The Ultimate Outdoor Sofa Buying Guide: How to Choose

Written by Neighbor Editorial Team | @neighboroutdoor | Opens in a new window. |

How to choose the best outdoor sofa for your living space.

two people on sofa

Choosing an outdoor sofa that meets your needs can be a daunting task, especially when faced with so many styles, materials, and features to choose from. Whether you’re looking to create a cozy outdoor oasis for relaxation or an entertainment space for friends and family, we’re here to help make the decision an easy one.

This ultimate outdoor sofa buying guide will provide you with the information you need to make an informed choice. From determining the size and shape of your outdoor sectional or patio furniture set to choosing rust-resistant materials like powder-coated aluminum to rattan wicker, this guide will help you navigate the process of selecting the perfect outdoor sofa for your home. So sit back, relax, and let’s get started!

Terra in-line sofa

Consider Your Outdoor Space and Style

Choosing the right outdoor couch or conversation set for your outdoor space starts with assessing the size and layout of the area. Take measurements and consider the placement of other outdoor furniture to determine the size and shape of the sofa that will fit comfortably. If you have a large outdoor area, a sectional sofa set may be the perfect choice for creating a cozy seating area. On the other hand, if you have a smaller space, a set with a couple of chairs and a table may be more suitable or a sofa with a small-built in table.

Additionally, keep in mind the style and aesthetic of your outdoor patio when selecting a sofa. Look for materials, colors, and patterns that match your existing outdoor decor. It’s also essential to choose weather-resistant cushions and high-performance fabrics like Neighbor’s Sunbrella fabric, which is designed to withstand harsh weather conditions while maintaining its appearance over time.

By considering your outdoor space and style, you’ll be able to select an outdoor seating option that complements your outdoor decor and creates an inviting and comfortable atmosphere. Whether you’re looking for a chaise lounge or a patio conversation set, choosing the right outdoor furniture can transform your backyard into a peaceful oasis that you’ll enjoy season after season.

Pros and Cons of Different Materials

When it comes to choosing an outdoor sofa, the material used in its construction is a crucial factor to consider. Different materials have their own set of pros and cons, and it’s essential to weigh them against your specific needs and preferences.

For instance, cushions can provide additional comfort, but they also require more maintenance and care to keep them looking their best. On the other hand, a non-cushioned outdoor loveseat may require less upkeep, but it can be less comfortable for extended periods of use. Water-resistant seat cushions are also a great option for those who live in areas with frequent rain or humidity.

You also want to make sure that the foam used in your cushions is constructed of quick-drying material made for the outdoors. Foam should allow for water and spills to quickly flow through the cushions without becoming trapped. This prevents mold and mildew growth and means you can enjoy your outdoor sofa quicker after it rains.

reticulated foam image

Wicker and rattan sofas have a natural and textured appearance, but they need more maintenance to protect against weather damage. Metal and plastic outdoor sofas are durable and easy to clean, but they may not be as comfortable as their cushioned counterparts. Aluminum frames are rust-resistant, ideal for those in humid areas or near the ocean. Teak wood is also a premium option, but can require additional care and maintenance.

At Neighbor, we offer a large selection of outdoor furniture, including powder-coated aluminum outdoor loveseats and teak sofas, with a range of materials and styles to choose from. Our frames provide a sleek design and modern look, while our water-resistant cushions ensure durable comfort. Consider your specific needs and preferences when choosing the material for your outdoor sofa to ensure it’s the perfect fit for your outdoor space.

How to Choose the Right Size

Choosing the right size for an outdoor sofa can be a challenge, but it’s important to get it right for maximum comfort and functionality. Too big, and it’s a nuisance, but too small, and you end up wasting lots of valuable surface area. Start by measuring the space where you plan to place the sofa to ensure that it fits perfectly.

