Best Outdoor Sofa - Articulate

Best Outdoor Sofa

The term ‘outdoor sofa’ used to be an oxymoron. The best our fore-decorators could’ve hoped for was scratchy, mildew-stained canvas and a waterlogged seat pad tied to a flimsy frame. Yikes.

How times have changed. Now you can sprawl for hours on beautiful, comfortable, weather-resilient outdoor sofas with more cushion for the… sitting. From love seats to sectionals to modular sofas, the seating challenge has evolved from desperate search to expansive selection process. To help you pick the best one for your space and needs, let’s do a deep dive into the best outdoor sofas.

Emily Henderson's Calo sofa makes great use of that beautiful textured weave.

Emily Henderson’s Calo sofa makes great use of that beautiful textured weave.

 

Large gatherings

What makes a sofa the best outdoor sofa? Appropriate use-cases. Take, for example, all the ways we use the sofa at a large gathering. At any given moment, what you perceive as a mere couch could morph into a think tank, a relaxation pit, a comedic mixer, a confessional, or an impromptu karaoke stage. For these reasons and more, we could argue that the outdoor sofa is neck-and-neck with the minibar as the most critical piece of hosting furniture, which is why finding your perfect match requires thinking beyond deep seats.

The Sectional: A Great First Move

We could argue that there is no sofa better suited for accommodating life than the sectional. Large, spacious, begging to be lounged on — by their very nature, sectionals are inviting. Take the Ora sectional for example. With two long cushioned arms that stretch out equally on both sides, it’s the furniture equivalent of a welcoming hug from your stylish college friend.

Hot design tip: While the sectional is an imposing piece of furniture, it doesn’t have to dominate your design unless you want it to. The Daisy lounge chair is matchy enough to sit next to the Ora sectional, but different enough to speak for itself. Of course, if you prefer a uniform look, the Ora collection comes complete with a basket chair, a coffee table, and a lounger.

Conversation Starter Set-ups

Not every space is suitable for a sectional. But most spaces are ready to receive a sofa of some stripe. An oft-overlooked seating arrangement: the parallel sofa-to-sofa. Everyone can see each other. There’s no space for awkward sub-conversations. You can reach the chips from all angles. We love the Palo-to-Palo mix. You could even pair the three seater sofa with the Palo loveseat to shake it up. Just add an accent table to balance out the extra space. It takes two, baby.

Another view of Emily Henderson's beautiful, Moroccan-themed patio. Say hello to the stately Calo sofas, grounding that beautiful tiling.

Another view of Emily Henderson’s beautiful, Moroccan-themed patio. Say hello to the stately Calo sofas, grounding that beautiful tiling.

Bum Some Real Estate

Consider this our formal petition against non-chairs. If you plan on hosting backyard bangers on the regular, maximize conversation and minimize rouge seating efforts (no more sitting on coolers!) by creating an outdoor lounge.

Most sectionals can accommodate a minimum of four bums, while the longest of couches can usually fit three. When that’s not enough, call in the reserves. The Urba sectional is high-end enough to turn a patio into a lounge, but snug enough to collapse into when the party’s over. If you’ve got the space, make it a whole set by investing in the two Urba lounge chairs or even the three-seater Urba sofa. Richer in friends than in patio space? Understood. Try investing in sleek, chic, stackable options, like the Svelti or the Dot chairs.

Small spaces

When we say, “sofa for your small patio,” does the loveseat come to mind? They’re small. They’re cute. They can fit into teeny, tiny spaces. But they’re not the only option for limited square footage. If you’re shaking your head at your screen thinking, “I’d rather hedge my bets parallel parking a Hummer on Fifth Avenue than attempt fitting a sectional on my balcony,” stay with us. For sure, sometimes it’s physically impossible to make the squeeze. Other times, oversized furniture can be visually overwhelming in tight quarters. But with a simple paring back on design and clutter, you might be surprised at the amount of big yard comfort you can muster in a small space.

In Honor of Design's backyard keeps it light in palette but well-grounded by mixing the sturdy Arca chairs and the Ora sofa.

In Honor of Design’s backyard keeps it light in palette but well-grounded by mixing the sturdy Arca chairs and the Ora sofa.

