How to arrange patio furniture for the best outdoor living space
Written by Neighbor Editorial Team | @neighboroutdoor | Opens in a new window. |
Seating here, dining set there. There's more than one right way to setup your outdoor space.
Finding the right outdoor furniture arrangement for your patio can feel overwhelming if you aren’t sure where to start. It’s important to consider the overall style of your home, the purpose and size of your outdoor space, and the materials that are capable of withstanding the elements before deciding which furniture pieces to purchase and how to arrange them.
No matter the size of your space, it’s possible to design an outdoor living room that is both functional and inviting. This is your guide to choosing the best patio furniture pieces and determining the ideal patio furniture layout for your outdoor area.
The best pieces and materials to use for patio furniture
Ideally your outdoor patio, balcony or garden area resembles your indoor living room. You want to create an outdoor space that feels warm, welcoming, comfortable and lounge-ready. Outdoor spaces with poorly-suited furniture materials can feel sterile and discourage you from sitting outside for longer periods of time, or being able to kick back and truly enjoy your space.
For example, if you opt for aluminum or wrought-iron chairs without cushions, a dining table with metal folding chairs, or natural wicker furniture pieces that absorb moisture, you won’t feel enticed to spend time in your outdoor living space. When creating your perfect outdoor space, the goal is to resemble indoor sophistication and comfort.
While the overall look and feel of your outdoor space should be similar to your indoor living room, the materials you choose for your outdoor furniture should differ from your indoor furniture. Outdoor furniture materials can be both durable and beautiful. You don’t have to compromise either when looking for the best outdoor furniture.
Strength and durability are key with outdoor furniture materials. Your outdoor living room will be exposed to the elements, so it’s necessary that your pieces are made to withstand sun, rain, humidity, wind and snow without degrading or deteriorating. Some of the most durable materials in outdoor furniture include real wood, particularly teak wood, aluminum, concrete and recycled plastics.
Teak is a naturally weather-resistant wood. It won’t warp, crack, or splinter like other woods, and it naturally repels termites and other pests. Teak wood is highly durable and can last for decades with proper care. Known for its warm, golden hue that lightens into a soft, grayish-silver patina over time, teak wood offers a beautiful, rustic-yet-modern style that only looks better with age. Tip: When buying teak wood furniture, it’s important to look for FSC-certified teak. This certification ensures that the wood is sustainably sourced and harvested. At Neighbor, we’re committed to using only FSC-certified teak wood in our outdoor furniture collection.
Metals like aluminum, wrought iron and stainless steel are popular outdoor furniture materials. Aluminum is a lightweight yet sturdy material that can be easily molded into various shapes and sizes, and coated with paint for different color and pattern designs. This metal won’t rust, but it can corrode over time. Wrought iron is a strong, dense and long-lasting material, making it ideal for climates with heavy winds. It can be molded into a variety of designs and coated with paints and sealers for a custom design.
However, wrought iron has a tendency to rust with exposure to rain and moisture. Stainless steel is a corrosion-resistant material that can withstand exposure to the elements without becoming weakened or damaged. It’s easy to maintain and clean, and offers a sleek and modern design that can elevate your outdoor space. While metals are strong and durable, dining tables, sofas and seats with metal frames can be cold and uninviting in the winter months. Metal furniture is relatively hard, and without proper cushions, can be uncomfortable to sit on for long periods of time.
Concrete is also durable, strong, and low maintenance. This stone is weather-resistant, won’t rot, corrode or grow mold or mildew, and can stand strong for decades with little care. Ideal for contemporary designs, concrete is a highly-customizable material that can be shaped into a variety of designs and textures, and can be either painted, stained or sealed.
Think about what makes your indoor living room so comfortable and inviting. It’s the deep-seated lounge chair with plush cushions that you sink into for hours at a time, or it’s the U-shaped sectional with cozy corner pieces that create an intimate nook. Each of these staple indoor furniture pieces can be made with durable, weather-resistant materials for your outdoor living room. Featuring the same types of luxurious indoor furniture pieces outdoors will make your patio space enjoyable for hours at a time, welcoming throughout all seasons, and perfect for hosting guests and accommodating all types of events.
When it comes to outdoor seating, comfort and weather-resistance are essential. Outdoor sofas, love seats, lounge chairs, and sectionals should feature water-repellant, rot-resistant, sturdy frames that withstand sun, rain and wind. To ensure indoor-level comfort with outdoor durability, your outdoor seating needs plush cushions that won’t absorb moisture, won’t sag and depress with frequent use, won’t grow mold or mildew, and are easy to clean when inevitable spills and stains happen.
Sunbrella® fabric is the ideal material for outdoor cushion covers that are fade-resistant, UV-protected, and mildew resistant, as well as plush, soft and luxurious. All of Neighbor's outdoor seating upholstery features Sunbrella solution-dyed acrylic fabric filled with comfy, durable, quick-drying foam that minimizes time between rain and relaxation. An outdoor sofa and chair set with durable Sunbrella fabric can inspire conversation and connection, just like your indoor sofa and chair.
Adding a quality outdoor dining table or dining set to your patio, balcony or backyard allows you, your family and guests to enjoy good food and good company outdoors. Your outdoor dining space can extend your indoor dining room to seat larger parties without compromising comfort or risking damage to your dining table. An outdoor dining table should be both weather-resistant and life-proof. We use real teak wood for our outdoor dining tables and coffee tables to ensure that your dining area repels water when the rain comes, remains strong through UV exposure, and ensures easy cleaning when spills or food stains happen.
