Essential Outdoor Furniture for Small Spaces

Looking for outdoor furniture for your small patio, deck, balcony, or other outdoor area? In this post we list recommended furniture options and planning tips for your small outdoor space

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Small outdoor spaces can be a great place to enjoy the outdoors with friends and family. However, it can be hard to find the right furniture for a small outdoor area. It might seem like there is no good solution, and you don’t have enough room for what you want to do. But with careful planning and some creativity, you can find patio furniture or other outdoor items to fit your small outdoor area.

In this post, we provide different planning tips, recommendations, and furniture ideas to help guide you in your journey to find the perfect items for your small space in your backyard.

Small Space Outdoor Furniture
Table of Contents

Definition: What is a small outdoor space?

A small outdoor space is typically one that has less than 1000 square feet. This small space can either be a small patio, a tiny deck, a balcony, a porch, or a small area of your backyard that is separate from a large space elsewhere in your backyard. In any case, the small size of these areas will typically restrict the amount and type of activities that you can do in the space. Depending on the available space, you may only have enough room for a chair or two and a side table.

Planning Tips: 6 ways to make the most of your small outdoor space

  1. Plan ahead. The first step is to take a look at your space and figure out what you need. Think about how you want to use the area and what pieces of furniture will help you accomplish that. We recommend that you read our Backyard Planning Guide for a detailed breakdown of how to plan the different areas of your backyard.
  2. Compare your small space to other areas of your backyard. In some cases, you may have different and larger areas of your backyard separate from your small space. Consider what activities you conduct in those other areas and how you want the activities you do in your small space to complement or differ from those activities elsewhere in your backyard.
  3. Use multifunctional furniture. When choosing furniture for a small outdoor space, look for pieces that can serve multiple purposes. There are a number of pieces of furniture that can serve multiple purposes. A bench with storage underneath can provide seating and storage, for example. Choose a table that can also be used as a seat, or add a hammock for extra seating and relaxation.
  4. Use several pieces—not one large piece of furniture. One of the most common mistakes people make when choosing outdoor furniture is focusing on just one piece instead of using several smaller pieces combined into one space. Don’t feel like you need something big; you don’t! A small table with two chairs can work just as well, if not better than a larger item that takes up more space when not in use.
  5. Go for furniture that doubles as décor. Many pieces of outdoor furniture are not only made to be sat on but also have beautiful designs—perfect for adding a little extra color to your patio or backyard space!
  6. Make sure what you buy will last. It is vital to buy high-quality items that will stand up to the elements. Don’t just choose something that looks good or is cheap; make sure it can endure the outdoor elements.

Materials: Our outdoor material recommendations

Any furniture that you place outside will face much more wear and tear than your furniture inside. As a result, you will need to find furniture that can handle the wear and tear and the elements of your backyard: rain, sun, heat, cold, spills, humidity, wind, scratches, excessive use, and anything else that may happen in your backyard. So, when we look for any type of outdoor furniture, these are the features that we look for:

  • UV or Fade Resistance: If you expect your outdoor furniture to be exposed to the sun at any point, you want an item that is designed to withstand degradation or fading from the sun.
  • Water or Spill Resistance: If you expect your furniture to be exposed to rain (even if it is under a patio) or get spilled on, you will want a material that can resist staying wet or holding water.
  • Stain Resistance: Your outdoor furniture will get dirty at some point. So you will want to find furniture that can resist staining if you want it to continue to look like new for a long time.
  • Mold and Mildew Resistance: This goes hand-in-hand with water and spill resistance, but you want to make sure that your furniture won’t have mold or mildew growth if it does get wet.
  • Durability: Your outdoor furniture and other items will experience a high amount of wear and tear being outside. So, items that promote being scratch, tear, crack, dent, etc. -resistant or -proof are always a plus.
  • Low maintenance: Manufacturers may not always directly state if a piece of furniture is low maintenance. But, you can look for phrases like “mild soap and water” is only needed to clean the furniture or “machine washable” for fabrics to give a good indication of low maintenance requirements. Review manufacturers suggested maintenance and balance those recommendations with your expectations of how much maintenance you see yourself performing on your outdoor furniture.

As you shop for outdoor furniture, you will find many materials used to make outdoor furniture. Below we list a quick summary of our material recommendations. Still, we also provide more detail on these options and other materials in our Complete Outdoor Furniture Materials Guide and our Ultimate Outdoor Furniture Shopping Guide. We highly recommend reviewing these guides to best prepare yourself as you shop for outdoor furniture.

  • Metals: We recommend choosing outdoor furniture made out of aluminum or stainless steel. These are both very durable and weather-resistant materials. We highly recommend that, if possible, select furniture powder coated aluminum or stainless steel because powder coating will enhance the durability and weather resistance of these materials. Review our post on the benefits of powder coated metals for more detail.
  • Wood: Our top choice for outdoor furniture material is teak. Teak is a hard-wearing material that resists moisture, sun, and other normal backyard wear and tear damage. Mahogany, shorea, and eucalyptus are other good options as well.
  • Plastic and Synthetic Wicker: Plastic furniture and synthetic wicker made out of High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) or Recycled Plastics (typically made from HDPE) are excellent options for outdoor furniture. These materials can withstand the effects of moisture, sun, and other outdoor elements in most climates in all seasons.
  • Fabrics: Our top recommendations for outdoor fabrics are Sunbrella and Olefin. Both of these fabrics are highly weather-resistant and durable. You can have peace of mind knowing that furniture with these fabrics should endure your outdoor elements better than other options. Read our post on the comparison between Sunbrella and Olefin to learn the advantages of these fabrics.
  • Cushions: Not all furniture manufacturers state what is inside their cushion. But if you find cushions labeled as open-cell, quick-dry, or reticulated foam, this means that the cushion is designed to have water pass through the foam instead of letting the water absorb in the cushion.

