Outdoor Furniture Inspiration - Articulate

Outdoor Furniture Inspiration

Little known fact: your patio is an important part of your personal health. It’s a place to relax, to forget your worries. To stretch. To drink wine. Your outdoor space deserves the same reverence as your bedroom (no phone rule, anyone?). But if the sight of your patio set-up elicits the sound of a sad trombone, we can help you ~jazz it up~ (sorry).

When you hear “patio furniture,” what do you think of? The hardware stores of the world would have us conjure an image of an iron-legged, glass top table with four to six wobbly chairs. This isn’t our vision. Today, a patio isn’t just a patio. It’s a ceiling-less living room, an open-air concept restaurant, the sidewalk bar of your dreams. For the perfect, personalized patio, look no further than your own personal style.

Mandi Johnson's deck is the perfect mix of neutrals (hi there Tana stool and Medan lounger) and sunny personality.

Mandi Johnson of Making Nice in the Midwest deck is the perfect mix of neutrals (hi there Tana stool and Medan lounger) and sunny personality.

Create an outdoor living room.

If lounging is the goal, plan your strategy accordingly. How do you like to lounge? With a glass of wine? With friends? Alone with your phone or a favorite book? The desired result will inform the furniture (you can’t share a bottle with friends when you invest in a chic rocking chair [though the Eleya rocker makes a strong case]).

Get the look with:

Plush seating. Regardless of your lounge style, comfort is paramount. Sofas and sectionals aren’t just for inside: sectionals and outdoor sofas give your space a relaxed vibe, but updated materials and a little TLC make them a practical choice too.
For example, our Arca sofa looks as comfortable on your deck as it does in a traditional living room set-up. With its geometric shapes and funky colors, our Gios modular sofa is essentially a giant bean bag chair. Harken back to sleepovers of yesteryear, but with boujie snacks and alcohol.

Creature comforts. What makes a reading nook “nooky”? A cozy chair (hello Aeri lounger), a floor lamp, and some comfy accoutrements. Our Bori standing lantern is a great outdoor light option that gives you the functionality of a reading lamp and the romance of candlelight. We don’t have to confine poufs to rooms with four walls. Let them live! The Sunda pouf is hand-crocheted with moisture resistant polypropylene rope so it can enjoy a long life outdoors.

More throw pillows. If a living room lacks throw pillows, is it really a living room? Add them to your outdoor seating to inject color, texture, and a nod to your ability to pull patio “lewks.”

Outdoor dining room.

Just because your patio table doubles as a Uno showdown center doesn’t mean it has to look aggressive. Like its cousin the kitchen table, the patio table is your yard’s focal point and primary gathering place.

We can’t get enough of Craftberry Bush’s beautiful outdoor dining space. The funky Sala chairs and sturdy Teaka table look very inviting. Can we come over?

Get the look with:

Thoughtful materials. Achieving an indoor dining room look outside is mostly a matter of materials. Create a homey feeling with hearty woods. Colorful sturdy plastics (like our Svelti chairs) says “I’m fun.” Black powder-coated iron asserts itself as being chic, but approachable. Mix and match materials to achieve the perfect balance.

Lumbar support. Sexy, we know. When it comes to entertaining, long tables are in, along with potlucks, game nights, and lingering over dessert. As such, comfortable, beautiful dining chairs are “in,” too. We love the Zina chairs for their zingy flair, but the Rumi dining chair has a place in our hearts too. In the land of outdoor dining rooms, full back support reigns supreme.

Outdoor lounging.

If the phrase “outdoor lounge chairs” immediately brings to mind hot plastic peeling away from your sunbaked skin, fear not. We’ve got the pieces that will empower you to be a lounge lizard, not a lounge-shedding-your-exoskeleton vertebrate.

Lounge lizard, but make it jungalow. The Medan lounger looks right at home nestled amongst SF Girl by Bay's plant collection.

Lounge lizard, but make it jungalow. The Medan lounger looks right at home nestled amongst SF Girl by Bay‘s plant collection.

Get the look with:

A place to put your feet up. If you identify with a sun-loving cat, go with the classic poolside lounger. The Eleya deck lounger’s weather-resistant canvas fabric is both skin and sun-friendly. But if you favor the function of dual-purpose furniture, a lounge chair-ottoman combo is the equivalent of an outdoor La-Z-Boy. Bonus: remove the footrest to switch from cocktail hour to dinner time.

A place to get horizontal. Bring the comfort of your bedroom to your backyard with an outdoor daybed, like the Sol. Nap (or cuddle) for hours. If you’re going for a less boho look, the Esta lounger’s sinkable goodness will have you saying “sorry, I live here now.”

Color.

Daisy yellow! Poppy red! Royal blue! When warm weather arrives, our penchant for dark shades goes out the window. We say go for it — but respect your foundational preferences.

