Updated: July 2018
Don’t try to arrange your patio furniture without reading these tips! Tired of rearranging your furniture over and over again? We’ll, I’ve put together this list of patio arrangement tips to help you get it right the first time.
Read through this list and then draw out your layout on paper. Being able to visualize what you want will make your life a lot easier! You don’t have to produce blueprints but just getting a rough shot will put you miles ahead of the game. If you have questions about your specific arrangement, you can send me your questions by filling out a comment at the bottom of the article. Now let’s arrange some patio furniture!
8 Rules of Thumb for Arranging Patio Furniture
No more asking wondering “how do I arrange my patio furniture?” Just make sure you follow these simple rules to create the perfect patio layout.
1. Decide on a Focal Point
Create a focal point that will anchor your outdoor space. This will serve as the primary gathering point and the heart of your patio arrangement. The remaining decor will build off of this area.
2. Find a Purpose for Your Patio
Symmetrical patio furniture arrangements create a formal living space while asymmetrical arrangements are a bit more quirky and have a much more lax, casual feel. Pick which one you intend on creating.
3. Design Like a Traffic Conductor
When deciding on the layout of your patio deck, make sure you direct the flow of traffic in a way that eases congestion. Think about the way that guests will enter and travel through your outdoor space. Is there a clear and unobstructed path to the entrance and exit? Are there areas that will likely become crowded? For best practice, I recommend allowing 30″-48″ of space for high traffic areas. You can cut this measurement down to 24″ for areas that receive less foot traffic.
PRO TIP: Arrange your patio furniture in a way that directs guests around the primary seating area rather than through it. Nothing is more irritating than “excuse me, pardon me” while you’re getting to the butt of your joke. No pun intended!
4. Placement of Outdoor Furniture
Place the longest piece of furniture along the longest wall, facing the focal point. This will add to the area instead of detracting attention. Typically, the longest piece will be a 3 seat sofa or a love seat. Adding several individual chairs will encourage guests to “pull up a chair” and enjoy a good conversation!
5. Make if Feel Like You’re at Home
Bring the resort style feeling to your backyard! Use end tables, side tables, and ottomans to add convenience to your patio. These additional outdoor pieces provide a spot to place loose items, drinks and snacks. To help justify it to your husband (or yourself for that matter), ottomans even help relieve back pain! “Honey, I’ve got a back ache!”
6. Separate the Outdoor Kitchen
Keep the outdoor kitchen away from your dining area. You want to have some form of separation to differentiate between the two spaces. This also addresses safety concerns associated with the grill. (Make sure you learn how to make your backyard child proof!) Keep your outdoor kitchen close to the door to make food prep easy. Here are some additional resources for Outdoor Kitchens:
- 10 Things You Must Know Before Planning and Outdoor Kitchen
- The Outdoor Kitchen: Make Your Patio Your Second Home
7. Divide and Conquer
By separating the space into smaller sections, you create a dynamic and functional living area. In this way, you have multiple areas of entertainment instead of one large patio with too much open space. By adding occasional chairs, an outdoor fireplace, or patio heater, you can craft an engaging outdoor living space.
8. Accessorize and Organize!
Don’t be afraid to accessorize with throw pillows, area rugs, greenery, and lighting. I shared the 9 Enchanting Outdoor Lighting Ideas that are absolutely amazing. Last but not least, you want to keep things tidy just as you do inside the house. Grab a cushion storage box to free up extra space and protect your cushions when not in use! Otherwise they’ll look like this!
Keep in mind that you can always rearrange your patio furniture. I know the purpose of this post is to teach you how to arrange patio furniture right the first time but, rearranging is also a great way to freshen up your backyard. By adjusting with the seasons, you’ll have a new perspective on your furniture that will make you appreciate it and make you feel like it’s a whole new set!
More Patio Design Tips:
- Connecting the Interior of Your Home with the Exterior
- How to Choose the Best Material for Outdoor Furniture – Checklist!
- Bar Stool Buyers Guide – Finding the Set that’s Just Right
- The Top 10 Outdoor Patio Furniture Brands
About the Author
Cheryl Khan is an interior designer and contributing author to several home improvement blogs. In many ways she enjoys putting together outdoor arrangements better than interior designs because of the fresh air that the great outdoors brings!