Best garden furniture 2021: relax and entertain outdoors

The best garden furniture to transform your outdoor space; create a stylish entertaining space or relaxing retreat to enjoy with friends and family

Included in this guide:

A concrete garden table with grey upholstered dining armchairs on a paved patio
(Image credit: Furniture Village)

This year the best garden furniture has flown out of stores quicker than ever before - as you'll no doubt have discovered if you've been searching for the perfect patio set, a BBQ-worthy outdoor table and chairs, or the ideal garden sofa for kicking back and relaxing when the sun's out. 

To help with the hunt for the best outdoor furniture, we've rounded up some of our favourite finds, from classic bistro sets to contemporary corner sofas and stylish options for an alfresco meal. 

We've also included some of the best garden furniture buys that have a short lead-time or are available to pre-order (after all, it's never too late to start planning for next year!...). We think these pieces are worth the wait, but if you need outdoor seating now, then make sure to check out our in-stock outdoor furniture finder after our main product selections.

And once you’ve chosen the best garden furniture for your outdoor space? Create the ultimate outdoor relaxation area with our guide to the best hot tubs, or get ready to cook up an alfresco storm with our guide to the best BBQ's. Then all that’s left to do is get out the suncream and pour that ice-cold drink... ahhh bliss!

The best garden furniture of 2021

A red metal garden table and four outdoor dining chairs

(Image credit: Habitat)

1. Habitat Darwin 4 Seater Metal Bistro Set

Best garden table and chairs: bright, colourful and affordable

Seats: 4
Size: H83 x W47 x D61cm
Materials: Powder-coated steel
Reasons to buy
+Affordable+Colourful and contemporary+Low maintenance
Reasons to avoid
-Seat cushions not included-Metal can get hot in the sun-Steel can rust if paint is chipped

If you're looking for an outdoor dining set that won't break the bank, then this fun four-seater bistro table and chairs from Habitat might just hit the mark.

Made from steel with a bright red powder-coated finish, this contemporary outdoor set makes a playful addition to a family garden or will add cheerful colour to a patio or terrace.

Perfect for long lazy lunches in the sunshine, the built-in parasol hole enables you to add some much-needed shade - check out our guide to the best garden parasols to find an affordable option with UV-protection - and the metal surface is both easy-to-clean and low-maintenance compared to the regular upkeep that wooden garden furniture can require.

Steel can be a little less weather-resistant than (more expensive) aluminium framed outdoor furniture, but that powder-coated finish will help to repel any moisture, so just ensure any chips get resealed promptly to maintain its protection.

An outdoor corner sofa with grey cushions and wood panelled coffee table and side shelves

(Image credit: Homebase)

2. Homebase Spirit Garden Corner Sofa Set

Best outdoor sofa: contemporary design for relaxed outdoor lounging

Size: Sofa: H64 x W159.5 x D79.5cm
Seats: 4
Materials: FSC teak and aluminium
Reasons to buy
+Contemporary design+Padded cushions included+Handy side shelves for drinks+Can be left outside all year round (apart from the cushions)+Compact design useful for smaller spaces+FSC certified wood is better for the environment+Rust-resistant aluminium frame
Reasons to avoid
-Backrest could be a little low for some

If you like to spend as much time as possible outdoors when the sun comes out, then we think it's well worth making your outside space as comfortable as it is indoors with an outdoor sofa.

A brilliant way to enjoy some downtime on the patio or terrace, this FSC certified teak wood corner sofa with rust-resistant aluminium frame and contemporary pale grey cushions is a great option for adding style and comfort to your patio or decking.

It comes with a slatted wood-topped coffee table, but we also love the extra space for drinks and plates at the end of each sofa unit; perfect for laidback lounging.

The modern design has a fairly low back - that may not be everyone's cup of tea - but we think it makes a great addition to a contemporary space, and also makes for a useful option for zoning a larger garden, with that low back allowing you to break up a patio area without impacting the view.

