With summer just around the corner, it's time to start thinking about how you'll use your outdoor space. There's nothing more fun than grilling out and enjoying a delicious meal al fresco. Choosing a great set of patio furniture allows you to fully enjoy the outdoors, making the most of the area you have. Whether it's a big backyard or an intimate patio, there are great options for every home. With so many furniture sets on the market, it can be hard to decide what's best for you. Choosing the right material, size, and style for your home can make a real difference in the look and feel of your outdoor space. We've pulled together some of the best options in a reasonable price range, along with some tips and tricks to help you choose the right set for your home.
Step 1: Consider your space
- Measure first — While it's tempting to buy the set that looks best in the store, you're looking for a set that looks great and makes everyone comfortable in your space. Start by measuring the area where you want your patio furniture to go. Imagine plants, fences, and changes in surfaces or levels as walls, and then follow this rule of thumb from interior design: leave at least 36″ between your table and the “wall.” This ensures you have plenty of room to pull out chairs and move freely around the table, and it will increase the visual appeal of your patio.
- Think about shape — Consider what type of furniture will create a cohesive look with the space you have. Is your patio long and narrow or short and square? Getting a table that is proportional to the space will maximize your entertaining capabilities and look great at the same time.
- Check your surface — What type of surface is available for your table? Most designs will work well on a concrete slab, but if you have tile, gravel, or a surface with large gaps, you'll want to avoid furniture that might get stuck or have trouble moving across the surface.
Step 2: Choose your style
For a cohesive look with the rest of your home, consider transitioning your indoor style to the outdoors. For example, if you have a very modern or contemporary look in the house, continue that aesthetic outdoors for a seamless flow from indoors to outdoors. A more traditional look is great for showcasing a classic style.
Set your furniture apart with contrasting colors and materials. Pull colors from inside your home for cushions or umbrellas, and consider a metal table on a wooden deck, or dark wood furniture on a concrete patio to draw the eye toward the sitting area. Clean lines and unfussy styles will stand the test of time, ensuring your new furniture looks great for years even if trends come and go.
Our top picks
Modern classic: wooden dining set
We love the look of an outdoor wooden set, but most sets come in high-end teak, not the most cost-conscious option for buyers. Acacia is emerging as a clear winner for sustainability and lower cost, so it's a great choice for patio furniture you can feel good about. Like teak, it's resistant to rot and holds up in changing weather.
As more interior designers turn to IKEA for the best deals on wooden furniture, our reviewers agreed that the ÄPPLARÖ Table and Chairs set from IKEA is a clear winner. The convenience of the easy-to-use side extensions make entertaining outdoors simple and convenient. Although you'll normally fit four around this table, the extensions comfortably fit up to 10 people if you're willing to get cozy! Our reviewers also appreciated the flexible seating options. From reclining chairs and benches to the usual armchairs, there's something for every space and style.
While we adore the look of wood, it does require some maintenance to look brand new, year after year. Reviewers who live in cold, snowy climates found the table held up better with a cover in the winter. Those in hotter, drier climates said it withstood the sun and wind. Although the table comes pre-stained, you'll still need to do some yearly maintenance to keep it looking great. Like most IKEA furniture, you'll have to assemble it yourself, but our reviewers agreed that it wasn't too difficult to put together and the low price of just $409.00 made it well worth the effort.
Low-maintenance chic: resin-wicker furniture set
Our reviewers appreciated the easy-care nature of the Rhonn 5-piece set from Overstock.com. Available in brown or gray to match your decor, this set requires very little upkeep and is easy to put together. The chairs come fully assembled and are stackable, making it easy to store them in a garage if you won't be using it for a season. Pull up an extra chair or bench to seat two additional guests on each end. It was easy to clean this set with a damp cloth, and it holds up well to wind, snow, and rain. Strong UV light will damage it over time, so if you live in a very sunny area it will last longer if you keep it covered during the off-season.
If you want the natural look of wicker without the high maintenance of traditional materials, this resin-wicker set is a perfect fit. The base of the table and chairs are metal, but the PVC resin-wicker makes it hold up better than most sets in harsh weather. The easy-care nature of this table set makes it perfect for busy families or those who want a carefree set to enjoy without the extra upkeep.
Contemporary appeal: steel table and chairs
If you want something a little different from the traditional look of wire mesh but still love its long-lasting appeal, this updated Commercial Grade Set from Flash Furniture clocks in at just $449, a great price with easy customization for your space. Stick with classy black or make a statement with pale blue, coral, or gold. The rust-resistant powder coating makes it easy to care for this table set, and our reviewers loved this contemporary take on the traditional steel set. Select a size and shape that fits your space for a custom look.
Steel is strong and won't warp or lose its finish in bad weather, so you'll just have to check occasionally for rust if you live in a humid area that gets lots of rain. Simply sand off any trouble spots and touch up with a little spray paint to keep this set looking great for years to come.
Whatever material you prefer, these sets are sure to hold up well in various conditions, and each one is a reasonable price, even for first time homeowners. Get outside and make the most of your outdoor space with one of these great patio furniture sets!