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The Best Seats Out of the House: Outdoor Chairs

When it comes to outdoor chairs, long gone are the days of 2 or 3 choices, all too-thin woven straps in the requisite plaid. We're happy to report that today, trends in outdoor seating follow those in indoor furniture – from outdoor dining chairs to bar stools to club chairs, chaise lounges to sectionals and outdoor loveseats. And the options are about as endless as your imagination – here in the Outdoor Chair department, you'll find over 120 choices alone. Awesome, yes. A little overwhelming? Maybe. Thus we asked senior buyer James Goddard to help us organize a quick buying guide for outdoor chair shopping. Hope you're sitting down ...

What’s most important to consider when shopping for outdoor chairs?

JG: How much exposure to weather will be important in deciding what material to buy. If you plan to leave the chair outdoors for all seasons, recycled plastic is your best option since it's maintenance-free and all-weather.

If you plan on using your chair outdoors only seasonally, there are many great woods – cedar, teak, cypress & more – that are perfect for outdoors. That said, it's also best to treat wood items each year with linseed oil or other sealants.

If the chair will be in a covered space, painted options give your outdoor space more style options and different looks.

What are the latest trends in outdoor chairs?

JG: Comfort and maintenance-free are big trends for outdoor furniture. For comfort, many chairs now offer a contoured back, while other chairs come in straight back designs for those with back pain issues. Some chairs are also offered in materials like sling or other fabrics that conform to your body. Also popular for comfort are updated reclining features with 2-3-position options.

Maintenance-free products are popular because you can leave them out all year without the need of storage space, and to clean all you do is hose them off. Folding chairs are also great for ease of storage.

In style trends, we're seeing neutrals and ocean blues with bright pops of colored cushions and pillows such as nectarine, teal, poppy, and yellow. And modern, sleek lines continue to lead the season. Round sectional dining seats, square club chairs, and combinations of aluminum and wood such as teak are adorning patios.

How can I make sure my outdoor furniture lasts?

JG: In general for all wood and painted furniture you should treat/re-paint annually to protect the wood. This means oiling the wood with linseed oil, easily found at any hardware store. Also, picking a durable wood that is well suited for the outdoors is important. Teak, Eucalyptus, Cedar, Cypress, Shorea and Acacia are all great for outdoor chairs.