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Adding a sofa to your backyard, deck, or patio is a simple way to expand your living space to the outdoors, creating a welcoming area where you and loved ones can enjoy warm evenings of great conversation and cocktails.
Meet the experts
At Living Cozy, we produce our content alongside interior design and home decor experts. In this guide, you’ll advice from:
Terry Lin, Co-Founder & Chief Design Officer at Outer
With its solid teak frame, pared-back silhouette, and long airy legs, this sofa has a mid-century modern flair that will make your outdoor space feel like a living room. The cushions are upholstered in Sunbrella fabric that will stand up against the outdoor elements like a pro, and it comes in seven sophisticated hues that can complement just about any outdoor aesthetic. The armrests also come in two different styles to make it even easier to align this sofa with your look.
"We’re confident that our sofa will hold up to anything you (and nature) throw at it while aging beautifully for years to come.”
According to Aaron Whitney, VP of Product at Neighbor, “We tried to make a timeless piece of furniture that will look good in any environment and hold up to the elements with Grade A FSC-Certified teak, quick-dry foam, and Sunbrella fabric. We’re confident that our sofa will hold up to anything you (and nature) throw at it while aging beautifully for years to come.”
I was fortunate enough to receive this outdoor sofa as a gift in exchange for an honest review, so I can tell you from firsthand experience that it’s all kinds of comfortable and attractive. The modular outdoor sofa sits on an all-weather wicker frame that provides equal parts style and durability. And it features a built-in OuterShell that protects the memory foam back and seat cushions when not in use, enhancing its durability even further.
It’s also highly customizable, coming in five pretty hues and featuring a modular design that allows you to arrange and rearrange it to find the perfect fit for your outdoor space.
“Outer's modular design makes rearranging easy for any outdoor setting, activity, or occasion."
According to Terry Lin, co-founder and chief design officer at Outer, “Outer's modular design makes rearranging easy for any outdoor setting, activity, or occasion. Every Outer sofa also includes our patented OuterShell technology, a built-in fabric cover that is durable, comfortable, and feels like cotton. The OuterShell quickly rolls out and over cushions to protect them from everyday dirt, debris, and morning dew, helping keep the cushions in tip-top shape, even in harsh weather conditions.”
With its midcentury-inspired design and airy proportions, this outdoor sofa will look amazing anywhere it lives. It rests on an aluminum frame that’s lightweight & easy to move.
The frame is charcoal with dark gray rope and the cushions are a light gray color (Terra Outdoor Living calls it ‘Spectrum Dove’). The Costa Mesa outdoor furniture set also includes a matching lounge chair or loveseat if you’d like to add more pieces to your outdoor space.
“Poised on tapered legs, the Costa Mesa sofa’s wishbone-shaped frames are wrapped with weatherproof straps, hand tied with nautical-style knots to create plush seating with exceptional élan. Powder-coated aluminum and Sunbrella® cushions make these pieces as carefree as they are comfortable,” says Terra Outdoor Living CEO, Steve Keihner.
This outdoor sectional’s reversible chaise lounge design allows you to choose from left- and right-side configurations, depending on your unique outdoor space. The sofa can seat up to four people and features a rust-resistant powder-coated aluminum frame that’s been hand-painted to give the look and feel of solid wood.
The back and seat cushions come in your choice of Sunbrella fabric or Olefin, both of which are weather-resistant and feature a deep-seat design that makes it almost too easy to spend the whole day relaxing. In fact, we love this outdoor sofa so much that we gave it its own dedicated review.
According to Maggie Gala, “Villa Outdoors modular sofas and sectionals are made with durable materials that are designed for outdoor living. Made with weather-resistant stainless steel and aluminum frames, they’re topped off with water-resistant, fade-resistant cushions.”
This outdoor conversation set includes two fixed chairs, a coffee table, and a three-seater outdoor sofa, giving you everything you need for a comfortable and stylish outdoor space.
Every piece features a powder-coated aluminum frame with a hand-painted finish that offers the look of teak furniture without the maintenance and the higher price tag. Meanwhile, the back and seat cushions are upholstered in high-quality Sunbrella fabric that can take on just about anything Mother Nature (or kids or pets) throws its way.
The sofa set also comes with multiple warranties, including a three-year replacement warranty, as well as a five-year Sunbrella fabric warranty and 10-year aluminum frame warranty, offering peace of mind for anyone looking for outdoor furniture that’s built to last.
SunVilla’s Denali outdoor sectional collection features a variety of sizes, as well as the option to purchase a matching fire pit or coffee table. Every piece in the collection features a powder-coated aluminum frame topped with all-weather wicker, as well as high-density foam back and seat cushions. And each seat rests on performance fabric mesh bases that mold to your body’s curves, giving every seat cushion an even more comfortable feel. Plus, the seats come with a furniture cover that protects the whole chair and can be arranged to fit any configuration with a simple zip.
Speaking of different configurations, “SunVilla Home’s Denali collection has modular outdoor sectionals and sofas, so they can be arranged and rearranged to suit any outdoor space!” says Maggie Gala, marketing manager and SunVilla Home. “They’re eco-friendly and built to withstand the test of time.”
