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The Best Patio Chairs, According to Interior Designers

Photo: Ernst Beadle/Getty/Conde Nast via Getty Images

With temperatures getting warmer by the day as summer approaches, we’re all itching to get outside more. But given that many of us might not want to go too far outside — much of the country is still in the throes of a viral pandemic, after all — most of our time outdoors will likely be spent in whatever open-air spaces we are lucky enough to have at our own homes. No matter the size of your outdoor space, a great patio chair can transform any yard, balcony, terrace (or patio) into a mini-getaway where you can spend hours reading, lounging, tanning, sipping wine — or all of the above. To find the best patio chairs in a range of styles and prices, we asked asked five interior designers for their favorites. Read on for their 38 recommendations, from beachy sling styles to classic molded-plastic chairs to seating that folds up for easy storage. While most on the list are single chairs, we’ve also included some recommended sets at the bottom if you’re looking for more than just one seat.

Best under-$100 patio chairs

Three of our experts — Amy Azzarito, the author of The Elements of a Home: Curious Histories Behind Everyday Household Objects, From Pillows to Forks, Sarah Ramirez of Decorist and Found + Collected Design, and Tina MartinDelCampo, who also designs for Decorist — all recommend this chair by German designer Jannis Ellenberg for CB2. Azzarito likes it for its open-weave design, which she says is “perfect for a small space.” She also likes that the back is made from handwoven plastic piping that mimics rattan, noting that “it tends to have more ‘give’ than a hard-backed chair, making it more comfortable.” Ramirez, who calls it “versatile outdoor seating,” agrees: “The open-weave back is exceptionally striking. It’s complemented by the easy lines of the barrel silhouette, making this a real showstopper.” MartinDelCampo points out that the seat is made with 100 percent recyclable resin that’s UV-resistant. If you don’t like it in natural, it’s available in an all-black version, too.

If you have the space for one, an Adirondack chair is a timeless choice that will never go out of style, according to two of our designers. MartinDelCampo says that Adirondack chairs not only “deliver a classic design” but are also “durable.” Ramirez is also a fan of the style, and this model that MartinDelCampo recommends would be an especially good one for smaller patios or outdoor spaces, because it folds up — a feature you don’t always find in these sometimes-clunky chairs.

If you’re looking to buy a bunch of chairs without spending a lot, Devin Shaffer, a designer with online interior-design service Decorilla, recommends these molded-plastic chairs from Ikea that cost $30 a pop. Aside from their affordable price tag, Shaffer loves that they require “zero assembly” and are “easily stackable,” which means that they’re a cinch to put away at the end of the season. Another detail to love: They’re made of UV-resistant plastic that won’t fade with time.

Shaffer also recommends this familiar-looking style of chair from the MoMA store, saying that it evokes “summertime nostalgia” but is an upgraded version of similar styles you’ve seen at baseball games or on freshly mowed lawns over the years (and decades). “MoMA dropped a fresh version of the chair, and it boasts a bit more style than what memory serves,” he says of the lightweight, foldable chair that MoMA says is made in the U.S.A. “in small batches at a family-run workshop.” It also has a woven back, which, as Azzarito noted above, can be more comfortable if you’re sitting for longer periods of time. (Erica Cerulo and Claire Mazur, the founders of our favorite now-shuttered boutique Of a Kind, are fans of the chair as well.)

Another chair that folds is this Ikea chaise recommended by Ramirez, which is made of an acacia-wood frame and rope. “The strong, clean lines of this architectural silhouette are a striking addition to an outdoor space,” she told us, noting that the chair’s taller back adds “visual height.”

Even more affordable than the above Ikea chaise is this one that Ramirez loves for its “ecru color with just the slightest hint of turquoise detailing.” She adds that it folds flat for easy transport (even if that’s just from shed to porch and back again).

This chubbier armchair made of durable, all-weather resin comes at a price that MartinDelCampo says is hard to beat for such a style. She adds that its included cushion cover is washable and that the chair also comes in brown for those who don’t like the gray shown.

For something a little daintier, Ramirez recommends this “petite, almost club-style chair” that she says can work at the head of an outdoor dining table or as a “cozy landing spot” for lounging. It’s made of synthetic rattan that’s weather-resistant (but the cushion is sold separately).

For something more modern, Ramirez recommends this lightweight aluminum-and-mesh chair that incorporates “graphic black and white lines” to create “a strong, modern style.” She says that it would pair just as well with “a small bistro table” as it would with “a footrest and side table, for a lounge feel.” To balance the chair’s hard edges, she suggests throwing down a sisal rug or pillows to add natural elements or texture.

