5 Expert Tips To Choose Patio Dining Chairs

Patio dining chairs differ from indoor chairs in concept and design. If you are planning a makeover of your outdoor dining setting, don't end up making the wrong choice. Read on to make an informed choice with regard to your patio dining chairs.

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How are patio dining chairs different from the indoor dining chairs?

It's not just about having a change of dinner venue. Outdoors open you up. You express and emote better when you are free from the confinement of an indoor environment. For that reason, outdoor dinners create better bonds; conversations become relaxed, effortless and honest. Be it family or friends, the outdoors brings you closer.

Patio dining furniture, chairs included,amplify the outdoor charisma. Their organic materials assist in creating bonds amidst the natural outdoor environment. You may choose upright, high-back dining chairs for indoor use, but your patio chairs should be relaxing and highly comfortable. Flexible materials for seats and backrest, for example, nets and woven fabric strips, rattan, wicker, cane, are a hit with patio dining chairs. You will also encounter many cushioned and upholstered patio chair designs. They will often have rounded angles and curvatures designed for enhanced comfort.

When choosing your patio dining chairs, remember the comfort and relaxation you will want when having a meal with friends on your patio. Choose your chairs properly to achieve the right result.

Folding/stackable

These chairs are super space-savers -- ideal for small patios that can't spare permanent space for a dining area. They will neatly stack up in your shed when not required.

They come in a vast range of designs and materials, so you are likely to find the one you like in this category. If you opt for rattan chairs or one with slatted wooden seats and backrests, placing cushions will enhance their appeal while making them more comfortable to sit on.

These chairs are relatively lightweight and will make a good match with outdoors that are open and light, not too densely vegetated or over-done with elaborate decoration.

Wooden Folding Patio Dining Chair Set
Folding Patio Dining Chair Set
Folding Patio Dining Armchair
Outdoor Foldable Patio Dining Chair
Foldable Patio Dining Chair Set
Foldable Patio Dining Chair in Brown and White

Bistro

Affordable furniture does not have to compromise on elegance, comfort, and style. If you have been to Paris and visited one of its famous bistros, you would know what we mean. Now, bring the same comfort and style to your patio with bistro-styled chairs. Some signature features are curved or flat slatted backrests, light metal or wood frame, medium-depth cushions, and mellow looks. In short, simplistic and functional styling focused on comfort for hours.

If your patio is a magnet for social creatures who love gossip over unhurried weekend dinners, or if your family loves quality outdoors time, go for bistro patio chairs. Your only concern should be that they match with your dining table. Complement these chairs with low-level dim lighting and a fire pit to deflect the chill.

Blue Bistro Folding Patio Dining Chair
European Bistro Folding Patio Dining Chair
Bistro Patio Dining Chair in Navy Blue
Bistro Patio Dining Chair Set
Bistro Basic Patio Dining Chair

Decorative

This is the counter-style of a bistro chair. Showy and extravagant, these chairs tend to make a loud style statement. Carved wood and wrought iron are typical mediums of this styling. Elaborate floral patterns and geometric forms are its visual themes.

If you have a similar dining table and patio décor that thrives on an outspoken style, you cannot go wrong with these patio chairs. Bright-striped patio roof frills, cheerful cushion covers, and colorful flowering plants that ooze positive energy - your decorative chairs will sit pretty amidst such a setting. Luscious lawn, with its rich, deep shade, will complete the extravaganza.

Sling chairs

They are innovations of the armchair design adopted for outdoor settings. With a mildly stretchable, loosely woven canvas or similar fabric sling bolted or fixed to a metal frame, they make a nice, reclining angle for hours of comfortable sitting. Dinner goes well with small talk on these chairs!

Sling chair frames are made from rust-resistant metal, and the sling fabric is easy to maintain. Choose olive or other color from the green family to harmonize with the garden colors. To make a good contrast, match them with a mahogany-finish dining table.

Sling Stacking Patio Dining Chair in Grey
Sling Swivel Patio Dining Armchair
Sling Patio Dining Armchair in Blue
Wooden Sling Patio Dining Chair
Grey Sling Swivel Patio Dining Chair
Sling Metal Swivel Patio Dining Chair

Basket chairs

Not straight, not angled, and not reclined, these chairs are very classy. Derived from the 60's basket chair style, they cradle you in a super-pampering position as you drop in them. You can even curl up and read a book for hours without feeling any discomfort. Being lightweight, you can easily move them to your bedroom.

Basket chairs are adaptable by nature. Put them on a lawn, on vinyl flooring, or a marble or granite floor, they will look great almost anywhere. Like folding chairs, they are light and simple, so choose them to go with a simple wooden 4-legged table and graveled or lawn garden with low-hang shrubbery. Flowering plants will add to their elegance.

