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Choosing the best furniture for fun outdoor gatherings

There’s a variety of patio furniture to choose from, so how do you know where to start? It’s best to consider the different types of patio chairs first when deciding how to furnish your outdoor space. Each chair type can easily be made into a cohesive set with the right table or ottoman, so you may as well look at what will work best with your space. After all, if you choose something too big or too small, you’ll be scrambling to find something else that pulls it all together.

A set of black patio chairs
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Different types of patio furniture

When it comes to selecting your patio furniture, the best place to start is with the chairs. There are a few different types of patio chairs to choose from, and some options are more affordable or more durable than others. Stackable patio chairs can be some of the most budget friendly depending on which material you choose. They’re good for saving space as they can be stored vertically, which can be beneficial if you have limited space that you need to utilize for a variety of functions.

Plastic patio chairs aren’t always the first choice because their appearance isn’t as nice as wicker or wood, but they are the most affordable (and come in stackable options). One good thing is if something happens to them, they aren’t costly to replace! As long as you store them and take care of them as recommended (don’t leave them out in extreme cold), they should hold up just fine for the price point.

Metal patio chairs are durable but may require more maintenance as far as upkeep.  You’ll want to store them in a dry place during wetter months so they don’t rust. If you don’t have an easily accessible place to -store them, you may want to opt for the plastic option so that it’s cheaper to replace if needed.

Aside from these types, you can also find patio sets in wood and wicker, which will come with their own maintenance and needs. Wood and wicker furniture can be less ideal in a smaller space that needs to be available for different functions as they can be more difficult to move and store. However, they do have a sleeker appearance so it really boils down to what you’re able to care for, what you use your patio space for, and how much money you’re able to spend.

A grey modern patio set

How to choose what’s best for your space

Choosing what’s best for your space will depend heavily on what you need your space for. If it’s smaller and you need to be able to easily move your furniture, plastic or lightweight aluminium furniture may be your go-to. Aluminum furniture is rustproof and easy to clean, so it is a more durable option that requires less maintenance if you don’t have the time to spend cleaning your furniture. Stackable plastic chairs, though, allow you to move them out of the way to one spot if you don’t have too much extra space to allot to chair storage.

If you’re low on storage space, you’ll want to avoid anything that needs to be brought indoors during harsher months in order to be sustainable (this includes most metals). In a smaller space, your best bet is to find furniture that is mostly weatherproof and durable, something that can sustain rain and be all right. Wood furniture may be your go-to here, as that can be outside in the wet weather without risk of falling apart. Keep in mind, though, it will still require extra maintenance. If wood sits wet for too long, it can start to rot. Having a covered deck or other dry outdoor place to move the furniture would be ideal if you go this route.

In a bigger space, it’s much easier to have a cohesive set that you don’t need to move out of the way. Smaller spaces can, of course, have smaller patio sets that work well for your needs. But if you have a larger patio, you can consider adding in extra furniture and decor outside of a table and chairs (i.e., end tables, ottomans, benches, etc.). In a larger space where you won’t need to worry about furniture storage or moving it out of the way, you can opt for synthetic rattan. It’s a lightweight, weatherproof material that can remain outside in a variety of conditions. And it’s affordable. If you’re working with a smaller patio space where you don’t need to constantly move furniture or have a place to store it, this is an ideal option, as well!

Any outdoor furniture you choose, though, will still need to be maintained and cared for in some way.

Best furniture for different gatherings/families

If you’re having a bigger gathering or have a larger family, it would be ideal to look for affordable furniture that can be easily moved in addition to a cozy patio set. You could opt for a synthetic rattan set with outdoor cushions, then pull in some stackable plastic chairs as needed. This will keep your patio clean and tidy when it isn’t in use but allow you to accommodate larger gatherings without having to completely redo your patio.

The same can be said for smaller families and gatherings. Opt for a cozy set as your main option — synthetic rattan if you don’t need to store it, but stackable plastic is always affordable and can be moved around easily. A smaller patio set creates the perfect intimate space for small get-togethers and family time. You won’t feel too crowded, but you won’t feel like there’s so much space or excess furniture that it feels empty.

A lot of what you choose depends on what you can afford and the style you like. There are some sets that are better suited for different family or patio sizes, and you may find you don’t want to worry about a set and just want to get a table and chairs that get the job done. How you decorate is up to you!

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Kiera Baron
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kiera Baron is a freelance writer and editor, as well as a budding digital artist, based in Upstate NY. She is currently one…
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