A dark grey metal bistro set on a balcony with a dark grey railing

(Image credit: Homebase)

3. Homebase Lazio Metal Bistro Set

Best bistro set: space-saving folding design

Seats: 2
Size: Table: H71 x Dia.60cm, Chairs: H82 x W48 x D41cm
Materials: Powder-coated steel
Reasons to buy
+Affordable+Space-saving design great for small patios or balconies+Foldable for easy storage
Reasons to avoid
-Seat cushions not included-Metal can get hot in the sun-Steel can rust if paint is chipped

The classic Lazio metal bistro set from Homebase is a great option for smaller spaces - or for creating an intimate seating area in a larger garden - and for just £85 it's big on both style and value.

Available in green or grey, the smart slatted metal design includes two powder-coated steel folding chairs and a collapsible circular dining table, all of which drain and dry quickly after a shower and are easily foldable for space-saving storage when not in use. 

A particularly good option if you're renting as it's super easy to pack up and take with you to your next property, we definitely have this stylish set on our outdoor wishlist.

If you're looking for seating for two for a compact courtyard garden, or space-saving foldable furniture for the balcony, you can find more options in our full best bistro sets round-up.

A concrete outdoor dining table with grey upholstered dining armchairs on a paved patio

(Image credit: Furniture Village)

4. Furniture Village Ravello 6 Seater Garden Dining Set

Best outdoor dining set: a stylish concrete table with comfortable seating

Seats: 6
Size: Table: H76 x W240 x D100cm, Chairs: H85 x W58 x D61cm
Materials: Powder-coated aluminium, ceramic, synthetic material and foam
Reasons to buy
+Spacious statement dining table+Comfortable padded dining armchairs+Can be left outside all year round (apart from the cushions)+Rust-resistant aluminium frame
Reasons to avoid
-An investment

Alfresco dining just got serious with this contemporary outdoor dining set from Furniture Village offering a spacious table and set of six dining armchairs. 

A wrap-around concrete-look ceramic tabletop brings statement style to the garden, whilst the scratch-resistant table surface is designed to withstand many an outdoor meal, and comfortable upholstered dining armchairs mean you'll be happy to linger over an alfresco meal long into the evening.

Even better, the powder-coated aluminium dining table and chairs are designed to be left outside all year round so you don't need to worry about storage, and the comfortable outdoor cushions are made from quick-drying, mould-resistant foam that means they'll soon be ready to sit on, even if they get left out in a shower.

It is an investment, but for the peace of mind that comes with being able to leave the set outdoors all year round, plus the spacious dining table and comfortable seating - that can be hard to come by in an outdoor dining set! - we think it's well worth budgeting for.

A rattan-effect two-seater garden bar set on decking with foliage behind

(Image credit: Habitat)

5. Habitat 2 Seater Bamboo Bar Bistro Set

Best garden bar set: the perfect spot for alfresco drinks for two

Materials: PE rattan & steel
Size: Table: H100 x Dia.70cm, Chairs: H100 x W50.5 x D61cm
Materials: PE rattan & steel
Reasons to buy
+Affordable+Contemporary design+Go 'out' without going out+Seat cushions included
Reasons to avoid
-Not that much table space-Steel can rust if paint is chipped

If you want to recreate your favourite drinks venue within the comfort of your own backyard then the Bamboo Bar Bistro Set from Habitat could provide the answer.

Perfect for alfresco cocktails in a smaller garden, balcony or courtyard, the compact three-piece set includes two stylish PE-rattan bar stools with backrests and a glass-topped circular bar table. 

The table might be a little small for dining comfortably, but it's perfectly sized for drinks and the barstools come with padded seat cushions included so you'll be happy to make a night of it.

It also works perfectly with the matching Four-Seater Bamboo Patio Set to create a cohesive outdoor entertaining area if you have more space to play with.

