How To Choose Patio Sofas & Sectionals

As the temperatures rise, it is time to uncover your patio furniture and take the cushions out of storage. However, you may then realize your patio sofa had made its debut years ago and does not look as fresh and stylish anymore. You decide that you need a new one!

You might be overwhelmed by the wide selection when browsing for new patio sofas and sectionals, so we have compiled a guide to help you navigate through the sea of options.

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What are the best materials for patio sofas & sectionals?

Here are the pros and cons of different materials for your patio furniture. Read on and select the one which will resonate with you best.

  • Natural wood is a sturdy and comfortable material, but it requires regular maintenance and preservative treatments for weather and UV protection. You can also choose weather-resistant woods such as cedar, cypress, teak or redwood, which will need less maintenance.
Natural Wood Teak Patio Sofa with Cushions
Natural Wood Patio Loveseat
Natural Hardwood Patio Daybed with Cushion
Natural Teak Patio Sofa
Natural Wood Patio Sofa with Cushions
Teak Patio Daybed with Cushion
  • Aluminum, plastic and PVC are rustproof, lightweight and probably the most inexpensive. They can be easily cleaned with just soap and water. However, due to their lightweight properties, they may need to be secured when high winds and storms occur.

  • Steel and wrought iron are the most durable, but you will need to find the most comfortable cushions for them. To prevent them from rusting, you will need to occasionally paint them with a weatherproof finish.

Plastic Outdoor Three Seater Patio Sofa
Black Plastic Loveseat with Cushions
Metal Patio Sofa with Cushion
White Metal Patio Sofa with Cushions
Metal Patio Sectional with Cushions
Metal Patio Loveseat with Cushions
  • Other natural materials such as rattan and wicker offer a more casual feel to your patio, but they will require you to add a weatherproof coat every few years. Or you can choose synthetic wicker or rattan, which has a resin finish to last you a lifetime.

Which material should I choose for outdoor cushions?

Below we have covered the best materials for the cushion covers and the core of the seat. Read on to make an informed choice when it comes to cushion materials.


Outdoor cushions vary drastically in material and it is important to choose the right one to prevent mold and mildew due to a lack of water-resistant properties.

  • Vinyl, also known as PVC, is a plastic material and is the least expensive. However, keep in mind that this fabric does not withstand heat very well. They can become extremely hot under the sun, which will cause a burn when you sit down. Also, remember that PVC cannot be recycled.

  • Texteline is a mesh woven material made of polyester yarn coated with PVC. It will still get hot under the sun, but the yarn offers more strength and durability. Even though texteline is waterproof, the color fades in the sun.

  • Cotton canvas is a fabric that dates back to the 13th century and is still considered economical. This type of material is not water-resistant, which can cause mold and mildew. Cotton canvas can be dyed and needs to be treated with a waterproof finish once a year.

  • Sunbrella fabric is a patented material, which has solution-dyed acrylics. It is the most expensive choice on the market, but it is fade-resistant, waterproof, mold & mildew resistant and chlorine safe.

Seat Core Materials

  • Dacron is a thermoplastic synthetic polymer resin and is a durable foam padding insert to provide optimum support. Because Dacron cushions are firm, they do no flatten out like other materials. They emit a tight and well-kept cushion, which can be compared to a pillow-topped mattress.

  • Dacron wrapped is different from Dacron since they are just wrapped in it. They feature a ½''-layer of actual Dacron, so they will flatten out like foam cushions. They look just as nice, but they are not as comfortable.

  • Foam cushions come in a range of densities, which can make it hard to know how supportive they can be. If you choose foam cushions, it is best to do your research on foam density to understand why weight and density are two different things when it comes to foam ratings.

  • Polyester fill is the least expensive choice and is the soft, fluffy material, which will not offer much support. They can offer visual stimulation but not functional comfort.

Garden Patio Sectional with Foam Cushions
Patio Sectional with Foam Cushions and Olefin Cover
Rattan Patio Sectional with Foam Cushions
Patio Sofa with Sunbrella Cushions
Patio Sectional with Foam Cushions and Polyester Cover

How to match my patio sofas & sectionals to my garden?

  • For an upscale and elegant patio, opt for a mix and match set such as a sofa or sectional made of rattan with aluminum sides.

  • To achieve a monochromatic look, select a sofa or sectional in the same colors of other outdoor pieces but in different shades to create a smooth-as-silk color gradient.

  • Wicker sofas and sectionals mix beautifully with a natural texture such as teak. This combination will be best for a minimalist or boho chic styled patios.

  • Another option for a boho-chic garden is to choose a simple design for the sofa or sectional in a solid color and material. You can then add throw pillows in geometric patterns in pink, yellow or teal hues to achieve an authentic boho-chic style.

  • Mid-century patios beg for wrought iron furniture. Try and find a sofa made of wrought iron with intricate floral or swirl designs to achieve the perfect mid-century look.

  • A contemporary patio will benefit most from a sleek combination of teak and aluminum. Choose cushions in two colors, such as white/beige, black/white or grey/black.

  • To achieve perfect symmetry for a traditionally styled patio, chose a set of to metal sofas in white or dark gray with striped cushions in neutral tones.

  • For a more relaxed and cozy exterior, accent adjacent colors with neutrals. Adjacent colors are ones that are next to each other on the color wheel, such as green/yellow and blue/purple.

  • You can also use the color wheel to determine which colors of cushions will match the rest of your patio pieces. A simple trick is to select colors that are directly across from each other such as turquoise and orange.

  • If you would like the textures such as stone, wood and grass to take center stage, opt for a weathered teak sectional or sofa with toned-down red cushions.

  • Remember to always balance the bright hues with neutral tones. The number of bright pieces should be equal to the number of light, neutral or white ones to avoid a busy exterior.

  • Cottage styled patios beg for whimsicality. You can achieve this by adding a white weathered wooden sofa with cushions in floral prints or with creamy stripes.

Patio Sectional with Cream Cushions
5 Piece Patio Sectional Seating Group with Cushion
Small Patio Sectional with Cushions
Metal Modern Patio Sofa with Cushions
Brown Patio Sofa with Cushions

How to pick between a sectional and a sofa for my patio?

If you are undecided in your choice between a sofa and a sectional, read further as we have compared the two to help you with your selection.


Sofas typically consist of three cushions to comfortably seat up to three people, maybe more if it is oversized. A sofa is a great choice for a large seating layout, if your patio has the space for it, since it can be paired with two chairs or another two-seat sofa to accommodate more people. A set of sofas and chairs also offer more personal space when you are entertaining your guests. Sofas typically come in more elegant and formal designs than sectionals and in just as many casual styles too.


Sectionals are made to accommodate more than three people and can come in three common configurations: chaise, L-shaped and U-shaped. Chaise sectionals comprise of a regular three-seat sofa with an attached chaise on the left or right side. An L-shaped sectional includes five or more cushions, with two or more on each side and a connecting seat in the middle. As for U-shaped sectionals, they consist of a center sofa and an equal number of seats on either side of the center sofa. Depending on your available space and your patio layout, you are promised to find a configuration to match. Even though sectionals are better for smaller patios since they offer more seating without taking up extra space, they can leave new guests uncomfortably close to each other. Therefore, a sectional would be ideal for family days and nights in the yard. As for the style, you might struggle to find formal sectionals because they are typically made for a casual interior or exterior.

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