Furniture: Outdoor furniture options for small spaces

Chairs

A chair or two will likely be a key part of your small outdoor space. Outdoor chairs are important for several reasons. They provide a place to sit and relax while enjoying the outdoors, they can be used as an extra seat when guests are over, and they can be placed around a small table to create an outdoor dining area. Chairs are also a great way to add color and personality to your outdoor space. For your small outdoor space, there are several key chair types to consider:

Individual Patio Chairs

A patio chair is a type of chair designed for outdoor use. It is typically made of wood, metal, plastic, or wicker and is designed to withstand the elements. Patio chairs are often used for sitting and relaxing while outdoors and can also be used as extra seating when guests are over.

PURPLE LEAF All Weather Cast Aluminum Outdoor Patio Chairs

Adirondack Chairs

An Adirondack chair is an outdoor reclining chair with a sloping seat, a tall slatted back, and broad armrests. The defining feature of an Adirondack chair is that the seat slopes down to form the back leg support of the chair. These chairs are typically made from wood and plastic materials, and they can be an excellent option for many small outdoor areas.

POLYWOOD Adirondack Chair

Stacking Chairs

A stacking chair is a type of chair that can be easily stored by stacking them on top of each other. This is beneficial for small outdoor spaces, as it allows you to save room when the chairs are not in use. Additionally, stacking chairs are typically made of lightweight materials, which makes them easy to move around.

PHI VILLA Patio Stackable Steel Arm Chairs

Folding Chairs

A folding chair, also known as a stowaway chair, is a type of chair that can be stored by folding it in half. This convenience is due to the fact that they are generally made of lightweight materials and designed for easy storage. You can store folding chairs in various locations, and they can be a great option to provide additional seating when needed.

Amazonia London 2-Piece Teak Patio Folding Armchair

Rocking Chairs

A stacking chair is a type of chair that can be easily stored by stacking them on top of each other. This is beneficial for small outdoor spaces, as it allows you to save room when the chairs are not in use. Additionally, stacking chairs are typically made of lightweight materials, which makes them easy to move around.

POLYWOOD Presidential Rocking Chair

Bean Bag Chairs

A stacking chair is a type of chair that can be easily stored by stacking them on top of each other. This is beneficial for small outdoor spaces, as it allows you to save room when the chairs are not in use. Additionally, stacking chairs are typically made of lightweight materials, which makes them easy to move around.

Jaxx Juniper Outdoor Bean Bag Patio

Tables

Outdoor tables provide several benefits that people with small outdoor spaces can enjoy. Chairs can be placed around a small table to create an outdoor dining area, and they can be used to hold drinks or snacks while enjoying the outdoors. Outdoor tables also come in various styles and colors, so they can be used to add personality and color to any backyard space. There are a few types of tables to consider for your small deck, patio, or other backyard areas.

Side Tables

A side table is a small, often rectangular table typically placed beside a chair or sofa. Side tables are used to hold drinks, snacks, or other items while sitting. Side tables are usually an essential piece of small space patio furniture.

Eco Living Teak Patio Folding Side Table

Coffee Tables

A coffee table is a long, low table that typically has three or four short legs. Coffee tables can be an essential piece to a small outdoor space that can accommodate multiple seating options.

Rattaner Wicker Coffee Table

Bistro Sets

A bistro set, or also called a patio bistro set, is a table and chair set designed for the outdoors for small outdoor areas. Bistro sets typically come with two chairs and a small table, but larger patio sets can also include smaller tables and chairs in various configurations. Bistro sets can be a good space saving option if you are looking to have a seating area, but you are very limited on space.

Nuu Garden 3 Piece Patio Bistro

Conversation Sets

Conversation sets are outdoor or patio furniture that typically includes a sofa (usually a loveseat), two chairs, and typically a coffee table. The pieces are designed for outdoor use and are perfect for small spaces like patios and balconies. Conversation sets come in a variety of styles, colors, and materials to fit any backyard décor.

Grand Patio Outdoor Patio Conversation Set

Hammocks

A hammock can be a great addition to a small outdoor area, especially if you have limited seating in the area. Not everyone feels comfortable sitting on the ground, and a hammock is perfect for relaxing after a long day at work or outside doing chores.

SUNCREAT 55 Inch Extra Large Double Hammock

Benches

Benches are another great way to add seating to your outdoor space. Benches can come in many different shapes and sizes, but they all have one thing in common: they provide a place to sit. Benches can also be multifunctional, serving as both seating and storage. This is a great option if you’re tight on space and you don’t have enough space for a separate storage item.

Grand Patio Garden Bench

Hi, I'm Ashley!

Hi, I'm Ashley!

I started Live Your Best Backyard to share my (and my family's) hands-on experience and countless hours of research on all things backyard to help you find the best products, ideas, tips, and information for your backyard!

Read More About Me
Hi, I'm Ashley!

Hi, I'm Ashley!

I started Live Your Best Backyard to share my (and my family's) hands-on experience and countless hours of research on all things backyard to help you find the best products, ideas, tips, and information for your backyard!

Read More About Me
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