Cut Corners

A sectional isn’t the most obvious thing to add to a small patio, but sometimes a small space needs a big solution. When placed strategically, sectionals actually economize space better than smaller seating alternatives. The Tezra sectional, for example, could fit snugly into the crook of a balcony, keeping the the center clear for mingling while providing maximum lounge-ability.

Cut the … Clutter

Your sofa is the main event. So declutter, and declutter seriously. Bye, bye old dusty planters. Get stored, bicycle. Do you really need two side tables? Or will one do? Rid your space of any visual turbulence for a streamlined sight line to your sofa. (All the more reason to get one that you really, really love.)

Tread Lightly

The word of the season is “light”: light colors, light lines, letting light in. This translates to sofas with slim profiles, exposed legs, low backs, and in powdery colors. Take the Corda sofa for example. Rather than a big blocky frame, its minimalist ropey backrest allows a breeze in. Thin aluminum legs gives the Corda a weightless appearance. While color is a personal choice, lighter colors like whites and grays work to reflect light, making small spaces look larger and brighter.

Style Girlfriend knows a thing or two about balancing a look. Here, she's paired the whimsical Daisy chairs with the bold Arca sofa. Toss in an Ora coffee table and voila: chic.

Style Girlfriend knows a thing or two about balancing a look. Here, she’s paired the whimsical Daisy chairs with the bold Arca sofa. Toss in an Ora coffee table and voila: chic.

Rated G (“Good for Kids”).

Sofas aren’t just for sitting. They’re a pillow fight fortress, the foundation of a cushion castle, a trampoline for bouncing on. Don’t worry, parents— you can have nice things! You can especially have nice outdoor things. Choosing the right furniture (and knowing how to clean it properly) will ensure that not even the stickiest fingers can wreck it. At least not permanently.

Outdoor furniture is inherently resilient and sofas are no anomaly. Framed from durable materials, like hardwoods and unrelenting metals, they are made to weather the elements — so they can definitely handle your little force of nature. When choosing an outdoor sofa, think washable, durable, and built to take a beating.

Prioritize Easy to Wash Fabrics.

For easy cleaning, look for couches with removable cushion covers. The Caba sofa’s cushions unzip so you can throw in them in the wash, plus it’s available in dark fabrics, so it hides stains from the get-go. Bonus: it looks like a sofa you would have purchased pre your little terror… excuse us, your sweet baby angel.

DIY Playbook paired their Arca sofa with the fun and fresh Bene lounge chair, making the most of their small patio space.

DIY Playbook paired their Arca sofa with the fun and fresh Bene lounge chair, making the most of their small patio space.

Kid Friendly ≠ Childish.

The baby books would have you injury-proof your furniture by choosing low-lying seating with round edges. For the most part, this would mean you’d be sitting on pillows on the floor. But kid-proof doesn’t have to be synonymous with ugly. Far from it. The Gios modular sofa is essentially a giant bean bag chair. A bright Olefin casing holds together polystyrene beads, so it’s all fun and all style. Plus, the kids will find it so comfy they’ll actually want to sit on it… maybe even fall asleep.

Modular spaces

While not the first thing that comes to mind when you think “outdoor sofa,” modular sofas work in every kind of space because you can choose your adventure. Go sectional. Go loveseat plus chair. Go four chairs. Build it the way you want it and convert any space on a whim. Since they’re sold by the piece, choose two or three seats and lego together a custom balcony sofa or get the whole enchilada to anchor a sprawling yard. Plus, you can scale up if you decide to have … more kids. Or if your friends are having more kids. Whatever.

Take the Kezia modular sofa collection for example. Corner pieces, end pieces, the Kezia collection even includes a seat that is two-thirds deck chair, one-third side table. You read that right: it has a built-in drink holster. Condo dwellers could place the Kezia in the corner of a small deck as a loveseat (with side table benefits). Suburbanites could use the same collection to configure a custom lounge area. Depending on your company, you can further break the Kezia down to create multiple meeting areas for more intimacy. The choice is yours.

If there is one golden rule for choosing an outdoor couch, it’s this: love thy sofa. Outdoor furniture is an investment that pays dividends in time spent outside for summers on-end. Maximize your returns with a sofa that’s durable, beautiful, and elevates your space.
Now go forth and sun sprawl, entertain, or cuddle up with the confidence your new world sofa won’t collapse under you in two years.

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