How to Arrange Your Outdoor Seating

You can make any outdoor space more functional and enjoyable with the right seating arrangement. At Pottery Barn, we know that there isn't a one-size-fits-all solution for arranging outdoor seating. Once you've learned all about how to choose outdoor furniture, it's time to think about how to make the furniture work with your space. Your available space will determine how many pieces of furniture will fit and how they should be arranged. Here are some ideas for arranging your outdoor seating depending on the types of furniture you have.

Two or Three Chairs and a Side Table

A couple of outdoor chairs can transform even a small porch or balcony into a peaceful retreat where you can sit and have coffee with a friend. Place the chairs side-by-side at a slight angle to allow for easy conversation. If you're limited on space, then choose chairs with a smaller profile and crafted of wood or metal.

Even in a small arrangement of just two or three chairs, a side or accent table is a necessity. If you have three chairs, then place the table in front of them so that everyone can reach it comfortably. For a two-person arrangement, you can place the table between the chairs to not take up leg space.

Layout Including a Coffee Table

If you have a larger area to work with, then you can include a good sized outdoor coffee table into your seating arrangement. Coffee tables provide space for drinks and snacks, encouraging everyone to gather around them. Make sure to leave enough leg space and walking room between the tables and chairs.

One of the most functional seating arrangements you can create with a rectangular coffee table is to pair it with an outdoor sofa. Place two more outdoor chairs on either side in a half-circle arrangement that makes it easy for people to get in and out. This type of arrangement can function as an intimate conversation area for a group of four or five.

Layout with a Sectional

If you have the room for an outdoor sectional, then you can create a truly functional entertainment area with ample seating for your friends and family. Pair the sectional with a coffee table large enough to accommodate everyone who is sitting down and place a matching side table on the end of the sectional furthest away from the coffee table if need be. One or two extra matching chairs opposite the sectional can help complete the look and add a bit more extra seating as well.

Dining Area Layout

A dining area makes a wonderful addition to any outdoor entertainment space if you have the room for it. The layout of the dining area will depend on the size of the outdoor dining table the space can comfortably accommodate. Try to leave at least three feet of space around the table to allow for chairs and walking room. Using benches rather than chairs along one or both sides of the dining table can save space and accommodate a few more people as well.

Decorating Your Outdoor Seating Area

When it comes to outdoor decor that is both functional and effortlessly stylish, consider setting up an umbrella. Sunbrella® umbrellas come in unique colors and patterns perfect for complementing the look of your furniture. Using a patio umbrella will also provide shade from the sun, making your outdoor space more comfortable on sunny days. You'll particularly want to have one if your outdoor dining area tends to get a lot of sun.

Don't hesitate to add a personal touch to your chairs and sofas with outdoor furniture cushions that match your color and style scheme. Go with neutral tones for an elegant, understated design or choose bright and bold colors to craft a lively and welcoming seating area. To really complete the look of an outdoor seating arrangement, set one or two large planters on the ground nearby and place a smaller planter on the side or coffee table.

With the right pieces of furniture and some choice pieces of decor, you can create a seating arrangement that suits all of your needs. No matter how cozy or how spacious, any outdoor seating ensemble can be arranged in a way that enhances the comfort and style of the space.