Furnishing Outdoor Living Spaces

Looking to furnish your porch or patio? Join the crowd! The outdoor room is becoming an increasingly important part of the home, and homeowners have more options than ever to outfit them. Americans spend more time at home than they did five years ago, and among their top must-haves is an area for socializing, relaxing, and enjoying the outdoors in comfort.

Before You Begin

If you’re decorating this Spring, take a look at how you’ll be using your outdoor space in order to furnish it appropriately for its function and style. If you plan on using your outdoor room frequently or intend to regularly entertain guests, comfort and durability are your highest priorities. Just like indoor living room furniture, you have your choice of items outdoors with sofas, loveseats, chairs, rockers, ottomans, coffee tables and more. Seating arrangements can influence how your guests interact, encouraging conversation in a comfortable setting.

If relaxing is your goal, be sure to try before you buy. In today’s expanded market, you can find lounge chairs with lumbar support, foam core cushions, and a broad collection of soft fabrics. Add an end table to set your drink on, and you’re set to spend long hours reading a book – with an umbrella to protect you if your relaxation leads to a catnap.

If you enjoy eating outdoors, you’ll be best served with a dining set – both for function and for fashion. Choose a size that suits the space as well as the number of people who will be accommodated. Even a small outdoor space, such as an apartment balcony, can be transformed by a bistro table and pair of chairs. On any porch or patio, a bistro set has the added advantage of being moved easily.


Wood, cane, and bamboo do better in less humid climates, though they’ll still need some shaded protection from the sun. Wrought iron is sturdy and classic in style, but should be painted or powder-coated to prevent rust. You can cover furniture during a storm; just uncover it afterward so that trapped condensation doesn’t lead to rust. Materials least affected by moisture are plastic, glass, fiberglass, and aluminum. Aluminum is as versatile in style as wrought iron, and lightweight enough to be easily moved. Resin wicker looks and feels like traditional wicker but tends to cost less, and you can simply hose it down when it gets dirty. For safety, glass tabletops should be made of tempered glass.

Pillows and cushions help you get the most comfort out of your furniture, but make sure the materials you have were intended for outdoor use. Outdoor fabrics are durable, treated against wearing, fading or molding. When needed, most can be cleaned simply by machine-washing.

Add a Spark

For the ultimate in outdoor ambiance, there’s nothing like an open fire. Wood-burning fire pits offer the traditional smell and crackle of the outdoor nighttime experience and are available in a wide range of styles to match your setting. Gas fire pits are a common option, and extremely easy to operate. They provide all the beauty and heat of flames but without releasing smoke to blow back in your face. Portable fire pits offer the convenience of mobility and the ease of built-in propane tanks. Many double as coffee tables, making an attractive backyard centerpiece.

Finishing Touches

Roll out the welcome and add personality with an outdoor area rug. It will pull together the look of your outdoor room, and give comfort under bare feet – on the deck, poolside, or under the dining table. Also made of weather- and stain-resistant fibers, outdoor rugs are low maintenance, easily rinsed off with a hose. They’re pretty and durable enough for busy indoor areas as well, available in an extensive array of fashionable patterns and colors.

If year-round use isn’t an option in your climate, you may need to plan for storage for your furniture. No garage or basement? Cover it with a vinyl all-weather tarp.

Your outdoor space is a part of your home. It beautifies your property and adds comfort to your day. Make it the perfect haven for spending time with family and friends.