Outdoor living areas have morphed into sophisticated easy-care versions of our indoor space, which explains the wild popularity of patio conversation sets. Even on smaller decks and patios, people often decide to use a patio conversation set instead of a dining table and chairs. Fortunately, there are sets of all sizes that can accommodate your family and friends in the space that you have available. The sets also come in various styles and price points to work with your own personal style as well as your budget.
Before you run out and buy a patio conversation set, there are a number of considerations – quite a few really – to make sure you that have something you’ll be happy to use and will serve you well.
Types of Patio Conversation Sets
The first factor that will determine what kind of conversation set you can buy is the size of the area that you have to work with. Putting a large sectional on a balcony means you’ll have little to no room to move around while a small set in a bigger space probably won’t accommodate enough people and will look out of proportion.
- Sectional Sets are fabulous if you have the room and want to seat more than just a few people. Depending on the type you choose, some can be reconfigured, adding table sections or those meant for built-in storage. Many of these sets also come with a coffee table, which really sets up a nice outdoor space for relaxing.
- Space-Saving Sets are ideal for balconies, porches or any area with space limitations. Some sets use a loveseat-sized piece along with a chair or two, while others have an overall slim style that takes up less room.
- Chair Sets are another great choice that’s ideal for just two people in a small space or for a secondary location in your yard. These sets can be combined with a small table or two or a coffee table. This is also a good starter set if budget is a concern, because you can always add more chairs later.
- Fire Pit Sets take the basic patio conversation set to another level by adding a fire pit or a fire table. There are countless options with regard to style, type of fire pit and its size, so it’s not difficult to find one that fits your needs.
Once you’ve decided what kind of patio conversation set your outdoor living space can accommodate, think about these questions before you buy:
How do you plan to use your outdoor space?
Is it mostly your immediate family that will use the conversation set or do you frequently host larger groups of friends? Is this the only outdoor seating area that you have or will this be in addition to an outdoor dining space? What you look for will differ depending on how many individuals will use it and whether you expect people to eat while seated there. Or maybe you want to create a family hang-out space where you will want a coffee table as a central fixture? Finally, some people use their outdoor space primarily as a couple and won’t really need to worry about seating others.
Also, is your conversation set going on deck or in the grass? Check the legs on the set you are considering and see if they are wide enough: Thin legs on a chair will sink in the yard or can get caught between the planks of your deck.
How’s the Weather?
The climate where you live can be a really important factor in choosing a patio conversation set. If you live in a place where weather can be harsh, salt from the ocean air is a concern, direct sun is brutal, or you need to leave your furniture outdoors in all seasons, pay close attention to the material used to make your set. Some types can hold up to almost anything Mother Nature dishes out, but others will need to be covered when not in use or safely stored during the off-season.
What Type of Material Should You Buy?
Speaking of materials, these are the ones that you will most commonly encounter while shopping for outdoor furniture:
Those who love a natural look may gravitate toward wood furniture, but there are numerous types and each have its own pros and cons.
- Teak and the perhaps lesser known Shorea are two popular wood choices because they are hard, durable and don’t necessarily need a lot of maintenance. These are tropical woods that contain natural oils that help them resist rot, warping, swelling or other damage. Many types of wood – these included – start out in a warm brown tone. With periodic oiling, they will maintain that color, but a lower maintenance option is to let them weather to a natural gray.
- Acacia is another durable wood choice that stands up to weather very well. It’s also plentiful enough that it is considered a sustainable wood choice. The natural shade of Acacia is a rich brown that should be sealed for the best protection. Acacia can also be stained as well.
- Eucalyptus wood is another type that will hold up in all kinds of weather, even though it’s not quite as hard as teak or Shorea. Besides being sustainable, eucalyptus naturally resists rot and insects. It typically starts out with an orangey-red color but it too naturally fades to a silvery gray like teak. Eucalyptus needs to be sealed because while it is somewhat naturally water resistant, it is prone to swelling and shrinking.
- Cypress or cedar are lighter weight options that are sturdy, but also more easily damaged or dented because these woods are softer, particularly cedar, which also retains moisture and can crack. Cypress is lightweight like cedar, but it contains natural resin, which is naturally resists rot and insects.
- Polywood is not actually wood even though it looks exactly like the real thing. This material, and similar brands, are high-density polyethylene (HDPE) which is a sustainable material made from recyclable plastics. Post-consumer waste like milk jugs are processed and used to create this material, which requires no oiling, staining or special maintenance. Besides being available in natural wood tones, they also come in bright colors to spice up your outdoor living space.
