8 Tips on How to Arrange Your Patio FurnitureMicah Laremore
Everything you need to know to arrange your patio furniture for parties, family gatherings, patio remodeling and more!
Arrange with purpose – Arrange Your patio furniture step 1
The first thing you need to decide when arranging your patio furniture is what you will be using your patio for the most. Is this primarily a space for dining? Then you will probably have the table as your patio’s focal point. Do you mainly host parties around the pool? Then you will probably want to arrange small sections of furniture with the pool as the central element. Small family gatherings? You will probably end up with a closely arranged seating circle around a fire or coffee table. All of the above? You will probably want moveable furniture and good storage areas to allow you to shift your arrangement to match the needs of each particular occasion. There is no right or wrong purpose for your patio space. It is simply important that you understand what its purpose is and keep it in mind when making your patio furniture arrangement.
Find your Focal Point – Arrange your Patio furniture step 2
Once you’ve determined your patio space’s purpose, you will want to pick your focal point. This could be a fireplace, coffee table, pool, or vista you want your patio furniture arrangement to highlight. In general, spaces designed for small intimate gatherings have an interior focal point such as a coffee table or fire pit that furniture is arranged around (see first photo). Larger spaces designed for bigger gatherings often have an exterior focal point like a full fireplace, pool, or vista. For exterior focal points, you will want furniture arranged to face outwards toward the focal point, or if it is a central focal point, you can arrange your furniture to flank the focal point on either side (see the middle photo below).
Pro Tip: Setting a clear focal point mostly revolves around how you place your largest pieces of furniture. Facing your couches and other large pieces in a way that showcases your focal point will build the framework you need for a focused outdoor setting even if smaller pieces end up facing in less optimal directions.
Create Balance – Arrange your Patio furniture step 3
As with all things in life and fashion, balance is key. If you like a more formal patio furniture arrangement, this balance can be created through perfect symmetry on either side of your patio’s focal point (see the first photo). Perfect symmetry not your thing? Feel free to branch out into more eclectic arrangements; simply remember to keep a sense of balance in the space. If you have a large sofa or love seat on one side of an arrangement, it should be balanced on the other side with a couple of chairs or ottomans. If your patio is next to your yard, you should balance the green of your landscape with plants on the opposite side of your arrangement. These elements might not match perfectly, but they are similar enough in size, style, or color to balance the design (see second and third photo).
Pro Tip: One of the simplest ways to bring a sense of symmetry to an arrangement is by including a pair of matching trees/plants to frame one of your larger patio pieces or your focal point (see third photo).
Direct Traffic – Arrange your Patio furniture step 4
We have all been to an outdoor party where we felt like we were unable to move. As a host, we want to avoid this type of overcrowding by thinking through our patio furniture arrangement beforehand. Walk through your patio like a guest and ask yourself: where will a majority of foot traffic be going? Will a lot of people be coming and going through the back door? Is there a serving table or pool where people will congregate? If so, try to create a walk way to and from these key areas that gives enough space for people to easily move about. Create at least 3-4 feet of space for these walkways in high traffic areas and at least 2 feet of space for these walkways in less trafficked areas. Whenever possible, you want these walkways to go around your major seating arrangements rather than through them. For dining set arrangements, allow 2 1/2 feet of space around dining set chairs to allow them to be easily moved in and out from the table.
Pro Tip: Finding walkway creation impossible? Consider moving some furniture pieces onto the lawn to expand your available seating area (see third photo).
The Little things in life – Arrange your Patio furniture step 5
Your patio space isn’t just to look at. It is going to be filled with people. People who have drinks, cell phones and appetizer plates. These people will want a place to set these things down. As a host, it is important to meet this need for “set down” places by incorporating small end tables, trays, or coffee tables into your patio furniture arrangement around your main seating areas. While this might not increase your patio’s aesthetic, it will be well worth it for increasing your outdoor space’s functionality.
Pro Tip: Ottomans can serve a dual purpose here by providing extra seating during conversation times and giving guests a place to lay loose items when their hands are full of drinks/food. Just be sure your ottomans use stain resistant fabric and have a tray or cover available for them.
Throwing some Shade – Arrange your Patio furniture step 6
Everyday isn’t going to be the perfect, gently lit evening we imagine when we set up our patio furniture. Some days will be sweltering hot; some days will rain; some nights will get chilling way sooner than expected. Because of this, it is very important for us to keep in mind the functionality of our outdoor space. Is there adequate shade to cover main sitting areas when things get too hot? If not, consider purchasing an umbrella or putting up an awning to protect your guests during the harshly lit hours of the day. Does it get very cold at night in your area of the world? Consider arranging your furniture around fireplaces or propane heaters to keep your guests comfortable into the wee hours of the night.
Pro Tip: Not all umbrellas are created equal. Each space requires it’s own unique shading based on it’s arrangement and sun exposer. Make sure you know what umbrella suits your space the best by talking with one of our umbrella experts today 1-800-310-4897.
A little separation – Arrange your Patio furniture step 7
We aren’t all friends, and we certainly don’t all like large groups for conversation. Because of this, it’s important to design a patio space that provides some smaller seating sections for people to pull away and have their own conversation. This can be done with a small circle of chairs around an end table, a couch set up in a corner or by putting couches back to back to separate a space into two conversation areas. How many of these smaller sections of seating you will want in the space depends on it’s purpose. Spaces used for larger gatherings where everyone doesn’t know each other before coming generally want more conversation nooks than those used for smaller, more family-oriented events
Pro Tip: Area rugs are a fantastic way to delineate different sections of your outdoor space. Use them under seating arrangements to help a guest visualize where different sections begin/end.
Bring your space to life! – Arrange your Patio furniture step 8
You did it! You’ve planned out a fully functional, well-balanced patio space. Now it’s time to have some fun! Bring your own style to your outdoor space through colorful throw pillows, lush greenery and creative lighting. Find a color you LOVE and put it in splashes around your patio as flowers or throw pillows. Creativity is welcome at this stage; simply make sure the colors you are adding create a cohesive theme throughout the entire space. Also be sure your colors and patterns serve as an accent that is balanced with earth tones rather than overwhelming the space in colorful chaos.
Pro Tip: Throw pillows aren’t cheap so make sure they last. Purchase cushions made with long lasting, UV-protected fabric like Sunbrella. This may increase your upfront investment, but it will demonstrate its value in the long run by keeping your patio space sparkling with bold colors for years to come.
You made it! I hope you enjoyed our 8 tips on how to arrange your patio furniture. If you would like more patio design ideas check out our blog on the 8 Outdoor Design Trends from LA that are Taking the World by Storm in 2023. We love to hear from our readers! Comment below with your favorite thing about your patio space.