Choosing The Right Outdoor Furniture for Small Patios

A small patio or balcony can feel limiting when decorating and making the most of the space. Choosing the right outdoor furniture is crucial to maximizing your patio real estate without cluttering it. This guide will provide tips and recommendations for selecting outdoor furniture for small patios that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

Outdoor Furniture for Small Patios

Small patios and balconies require some special consideration when selecting outdoor furniture. Large pieces can overwhelm the space, making it feel cramped and cluttered. On the other hand, too small furniture can look odd and out of place. The key is finding the right size, functionality, and style balance.

Choosing outdoor furniture for a small patio ensures the space looks pulled together and inviting. The right pieces can make a patio feel welcoming and cozy rather than cramped. Consider both form and function when selecting furniture. Opt for multipurpose pieces that save space without sacrificing comfort.

Types of Outdoor Furniture for Small Patios

When outfitting a small patio, stick to furniture that enhances the space without overpowering it. Here are some of the best options for small patio furniture:

Chairs and Tables

Chairs and Tables Outdoor Furniture for Small Patios

Opt for compact bistro or cafe-style chairs with arms and a small side or coffee table. These dainty pieces give you a spot to sit without taking up much room. Nesting tables are great space-savers since they tuck under each other when not in use.

A small round pedestal table with two chairs is perfect for intimate meals al fresco. Folding chairs are another excellent space-saving option. Look for wooden chairs with comfortable cushions.

Bistro Sets

Bistro Sets Outdoor Furniture for Small Patios

For good reason, classic bistro sets with two chairs and a tiny table are patio furniture staples. They fit perfectly in the tightest of spots. Opt for a cute metal set with scrolling details or a mosaic tabletop for added flair.

Adirondack Chairs

Adirondack Chairs for Outdoor Furniture in Small Patios

Nothing says laidback patio lounging like a traditional Adirondack chair. The iconic sloped seat and wide arms make them ultra-comfortable. Choose plastic or resin chairs in bright colors to add cheer to a small patio. Opt for a loveseat size with a pull-out tray table for drinks.

Benches and Ottomans

Benches and Ottomans for Outdoor Furniture in Small Patios

Benches maximize seating while taking up minimal space. Look for compact benches with built-in storage underneath. Top them with weather-resistant cushions in cheery patterns. Combine a bench with movable ottomans to create flexible modular seating.

Hammocks and Swing Chairs

Hammocks and Swing Chairs for Outdoor Furniture in Small Patios

While hammocks and swing chairs take up more space, a single hammock chair, palm-leaf hammock, or swinging bench can add a tropical oasis feel to a small patio. Hang them from hooks installed in walls or ceilings to avoid wasting valuable floor space.

Material Matters

When selecting patio furniture, consider how the materials will hold up to the elements. Here are some top options:

Wooden Furniture

Wooden Furniture for Outdoor Furniture in Small Patios

Thanks to its weather and mold resistance, Teak is the gold standard for outdoor wood furniture. Other durable, low-maintenance woods include mahogany, eucalyptus, acacia, and shorea. Choose lightweight bamboo furniture with UV protection for easy movability.

Metal Furniture

Metal Furniture for Outdoor Furniture in Small Patios

From sleek stainless steel to cast aluminum, metal outdoor furniture handles the elements beautifully. Wrought iron, powder-coated steel, and galvanized metal offer countless classic patio looks. Avoid cheaper metal furniture that can rust.

Wicker and Rattan

Wicker and Rattan for Outdoor Furniture in Small Patios

Natural wicker and all-weather resin wicker provide charm and stand up well outdoors. Style tip: use white wicker furniture to make a small space feel more open and airy. Synthetic rattan made from polyethylene is fade- and mildew-resistant.

Plastic and Resin

Plastic and Resin for Outdoor Furniture in Small Patios

Resin patio furniture made from polypropylene or polyethylene, like that from brands such as POLYWOOD, is durable, easy to clean, and available in endless styles. Plastic outdoor furniture has come a long way from flimsy lawn chairs. Now you can get elegant looks at affordable prices.

Best Fit for Small Spaces

Outdoor furniture designed with small spaces in mind can help you make the most of your limited square footage. Seek out these patio furniture features when shopping:

Foldable and Stackable Options

A small patio winner is anything you can easily fold up or store when not in use. Folding chairs and tables allow you to create more room when needed. Stackable seating like stools or side chairs is key. Look for furniture with joints or hinges that allow it to fold neatly.

Modular Furniture

Modular patio furniture makes customizing your layout a breeze. Sectionals with movable pieces allow you to shape the arrangement to your space. Nesting and cube tables provide versatile surface space. Ottomans can pull double duty as tables or spare seats.

Corner Sets

Furniture sets designed to tuck neatly into corners are perfect for using awkward small patio spaces. Curved corner benches with angled tables take advantage of tight footprints. An L-shaped sectional wrapped around two sides of a patio can maximize prime real estate.

Budget-Friendly Choices

You don’t have to spend a fortune to furnish your small patio in style. Here are some budget-saving tips:

Cheap Yet Chic

Big box stores like Target and Walmart offer inexpensive resin wicker and plastic outdoor furniture that looks stylish. Sets start around $100. Go for timeless over trendy looks. Neutrals like white, gray, and navy work with any decor.

DIY Options

If you’re handy and on a tight budget, consider DIY furniture projects using inexpensive materials. Upcycle old crates into side tables. Stain or paint unfinished wood chairs found at home improvement stores. Make your bench cushion covers from outdoor fabric purchased by the yard. Add personality with painted patterns.