According to Shaffer, “finding a rocking chair under $100 is like searching for a needle in a haystack.” That’s a big reason why he finds this $72 outdoor option so delightful. Shaffer loves the country charm of its powder-coated-steel frame and the fact that it has “subtle nods” to the geometric angles and architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright. The bright color, he adds, “ushers it into more-modern spaces” (but it’s also available in a few others if red isn’t your favorite).

Best under-$200 patio chairs

Ramirez says this wicker chair made of weather-resistant resin nods to mid-century-modern style (it reminds us of more-expensive Acapulco chairs, which make an appearance further down on this list). MartinDelCampo is another fan, and both point out that this has a lightweight and compact frame. It’s also stackable for convenient storage and available in two more colors (black and aqua).

If you’re looking for a quick way to brighten your patio or outdoor space, Ramirez and Shaffer recommend this colorful chair from Crate & Barrel. Shaffer says the contrast of the yellow wicker (made of weather-resistant resin) against the black metal frame reminds him of the ’80s in a way that’s both “trendy yet timeless.” He also appreciates how the yellow strands that make up the chair’s barrel shape complement its more natural-colored seat. Ramirez agrees, telling us that “the modern style and bright color walk the line of sophistication and fun.” She adds that the barrel shape is comfortable for both dining and lounging, nodding to this chair’s versatility.

Another relatively affordable way to bring bright colors to your patio would be with these sling-style chairs from Society6 recommended by Ramierz and Azzarito. Their backs are adjustable, so you can easily reorient them depending on whether you want to sit up or recline, and Ramirez notes that Society 6 sells them in various fabrics, so you “can achieve the look you want, from tonal neutrals to this fun terracotta graphic print.” Her favorite is the funky “orange cutout” print, while Azzarito likes the “abstract minimal” style that she notes has a matching stool.

Fashion and accessories designer Clare V.’s take on the sling chair for Anthropologie is another option to consider if you like the style, according to Azzarito. It also has an adjustable back, and she says its print — the designer’s signature typeface — makes it “a must for a beach vibe in a small space.”

The third sling chair in this price range was suggested by Ramirez. With its fringe detail and pale striped pattern, it also has a very (Italian) beachy feel, or “classic poolside vibes,” as she puts it. Like the above sling chairs, you can adjust the back of its teak frame to recline at different levels, and Ramirez adds that it “can fold up and be stored.”

To Shaffer’s point about finding outdoor rocking chairs under $100, the next least expensive one recommended to us came with a three-digit price tag. Far more traditional in style, it was suggested by MartinDelCampo, who “loves the charming Cape Cod look.” She adds that “a bonus is that it’s UV- and water-resistant for inclement weather.”

One of these folding bistro chairs recommended by Shaffer would be a great option for someone who wants versatility with a smaller footprint than a sling chair or chaise. As their name suggests, they can be used as dining chairs but work just as well for sitting a spell. The lightweight chairs have a wood frame and a breathable fabric seat (ideal for those muggy dog days of summer), and “hit all the marks” in Shaffer’s book.

Another bistro-style chair, this more rustic (and not foldable) style that’s a staple at outdoor weddings and al-fresco dining tables can work just as well on your patio, according to Azzarito. All you need is a glass of wine to make it feel like you’re sitting outside a French farmhouse.

“The woven texture of this style is a nice way to add subtle visual interest without overpowering a space,” explains Ramirez. The acacia frame is moisture-resistant, and the neutral color makes it easy to “add in a variety of accents and play with textures or color pops each season without feeling like everything has to change,” she adds.

Slightly more expensive than the Cape Cod–style rocker she recommended is this “very stylish rocking chair” that MartinDelCampo also loves. While this neutral upholstery would make it easier to swap in different pillows and accents, it comes in three other options should you prefer a bit more color. And MartinDelCampo adds: “Not only is it weather-resistant, but the cushions are removable for easy cleaning.”

From the maker of one of our favorite sofas under $1,000 comes this chair that Ramirez likes for its simple design and fresh, bright-white finish that “immediately adds a summertime feeling to a space.” It’s made of synthetic resin woven around steel legs, and she says that when you’re done with it outside, the chair is just as suitable for indoor seating, making its price seem a bit more worth the investment.

While at the pricier end of this category of patio chairs, the price for this one, recommended by Ramirez, includes the ottoman it is shown with. The chair (and the ottoman) are made of weather-resistant acacia wood in classic shapes that Ramirez says are versatile. “The best part,” she adds, “is if you’re tight on space, the ottoman fully tucks under the chair when not in use and doubles as extra seating, too.”

