Design & DIY

What type of patio furniture is best for your deck?

Sunny retreat

Whether your deck is nestled in a sun-drenched backyard or a pint-sized balcony, and whether it sprawls across two levels or doubles as a dining room, you can find the right patio furniture to suit your space. Here are five different spaces—and five types of furniture—that will transform your deck into the ultimate summer retreat.

The sunny retreat

A perpetually sunny backyard is a magical place—until that first blistering sunburn. While we all love lounging in the sun, a deck should always offer some shaded solace on hot days. Creating a shaded area can be as easy as setting up large UV-protected umbrellas next to lounge chairs or installing a canopy over a dining table. If the space permits, a gazebo or pergola with draped fabric offers a cool space to relax. Best yet, a gazebo with screens will help protect you from mosquitoes at night.

The urban miniature

Living in the concrete jungle, you have access to a dizzying array of incredible restaurants and bars—but at the expense of having outdoor space. When working with a small space, it’s important your furniture matches your priorities. If you’re interested in romantic dinners for two overlooking the cityscape, pick out a classic wrought-iron bistro table and chairs set. If you want to use your small backyard to read and drink a beer, invest in a couple of comfy loungers and a collapsible side table that can be tucked away when not in use. Although space is minimal, you don’t need to sacrifice style. Outfit your furnishings with colourful throw pillows in fun patterns and deck out your deck with statement planters. Even a couple of terracotta pots filled with easy-to-grow herbs like basil will inject energy into tight quarters.

The multi-level behemoth

When square footage isn’t an issue, the design possibilities are endless. If your deck features multiple levels—even if it’s just a few steps leading down to a pool area—you can create different spaces each with their own purpose and style. For example, create a lounge area with modular sectional seating that can be easily rearranged depending on the event, and bring al fresco dining to a new level with a full dining room set, complete with an extendable teak table and sleek rattan chairs. Architectural details like a wooden trellis divider or signature lighting—we love twinkly lights along a fence and lanterns atop a dining table—will help define spaces meant for lounging, dining, and playing.

The plain Jane

Your deck might be average, but that doesn’t mean your outdoor furniture needs to be too. Once your deck is furnished with the must-have pieces, such as a dining table or chaise lounge, add a piece that will add some personality. It could be something as simple as a statement chair in a bold colour or a portable firebowl for summer nights. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to mix materials. Contemporary chairs look stylish next to a rustic wooden coffee table or a textured woven lounger.

The outdoor dining room

For those who love to cook and entertain, the outdoor dining room is a must in any outdoor space. While patio tables made with a tempered glass table top and a heavy steel frame are the norm, we also love more rustic wooden tables. Surround the table with stackable chairs for easy storage, and keep throw pillows and blankets on hand to keep guests comfortable. To reduce trips to the kitchen, bring the cocktail station outdoors with a bar set. Pick a bar that’s made of a weatherproof material like wicker and aluminum, and be sure it contains interior shelving for storing extra cocktail glasses.