Make life lovely and create a garden that is just as comfy and stylish as your indoor space with a modern, designer-look outdoor sofa. They're more affordable than you might think, and they’re perfect for laid-back garden living and outdoor get-togethers, which have fast become the staple socialising choice. By upgrading your garden furniture you can make the most of all year-round entertaining with weatherproof, durable yet stylish pieces.
There are a host of outdoor sofas available including lightweight, easy-to-move designs, and modular styles, enabling you to switch up the furniture layout to suit your space as well as the occasion. Alternatively, opt for larger sofas such as sofa dining sets, perfect for enjoying lunch outdoors in the warm weather or catching up with friends.
Best outdoor sofa at a glance
• Best compact garden sofa: Outsunny Wicker 2 Seater Rattan Sofa - view offer on Amazon UK
• Best aluminium outdoor sofa: Outsunny 3pcs Garden Sectional Sofa – view on B&Q
• Best garden sofa set that's a little bit different: Habitat Noah 5 Piece Steel Sofa Set – view on Argos
One of the most important considerations is the size of your sofa. It's got to fit in your garden after all! Are you after a sofa for a feet-up coffee or lounge, or to create a social area in your garden. Think about the number of people you'll like to seat as this'll give you a heads up on the size and shape best needed to ensure your sofa transforms how you use your outdoor space without swamping it.
Most of us with a modern garden design like to keep adding a little something or swapping planters around, to subtly switch up the look, and a new outdoor sofa will allow you to take this fun to a whole new level.
Best outdoor sofa
Best compact garden sofa
Just for two, the Outsunny Wicker 2 Seater Rattan Sofa has a wicker weave effect that's water and
- Chunky padded cushion
- Some found it fiddly to assemble
Best cane effect outdoor sofa
The price is right. Light, bright and airy, this Madrid Cane Effect Sofa Set is perfect for
- A great price when it's on offer
- Lightweight and stylish
- Robust frame
- Some reviews comment that the cushion is a bit thin
Best garden sofa set that's a little bit different
This boho-inspired rattan garden sofa set is unique, chic, and smart with comfy cushioning,
- Chic and stylish
- A little bit different
- Needs a cushion or two
Best aluminium outdoor sofa
Want to make the most of a hot spot on your lawn? This aluminium Outsunny 3pcs Garden Sectional
- Easy to clean
- No reviews available
Best bamboo effect outdoor sofa
Welcome in the warmer weather with this gorgeous bamboo effect sofa set, complete with a sofa, two
- Needs to be stored inside in harsher weather
Best on-trend sofa set
With promising reviews, the Elements 4 Seater Rope Sofa Set provides the perfect space to sit
- Contemporary style
- A good value set
- Take a little bit of time to assemble
Best garden sofa for entertaining
Get more for your money with this Rattan Garden Furniture Wicker Conservatory Corner Sofa Set.
- A great option for entertaining guests
- Strong steel frame
- No reviews available
Set the scene for your outdoor sofa
Want to create your own outdoor living space? If you've got your sofa set, position the chairs directly facing the sofa, with the coffee table taking centre stage for a real sense-of-occasion, or arrange them in a loose L-shape for a more laid-back vibe.
Group furniture around an outdoor rug and add in large container plants for a secluded feel, or just use the two chairs with an outdoor lamp or swag of festoon lights if you’re after instant twilight charm.
Take the outdoor room feel one step further by adding a ceiling. A shade sail overhead will lend some shelter from sun or a light shower, or position the furniture under a pergola laden with scented climbers. Add in garden lights and plenty of decorative cushions, even an embroidered wall hanging to hide the fence or wall, along with a soothing water feature, and you’ll create an irresistible and intimate garden retreat.
The real joy of furnishing any space – inside or out – lies in discovering pieces that we love, so have fun researching before you buy. Intricate open weaves, elegant rope styles, pale woods, and painted neutral shades are all stunningly seductive and make smart future-proof purchases.
What do I need to know about the metal that's used to make garden furniture?
This is a malleable form of iron that is worked with tools. Wrought is actually an archaic word for 'worked' so the literal meaning is worked iron. Because this process is done by hand, you get a hammered finish and is mostly associated with traditional metal furniture. It requires regular maintenance and will patina over time.
Steel is an alloy of iron and carbon that is stronger and more durable as a result of the smelting and oxidisation process. It's the strongest metal used in furniture making, but it's also heavier and more expensive. Untreated steel can be susceptible to rust.
Aluminium is a unique metal that's non-magnetic and widely used in everyday items. It's the ideal material for outdoor furniture because it's lightweight, sturdy and won't corrode. Aluminium is a lot lighter than steel or iron because it's a less dense material. When cleaning aluminium garden furniture, use warm water, mild detergent and a soft cloth.
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Angela Kenny is production editor of Modern Gardens magazine. She loves spending time in her garden with her husband Alan and their three cats Rupert, Darcy and Frankie.