Wrought iron is a classic choice for outdoor furnishings. The name means “worked by hand.” This can be more expensive but a similar look can be achieved with cast iron, which uses a mold to make the piece. While iron is super study and will last for decades, it is much heavier. If you’re going to move the furniture around, wrought and cast iron will be more challenging..
If you like the style of wrought iron but the weight and sometimes limited design range turn you off, opt for cast aluminum. This material gives you the classic look and durability of cast iron outdoor furniture with much less weight. This material is also popular for dining sets because the chairs are easily moved. Most styles will also have a powder coating which makes them even more maintenance free.
This material is now commonly used for set that re made of “all weather wicker.” The term wicker can be confusing because it doesn’t actually refer to the material – just the woven style of the furniture. This material lets you have this tropical look with little or no maintenance, and best of all, it doesn’t have to be used in a covered area as does wicker made from natural materials like rattan.
Buyers love this style because it’s comfortable and lightweight. If possible, opt for High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) Wicker, which is a higher grade material than PVC wicker. The types made from PVC can crack or unravel. Even better HDPE materials can be recycled. All synthetic resin furniture is typically formed over an aluminum frame, so you’ll want to check the gauge of the metal used for stability.
Are You Willing to Work for it?
Different materials require different levels of maintenance and care, so pay attention when you make your choice. If you’re not into the effort require to keep wood oiled for the rich brown color you like, a synthetic option would be best. Many other material simply need to be hosed down or wiped clean periodically. Your outdoor environment will also have an impact. For instance, shade areas may be more prone to mildew and certain materials may require more care. Furniture in seaside locations made need more cleaning too.
What feels best?
While you want your outdoor furniture to look stylish, the choice is ultimately about comfort. Let’s face it, this is a space that’s all about relaxation and enjoyment. If you like the look of wrought iron, for instance, but you find it uncomfortable, you may want to look at other materials. Regardless, cushions can make a huge difference and they’re generally available in different thicknesses. So, if you get a set and it’s not plush enough for you, you can purchase more luxuriant cushions.
Go for the Good Stuff
We’ve all learned that lesson at some point: Typically, you get what you pay for. Prices vary widely, from big box discount styles to designer sets on high-end websites, so you’ll find price points all over the place. Of course, a good price doesn’t always mean a cheap product, so study the material information carefully and consider the overall design and construction. In general, choosing the best that you can afford will be more cost-conscious in the long run.
Protect Your Investment
Whether you spend a lot or a little, you want to make sure that your outdoor conversation set provides years of enjoyment. The easiest way to do this is to follow the basic recommended maintenance and protect it from the elements. No matter what climate you live in, a cover is a good investment, especially if your set has cushions. A series of rainy days – or even a heavy afternoon storm – can leave cushions drenched, which means you can’t use them until they dry out. It’s also not great for their longevity. By covering the set when it’s not in use, you can keep it safe and dry. Another option is a deck box for storing all the cushions.
Also, consider any hazards in your particular outdoor setting from which you’ll want to protect your furniture. Trees that shed various materials through the season, acorns that rain down, or sap and pine needles can all affect your outdoor furnishings. In a four-season climate, you’ll definitely want to protect the set in the offseason. Storing the cushions indoors and at the very least covering the furniture is a must. It’s even better if you can store the pieces out of the elements during the winter.
It’s a good idea to measure your space before shopping for a patio conversation set so that you get one that fits comfortably. You’ll also want to consider how many people you’d like to seat of and if you need to leave room in the space for additional chairs when entertaining. Beyond that, the style and colors of the seating group are up to you. Pick something that makes you happy and that you’ll enjoy using. These are some of the most stylish options we’ve found:
Comfortable to use and easy to set up with no assembly required, the Dayse 9-Piece Rattan Sectional Seating Group has economic comfort and a chic contemporary look. A commercial-grade aluminum structure supports an exterior that is covered in a handwoven marine-grade weather-resistant synthetic wicker. The patio conversation set’s durable construction means you’ll be enjoying it for many seasons to come. The thick cushions have backs that gently slope for more ergonomic comfort and are easy to clean thanks to zippered Olefin fabric covers that are removable for washing. They’re also fade- and mildew-resistant so they’ll stay nice and fresh.
This generous set seats up to eight people, so you can entertain to your heart’s content and have room for family and friends to relax. In addition to the seating, the set includes a coffee table, which is the season’s must-have item. All of the pieces have plastic feet that help protect your deck or patio from scratches. As were noted, this set is ready to enjoy out of the box and requires no installation. Happy buyers love the look along with the thickness and density of the cushions. The Dayse 9 Piece Rattan Sectional Seating Group with Cushions comes with a one-year warranty.