Jojotastic knows how to work a pop of color. The Dot chair is working but that rosé is WORKING.

Jojotastic knows how to work a pop of color. The Dot chair is working but that beautiful rosé is WORKING.

Colorful accents.

Color are the perfect way to liven up blank or dark spaces. Vibrant accent pillows, plant pots, outdoor rugs, and flowers offer vibrancy without dominating the look. The benefits of accents are that they’re easily (and affordably) replaced. If deep purple moves you one season and seafoam the next, shifting the space to match your mood can be as easy as changing a pillow cover. If you do choose to incorporate some colorful materials or fabrics into the mix, make sure you store them out of the sun to keep their colors nicely saturated.

Colorful furniture.

Steel, aluminum, and concrete — but make it pop. Bright colors can make seemingly tough materials feel more approachable. Sure our acacia-topped Latta dining table would match seamlessly with other toned-down beachy hues. But its low key elegance makes it at once, ambivalent to the spotlight and the perfect contender for a vibrant pairing, like the aqua Dot chair.

If you can’t get enough of funky hues that sing, flip it and reverse it. Use a statement piece, like a colorful sectional, and tone it down a notch by using neutral accompaniments, like a wood table or neutral throw cushions. Let the colorful piece be loud and proud, but also nicely toned.

Neutrals are colors too.

Consider neutrals the introverts of the color world; their power lies in their softness and subtlety. Shades of white, beige, and grey have as statement-making an impact on the feel of a room as blood red. Just a little less forceful.

Nature.

There’s a reason many great artists escape into secluded hinterlands to create. Quiet, elemental places help to calm the mind. If you’re looking to imbue some up-country calm into your patio experience, using elements from nature is a great way to go.

Lynne Knowlton's Ora sofa looks gorgeous against the background of stone and ivy. The Amoeba table next to the sofa ties it all together.

Lynne Knowlton‘s Ora sofa looks gorgeous against the background of stone and ivy. The Amoeba table next to the sofa ties it all together.

Overload with greenery. Who doesn’t need an excuse to buy more plants? A well-placed tropical communicates a beachy feeling; a nicely tended rose says “I’m an Anglophile.” Greenery can be used as an accent, a dividing wall, or a means of privacy. It also gives you an excuse to buy some cute pots to house them in.

Accent using natural elements. Natural materials beget a nature-y vibe. Visually, wood and rattan add texture, depth, and interest to a space while maintaining that effortless jungle-paradise feel.

Choose an outdoor vibe, any outdoor vibe. Jungalow is cool, but there are a lot of landscapes to choose from. Forest chic, rainforest chill, deep woods simplicity — pick your favorite and then borrow elements specific elements. Inject some Pacific Northwest using a piece of refurbished driftwood as centerpiece on your Kopos coffee table. Emulate the rich hues of your favorite redwood forest by choosing dark shades of greens and greys for your furniture. Everything is referential!

Culture.

Feel like life must be better under the Tuscan sun, sipping a negroni off of an heirloom teak side table? It probably is. Could the key to lifelong happiness be a bowl of olives on a whitewashed patio overlooking the Mediterranean? Most likely. Make your outdoor space feel like an entryway to elsewhere … anywhere … by adding a cultural influence to your design. Try choosing a place you love and thinking about how it feels to be there. A few things to consider:

Bring the charm of the French countryside to your suburban backyard. Advice from a 20-Something captures joie de vivre with the Teaka table and the Sala dining chairs. And... a phonograph?

Bring the charm of the French countryside to your suburban backyard. Advice from a 20-Something captures “joie de vivre” with the Teaka table and the Sala dining chairs. And… a phonograph?

  • Common color palettes. Santorini sings blue and white; Tuscany is all about that terracotta life.
  • Furniture materials. Look for pieces that are made from materials that evoke a sense of place. Paris might bring to mind woven cafe chairs and wooden tables; Mexico might lean more bleached wood.
  • Lighting. Oh, the options! Candlelight, floor lamps, starlight, strobe lights… lighting really does set the mood.
  • Traditional decor. Your patio is a great place for your souvenirs to shine (and do a little memory jogging).
  • Botanicals and native plants. Assuming you’ve got a green thumb, bring the plant life of your favorite destination to your own backyard!
  • Floors. While you might not be able to rip up your deck, you can decorate it. Find an outdoor rug that suits your palette, or that evokes a favorite traditional style. Some favorites: the Oma rug for that Hawaii chill, or the Zuni for a subtle nod to African mud cloth styles.

At the end of the day, we can only hope to inspire you. Hopefully, we’ve given you a little food for thought. That said, it’s your patio, your rules. As long as your outdoor space is inspiring to you, design tenants be danged: do you.

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