A rattan corner sofa with a riser table and tropical potted plants behind

(Image credit: Furniture Village)

6. Furniture Village Camber Compact Corner Dining Set with Rising Table

Best garden dining sofa: a versatile design with a useful riser table

Size: H90 x Left W191 x Right W191 x D71cm
Seats: 6 - 7
Materials: Powder-coated aluminium frame & polyurethane 'rattan'
Reasons to buy
+Useful riser table converts from coffee to dining table+Lots of seating with additional bench seats, or use to transform into a chaise+Cushions included+Rust-resistant aluminium frame
Reasons to avoid
-An investment

Want to be able to dine and lounge? We love the versatility of this rattan sofa set which offers the best of both worlds. The glass-topped table is height adjustable, meaning it can transform from a useful coffee table throughout the day into a taller dining table for comfortable alfresco dining.

The compact corner sofa dining set from Furniture Village is a good size for smaller gardens or compact patio spaces, but the padded bench seats also offer useful extra seating, so you won't be short of room for guests. 

Better still, the bench seats can be pulled up next to the sofa to transform it into a relaxing daybed. And there's two - so no fighting over who gets to put their feet up!

Love the laidback, summery look of rattan? See our round-up of the best rattan garden furniture available this year. 

A red woven Acapulco sofa and two chairs with a matching glass-topped coffee table

(Image credit: La Redoute)

7. Pacific Lifestyle Rio PU 4 Piece Seating Set

Best colourful garden seating: add tropical vibes with this bright red Acapulco set

Seats: 4
Size: Table: H42 x W90 x D50cm, Chairs: H84 x W72 x D78cm, Sofa: H85 x W135 x D79cm
Materials: Powder-coated steel & synthetic weave
Reasons to buy
+Fun and colourful+Statement design
Reasons to avoid
-No cushions included-Bright colour won't be for everyone-Steel can rust if paint is chipped

Even if the weather is grey you can still add a pop of colour to your outside space with the bright red Rio 4 Seater Garden Bistro Set from Robert Dyas. 

The on-trend Acapulco chairs and matching sofa create a relaxed place to lounge, with the cocooning shape tilting you slightly backwards into a state of gentle recline.

A glass-topped coffee table adds the finishing touch making this the perfect spot for enjoying an alfresco coffee or sundowner as the evening rolls in. 

And if red isn't your thing then the set also comes in the bright turquoise Rio 4 Seater Set available at Robert Dyas, plus, if you want to go the whole nine yards, then there are matching Rio Sun Loungers for soaking up the rays. 

A circular garden table and rattan garden chair set on a gravelled terrace

(Image credit: Homebase)

8. Homebase Florence 6 Seater Garden Dining Set

Best circular outdoor dining set: timeless style and compact design

Seats: 6
Size: Table: H75 x Dia.140cm, Chairs: H89 x W62 x D64cm
Materials: Aluminium frame, PE 'rattan' synthetic weave
Reasons to buy
+Timeless style+Can be left outside all year round (apart from the cushions)+Cushions included+Compact design useful for smaller spaces+Rust-resistant aluminium frame
Reasons to avoid
-A little less space for dinnerware on a circular table

A circular garden dining table can make a useful addition to a smaller outside space, allowing you to seat more people whilst taking up less floorspace. 

This timeless rattan-effect design blends easily into natural surroundings, and the set's rust-resistant aluminium frames wrapped in a UV-resistant PE 'rattan' weave means it can be left outside all year round. 

The gently curved dining armchairs - with grey upholstered cushions included - also make for a comfortable place to sit, meaning you'll be more than happy to linger over lunch.

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You can also stay informed about the best garden furniture sales and when and where to find the best deals on outdoor furniture at our dedicated garden furniture sales page.

What is the best garden furniture to buy?

When choosing the best garden furniture for your outdoor space it's important to consider how you want to use your garden.

Are you looking to entertain friends and family outdoors? In that case, the best garden furniture for you might involve plenty of outdoor lounge seating or a comfortable garden sofa that will create a relaxed and sociable ambiance. 

Is a summer barbeque is high on your agenda? Then the best garden furniture might look like a spacious outdoor dining table and chairs that ensure guests can sit, eat and drink alfresco late into the evening. 

Do you want a place to relax and chill out? A comfortable daybed, sun lounger, reclining chair or deckchair is a blissful way to lay back and enjoy a warm summer's day.