Fire pits have skyrocketed in popularity and the Nelsonville 12-Piece Multiple Chairs Seating Group is the ideal accompaniment to this backyard feature — or as a gathering spot anywhere on your property. Because everyone will want to gather around the fire, you need to have enough seating and this patio conversation set has the classic, old-school look of Adirondack chairs with the easy maintenance and long durability of modern materials. Bay Isle Home says that many people say that this is the most comfortable of all flat-backed Adirondack chairs. The set — available in ten different colors — includes six chairs, three side tables and three ottomans.
The Nelsonville set is made from proprietary marine-grade lumber made from 100% recycled content. It looks like natural wood but requires virtually no maintenance. In fact, it’s so durable that it’s used in many theme parks and resorts and comes with a 12-year limited warranty. Cleaning is easy with plain soap and water and a brush, or with a power washer. Each chair has been tested and can hold up to 500 pounds. The material is also resistant to weather, water, UV rays, mildew, rust and fading. Assembly is required and because there are many pieces in the set, buyers say that it is not difficult but takes about 3 hours. The chairs are heavy enough that they will stay securely in place during heavy winds.
If you’re totally redoing your outdoor space and want more style along with a fire feature, the Almyra 6-Piece Rattan Sectional Seating Group with Cushions is a great choice. This 6-piece set includes a patio conversation set and a coffee table that is a fire pit. The sectional seating features an aluminum frame and an all-weather wicker covering on the two armless chairs and modular sofa. Oversized proportions give the cushions extra comfort. Even better, the olefin fabric covering helps make them water-resistant. The sofa portion has a center arm that is a table with two cup holders, keeping drinks handy.
At the center of the patio conversation set is an uber modern-looking propane fire table that will have out and friends lingering long into the evening. The fiber-reinforced concrete fire table puts out up to 40,000 BTUs and uses a regular propane tank that sits outside of the table. Or, it can be converted to use natural gas. Everything arrives fully assembled and ready to welcome your family and friends. While the set can withstand the winters in the northeast, it is a good idea to cover them in bad weather, however, covers are not included. Reviewers say that this is a good set for a smaller space. The Almyra 6 Piece Rattan Sectional Seating Group comes with a one-year warranty.
A more classic looking patio conversation set like the Hagler 8 Piece Rattan Sofa Seating Group will be the centerpiece of your living space for all your outdoor entertaining. The generous set has two loveseats, four armchairs, and two coffee tables — plenty of seating for family and friends! All-weather woven wicker is made from high-density polyethylene that is durable and low maintenance. The water-resistant material covers the sturdy metal frame and comes with polyester-covered cushions that can be spot cleaned.
With enough seating for eight, the weather-resistant patio conversation set can handle your parties and barbeques all summer long. Full assembly is required for the set and it comes with a one-year warranty. the seller notes that this sofa set cannot be left uncovered all year round in colder climates and must be stored or covered in the offseason. Regardless, this set, which comes with your choice of four sofa cushion colors, has the classic wicker look that buyers want without the maintenance or higher cost.
Those who love the look of the sectional sofa in their living rooms will gravitate to the stylish profile of the Dayse 7 Piece Sectional Seating Group with Cushions. This resort grade furniture features a u-shaped sectional that seats up to four people with ample space and creates the same easy gathering for drinks, snacks or just conversation. A rust-proof aluminum frame is covered with waterproof wicker in a stylish gray color that is the perfect neutral to blend with other seating. Darker gray slats form the tabletop, which lets rainwater run right off.
Rather than the usual squared off cushions, this patio conversation set includes back cushions that feature a gentle slope for more back support and comfort. They’re also upholstered in a commercial-grade olefin fabric that gives them great water resistance. Even better, the cushions have zippers so you can easily remove the covers for washing. The Dayse 7 Piece Sectional Seating Group is ready to enjoy right out of the box and requires no assembly and the two sides are secured together with a clip. This weather-resistant set comes with a warranty from Sol 72 Outdoor. Reviewers who are happy with the set say that it looks great, was ready to go in no time at all, and dries very quickly.
The sophisticated armless profile of the Khaleesi Deep 4 Piece Seating Group with Cushions is super chic thanks to its gray frame and nautical blue cushions. The four-piece patio conversation set is perfect for lounging in the backyard with family and friends — or by yourself with a good book! The spacious sofa seats three and two matching chairs are accompanied by a rectangular coffee table. This set is very convenient because it has the same set-up as an indoor living room so you can entertain and keep food and drinks within reach. Crafted with a steel frame covered with all-weather polyethylene wicker, the furniture is resistant to UV rays, rust and weather, meaning that you’ll enjoy many seasons of low-maintenance backyard relaxation.