Serena & Lily combine breezy California style and great design to create furniture that has a casual and coastal vibe — perfect for outdoor spaces.
The Pacifica Sofa is a modern take on the classic wicker outdoor furniture look combining the texture of natural rattan with incredibly inviting seats made with all-weather, outdoor-friendly materials. Serena & Lily call the look "casual luxury."
Speaking of deep seating, this outdoor sofa features deep-seated cushions and nearly endless customization options. You can choose from seven different frame colors, and the upholstery comes in just about every color of the rainbow, including a variety of bold patterns.
Made from genuine, weather-resistant POLYWOOD lumber, the frame rocks a classic X-back design, while the cushions feature high-performance fabric that’s mildew-, fade-, and water-resistant. The outdoor sofa is also backed by a 20-year residential warranty, so you can rest assured that you’re investing in long-lasting patio furniture.
“One of my top picks for outdoor sofas is the Braxton Deep Seating Sofa,” says Lindsay Schleis, vice president of business development and resident interior design expert for POLYWOOD. “With a 20-year frame warranty and Performance Fabric Revolution cushions, it is sure to last for generations to come. Add in modular outdoor corner chairs and armchairs and you've got an outdoor seating area that's comfortable and large enough for the whole family.”
Castlery's Sorrento Sofa is the perfect combination of style and affordability.
Designed for modern outdoor living, the Sorrento features sleek lines and incredibly comfortable foam cushions. "Very comfortable, very well built, and eye catching," writes one reviewer. The only downside of the sofa is that the fabric is not waterproof so you'll want to invest in a cover for the sofa and store cushions away from the elements when the weather isn't great.
Featuring a timeless mid-century modern-inspired design, this outdoor sofa rests on a solid Acacia wood frame with long legs and slightly tapered armrests that give it a breezy, beachy quality — perfect to create an outdoor lounge area.
It comes with five removable back cushions along with one long seat cushion that punctuates it with a sleek, streamlined appearance. And each cushion is upholstered in a weather-resistant fabric that you can throw right into the washing machine when it’s time for cleaning.
However, it’s important to note that the fabric isn’t fully fade-resistant and it’s not designed to withstand extreme weather conditions, so you’ll want to bring the cushions inside during severe weather or prolonged periods of sun.
With its coastal design and warm, solid wood frame, this gorgeous outdoor sofa from West Elm makes for the perfect patio furniture. The wood frame is also sustainably sourced from FSC-certified wood and features a built-in ledge to hold all of your summer essentials. You can choose from two wood finishes—Weathered Gray or Driftwood.
Meanwhile, the back and seat cushions are encased in yarn-dyed weather-resistant fabric and can comfortably seat two to three people. The outdoor sofa can also optionally be paired with a custom outdoor furniture cover to protect it during inclement weather. The Portside collection also features a matching outdoor sectional sofa, armchair, coffee table, and/or ottoman, and more outdoor decor pieces.
With its deep-seat design and modern, laid-back look, this outdoor sofa is a great addition to any outdoor space. The powder-coated aluminum frame can stand up to the weather in any season, and thanks to a sleek design with vertical slats and flared legs, it will look great doing it.
The back and seat cushions are a generous four inches thick for an ultra-plush feel, and they’re upholstered in mildew-, stain-, and water-resistant fabric. The sofa also comes in four rich colors and can be paired with a matching outdoor loveseat and lounge chairs that make for an inviting conversation set.
This is another outdoor sofa that’s full of customization options. You can choose from a wide variety of colors, as well as several different upholstery options, including high-quality Sunbrella fabric.
The solid teak wood frame has a satin-smooth weathered gray finish that will look amazing in a variety of outdoor spaces, while the back and seat cushions are filled with high-resiliency foam that will retain its shape and comfort for many years ahead.
The sofa is also part of a collection that includes lounge chairs, an outdoor loveseat, a coffee table, and side tables, so you can create the perfect outdoor seating area no matter your household’s size.
Handcrafted from solid teak and all-weather cord, this outdoor sofa frame was inspired by Japanese sudare screens. The back and seat cushions come in every color and pattern imaginable, as well as weather-resistant Perennial and Sunbrella fabric. In fact, the sofa offers two Sunbrella fabric options—canvas and twill—for ultimate versatility.
No matter the upholstery fabric or color you choose, you’ll enjoy seat cushions filled with poly-wrapped foam, as well as polyfiber back cushions that provide comfortable support. You can also purchase an option custom-fit outdoor furniture cover to further protect this beauty from the elements.
Given all of its features, it’s no surprise that this high-quality piece is a designer favorite: “We love all the outdoor products at Restoration Hardware,” raves Jade Joyner. “They are not super budget-friendly but they are for sure reliable.”
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What Should You Look For in a Quality Outdoor Sofa?
Durability and Quality Materials
One of the most important factors to consider when investing in any outdoor furniture is durability. Outdoor sofas have to endure everything Mother Nature throws their way, which can take a serious toll if the sofa isn’t designed with durability in mind. And durability starts with high-quality materials.