The best garden furniture also makes a great way to zone your garden. Just like we use furniture to create dedicated spaces indoors, arranging garden chairs and sofas around a coffee table will create an intimate relaxation zone, an outdoor dining table and chairs ready and waiting next to the BBQ will make for a versatile outdoor kitchen area, and a hanging chair or comfortable lounge chair at the end of the garden will create a restful retreat. 

How to store garden furniture

Once you've found the best garden furniture for your outdoor space - and potentially invested a good amount of cash into the purchase! - you'll want to prolong your outdoor furniture's lifespan, which often means storing it somewhere dry over winter. 

Most garden furniture is classed as 'weather-resistant', meaning that to prolong its lifespan it's recommended that it should be stored somewhere dry and temperate during inclement weather - and especially over winter - so it's worth considering what storage options you have available.

If you don't have much garage or shed space then look for garden furniture that is highly durable - like teak wood which can weather the elements due to its naturally high oil content - or compact folding options that make for more space-saving storage. 

You could also consider furniture that is multipurpose and can be used indoors and out - that way you can still enjoy it inside when the weather isn't playing ball.

If storage indoors isn't an option, then it's worth investing in a good furniture cover to protect your patio furniture from the worst of the elements. Just make sure you look for a breathable option that allows air to circulate as this will reduce the risk of mould or mildew forming under the cover.

What type of outdoor furniture is the most durable?

There are lots of different materials that are used for garden furniture, some more durable than others, and most have their pros and cons which will need weighing up. 

Read on to find out how different garden furniture materials compare, and which will be the most durable solution for your outside space.

What is the best wood for garden furniture?

Wooden garden furniture is a natural material and a classic choice that will complement any garden. Rustic or modern, light or dark – there are lots of options to choose from. For maximum durability look for tough hardwoods that can withstand the elements and offer a robust and sturdy design.

Teak is a popular choice, both for its aesthetic appeal and its exceptional durability. The wood's naturally high oil content repels moisture meaning it takes many years - even generations! - before it rots. You can allow teak wood to weather naturally to a beautiful silver-grey finish, or keep it topped up with an annual coat of sealant to prolong its lifespan. 

The longevity of teak garden furniture makes it a great investment, however, this does mean it's generally more expensive than other options. The slow-growing habit of the teak tree also increases its price and means it's important to look for furniture made from forests that have been managed sustainably so teak resources aren't depleted. 

Other good, tough timber garden furniture options include acacia and eucalyptus. Although generally considered slightly less durable than teak, they are still hardwoods that can hold their own against the weather, and as they are faster growing they are generally more affordable options.

With all wood-based products make sure to buy those that have FSC certification. This is the best indicator currently available to show that the forest your wood has been sourced from is sustainably managed, with new trees planted for each one harvested and the tree stock carefully maintained to ensure wildlife and the forest ecosystem is not damaged beyond repair. 

Top tips: 

  • If you want your garden furniture to last, then avoid cheap softwoods which even with protection are unlikely to last more than a few years. Quite often these will be described as just 'wood' or 'timber' in a product description so it's worth asking the retailer a few questions to find out a bit more - and to enquire about FSC certification before investing your money.
  • If your garden has decking, choose wooden garden furniture that will harmonise with it in terms of tone and colour. This doesn’t mean you need an exact match, just enough similarity to avoid clashing. Over time you could also bring the wood tones closer together in tone by using the same sealant or stain on both.
  • Wooden garden furniture makes for a comfortable user experience, warming gently in the sun, and not feeling too cold to the touch even in winter - although it will absorb the damp after a rainfall!
  • See our guide to the best wooden garden furniture for stylish teak, acacia and eucalytpus options.

Does metal patio furniture rust?

Just like different types of wood exhibit differing levels of durability in the face of the elements, so too different types of metal have differing levels of durability and hold up better or worse to the risk of rust. 

Even if you aren't buying a garden furniture set that is obviously made from metal, it is often used as a framework to add strength to Polyrattan and even wood furniture, so it's worth understanding the main differences between metals.

