How to Choose an Outdoor Lounge [Buying Guide]
Unwinding outside is, for many, absolute bliss. Whether you’ve got a cold drink in hand, a good book, or a bunch of friends and a fire pit, your outdoor space should be a joyous place to take a load off after a long day or week – and the best way to create that atmosphere is through the right furniture pieces. With a layout conducive to doing all of your favourite things, you’ll want to spend every waking minute outside!
A huge part of any outdoor furniture setup is your sofa. Outdoor lounge settings are comfy, versatile, and come in a wide and ever-evolving range of styles – making the perfect pick to jazz up your courtyard, deck or backyard. If purchasing outdoor furniture is on your radar, this must-read buying guide will help you source the perfect outdoor lounge.
The logistics of your outdoor lounge furniture
Start by giving your space a once-over and pinpointing exactly what you need. This will efficiently guide the process of purchasing a new outdoor sofa or lounge and ensure that all your bases are covered when it comes time to think about those (slightly more fun) aesthetic elements.
1. Plan out your space
A crucial first step towards your perfect outdoor setting is planning out the space effectively. Think about the way it’s configured, and the other furniture items or functional things already in your courtyard, garden, patio or deck area. You’ll find that you quickly have some more clarity on what your preferences or needs are when it comes to furniture.
This is also the perfect moment to really, deeply consider how you’ll use your outdoor space. Where some of us are looking to create a cosy spot to gaze upon the garden, others might want to establish the perfect entertaining setup, or facilitate better conversations with a nook for chatting and hanging out. Take your learnings and use them to inform the kinds of pieces you want, including the size and shape of your outdoor lounges, and whether you’d like to complement a lounge with an outdoor armchair or two.
2. Measure up
Having accurate dimensions up your sleeve will make the process of purchasing an outdoor sofa set or combination of outdoor furniture items much easier, so the next step in this exciting process is definitely measuring up. Once you’ve got length, height and width mapped out, you’ll be able to sketch up a rough floor plan to determine what your ideal configuration looks like.
Don’t forget to maintain at least a metre of space between your outdoor furniture and potential hazards like the pool, fire pits, spas or the barbecue. It’s important to always consider the walkability factor, too – most of us need around 50cm to comfortably navigate between furniture pieces.
3. Determine your outdoor lounge needs
Taking your measurements and your ideal setup into consideration, now’s the time to decide what’ll suit your space best. Below are a few options to weigh up…
- A 2 seater outdoor sofa is a great choice for anyone working with a small or oddly-shaped area. Perfect for balconies and decks, the humble yet effective 2 seater outdoor lounge provides enough space for a few people to comfortably sit and relax, but doesn’t take up tonnes of valuable floor space.
- A 3 seater outdoor lounge is slightly larger and creates even more space to sit when relaxing, entertaining or eating a casual meal. However, because of its straight shape (as opposed to a modular sofa) it’s easier to tuck into smaller spaces or niches.
- An outdoor corner sofa or L-shaped lounge is an ideal sprawling shape and size for fitting lots of guests. Where you might need to pair a traditional 2 or 3 seater sofa with an armchair or two to create a close-knit vibe for conversation, an outdoor modular lounge does this for you, with a prominent bend that sees people facing one another.
- An outdoor lounge chair or armchair is a single seater piece of furniture that can be used alongside any of the above to add more seating and establish the necessary ‘flow’ for chatting and interacting. You might also choose to cluster a few armchairs together in a small space to create a versatile layout that can be reconfigured based on your needs.
4. The look and feel
Just as important as the practicalities of your outdoor lounge is its aesthetics. The way your lounge, sofa or setting looks and feels will directly impact your enjoyment when using it, and could be the factor that makes or breaks the overall design of your outdoor space. Here’s our advice for choosing wisely…
5. Explore material options
Outdoor lounges come in an array of shapes and sizes, as you now know, but they’re also available in a variety of materials. The material of your outdoor setting will affect how easy or difficult it is to clean and maintain, as well as the way it looks and how comfortable it is to sit on.
Wood is super durable and doesn’t require lots of upkeep, making it a solid choice – popular options include teak and acacia. Simply buff your wood with a wax one or twice a year to keep it looking beautiful and brand new. If you’d prefer a man-made material, options like synthetic rattan and cane are fantastic as they’re incredibly long-lasting and take mere minutes to clean. Aluminium is another favourite, as it’s lightweight, easy to maintain, doesn’t rust, and will withstand most weather events – plus, when it’s painted, it looks sleek and fits well with a modern aesthetic.
