Best Materials for Outdoor Furniture

Creating an outdoor living space that feels more like a formal living room than a simple backyard patio has become all the rage. Not only do we set up dining tables with chairs and an umbrella, but also some people add full sectional couches with rugs and cushions that feel decadent and crazy comfortable.

Basically, patio furniture isn't what it used to be. It's definitely not the stuff I remember from my childhood.

Selecting outdoor furniture for your backyard isn't just about style though; you have to consider what materials each piece is made out of and how well it can withstand the elements. When furniture is left outside in the rain, wind, sun, and possibly the snow, it needs to durable.

Fortunately there are many designs and materials to choose from, depending on where you live and what you prefer.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is durable and nice looking, which is why we often see pieces like bistro tables and outdoor cookware made out of it. It's actually the strongest material by far on this list— but it is also the heaviest. Not to mention, it's the most expensive.

Even though it's pricier than other materials, it can withstand almost anything from high winds, to downpours, to heat waves. Plus, if you like something that's modern and clean looking, this is a great material to pick.


A lot of cheaper outdoors furniture pieces are made out of plastic, like those white chairs everybody used to have in the 1990s.

Because plastic outdoor furniture is so inexpensive, it is a great choice for people shopping on a budget. It's also lightweight, which is perfect for people who want something they can easily move around either in their yards or at a beach. Plastic is also waterproof, but if you select plastic that's any color other than white, it can fade from the sun over the years. (Then again, white can get pretty filthy from dirt and pollen.)

Wrought Iron

wrought iron patio furniture

Wrought iron is a historical outdoor furniture material, one that is still used today. A lot of people prefer wrought iron to other materials because it often comes in unique designs. Plus, it is also a super heavy material, helping it stay in place even in the highest winds. Wrought iron often has weather-resistant powder coating, making it water and rust proof.

A lot of fancy, unique bistro sets are made from wrought iron, which look really nice, but you can also get more modern and simple designs, too.


When I think of my grandma's patio from when I was a child, I always picture the aluminum fold-out chairs she had. Aluminum is a great material because it's lightweight, yet also durable. Although aluminum can easily blow away (unless it's secured down) it's a great material for dining chairs, which need to be pulled in and out during seating.

Aluminum furniture is also rust and moisture proof, and the materials is easy to clean and take care of.

Synthetic Resin Wicker

This is one of the best materials for outdoor furniture because it's easy to care for, can survive all weather conditions, is often quite nice looking, and easy to arrange. Since most synthetic resin wicker furnishings are made on an aluminum frame, it's usually durable, too.

If you end up choosing outdoor furniture made out of synthetic resin, just make sure you purchase high density polyethylene wicker and not cheap PVC wicker.


If you prefer outdoor furniture made out of wood, always look for something made from teak. Teak is the best wood because it is durable and strong; can withstand wind, water, and UV rays; and is also beautiful to look at.

Compared with woods like pine or cedar, teak can last up to 50 years. With any wood though, there is some upkeep with it. You'll want to store it away properly during the winter months and make sure it doesn't get too soaked with rain because all wood can absorb moisture, causing mildew, mold, and rot.