Deciding on layouts and floor plans is one of the most common questions we get here on How to Decorate, and we totally understand! With so many different furniture options, it can feel overwhelmingly to work lots of seating into your outdoor space without crowding up your whole yard. That’s why we like to use clever ideas to add more seating, without taking up tons of space. Here are our best ideas for versatile adding seating to your outdoor room:
1. Use an Ottoman Instead of a Coffee Table
Just like you might use an upholstered ottoman instead of a coffee table in your living room, we highly suggest using one in your outdoor living space as well. If it’s just you reading on your patio, a simple tray can make it functional for a glass of iced tea and some snacks. But when you have guests over, an ottoman is a perfectly acceptable place for someone to perch!
2. Keep Folding Chairs on Hand
Simple folding chairs are a great way to increase your seating without taking up any space. When the crowd is small, it’s easy to fold them up and put them away in the garage or corner. But then when your party arrives, they’re light enough to bring out and scatter around your outdoor room!
3. Incorporate a Seat Wall
If you’re lucky enough to be building your patio from scratch, we highly recommend adding in a seat height wall. This is a great way to turn something structural, like a retaining wall, into an even more functional element of your yard. During a party or big get together, guests can pile onto the wall like it’s a bench while still being a part of the conversation!
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Mix & Match
To accommodate more guests at your dining room table, don’t be afraid to mix and match! Here, Suzanne Kasler used a combination of her Directoire Dining Chairs with folding Cafe chairs (not to mention a mixture of cushions) to create a long banquette table for a big dinner party. The same rule applies to any other area of your yard. Pull chairs from different areas of your yard together to create plenty of spots for your friends to join in on the conversation.
5. Outdoor Poufs for the Win
We designed these outdoor poufs just for this purpose. They’re super light, so you can keep a couple in your shed or garage, then bring them outside when the needs arises. You could even keep them in the living room for sleepovers!
6. Outdoor Cubes Serve as Side Table or Seats
A woven cube like the one in our Sutton Collection is a great multitasking furniture piece for your outdoor space. Keep it pulled up to the sofa or your favorite reading chair to use as a side table, but when family is over for your annual cookout, it becomes an extra seat!
7. Create the Arrangement You Need
We’re always the champion of mixing and matching, but there are certain advantages to having a coordinating seating and dining collection. It gives you the flexibility to create the exact seating arrangement you need. If you’re having a big cocktail party where there won’t be a seated dinner, turn your dining table into a buffet and circle all of your dining chairs around the firepit or coffee table. Because the chairs coordinate, your guests will never be the wiser! Then on the flip side, if you’re having an intimate dinner party, put your table back together. Versatility is key!
8. Make Like a Wedding Planner
If you’ve ever been to a super chic wedding, you’ll know that wedding planners most often rent indoor chairs and sofas to use outdoors. There’s no reason you can’t do that too! If you’re maxed out everywhere else, go inside and bring out your favorite occasional chair. Whoever gets this chair will feel extra special, and you didn’t even have to spring for freight charges!
9. When in Doubt, Use a Garden Seat
Flip through our catalog, and you’re bound to see a garden seat in nearly every outdoor room. And that’s not just because they come in a million colors — they really are that versatile. A simple ceramic garden seat is a powerhouse when it comes to functionality. Of course you can use it as a plant stand or side table, but we love the idea of pulling a few up to your dining space when an unexpected guest comes by. You’ll be surprised how often they come in handy when you have one or two scattered around your outdoor space.
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