What’s the Best Material for Outdoor Furniture?

Credit: Chair King

You can’t just leave any old chair on the patio.

Everyone likes to be comfortable when they’re lounging outside, right? Of course, “comfort” can mean different things to different people. Some people want something soft and cushy, while others want something strong and firm. Some people want something vibrant and natural, while others want something sturdy and resistant to the elements. You get the idea. You need to find the right set of outdoor furniture that suits your sensibilities (and price point). To that end, here are a few schools of thought on the materials of outdoor furniture.


While it may look a little cold, you can’t deny that metal is the king of natural sturdiness. However, different kinds of metal react differently to the elements. Simple steel is strong and hefty, while aluminum is light and durable. Metal furniture is fairly affordable no matter what kind you get, though remember that it needs some kind of protective coating. If you get a piece without coating, you’ll need to do it yourself, though thankfully you probably won’t need to do more than that.


Plastic is a bit gauche, especially if you’re going for a fancier look, but it’s common, affordable, and relatively tough. It can be made to resemble other kinds of material without any of the trappings of that particular material, which is nice, though it has its own functional drawbacks. Plastic needs to be UV-resistant, or else it could warp and melt when exposed to intense sunlight.


Who doesn’t love the idea of a big, comfy couch out in the fresh air? Fabric furniture is definitely the softest option. If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t like to clean your living room couch, though, you might not want an outdoor couch, because it takes just as much upkeep, if not more. Fabrics treated for outdoor use have also been known to cause allergic reactions in certain people, so you’ll definitely need to be careful about that.


If you want a natural look, it doesn’t get more natural than wood. Properly cared-for, wooden furniture can be just as sturdy as metal while looking much more alive. Though, on the subject of “alive,” you’ll want to watch out for pests like burrowing insects. They love to set up shop inside wooden furniture. Thankfully, many pieces are treated to prevent this, though this can raise their price.