Sales and Discounts

Timing is everything when seeking patio furniture deals. Look for end-of-season clearance sales in fall and winter. Shop holiday weekends like Memorial Day for the best markdowns. Sign up for outdoor furniture store newsletters and browse weekly ads for coupons and promotions.

Dining Experience in Small Patios

Don’t let your petite patio prevent you from enjoying al fresco dining. These options allow intimate yet comfortable meals outside:

Compact Dining Sets

Compact Dining Sets for Outdoor Furniture in Small Patios

As mentioned, stick to bistro or cafe-size dining sets with room for two to four people max. Round tables take up less space than rectangles. Small square folding tables can be conveniently stashed away until dinner time.

Bar-Height Tables

Bar-Height Tables for Outdoor Furniture in Small Patios

Taller bar-height patio tables paired with stools are great space-savers for outdoor dining. Standing at a bar table allows you to enjoy a meal outside without taking up seating room. Look for three-piece sets ideal for two to three people.

Picnic Tables

Picnic Tables in Outdoor Furniture for Small Patios

Standard 6-8 foot picnic tables are usually too bulky for small patios. But smaller, slimmer models like the POLYWOOD Nautical 37in Picnic Table seat two comfortably without dominating your outdoor footprint. Picnic benches do double duty as seating and tables.

Aesthetic and Design

The style of your outdoor furniture plays a big role in creating your patio space’s overall look and feel. Here are some key considerations:

Modern vs Traditional

Do you prefer clean contemporary lines or vintage charm? Modern furniture looks sleek in small doses. For example, a single egg pod chair makes a sculptural style statement without overcrowding. Traditional wicker and wood furniture have classic appeal.

Color Schemes

Neutrals make small spaces recede, while pops of color enliven them. White or tan furniture paired with bright accent pillows or an azure blue bistro set can elevate a small patio. Use colors to coordinate with potted plants and surrounding greenery.

Cushions and Upholstery

Cushions instantly make outdoor furniture more inviting and easily swap out seasonally. Solid cushions tend to look best in small patio settings. Save busy prints and patterns for occasional pillows. Waterproof cushion covers protect your investment in pricier cushions.

Arrangement Tips

Creating an inviting layout on a small patio takes a bit more thought. Keep these principles in mind when arranging your tiny outdoor oasis:

Maximizing Space

Maximizing Space in Outdoor Furniture for Small Patios

Stick to the perimeter when placing furniture so the center remains open. This makes the space appear larger. Leave ample walkways at least 22 inches wide so traffic can flow freely. Angle furniture to open up bottlenecks.

Long Narrow Patio Solutions

Long Narrow Patio Solutions for Outdoor Furniture in Small Patios

If your patio is confined to a slim footprint, define separate functional zones using furniture. For example, place bistro seating at one end for lounging and a compact dining set at the other. Floating furniture like hammocks work well to avoid impeding traffic flow.

Balcony Furniture Arrangement

Balcony Furniture Arrangement for Outdoor Furniture in Small Patios

Follow the perimeter rule to keep balcony furniture from feeling squeezed. If your balcony is deep, create a cozy sitting area against the railing using two chairs flanking a small table. Float a standalone piece like an egg chair in the center for interest. A restaurant set against the rail for shallow balconies provides the most usable seating.

Durability and Maintenance

The furniture you select for your small patio must conform to the elements to justify the investment. Seek out these durable features:

Weather-Resistant Materials

Teak and powder-coated aluminum are ideal outdoor furniture frame materials that withstand sun, rain, and snow. All-weather wicker resists fading and mildew. Look for deep seating cushions made of solution-dyed acrylic fabric rather than cotton.

Maintenance Tips

Wash outdoor furniture with a mild soap and water at least once a season to prevent stains and dirt buildup. Use a cover or store cushions when not in use to extend their lifespan. Apply teak oil occasionally to wood furniture to condition it. Check hardware and tighten loose screws or bolts.

Furniture Covers

Protect your investment in quality patio furniture by using covers when pieces will be left unused for long periods. Waterproof covers guard against rain and UV damage. Make sure to allow airflow so condensation doesn’t build up. Integrated straps keep covers securely in place.


Furnishing a small patio or cramped balcony might seem tricky, but strategic furniture choices can make your space feel welcoming. Look for compact, multipurpose furniture suited to small footprints. Prioritize pieces that fold away or stack out of sight. Arrange furniture thoughtfully in zones to delineate space. Add style with weather-resistant cushions and pillows. The right mix of pieces enhances small patios rather than overwhelms them. Invest in durable materials like teak, wicker, and aluminum that withstand the elements while introducing color, texture, and personality. Mindful decision-making makes even the tiniest patio a chic outdoor living oasis.

Outdoor Furniture for Small Patios

Final Recommendations

  • Opt for bistro sets, cafe tables with two chairs, or resin Adirondack chairs as seating.
  • Choose foldable, stackable, and modular furniture that maximizes space.
  • Make use of corners with tailored L-shaped or curved sectionals.
  • Seek out weather-resistant teak, wicker, and aluminum furniture.
  • Add style with patterned cushions and accent pillows.
  • Arrange seating around the perimeter to keep the center open.
  • Float standalone pieces like an egg chair or hammock to save space.
  • Shop sales and budget retailers for affordable chic finds.

By keeping scale and versatility in mind, you can turn a petite patio into a welcoming outdoor living space for relaxing, dining and entertaining.