The 17 Essentials Every Outdoor Space Needs

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A cozy outdoor space with an umbrella

The Spruce / Photo Illustration by Amelia Manley / Kirsten Diane / Instagram

Decorating outdoor spaces is fairly similar to designing indoor ones—but there is a usually an ounce more creative freedom when the process is brought outside. Outdoor furniture and decor are often the more fun alter egos of all the pieces inside—be it a dining table, pillows, or a couch. Your home might be a minimalist's haven or a maximalist's canvas, but outside those same rules don't apply—experimenting with different looks and unique features and fabrics outside of your style comfort zone is all part of the fun.

Whether you're putting together an outdoor room for the first time or searching for new seasonal picks, this list is full of essentials that make a patio, deck, balcony, or backyard garden livable and exciting to spend time in.

01
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Desloge 78.25'' Long Reclining Acacia Chaise Lounge Set (Set of 2)

Set of chaise lounge chairs

Wayfair

Spring and summer patio setups aren't complete without a good set of chaise lounges. Made of solid wood and able to recline, resident sunbathers and visitors will love relaxing on these beds that look rather aesthetically pleasing, too. Just don't forget the SPF!

02
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Veradek Outdoor Kitchen Series 3-Piece Modular Outdoor Kitchens

Modular outdoor kitchen set

Wayfair

It's one thing to have a grill, but another to have a well-equipped outdoor cooking area. A full-blown kitchen isn't necessary, but shelving units that can hold dinnerware, cooking utensils, condiments, and other must-haves keeps the barbecue process organized and streamlined. A major plus is that this set is both weather- and scratch-resistant.

03
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Grand Patio Steel Patio Side Table

Patio side table

Amazon

Side tables provide a purpose that is two-fold. They're ideal for storage and holding drinks, books, and other outdoor essentials, but they serve as a platform for decor, too. If you've ever wondered how to add decorative pieces to an outdoor space, side tables are a perfect solution.

04
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Hamilton Bay West Park Black Aluminum Outdoor Patio Ottoman with CushionGuard White Cushion (2-Pack)

A set of two outdoor ottomans

The Home Depot

The great outdoors are practically made for rest and relaxation, and if you'd rather not put your feet up on the outdoor sofa but are lacking in the lounger department, a footrest is a perfect alternative. Though they're deceivingly stylish, they're also super durable. The aluminum is rust-resistant and the cushions come with a special coating to protect them from the elements.

05
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World Market White And Black Double Scalloped 9 Ft Tilting Patio Umbrella

A tilting patio umbrella with scalloped details

World Market

While some people love being out in the sun, having areas of shade is a major must in any outdoor space. The best design-forward way of doing so? Outdoor umbrellas. These weather-resistant supplies cut down on glare, uncomfortable heat, and sunburns.

06
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Brightown Outdoor String Lights

Brightown Outdoor String Lights

Courtesy of Amazon

Even as it stays lighter for longer, it's still a smart idea to illuminate the outdoor spaces where you dine and relax. Atmospheric bulbs like these ones allow for long drawn out evenings and their waterproof construction means they can handle whatever the season throws at them (there are two spare bulbs though, just in case).

07
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Hampton Bay 19 in. x 19 in. x 14 in. Black Cabana Outdoor Pouf

A black and white striped pouf

The Home Depot

Just like interiors, playing with seating arrangements is a fun way to spice up a space and not relegate everyone to the outdoor dining table at all times. Whether you opt for matchy-matchy stripes or several in different patterns, poufs are comfortable and visually fun. This fade-resistant option even has a handle so you can follow the sun (or the shade).

08
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Jungalow Rainier Charcoal Outdoor Rug

A charcoal gray patterned outdoor rug

Jungalow

Outdoor rugs instantly make a deck or patio feel like another room in your home. They're still remarkably trendy but are made of materials that won't get ruined under constant foot traffic, rain, UV rays, and stains.

09
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World Market Natural Teak Calero Outdoor Dining Table

A natural wood outdoor dining table

World Market

Nothing beats enjoying meals outside, but a great outdoor table is essential for making leisurely open-air meals a reality. Built out of teak, this simple dining table works for any outdoor style type, whether you're a fan of Scandi-inspired decor or prefer a farmhouse look.

10
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Vailge Heavy Duty Patio Sofa Cover

Vailge Heavy Duty Patio Sofa Cover

Not always the most stylish of accessories, outdoor furniture covers are still necessary, especially in locations where weather is unpredictable or predictably wet. This one isn't too shabby in terms of looks and is built for covering up those lovely cushioned couches, but there are a variety of sizes for chairs, tables, and loungers.

11
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Pottery Barn Cozy Contrast Gray Indoor/Outdoor Pillow Set

A selection of indoor/outdoor pillows

Pottery Barn

Similar to indoor pillows, you want your outdoor versions to feel fun and complement the furniture around them. A little more fun can be had though, and although comfort remains important, it's not as vital when it comes to outdoor textiles. Funky patterns, interesting fabrics, and a fun mixture of prints are all possibilities.

12
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Star Brite All Surface Outdoor Mold Stain & Mildew Stain Remover

Star Brite mold and mildew remover

Amazon

No, it's not nearly as exciting as a scalloped umbrella or patterned cushions, but an outdoor cleaning arsenal is needed, and a mildew and stain remover should most definitely be part of it. This tackles grime on plastic, resin, fiberglass, and even fabrics.

13
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Anthropologie Bekah Geometric Indoor/Outdoor Seat Cushion

Geometric patterned outdoor cushion

Anthropologie

Chairs looking a little lackluster? Up the comfort and style grade with cushions that lift your spirits every time you see them. You could play it safe with a beige or gray, but when there are options this vibrant and sunny, it's hard to turn them down.

14
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McGee & Co. Textured Concrete Pot

Texture concrete pots

McGee & Co.

Winter and fall are the perfect seasons to perfect your indoor garden, but once the weather permits, spending time tending to outdoor plants instantly infuses a bit of mindfulness into any daily routine. Planters that are equally as beautiful as the ones inside (like these textured pots) make gardening even more satisfying.

15
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Anthropologie Bamboo Melamine Hibiscus Dinner Plate

Set of melamine dinner plates

Anthropologie

It's risky using glass and porcelain plates outside—errant pets, unexpected showers, and accidental drops are just some of the potential hazards—so a set of dinnerware that's colorful, fun, and durable is essential. The dishwasher-safe feature also makes them an easy yes for adding to your cart.

16
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Bali Outdoors Propane Gas Fire Pit Table

BALI OUTDOORS Propane Gas Fire Pit Table

Bali Outdoors

Once the sun goes down and a chill sets in, you can keep things cozy with a firepit like this propane option. There is no smoke or wood to worry about and the glass beads are a nice touch. Plus, having this in hand means s'mores are always in the cards.

17
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Best Choice Products Outdoor Rope Woven Sectional Patio Furniture L-Shaped Conversation Sofa Set

An outdoor sectional sofa set

Amazon

The epitome of outdoor relaxation comes in the form of a good, cushy weatherproof couch. This easy-to-construct set can also separate out into a loveseat and a lounger for maximum customization.

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