Some of us have really large patios and even larger backyards. Most of us don’t. For most of us, saving space is at least on the list of concerns when we’re setting up our patios so, when it makes sense, we like to favor luxurious-albeit-small patio furniture.
Thankfully, the world seems to understand; it’s produced oodles of small patio furniture that gets the job done and still leaves room for plenty of people and other furniture to move around.
When you’re selecting small patio furniture, versatility is key. An item that can be used as a different item when needed is instantly more valuable. So are pieces that can be moved easily. Below, we’ll discuss 9 small patio furniture ideas and share space-saving tips to help you make the most of your small patio.
Key Considerations for Small Space Patio Furniture
Before you start shopping for small patio furniture, there are a few things to consider. First, think about your climate, because different materials hold up better in different types of weather. For example, materials like teak, polypropylene, resin wicker, polystone, and aluminum work better than others in wet, rainy climates. Whatever type of furniture you choose, it’s smart to invest in some fade- and weather-resistant cushion covers to protect your cushions from the elements.
Additionally, take some time to do some planning from the start. Think about your budget and measure out the space you have available so that you can make smart, informed decisions while furniture shopping.
9 Small Patio Furniture Ideas
1. Rolling Cooler or Bar Cart
Regular-sized coolers don’t take up very much space and they make it so no one has to keep going in and out of the house for refills. A cooler on wheels or rolling drink cart is great to include in your set of small patio furniture for two reasons. First, the wheels make it a breeze to move around as guests and other furniture pieces shuffle. Second, a slightly fancy cooler or cart distracts from the space-saving objective altogether. Instead, you and your guests simply have a beautiful, perhaps even novel conversation piece making its rounds as friends gladly reach in for more chilled drinks or hors d’oeuvres.
2. Ottoman/Coffee Table/Love Seat
Besides a rolling cooler, a sturdy, versatile coffee table or ottoman may be your most valuable piece of small patio furniture. All it needs is a (mostly) flat surface on top so that a quick wipedown can turn it into a seat for one or even two in a pinch.
A party on the patio is never the time someone wants to spend telling everyone to keep their feet off the furniture. Even if they (perhaps rudely) toss their feet up on a cushioned seat, hopefully, you’ve made sure to protect all your cushions with appropriate cushion covers.
Thus, a sturdy ottoman is a no-brainer. No reason to buy a separate coffee table to go with it; anything you set on it will enjoy a steady surface to support it. In fact, if you have an extra cushion or two, you can even turn it into one of the more comfy seats at the party!
Of course, if you have enough bistro chairs, you’ll never have to worry about running out of seats….
3. Bistro Chair
The bistro chair may be the most ubiquitous type of chair around. You may not have heard them called bistro chairs, but you probably already own at least one or two.
According to French furniture dealer Odile Hainaut, “bistro chairs must be light enough to be slung around, compact enough to squeeze a fifth or sixth body at the table (which is why they are often armless) and strong enough to withstand years of wear.”
Her business partner, Claire Pijoulat, adds that bistro chairs are always comfortable and usually can be “efficiently stored in stacks”. This is why bistro chairs are so perfect for hosting parties in the backyard, especially if it’s something you do regularly. They’re made to save space and store without a fuss.
Look around for a bistro chair you really like and then go in for maybe five of them, depending on how much space you have. They’re so easy to move, store and use that over the years, they’re bound to come in handy countless times!
4. Small Folding Tables
If you don’t have the room to set up huge outdoor couches with chaise lounges and matching end tables, you’ll have to find another way to create places for friends to sit and talk comfortably. Chances are, too, that it would be nice to be able to fold and tuck away whatever you’re not using at a given moment. And again, versatility is key–a heavy or awkward table, however small, is not for a small patio unless it’s at least a semi-permanent fixture.
One or two small folding tables can do wonders for your patio’s appearance as well as guests’ comfort and convenience. This kind of table is usually round and wide enough for at least two people to enjoy a meal at. And when the party’s over, you can just fold it up and drop it back in storage.
A drop-leaf table is a specific type of folding table that works great for small patios and balconies. They have a fixed section in the center and two hinged leaves on either side that can be folded down. When not in use, these tables are compact and convenient to store, similar to bistro chairs.
5. Accent Tables
An end table typically is married to its location, most often next to a couch indoors. An accent table, however, can be set and moved anywhere. That’s why a good outdoor accent table or two make such a great addition to one’s collection of small patio furniture.
Accent tables can be bought by themselves to compliment–or at least not clash with–the rest of the decor. Basically, you can pick one up whenever you spot one you like until you run out of room on the patio. A bistro chair is perfect for placing next to an accent table to set drinks and plates on.
6. Vertical Garden
With a super small patio, you may feel torn between filling it up with potted plants vs. focusing on comfortable seating. A great solution is to create or buy a vertical garden so that you can add some greenery without taking up that precious furniture space.
Better yet, many edible plants can thrive in vertical gardens, including herbs, tomatoes, peppers, pole beans, peas, cucumbers, radishes, and more. These kinds of plants will do best with ample sunshine though. If you have a shady patio, it’s better to go with ferns and other perennial plants that don’t require lots of sun.
7. Build-In Bench Seating
Benches tend to take up less space than other types of outdoor furniture, especially when they’re custom, built-in benches. This space-saving solution can be installed on many small balconies or patios with walls. With secure, built-in bench seating, you won’t have to worry about high winds sending your patio furniture flying.
8. Hanging Chair or Hammock
If your patio or balcony has an overhang, you may be able to hang a chair from the ceiling. Or, if you have walls or trees surrounding your patio or balcony, you can consider adding a hammock.
The best part about both of these options is that you can install removable hooks so that you can easily take down the chair or hammock to make room for a folding table and chairs and quickly transform the space! You could be lounging in the breeze with a good book one minute and setting up a table for a dinner party the next.
9. Patio Cover or Sail Shade
Depending on your climate, you may want to top it all off with a sail shade or some other form of patio cover to provide some protection from harsh sun or rain. You can either buy a patio cover or go the DIY route and build one yourself. Check out our Complete Covered Patio Guide to explore all your options.
Finishing Touches for Apartment Patio Furniture
Choosing the right furniture is only half the battle when it comes to designing a small patio. These tips will help you make the most of your limited patio space:
– Choose multi-purpose furniture whenever possible, such as an ottoman slash coffee table- maybe you can even find one that opens up to include storage space on the inside where you can store gardening tools, extra cushions, etc.
– Add lush details, like outdoor rugs, plush cushions with colorful cushion covers, or baskets with warm blankets, for more visual interest and comfort.
– If your patio lacks privacy, you can hang some flowy curtains or put up a privacy screen to make it more intimate and cozy.
– When it comes to lighting, choose string lights or other hanging lights. These won’t take up any of your limited patio floor space but will add to the overall ambiance.
– A stack of floor pillows works great for extra seating in a pinch!
With these finishing touches, you can transform any boring patio into one that’s inviting, practical, and aesthetically pleasing, no matter how tiny it may be.
A Recap of Patio Furniture For Small Spaces
We all wish we had unlimited space. But there is no reason that a small patio has to mean you can’t have friends and family over for a beautiful, comfortable gathering in the backyard. You just have to be a bit more mindful of the patio furniture you select.
The keys to finding the right small patio furniture are versatility and portability. One item doubling as another and easy relocation can save lots of headaches. Wheels are great where you can find them, but lightweight pieces will probably be easier to find and make wheels less important.
Whatever patio furniture you find, enjoy it! And protect your cushions with Fig Leaf cushion covers. We can make custom cushion covers of any size to suit almost any patio furniture out there.
Have fun and we’ll see you out on the patio!