The Ultimate Guide to Patio Furniture

Brown Jordan iconic Kantan set.

Brown Jordan

Not all outdoor furniture is made alike. Depending on your preference, you can buy new, used, or vintage patio furniture in a wide range of materials, such as rattan, wicker, cast iron, wrought iron, teak, ipe wood, or synthetics. Is it important to choose furniture that is green and eco-friendly if possible.

Here are some of the best outdoor furniture types, materials, and shopping tips.

  • 01 of 09

    A Guide to Mid-Century Patio Furniture Brands

    Woman lounging in outdoor chair

    Iron Renaissance

    Vintage outdoor furniture is hot: if you can find a set 50 years or older that's in near-mint condition or that has been restored, your outdoor room will rival your indoor furnishings.

    We present a look at the brands, styles and collectible pieces from top names in vintage garden furnishings. 

  • 02 of 09

    All-Weather or Resin Wicker

    telescope casual lake shore furniture
    Telescope Casual

    If Grandma wasn't sitting on the front porch in a motel chair, she was most likely in a wicker chair. Too bad the relic wore out because it would sure look cool on the front porch. Furniture manufacturers got smart and duplicated the old-style look with new materials, known as all-weather or resin wicker.

  • 03 of 09

    Metal Lawn Chairs (Motel Chairs)

    retro orange lawn chairs looking out over a lake


    huePhotography/Getty Images

    Those colorful steel lawn chairs that Grandmas sat on while they sipped beverages on the front porch are also known as "motel" chairs for their propensity to show up near pools or outside the front offices of Route 66 motels. Most of the originals were allowed to rust and corrode until it was time for them to be sent to lawn chair heaven. Guess what? They're back.

  • 04 of 09

    Wrought Iron Furniture

    salterini wrought iron chairs

    Kenny K / K2 Modern

    Wrought iron is lighter, and can be manipulated, bent, and welded more easily than its cast-iron cousin. It's been made since the 19th century, and there's a reason why it is still popular today.

    If you're a fan of Midcentury modern furniture—both indoors and out—you'll recognize the material, which is used for tables, unusual chairs, and settees or larger pieces.

    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09

    Cast Iron Garden Furniture

    cast iron dining set

    Tim Abramowitz / Getty Images

    For years, cast iron has been a popular material for garden furniture: it is heavy, durable, and won't blow away in a strong wind. These dense pieces of iron furniture can be seen in formal garden settings, like at the White House. Early pieces of cast iron garden furniture were designed in the rococo style. Discover why cast iron is still a tried and true material for making outdoor furniture that lasts.

  • 06 of 09

    What Is Ipe Wood?

    Green outdoor place settings

    Glow Decor / Getty Images

    Ipe is a Brazilian hardwood that is surpassing teak as an outdoor furniture material. It looks good, is relatively easy to maintain, and is FSC certified. Currently, it's a popular hardwood to use for decks because of its durability and rich color.

  • 07 of 09

    What Is Rattan Furniture?

    vintage rattan chair

    The Spruce / Lisa Hallett Taylor

    What you might have thought was bamboo all along is actually rattan, a plant fiber that has been popular since the mid-20th century for making tropical-inspired furnishings for indoor and outdoor use. Every 5 to 10 years or so, it gains a resurgence in popularity—possibly by appearing in films or ads.

    Learn more about the material and the furniture from which it is made.

  • 08 of 09

    What Is Shorea Wood?

    shorea patio set

    The Spruce / Lisa Hallett Taylor

    Shorea is a hardwood that resembles teak or ipe in both looks and attributes. Find out why its a popular choice for outdoor applications and products.

    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

    Furniture Brands

    ow lee hyde park set
    O.W. Lee

    Who's who and who makes what in the world of casual furniture. Check out this comprehensive list of casual furniture brands and manufacturers.