Angled backrest wings make the pieces more comfortable and the fade-resistant cushions are filled with comfortable polyester foam filling. Assembly is required. for the Khaleesi Deep 4 Piece Seating Group, which is designed for year-round use and comes with a 90-day limited warranty. The set has five-star reviews and buyers say that it is high-quality and beautiful, as well as very comfortable. It’ll make your house the go-to place for outdoor enjoyment among your friends and neighbors.
Who knew that you could outfit your patio or deck with midcentury flair? The Winnie 7 Piece Sunbrella Sofa Seating Group with Cushions has the right silhouette and durability to give your outdoor space the same stylish punch as your indoor furniture. From the angled legs and low-profile, this patio conversation set has just the right lines to evoke midcentury decor. While it’s definitely casual, it has more refinement than many of the overstuffed outdoor sets. Its powder-coated aluminum frame is finished with an all-weather wicker that resists UV rays, rust, and water. In fact, these materials are designed to stand up to any outdoor environment.
Perfectly proportioned cushions are covered in Sunbrella fabric, which is known for its durability and resistance to water, mold and fading. It’s also well as easy to wash. The seven-piece set includes a sofa, two chairs and ottomans, as well as a coffee table and side table, both with slatted tops for letting water flow through. No assembly is required and the patio conversation set arrives ready for you and your friends to enjoy. Manufacturer Breakwater Bay offers a one-year warranty on the Winnie 7 Piece Sunbrella Sofa Seating Group.
If you prefer furniture with a lighter, more streamlined look, the Tarpley 4 Piece Sofa Seating Group with Cushions is a great choice with its elegant X design. Add simple elegance to your outdoor area with this 4 Piece Sofa Seating Group with Cushions. The classy, dark frames of the loveseat, chairs and coffee table are made from oiled steel that resists rust, weather and water. The cushions, which come in a choice of four lovely neutral colors, feature a cover that is moisture-resistant and UV-resistant to help keep them from fading. Keeping the set clean is easy too: Just wipe with mild soap and water, and the occasional coat of wax will keep the pieces looking brand new.
Although the seating group is weather-resistant, it is not weatherproof, so it is recommended to cover the furniture when it’s not in use or during bad weather. Full assembly is required but buyers say it’s not difficult and the patio conversation set comes with a 90-day warranty. Happy reviewers say the set is very stylish, looks expensive and is well worth the money.
Classically casual, this patio conversation set practically screams lemonade and long summer afternoons. The Sawyer 6 Piece Sunbrella Sofa Seating Group with Sunbrella Cushions has graceful curves and a bit of a southern feel and is ideal in the backyard or on a front porch. Made with a powder-coated and rust-resistant steel frame, the furniture is wrapped in an all-weather synthetic resin wicker that will last for years with very little maintenance. A matching coffee table has a smoked glass inset and a storage shelf. The cushions are covered Sunbrella fabric, which is durable, colorfast and weather-resistant.
This patio conversation seats four, and includes the accent pillows. The pieces have adjustable feet to help keep them level on the patio or deck. Some assembly is required for the set and the tools needed are included with the set. No information is provided about a warranty.
Modern and minimal design distinguishes this bold Gruber Patio 5 Piece Sectional Seating Group with Cushions. The sectional pieces seat seven and include an ottoman that can be used as a coffee table by removing the cushion. The painted aluminum frames have an attractive angular look and will have your friends complimenting the style. The seats are wrapped with a blend of all-weather resin wicker. For superior comfort, the seat cushions are four inches thick and the back cushions are six inches thick. Both the frame and the wicker are resistant to UV rays, rust, weather and water.
This patio conversation set comes fully assembled and ready to entertain right out of the box in your choice of two color combinations: a natural brown or a black and white woven design. While the set is weather-resistant, it is recommended that it be covered when not in use. The Gruber Patio 5 Piece Sectional Seating Group with Cushions does not come with a warranty. It’s a marvelously modern patio conversation set to make your outdoor living space comfortable and the envy of the neighborhood.
Modern, classic or contemporary, the choices for a patio conversation set are innumerable. Just by perusing these selections, you can see why they have become so popular. These seating sets make your outdoor space super comfortable which means that you’ll want to spend more time outdoors, which is always a good thing.