Aluminium is a strong, durable, and rust-resistant metal that is generally very low-maintenance as it doesn't rely on a protective barrier to prevent it from rusting. 

Despite its strength, it's a lightweight metal, meaning garden furniture crafted from aluminium will benefit from the best of both worlds; a sturdy frame that's also easy to move about the garden - and much easier to carry into the shed or garage if you want to store it away for winter than heavier metals. 

Steel is commonly used for garden furniture and is quite often the cheapest metal option. However, steel is highly corrosive which means when exposed to moisture it will oxidise and rust quickly, although this can be avoided by treating the metal surface with paint to form a barrier. It's also a heavy metal, making garden furniture trickier to move.

Powder-coating is the most common type of barrier applied to steel and extends the lifespan of steel garden furniture considerably. However, it can be difficult to completely protect the steel surface, especially where joints and screws can damage the surface coating. If the powder-coating begins to chip, it should be restored immediately or the furniture will soon begin to rust. 

Wrought iron is another popular metal for garden furniture, especially decorative patio furniture where it can be used to create intricate scrollwork detailing. 

Wrought iron has a higher carbon content than pure iron which gives it some resistance to moisture, but it still needs protecting with primer and paint to stop it from slowly corroding over time. 

Wrought iron garden furniture is also very heavy, which makes it more appropriate for benches, tables and permanent seating that won't be moved often. 

Top tips: 

  • Metal absorbs the heat quickly so can become very hot when the sun is shining and very cold when it's not. On the flipside, the bonus is that any rainfall can be wiped off metal garden furniture quickly and easily after a downpour as it will sit on the surface and won't be absorbed, as with wood.
  • Metal is a very hard surface, so you'll probably want to add cushions to any metal seating you buy - this is a great way to add a splash of colour to the garden though! 
  • See our guide to the best metal garden furniture for the most stylish aluminium, steel and wrought iron options.

Can you leave rattan garden furniture outside?

In many of our minds, rattan garden furniture is the quintessential summer look. The open weave design, usually in soothing natural tones, is visually light and appealing, creating a relaxed and laidback look in the garden. 

Traditionally associated with country cottage gardens, it's a great style choice for a classic or formal garden, and with more contemporary designs now common-place it's also a great choice for urban roof terraces or a modern patio.

But, how durable is rattan garden furniture, and can you leave it outside? 

Natural rattan furniture is an organic material made from fast-growing tropical plants which are woven together to form the distinctive structure. Because the plants are so fast-growing it is generally considered a sustainable option. However, natural rattan can dry out and become brittle in sunlight, and exposure to rain will lead to mildew and rot, so although a rattan chair is a lovely option to sit out in on a warm summers day, you will need to bring it back indoors overnight to protect it from exposure to moisture.

What we now generally consider as 'rattan' garden furniture is actually a plastic polymer - commonly dubbed PE-rattan or Polyrattan - which is not a natural material but a man-made synthetic plastic designed to imitate the rattan look we love.

Polyrattan is far more durable outdoors than natural rattan, and some manufacturers say their Polyrattan furniture can be left outside all year round, whereas others recommend storing it indoors over winter. 

The difference in durability is often down to the metal frame that the Polyrattan is woven around. A cheaper steel frame that's uncoated will soon rust under exposure to the elements, whereas powder-coated steel has an additional barrier to protect it, and a naturally rust-resistant aluminium frame is likely to weather the best of all frame options - so it's worth checking the small print to find out exactly what your garden furniture is made of.

Top tips: 

How to clean and paint garden furniture

Already have some garden furniture that you want to freshen up? Find out how to get ready for the good weather with our guide to how to clean garden furniture, and if you're ready to switch up your style then head over to our top tips for painting garden furniture

Amy Lockwood
Amy Lockwood

After completing a major house renovation, Amy discovered what she had always suspected; that decorating is the best part. She joined the Real Homes team in 2021 to share her love for all things interior, finally putting all those hours spent agonising over the best white paint to good use in Real Homes’ carefully researched buying guides, and helping readers to find the best furniture, decor, and furnishings to create the home they've always dreamed of.