Of course, that’s just the frame of your furniture piece. Outdoor sofa cushions also come upholstered in a few different fabrics for you to choose from. Ultimately, the best rule of thumb here is to select something tough that can be thrown in the washing machine or hand washed quickly. Consider whether the cushion covers are easily removable in the event of a major stain or spill, as this will impact how easy they are to maintain and clean, too. Polyester is a reliable choice, so you’ll find many outdoor lounges are upholstered using this material.
6. Find the right colour
Just like any other furniture piece in your home, colour can have a significant bearing on the look, feel and ‘mood’ of your space. Outside, there are far more factors that can impact your colour scheme, such as your house’s exterior and the nature or environment that surrounds it, which can make selecting the right hue an even tougher task.
A great rule of thumb here, and something you’ll find is pretty well reflected across the full range of outdoor furniture, is to opt for neutrals or colours derived from nature. On top of this, you’ll want to use your style of choice – be it ultra-modern, coastal,traditional, Scandi or something else – to inform the hues and shades you pick out for your outdoor lounge. So, where a black and grey piece like the Malibu Outdoor 2 Seater Sofa gives off a contemporary, sleek vibe, something wooden with earthy green tones such as the Amalfi Outdoor 3 Seater Sofa has a much more rustic feel that’d tie in well with a coastal or mid century aesthetic.
7. Select a style
The final piece of the design puzzle is the overall style and point of view of your outdoor lounge furniture. While outdoor pieces tend to be a little more practical than they are pretty, this arena has opened up much wider in recent years, with heaps of new and beautiful styles available. So, tying your outdoor furniture into your home’s unique aesthetic is becoming a simpler task by the day.
The key to slotting new pieces in with your existing style is to look for commonalities in colour, shape, texture, material and accents or embellishments. You’ll find that each of the core interior design styles have markers like these – for instance, Scandinavian furniture tends to be made of blond wood and has a very lightweight, slimline frame, whereas Hamptons style deals with a lot of white and tends to be heavier and more substantial. By identifying these core elements, you’ll have the tools to highlight which outdoor furniture items might suit your style best, and to tie everything together with these similarities in mind.
What comes next?
Once you’ve selected, purchased and arranged your lounge setting, consider these final tips to ensure you’re getting the most out of your outdoor space.
1. Incorporating other outdoor furniture
The sofa or lounge set is just one facet of your outdoor area. If you’re working with ample space, or have other functional parts of the space to consider, you’ll want to carefully plan out the right way to incorporate other furniture pieces to create an area that’s easy and enjoyable to use. If you have a barbecue, for instance, it’ll need to be accompanied by dining furniture, whereas a pool likely necessitates lounge chairs for reclining and relaxing. Even your lounge will require anoutdoor coffee table or side table for resting food or drinks on.Shop our full range of outdoor furniture to find the perfect complementary pieces.
2. Styling the space
There’s a common misconception that decor is out of the question outdoors, but this is far from the case – you just have to be smart about the homewares items you choose and give pride of place. Outdoor rugs are a reliably fantastic way to add colour and texture to any outdoor space, imbuing a bit of your personality in a low-effort and low-maintenance way. Be sure to also consider potted plants, statues and sculptures, water features and other outdoor-specific decor, always double-checking they’re heavy enough to withstand heavy wind or torrential rain.
3. Protecting and maintaining your outdoor furniture
Outdoor furniture is made to last, but depending on what it’s constructed out of and the quality of that construction, it might need a little work to stay looking spic and span. The best way to approach this is to look up cleaning and maintenance tips specific to your outdoor lounge’s materials, as this will guarantee you’ve got the right advice.
However, as a general rule, most frame materials can be cleaned using a gentle dish soap mixed with water and a non-abrasive cloth. Where wood will need to be waxed, synthetic pieces just need a little buffing to remove marks and spills, and aluminium is essentially upkeep-free. Other general tips include keeping your furniture pieces out of harsh sunlight, and using heavy-duty furniture covers to take some of the stress out of the maintenance process.
An outdoor lounge, sofa orlounge setting will always be a failsafe addition to any outdoor space, especially if you do your due diligence and determine your needs before making that big purchase. Explore our range of affordable, high-quality outdoor furniture pieces today.