor dining chairs with comfortable cushions make for intimate seating during a warm summerʼs day.


When it comes to dining furniture, there are a few options for tables and chairs. A complete outdoor dining set may rival your indoor pieces; this type of set comes with a classic, elegant table and a set of chairs. The only difference is that outdoor furniture is constructed to stand up to the elements. For other dining options, also consider tall, bistro tables with bar stools or high-back chairs, or expandable tables with benches.


Materials vary when it comes to outdoor dining furniture. Wicker is a popular all-season choice that does well with extreme weather and temperatures. Teak is another option, as is metal. Outdoor dining furniture is fairly neutrally colored, with warm beiges and browns, so when it comes to decor, add a pop of color with a bright patio umbrella, or with cushions to complete the look.


Outdoor lounge furniture offers many options for relaxation as well. One of your must-have items is a chaise lounge chair. Ideal for an afternoon nap, reading or simply soaking up the sun, a chaise helps turn your backyard or patio into a relaxing space. If room allows, a sofa is another good consideration for lounge furniture. Comfortable and built to last, a sofa offers comfortable seating for you and your family or ample room for when youʼre hosting an event. Sectionals are another terrific choice. Sectionals make excellent use of your corners and your spaces, allowing you to maximize your floor space while still offering plenty of seating.


The materials used in lounge furniture are similar to that of outdoor dining furniture, with popular options being wicker, treated wood, teak and metal. With sofa and chaise cushions, however, there are plenty of options to add colorful and bright pillows and cushions. A good rule of thumb is to change pillows and cushions out for different events. For example, have red, white and blue for your Fourth of July bash and burnt orange and warm beige for your end-of-year fall party.


To clean most outdoor furniture, simply use a mix of warm water and a mild cleaner. For wicker, oil soap is an excellent choice. Oil soap is also an optimal choice for teak and all-weather wood. For outdoor metal furniture, mild dish soap works well to remove mildew and mold. When the season ends, itʼs imperative to store your outdoor furniture properly, particularly your cushions. Cushions should move indoors into a storage spot. The all-weather nature of your outdoor furniture allows you to cover pieces snugly with a tarp. Alternatively, move them into a garage or shed to elongate their life.