If you have a small outdoor space, a loveseat might be the perfect option for you. Neighbor offers the Terra loveseat, which features an aluminum frame, making it durable and rust-resistant, while the Bluff and Haven loveseats are made from premium teak wood that’s sure to add a touch of elegance to your outdoor living area. Both loveseats comfortably seat two to three people and are available in a variety of colors and styles to match your outdoor decor.

In addition, we also offer the chair and a half, a versatile piece of outdoor furniture that can be used on its own or paired with two for ample seating. However, if you have a large patio or deck and need more seating, a sectional might be a better choice. Neighbor’s outdoor sectional sofa sets come in a variety of sizes and configurations, allowing you to customize your seating to fit your space and needs. Plus, sectional sofas are a great way to create a cozy and intimate gathering space for your family and friends.

haven loveseat

Sofa vs Sectional

Choosing between a sofa and a sectional depends largely on the size and layout of your outdoor space. If you have a small patio or deck, a sofa might be a better fit, while a larger deck or backyard may accommodate a sectional better.

Another factor to consider is how you plan to use your outdoor seating. If you frequently entertain guests, a sectional might be the better choice since it can offer more seating options. On the other hand, if you mainly use your outdoor space for relaxing and lounging, a sofa may be sufficient.

Buying modular furniture can also allow you to add pieces to your sofa or sectional over time without having to buy entire new furniture sets to accommodate more people or a bigger space.

Maintenance and Care

Outdoor sofas are a fantastic investment for any outdoor space, but it’s important to keep them in good condition to ensure their longevity. Regular maintenance and care are crucial to keeping your outdoor sofa looking and feeling great.

One of the most important things you can do to maintain your outdoor sofa is to protect it from the elements. This may include using furniture covers when the sofa is not in use, especially during periods of inclement weather. Additionally, regular cleaning of both the cushions and the frame is essential to keep your outdoor sofa in top condition. Depending on the upholstery material, you may need to use specific cleaners or methods to remove dirt and stains.

Additionally, proper storage during the off-season is also key to maintaining the quality of your outdoor sofa. Depending on the type of sofa you have, this may include disassembling the pieces and storing them indoors or in a covered outdoor area. This is especially important if you live in an area with harsh winter weather. By taking the time to properly store your outdoor sofa, you can help extend its lifespan and keep it looking great for years to come.

Budget Considerations

When it comes to purchasing an outdoor sofa, it’s essential to keep your budget in mind. Setting a realistic budget will help you narrow down your options and prevent overspending. Before making a purchase, consider the features that are most important to you, such as size, material, and design. This will help you make an informed decision about which outdoor sofa to choose while staying within your budget.

If you’re on a tight budget, there are several affordable options available, such as resin wicker or plastic outdoor sofas. These durable materials are weather-resistant, making them a practical choice for outdoor use. You can also consider purchasing a lounger with a few additional throw pillows for maximum comfort, or side tables to complete the look.


It’s important to keep in mind that you don’t have to break the bank to get the sofa of your dreams, but to also keep in mind that higher quality materials will last longer and are often worth the investment. With the right research and careful consideration, you can find an outdoor sofa that fits your needs and your budget. Just remember to choose one with a sturdy steel frame, stain-resistant upholstery, and furniture covers to protect it from the elements if you plan to use it in inclement weather or poolside.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right outdoor sofa requires careful consideration of factors such as size, style, material, budget, and maintenance. By taking the time to measure your space, think about your lifestyle and design preferences, and determine your budget, you can find an outdoor sofa that meets your needs and enhances your outdoor living space. Regular maintenance and care will help keep your outdoor sofa looking and feeling its best, so be sure to invest in its longevity.

If you’re in the market for an outdoor sofa, consider Neighbor as a reliable option. We offer a variety of outdoor sofas and sectionals in different styles, high-quality materials, and sizes to fit any budget and design preference. In addition, Neighbor’s commitment to sustainability and eco-friendliness means that our furniture is made with the environment in mind. With our sofas, may your outdoor seating dreams become a reality — without any of the hassle.

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