Since these chairs are woven from organic, plastic, or nylon strands, they will require some maintenance.

Cocoon Patio Chair with Cushion
Outdoor Woven Patio Chair with Cushion
Patio Basket Chair with Cushion
Teardrop Patio Basket Chair
Black Basket Patio Chair
White Patio Basket Chair

What materials are ideal for patio dining chairs?

Organic materials

Rattan, wicker, and cane are experiencing a resurgence in outdoor chair styling. Furniture designers are experimenting interweaving these materials with metal and wooden frames to produce provocative designs. The basket chair is one example of such experiments.

Points to note before choosing these materials:

  • They are nature-made materials, hence subject to degeneration, decay, and degradation.

  • In outdoor settings, there is an added risk of termites and other parasites infesting them

  • They can breed mildew and other bacteria

To overcome these problems, ensure that the material is properly treated and seasoned for outdoor use.

Additionally, the weaving of these materials being handmade, it is subject to human error and deficiency. Ask for a comprehensive product warranty to mitigate such a risk.

Wicker Rattan Black Patio Dining Chair
Brown Wicker Rattan Patio Dining Chair
Wicker Patio Dining Chair Set
Wicker Patio Dining Armchair
Wicker Patio Dining Basket Chair Set
Grey Rattan Patio Dining Chair Set

Metal

Galvanized steel and iron, wrought iron, aluminum, steel/aluminum mesh, and cast iron-aluminum are the common materials. The types of finishes available:

  • Electro-coating
  • Dry powder-coating
  • Oil paint
  • Buff and brushed finish

Properly finished metal and alloy patio chairs will be rust and corrosion resistant and will pose no problems for years to come.

Metal Stacking Patio Dining Chair
Metal Patio Dining Chair in Baby Blue
Metal Swivel Patio Dining Armchair
Classic Metal Stacking Patio Dining Chair Set
Metal Swivel Patio Dining Chair with Cushion
Low Patio Dining Chair in Blue Metal

Plastic

Molded plastic patio chairs are a big hit in the affordable category. With advanced extrusion technologies, these chairs look classy and chic. The surface finishes have evolved so much that you cannot make out the difference between an original rattan or wooden chair and their plastic replicas.

The only pain-point with plastic chairs is that they can deform under extreme climate conditions, and their color fades under the impact of UV rays. But then, you probably don't intend to use them for more than a few years, right? So never mind these shortcomings.

Classic Plastic White Patio Dining Chair
Black Plastic Patio Dining Side Chair
Mint Plastic Outdoor Patio Dining Chair Set
Plastic Patio Dining Chair in Black
Plastic Patio Dining Armchair in White
Plastic Stacking Patio Dining Chair in Black

Wood

Furniture and wood are intrinsic to each other. This is true even for outdoor settings, where apparently wood is subject to weather, climatic, and atmospheric degeneration. Modern wood seasoning and finishing methods have made wood readily adaptable to outdoor environments. Besides, the wooden chair that you may have short-listed would mostly be made from hardwood which is more adaptive to outdoors. Typical examples are teak, oak, and Iroko. You will be surprised at their outdoor-friendly properties:

  • They are water-resistant - teak is particularly waterproof
  • By the above virtue, they are also stain- and spill-resistant
  • They naturally repel insects and termites
  • The silica content in teak makes it invulnerable to rotting
  • The quality and richness of wood finishes are unmatched. Stain, lacquer, French polish, oil paint… you have many options to match your outdoor setting
Solid Wood Patio Dining Chair
Simple Solid Wood Folding Patio Dining Chair
Light Wood Low Patio Dining Chair with Cushion
Wooden Armless Patio Dining Chair
Wood Weather Resistant Patio Dining Chair
Grey Wood Patio Dining Chair

How many patio dining chairs should I buy?

How many patio chairs you should get, will depend on:

  • Your family size
  • The average number of outdoor dinners that you host
  • The average number of guests that you entertain

The golden rule is to shop in even-numbers - sets of 2, 4, or 6 (sets above 6 are usually not available).

If there is only four of you for the usual meals on the patio, go for a set of four chairs. If you get more people occasionally, you may choose a set of six or two sets of four.

Try out these three options if you routinely have larger gatherings for dinner:

  • Buy two sets of 6 chairs to seat 10 or 12 guests.

  • Buy two sets of different styles to make an intentional differentiation. How about six basket chairs and six sling chairs? Be careful, though, that their appearance is not jarringly different or alienated from the rest of the setting.

  • For occasionally large gatherings, add some chairs from your indoor furniture.

Jessica started out as an interior photographer, but her love of pretty settings took her to the field of interior design, where she can combine two of her greatest passions, creating and then capturing the beauty of homes.