Though often regarded as a summertime activity, enjoying the outdoor air in all its forms is not really all that seasonal; in most parts of the country, a patio, balcony or backyard is perfectly usable three seasons of the year. Which makes its status as patron furniture buying afterthought all the more confusing — why sit on tailgate chairs and use coolers for tables?
Of course, outdoor furniture is no doubt secondary to indoor furniture — don’t buy a weather-proof set of tables and chairs before getting a couch to sit on in your living room. But the level at which it’s disregarded isn’t equal to the amount of use a proper backyard can, and perhaps should receive.
In our survey of the best outdoor and patio furniture, we explore the high and low of a market that doesn’t get the respect it deserves — these 16 sets and collections run the complete price, prestige and style spectrum.
As it does in virtually every corner of the good-looking, supremely affordable furniture market, Ikea rules. All pre-treated for weather resistance, there are over 100 products in this collection — high chairs, low chairs, bar stools, rolling storage, folding tables, folding chairs, multiple grills and more. Will you need to earmark an hour or two to put them all together? Sure, but the Applaro collection is the only one you could argue looks great and would cost you under $1,000 to fully outfit a deck in.
Not every backyard or patio has to be completely stationary. Snow Peak is a Japanese outdoor brand with a fervent following of outdoorspeople who want products that go for the extra step, and its outdoor furniture collection is full of fold-up chairs, bamboo tables and collapsable benches, all just as ready for the trail as they are an apartment balcony or space-deficient backyards.
Herman Miller Magis Outdoor Collection
What’s probably the most respected design outlet the world over, the Magis Outdoor Collection that’s available through Herman Miller is as charming and drool-worthy as can be. Magis has worked with high-profile designers like Konstantin Grcic (who designed the chair pictured above), Jasper Morrison and Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec. Each piece is light, playful and comes in a variety of colors.
Design Within Reach Eos Collection
Named for the Greek goddess who literally brings light, the Eos collection is semi-obsessed with lightness. It’s lightweight, visually light and relatively easy on the wallet. Designer Matthew Hilton described the through-line of his work to Design Within Reach in four qualities: “Functional, stackable, it has to store easily and be a good price.”
This set is Hay’s seminal outdoor collection — so much so the outdoor section of its site has only two sub-categories, “Palissade” and “Other.” The 13-piece collection was designed to put a fork in the way we use form to imply function. The site’s description puts it concisely: “they are strong without being bulky, elegant without being fragile.”
Rove Concepts Linnea
Rove Concepts delivers on its promise of artisanal mid-century delivered to your door with every project it unveils, and the quiet, durable Linnea line is no different. Where much of the outdoor furniture space is riddled with behemoth couches and dark colors, Linnea is slim and quiet, with quality of life-improving details like teak wood armrests and UV-resistant cushions that propel it above competitors in its price range. Starting at just north of $200, the collection features a loveseat, a sofa, chairs, a side table, a coffee table and a dining table.
CB2 Breton Collection
As breezy as it is affordable, CB2’s Breton outdoor seating collection, designed in Spain by Memelada Estudio, was made with the coast of France in mind. It’s whimsical, simple and tough. Keep an eye out for sales and discount codes — CB2 runs promotions regularly.
Terrain Trellis Weave Outdoor Collection
The Trellis' use of a rattan weave creates an airy and relaxed atmosphere for your backyard or patio. There's something beach resort-like about this collection and that's just another reason why you need this set right now.
Article Arca Seating
The Arca line of seating from Article is reminiscent of your parents’ back porch growing up, but updated with a slightly trimmer shape, weather-proof everything and cushions that refuse to crush. The brand’s direct-to-consumer MO shaves off a few layers of middlemen in favor of shipping its wares directly to you at a lower price, and, in some cases, with no assembly required.
Restoration Hardware Balmain Collection
RH’s Balmain outdoor collection in teak wood is modern in its material use, construction and color, but it sports a very satisfying back curve that also happens to make for a much more enjoyable lounging experience. Every piece is handcrafted and ships a few weeks after purchasing.
Nova 7-Piece Aluminum Set
Aluminum is one of, if the not the king of outdoor furniture materials due to an inherent rust-resistance, light-ish weight and good looks. It’s usually not very affordable, though, which is exactly where this set shines. Recommended as the best aluminum set by Wirecutter, you get six chairs and a full-size table to eat on for well under $1,000. The color is a plain dark grey, which works just as well with your choice of pillow cushion as it would sans-cushion. Put simply: if you’re set on a hassle-free patio setup and don’t want a four-digit bill, it’s the best choice on the internet.
AllModern Oswestry Set
Take the mid-century modern aesthetic outdoors. The bistro-sized set is designed for small spaces like city apartment patios. The tabletop is made of concrete and finished with Terrazzo tile. The black and gold legs of both the table and chairs add a touch of sophistication to this overall polished outdoor set.
Frontgate Palazzo Modular System
Every inch of this mafioso-adjacent beach vibe of a couch is weather-resistant and able to unhinge and rearrange at a moment’s notice. Buy in small pieces, buy every piece, it doesn’t matter — once set up, a nap-inducing gravity is applied to all within its sightline.
Yardbird Colby Loveseat Set
Yardbird is outdoor furniture gone fully direct-to-consumer — that means you won’t find it professionally arranged in a salesperson-infested showroom, but you will find higher quality materials for a price that’s more digestible. The Colby set is one of nine sets the brand is launching with this summer, and comes with a modular loveseat, two chars and a coffee table, all made of rust-resistant aluminum.
Outer's sofas are quite possibly the apex of outdoor seating. Craftspeople hand-weave each wicker chair, which is made from recycled plastic bottles. While any good outdoor seating features weather-resistant cushioning, Outer's is especially good at withstanding the elements. The cushions are stain- and fade-resistant, as well as waterproof. Plus, the cushions are memory foam for a comfortable sitting experience. An integrated cover rolls out of the back to protect your seat when not in use, so there's not need to buy an extra protective barrier.
Tait Seam Collection
The colors are perfect. The materials are robust. The look is downright amazing. The Seam collection is a product of designer Sam Cornish and high-end Aussie furniture makers Tait, and riffs on the seam that joins fabrics together in clothes. Its clean lines and slight contours catch are meant to catch light and moderately change the color and feel of their space as the sun moves throughout the day.