Types of Patio Furniture - Which Ones are Best for Outdoor Rooms?

When you choose patio furniture, the first consideration must be given to comfort and durability and because outdoor furniture takes a 'beating' from adverse weather conditions, you will find that those built to withstand the elements, though often expensive, work out to be much more economical in the long run.

Patio furniture is generally made from any of the following materials
  • Aluminium
  • Wrought iron and steel
  • Wood 
  • Wicker
  • PVC
Usually, we choose our patio furniture based on what we like; what we find attractive and desire to set up in our outdoor room. However, whilst shopping for furniture to use outdoors, it’s good to first consider the effects of weather on the pieces we like.

This is especially true if our patio is uncovered and exposed to the elements . . . rain, wind, snow, ice, Will it withstand any of these conditions and not fall apart before next year’s summer?


If you live in a damp or humid region, for example, your best choice is painted or enamel coated aluminium framed patio/garden furniture. They are best for such weather conditions because they will not rust come rain or shine.

Steel and Wrought Iron

These materials are quite popular for patio furniture. With wrought iron, you get ornate pieces with wonderful intricate detailing, something you can’t get from aluminium or steel furniture.

However, with iron or steel, expect to see some rusting IF the painting process is done poorly. To guard against rust, a high-quality rust-resistant coating must be generously applied to the furniture before the final finish is applied.


This is about the most popular and affordable of all patio furniture. Homeowners generally tend to prefer wood finished in white than wood in its natural form. This is possibly due to the fact that white has a profound effect visually when placed amongst nature’s colours . . . green, brown, tan, olive, and hues of flowers

The good thing about wood it that it stands up well against inclement weather, AS LONG AS the timber used has been well seasoned and kiln dried to a state of minimal water content. Some woods do splinter with age; redwood for instance.

PVC - Resin Based

Perhaps the cheapest of all is resin based furniture. They are not only affordable patio furniture; they are lightweight, as they are made from materials of non-porous recycled plastic and environmentally friendly too.

As a homeowner, if you are conscious of the 'green revolution' movement, poly resin based outdoor furniture is best for you. They never deteriorate; can withstand snow, dew, sun, rain and wind. Con . . . ? They may not tolerate consistent harsh freezing temperatures after many years of use.

Outdoor furniture made with this material includes planters, lounge chairs, standard chairs, dining sets, centre tables and side tables.

‘Down-to-Earth’ Natural Outdoor/Patio Furniture

Many get really creative and opt for only natural forms as their own garden furniture. For instance, stumps of very dry timber, used in their natural form will create a rustic effect when used in patios surrounded with colourful plants. They can serve as seats, table legs, and surfaces. A slab of wood can serve as table top too.

Dry tree trunks can be dug out to create planters; tall, short, or stumpy. One important point though - it is good to use wood that is perfectly dry and treated with preservatives in order to avoid wood deterioration and rotting.

Foldable, Stackable and Collapsible Furniture

If you don’t have much patio space, you can go for fold-able, stack-able, or collapsible chairs and tables and though they may not be as durable as regular indoor chairs and other furniture, they are good in the sense that they are easy to fold, stack, and neatly store away. They are particularly efficient and come in handy when extra seating is required for partying or entertaining.

Wood and Canvas

The simple but classic wood framed fold-able chairs with one-piece canvas seats and backs used to be, and still are quite popular. They are light-scale, comfortable, come in a beautiful array of colours, and are very affordable. Even though the canvas fabric may wear out and deteriorate after many years of use, the canvas can be easily replaced; canvas covers are quite cheap.

Built-In Furniture

If you are quite an entertainer and use your patio all year, (except when it’s freezing cold of course!), a combination of built-in and moveable furniture is a good choice.

Let’s say you have a sizeable patio that extends to or is part of the garden, you may want to demarcate areas in an aesthetically pleasing way; built-in furniture is very useful in defining areas within a large outdoor space. You can effectively create ‘two patios within a patio’.

For instance, you can create perimeter seating, benches of sorts that can serve as both seating and storage . . . maybe barbeque and outdoor cooking equipment, outdoor play equipment, or garden tool store if you don’t have a shed.

Fixed surfaces can be made with hardwood or bricks, and used as platforms to hold potted plants, surfaces to serve as buffet tables and a form of divider if the patio is on two different floor levels.

And as long as there is a handy supply of comfortable cushions these platforms will provide 'overflow' seating when entertaining a number of guests for outdoor dinners.

Built-in patio furniture is also excellent for small gardens and tiny outdoor rooms because they will provide maximum seating for small outdoor spaces.

Patio Theme and Choice of Furniture

Before you venture out to pick your patio furniture, it is good to have a theme, something nice and pleasant enough to make you sit outdoors every possible time you have. Considering this from the onset will ensure you create the perfect patio.

Do you want the patio’s theme to reflect the theme of the interior or do you desire something totally different outdoors?

While some like their outdoor room all thick and lush with shrubberies, flowers, intertwined plants on a wood trellis and tree trunk seats, others prefer a patio that’s open and airy with a few potted plants, laying more emphasis on furniture and furnishings – a rocking chair, an outdoor sofa with a centre table and colourful cushions, a hammock, a bird cage, and nice lights.

The size of your patio also matters. The furniture scale must be just right. You don’t want bulky patio furniture in a small outdoor space; neither do you want short stumpy furnishing in an outdoor room with a high ceiling!

The right choice of furniture and furnishings will determine the overall success of a new patio.

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