“You’ll want to find the right materials for your climate so you know they’ll stand up to the elements while looking good and functioning well over time."
“Durability and longevity are key components of great outdoor furniture,” says Aaron Whitney. “You’ll want to find the right materials for your climate so you know they’ll stand up to the elements while looking good and functioning well over time. It’s also important to look for high-grade materials, like FSC-certified wood that is responsibly harvested. Lastly, don’t overlook the small details—like stainless steel or marine-grade hardware—you want to make sure your furniture is built to last, all the way down to the smallest component.”
In addition to materials that are high-quality and durable, Maggie Gala recommends that you, “Look for materials that are easy to care for and clean when needed.” Many of the outdoor patio sofas on this list have machine-washable upholstery, so consider investing in one like that if you’re worried about stains, dirt, and debris.
Of course, you also want your outdoor couch to be comfortable. Even the most attractive outdoor sofas aren’t likely to get any use if they’re not comfortable to spend time on. And while comfort is subjective, it often starts with the seat cushions, including their thickness and fill, as well as their depth.
“You want to ensure the depth of the seat cushion works for you and is comfortable,” says Jade Joyner. Some people find deep-seat designs most comfortable, which create a lounge-like feel, while others might prefer a more shallow depth that makes it easier to sit up straight. And the same goes for thickness and fill; some people prefer a super thick and soft cushion they can sink into, while others might like a firmer, more supportive seat. The key is to find what works best for you and other members of your household. For a little extra comfort you could also add some throw pillows to your sofa.
Many households expand and shrink over time as new family members are born or move away for work or college. Ideally, your outdoor furniture should be able to adapt to these changes. Maggie Gala recommends investing in modular outdoor furniture for this reason: “Modular furniture lets you arrange and rearrange for any occasion without restrictions.”
Many brands, like Neighbor, invest a lot of effort into creating modular furniture that can transform from an outdoor sofa to an outdoor sectional or outdoor loveseat, depending on your needs of the moment. “At Neighbor, we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about flexibility because you may want a sofa now and then decide you want a larger sectional when you move to a new house later,” says Aaron Whitney.
What Materials Work Best for Outdoor Sofas?
The materials that an outdoor sofa is made from affect everything from the sofa’s durability to its comfort, so make sure you consider the upholstery and frame materials of all prospective outdoor sofas.
From Acacia wood and teak wood to wicker rattan and aluminum frames, there are many different frame materials to choose from. The right one for you depends on your household needs and aesthetic, as well as the weather in your region. “If low maintenance and durability are top of mind,” says Terry Lin, “we recommend recycled synthetic materials like aluminum and all-weather wicker rather than traditional rattan, which can dry and crack over time.”
“We recommend recycled synthetic materials like aluminum and all-weather wicker rather than traditional rattan, which can dry and crack over time.”
One of the advantages of aluminum frames, especially powder-coated aluminum is that they’re relatively lightweight and naturally rust-resistant, so they tend to fair well in rainy climates. “Aluminum, chemically, does not rust,” says Maggie Gala.”With an added powder coating, aluminum outdoor furniture will last for years.”
Solid wood is another high-quality frame material to consider. According to Aaron Whitney, “If you’re in the market for wood, it’s hard to beat teak because its high density, tight grain, and natural oils make it resistant to rot and insects. It’s also highly resistant to shrinkage, making it great for places exposed to moisture.”
Wicker rattan is another popular frame material, but it doesn’t stand up to the outdoor elements as well as its wood and aluminum counterparts since it can become dry and brittle, especially with lots of moisture. However, most outdoor wicker furniture now uses polyethylene resin instead of genuine rattan, which offers the look and feel of authentic rattan but more outdoor durability.
In addition to frame materials, you should consider the back and seat cushion materials since these will impact the outdoor sofa’s comfort and durability. Maggie Gala recommends looking for high-density foam cushions: “High-density cushions become more comfortable with each use, and the durable material will outlast standard foam cushions.”
It’s also helpful to consider how well the foam can offload moisture and retain its shape. “We generally look for reticulated (“quick dry”) foam because it allows moisture to pass through,” says Aaron Whitney. “You may see some conventional polyurethane foam used outdoors as well, just make sure that there is a waterproof barrier to protect the foam.”
In addition to the cushion fill, it’s important to invest in high-quality upholstery that can resist stains, fading, and mildew. Sunbrella fabric is a popular outdoor furniture material for that reason. “We work exclusively with Sunbrella fabric and have found that their solution-dyed acrylic textiles are some of the best on the market,” says Aaron. “A solution-dyed material has a consistent color all the way through the core of the yarn, so it won’t fade over time. Sunbrella is also stain-resistant, water-resistant, and machine washable so it’ll hold up to pets, toddlers, and inclement weather.”
Kelly Weimert is a writer, editor, and interior design expert with 10 years of experience writing about design and home decor. She's written for interior design publications such as MyDomaine, Apartment Therapy, Domino Magazine, and Hunker. When she's not writing or editing, she's probably busy obsessing over how to beautify her home.
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