TRICK OUT THE PATIO WITH RADIANT OUTDOOR SEATING
Outdoor seating is having a day in the sun. As all-weather entertaining spaces become increasingly more important, outdoor seating areas are becoming must-have spaces in even the most modest of homes. Outdoor seating areas can take an array of shapes, ranging from patinated iron dining sets to grass-grazing Adirondack chairs clustered around a fire pit.
If you’ve recently kicked off a hunt for outdoor seating, chances are you’re overwhelmed by all of the options. Even if you’ve narrowed your search down whether to outdoor seating sets, outdoor dining chairs, or a pair of chaise lounges, weighing material options alone is bound to induce indecision. Is teak your best bet? Or all-weather wicker? Which is to say nothing of good old-fashioned wicker—or is that even a thing, anymore? To help streamline your options we’re spotlighting some of the most common styles of outdoor seating along with the most popular silhouettes, features, and construction materials.
Outdoor Dining Chairs
It used to be that outdoor dining chairs were a relative afterthought. In the mid 20th century, when outdoor living first emerged as a trend, outdoor dining chairs were primarily constructed of iron or aluminum. Silhouettes were simple, consisting of standard straight-back designs as well as barrel chairs. These days, outdoor dining chairs possess enough style to rival their indoor counterparts. Look for dining chairs that mimic the look of bamboo or rattan, but are constructed of all-weather, UV resistant materials (a word to the wise: it’s usually some form of resin). Wovens are also gaining traction and often come in shocking hues that will energize any patio space. Last but not least, it’s hard to go wrong with French-inspired folding bistro chairs. Coming in a parade of rainbow colors, folding bistro chairs are almost always a fail-proof choice when decking out the great outdoors.
Outdoor Lounge Chairs
Need a place to tip back a tonic, soak up some sun, and get lost in some extracurricular reading material? A luxe outdoor lounger is likely your best bet. Outdoor lounge chairs come in a variety of styles. Though it’s worth calling out that many outdoor dining chairs will bear the name “lounge chair.” Most designers will encourage you to stray from the more upright silhouettes that are reminiscent of dining chairs and spring for the most commodious designs your outdoor space can accommodate. Up until several seasons ago, boxy lounge chairs crafted of all-weather wicker were all the rage, but these days it’s possible to find outdoor lounge chairs that look like they were co-opted directly from the living room. Look for outdoor lounge chairs with unexpected shapes that cradle the body to make all-day lounging even more comfortable. All-weather cording and rope threaded around aluminum frames can also offer a flexible tension that feels incredibly relaxing to the body.
Outdoor Chaise Lounges
Let’s be frank: few things in life top poolside lounging, so make sure you’re making the most of it with outdoor chaise lounges that truly put you in the lap of luxury. If you’re a fan of all the bells and whistles, consider a reclining chaise. A reclining chaise will give you the option to sit up straight or lie supine—a luxury any sunbather worth their salt will know how to fully appreciate. Since outdoor chaise lounges have movable parts, it’s worth investing some consideration into the material used for the frame. Powder-coated aluminum is a common choice for outdoor loungers, as is teak and other engineered, weather-resistant materials. If you find an old frame you love—might we recommend plugging the name “Brown Jordan” to your search bar—chances are that they can easily be revived with some new outdoor seating cushions. Sunbrella fabrics that are resistant to not only fading but staining, give you more reason than ever to splurge for that crisp white upholstery you'd never dream of doing indoors.
Have hedonistic fantasies of dropping a 10-seater sectional in your living room, but not the desire to turn your living room into an unabashed pleasure dome? We feel you. Thankfully, the great outdoors offers you the opportunity to go big with sofas without any of the guilt that accompanies such gargantuan pieces indoors. Look for comfy, cushy, enveloping silhouettes if you plan on hosting those affairs that evolve from casual canapes to fireside chats to kumbaya singalongs (depending on how heavily the rosé is flowing...) If you’re a bit more partial to a sleeker look, try hunting down Mid-Century-inspired outdoor sofas which generally provide a more boxy look. Modular sofas may also be of interest if you favor a modern look. As a bonus, they can easily be broken apart to create more intimate outdoor seating areas when entertaining.