There are some outdoor furniture pieces that you wouldn’t use indoors. For example, umbrellas and awnings don’t have a purpose indoors, but these pieces are particularly beneficial for covering your outdoor dining or lounging area to provide much-needed shade in the hotter months or reprieve from rain. Proofing your outdoor living room for all types of weather will ensure that you’re able to enjoy your outdoor area throughout all seasons, rain or shine.
How to plan your furniture layout
Planning your outdoor furniture layout is an exciting, creative process that gives you an opportunity to express your style, create design consistency between your indoor and outdoor space, and extend your indoor living room outdoors. However, it’s important to keep a few considerations in mind, including the climate in your area, your desired focal point, and the size and purpose of your space, before putting your patio layout ideas into action. Consider the different areas, open space, and greenery that you can incorporate when designing your outdoor furniture layout.
Deciding on a focal point
A focal point is an item in your patio furniture layout that creates a center in your space, stands out from surrounding furniture pieces and draws the eye toward that area. You may choose a dining table or coffee table to be your focal point, or an entertainment amenity, like a firepit or water feature. Focal points create a sense of balance and interest in your patio. It’s a good idea to add a focal point to any area where you want your guests to gather.
You can separate different areas of your backyard space by using furniture to establish a sense of zoning. A zone for cooking or dining can be separated from a zone for conversation and lounging, and separated from another space for kids to play or people to exercise. Zoning is an effective use of space for both larger open spaces, as well as smaller, narrow or compact spaces. Larger spaces can feel more intimate with zoning, while smaller spaces can feel more spacious through zoning. You can use plants and greenery or privacy screens to divide zones, or utilize different levels and elevations of your backyard space to position furniture in different zones.
Arranging for smaller spaces
With a small patio space, the focus should be to create a comfortable and cozy atmosphere. Neighbor’s teak wood outdoor loveseat is perfect for adding indoor warmth and additional seating to your outdoor space. Utilize the smaller space by adding loveseats or a modular sectional sofa that make the best use of your space. Ottomans are perfect for arranging next to sofas or chairs and establishing extra seating, spots to kick your feet up comfortably, or usable surfaces to hold food and drinks.
Designing your dining or lounging area with an outdoor rug can tie your design together, add an eye-catching source of color and texture to your space, and easily establish different zones for different purposes. An outdoor rug can make a small patio space feel more like an indoor room.
Arranging furniture poolside
If you have a pool in your backyard, this is a great opportunity to add poolside seating and create an entertaining zone for guests to gather. Consider the space you have available, the type of furniture you want to use, and your desired aesthetic. Measure the area around the pool and decide how large your furniture pieces should be. Consider using a variety of splash-proof seating options, like poolside lounge chairs, a spacious sectional and relaxing low chairs. If you’re looking to design a more relaxing outdoor space, poolside loungers and low chairs are the perfect additions.
It’s a good idea to complement your seating area with tables for poolside drinks and snacks. Just be sure to choose side tables made of moisture-repellant materials with marine-grade hardware - like Neighbor’s round side tables. A spacious furniture arrangement is best for allowing guests to move from the pool, to your lounging areas, to the kitchen or bathroom. To complete your poolside furniture design, add an umbrella or two for shade, outdoor lighting, and plants to set the mood for a perfect poolside oasis.
Outdoor kitchen and outdoor dining layout areas
Aim for a spacious outdoor kitchen and dining area that seats guests comfortably with enough walking space to move from kitchen to table. Consider creating a bar area with bar stools and a wider walkway. Bar stools are great for adding additional seating and can be used for both meals and socializing. Designing a wider walkway will give you a space to mix drinks and chat with guests without the worry of a cramped kitchen.
Comfortable outdoor seating and dining chairs are a must for outdoor entertaining through the afternoon or evening. Dining chairs should be comfortable enough to linger even after the meal is done. When deciding on an outdoor kitchen layout and dining area, consider the size of your space and the appliances you need. Your perfect outdoor bistro may feature a pizza oven, grill, deep sinks, and/or refrigerator. Determining the layout of your appliances will help determine the best furniture layout for dining and moving around. Before deciding on a dining table, think of how many seats you’re likely to need, as well as your desired style.
Neighbor’s outdoor dining set can be made to accommodate four, six or eight people comfortably. Purchasing a dining set, as opposed to purchasing a dining table and seats separately, is an easy way to ensure design consistency and fulfill your outdoor dining needs in one purchase.
Arranging patio furniture for your perfect outdoor design
Outdoor furniture is intended to be functional, durable, comfortable and beautiful. When you consider the size of your outdoor space, your desired style, and the type of climate in your area, it becomes a lot easier to choose the best-suited pieces for your space. Neighbor makes it easy to create your perfect patio design with quality furniture pieces engineered to withstand the elements and wow your guests.
Whether you’re looking for a cozy spot to relax in the evenings or a spacious area to entertain guests, Neighbor outdoor furniture will help you create the outdoor oasis you’ve always dreamed of. From outdoor sectionals, sofas, poolside loungers, side tables, dining tables, coffee tables and more, we offer a wide selection of stylish and durable pieces for you to choose from. Shop our collection to create a patio space that you’ll love for years to come.