Outdoor seating ideas: from small set-ups to grand solutions

When the warm weather hits, I use any excuse to sit outside. Morning coffee, dinner with friends, or writing this feature – anything can be turned into an outdoor activity.

With your garden in full bloom, it’s time to think about your outdoor seating. The set-up will depend on the size of your family or how often you have people around. Luckily, we’ve got plenty of ideas – whether you’re in need of some quiet time or fancy entertaining al fresco.

Kris Manalo, senior category manager at Atkin & Thyme, suggests a seating area should adapt to every occasion. Think of a casual dining set with a corner sofa and an adjustable table that can be moved up for dining or made lower for enjoying your morning coffee. Or sofa sets which can be moved around depending on your mood.

“Opt for furniture that is easy to adjust so you can change its position throughout the day as the sun shifts,” advises Kris. “Or keep your main table and chairs planted, but introduce an easy-to-move piece such as a lounger alongside.”

Now, are you ready to explore the latest outdoor seating ideas? Let’s begin…

Single seats for quiet time

Comfortable, yet stylish, single seats are ideal for enjoying the sunshine this summer. It has became a ritual of mine to go on my balcony and enjoy my coffee and the daily Wordle. The only thing that would make it better is a fun chair such as the trendy egg-shaped solution or one where you could entirely lie down on. Sound good to you? I’ve rounded up some of my favourites…

Single egg chair
Bali hanging chair, £2530, Sweetpea & Willow.
Outdoor egg chair from tree
Trimm Copenhagen Cocoon hang chair outdoor, £1559, Lime Lace.
Outdoor circle chair
Delta outdoor circle, from £1290, King Living.

Snuggle up on two-seaters

The two-seater bench-style design is an English garden staple. These days, you can have every style and variation, from a typical park bench to a luxury day bed. The soft furnishings make this type of seating stand out. So, add a couple colourful cushions and tactile blankets to make your solution feel more homely.

Rattan two seater sofa outside
Aventine two-seater sofa in Driftwood, £1395, Oka.
Outdoor bench
Standard wrought iron garden bench, from £795; Mika seat cushions, £78, and Hollyhocks embroidered linen cushion, £82, all Susie Watson Designs.
Simple outdoor day bed
Lauren daybed, £1149, Atkin & Thyme.

An intimate four-seater arrangement

When designing your outdoor seating set-up it’s best to think of it as an extra living space. While four chairs around a table is a classic choice, consider using outdoor sofas and corner units, which are becoming more popular.

For the finishing touches, decorate with durable indoor/outdoor rugs, useful pouffes, wireless lamps, and colourful furnishings such as a pretty parasol.

Wooden and black sofa outdoors
Four-piece outdoor lounge furniture set, £1050, Rose & Grey.
Four outdoor seats around a small table
Hampstead Garden natural premium rattan large armchair and coffee table set, £895, Cuckooland.
Simple and minimal sofa set with table outdoors
Anyday four-seater garden lounging table and chairs set, £549, John Lewis.
Wooden three piece suite outdoors
Sennen outdoor set, £2300, Garden Trading.
Corner outdoor sofa with coffee table
Salcey corner seating in Dove Grey, £3605, Laura Ashley.
Corner outdoor seat
Palermo grey left hand corner outdoor dining bench, £1249, Danetti.

Outdoor seating ideas for the whole family

Finally, if you’re planning on entertaining a large group of friends, a big family or want to make the most of a spacious garden, there are many different options for you – from grand, curved sofas to L-shaped solutions made from natural materials.

With the larger seating spots, add a table in the middle to help make the space feel cosy and more like a living space rather than an outdoor space.

U shaped outdoor sofa
Pluse U-shaped sofa, £5279, Maze.
Large corner sofa with chairs
Rio Garden corner set with firepit, £2799, Barker and Stonehouse.
Rattan three piece suite
Wisteria outdoor chunky rattan sofa set, £3799, Rowen Homes.

You’ve got your outdoors seating sorted – do you also need a dining solution? We’ve got plenty of options for you.

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