Best under-$300 patio chairs

Ramirez loves this wicker chair from Target, which she calls a “bohemian dream.” An updated take on the bowl-shaped papasan chair, she likes the balance of its “clean lines and comfy, lounge style” that she says “can really complement a lot of different aesthetics, from super boho to modern.” The price includes the ottoman it’s shown with, and that ottoman, we should note, can easily double as a side table.

Echoing what she told us earlier about woven chairs being more comfortable due to their having a little give, Azzarito suggests this eye-catching style for anyone “trying to create some ‘work outside’ space for your work at home life.” Handwoven from all-weather wicker, the chair has a curved back that’ll offer support without being too rigid (thanks to its weave) and, in addition to being good to work from, can be used as a dining or just plain lounging chair, too.

Anyone looking for an Acapulco chair should consider this variation on the style from CB2 that Decorist designer Rita Schulz recommends. She calls it “a stylish option at a good price point” (that is even better now that it’s on sale). The seat is made from white PVC cord that’s been handwoven over a black powder-coated-steel frame, creating a chair that’s open on all sides, making it super-breathable — even on the hottest of days.

Schulz also likes this rattan chair that sports a slim, curved metal frame with faux rattan woven around it to create the backrest and seat. She says that it’s “versatile and can be paired with so many other styles of patio furniture” thanks to its black finish that goes with everything, from wooden to upholstered pieces.

This inviting-looking Ikea chair is a favorite of Azzarito’s, because she says it can be used both indoors and out and has a seat angle that is “one of my favorites for laptop working.” Its low-to-the-ground, deep-seated metal frame has an elastic mesh base that you can adjust for tautness. The large, plush cushions are comfortable and come with covers that are removable (and therefore washable), she adds.

Ramirez calls this chair “relaxed and airy-feeling,” and we don’t disagree. It’s made of woven resin (that recalls rattan) on an aluminum frame. Available in a range of colors, Ramirez especially likes it in navy, “as it feels a little unexpected.” If you want more than one, she notes that they’re stackable for easy storage, too.

While it’s touching the price ceiling of this category, those looking for a real Acapulco chair — which have woven seats that are egg-shaped, not rounded like the less expensive, similar styles above — may like this one from CB2 that comes recommended by MartinDelCampo. “I love the retro resort look that these chairs have, and the woven seat makes it supercomfortable to sit in all day,” she says. “They are durable for all climates and are available in three colors,” she adds, including black and a pink ombré.

While some rocking chairs can verge on hokey, MartinDelCampo says the appeal of this one from Article is its “more modern feel,” which she says “makes it more versatile.” Its streamlined frame is made from powder-coated steel, and its seat and backrest are formed by rope (with just the slightest bit of stretch) woven around that frame. If you don’t like the black, MartinDelCampo notes it comes in other colors, including turmeric and aqua, that she says would go a long way toward livening up a patio.

Reminiscent of the sling-style chairs on this list, this teak lounge chair recommended by Schulz would also be a great way to make your backyard (or balcony) feel more beachy. She says the chair has a “laid-back, seaside vibe,” in part thanks to its adjustable frame that can be set to three different states of recline. This chair also has a large back pocket for storing whatever essentials you might need at arm’s reach, a built-in head cushion, and padded straps so you can carry it like a backpack to and fro.

Best patio chair sets

Sold in multiples of two, these molded plastic chairs recommended by Shaffer and MartinDelCampo break down to about $136 apiece if you want a pair. Wayfair calls it the Curnutt chair, while AllModern calls it the Brittney chair — no matter the name, they feature perforated seats that are also a bit flexible for added comfort. Shaffer says the shape is reminiscent of mid-century-modern curves, and adds that the chairs are UV-resistant and easy to clean. The retailers offer them in different colors, as well.

This set of acacia-framed accent chairs with weather-resistant, woven-wicker straps comes recommended by both Ramirez and Azzarito, with the latter telling us “they have a mid-century vibe but don’t hit you over the head with it.” Ramirez adds that “the warm gray wicker and wood play nicely together.” That they come in a set of two (making each one $200) means you could easily create a little sitting area by adding a small side table. Azzarito concludes with another plus: “They are also good-looking-enough to use inside, if you need chairs that will do double duty.”

Another style of bistro chair, this metal set of four is a price performer (just $33 a pop) that would also allow you to experiment with color, according to Azzarito. “When decorating an outdoor space, it can be fun to embrace color in a way you wouldn’t dream of doing inside,” she explains. Shaffer is also a fan of this style of metal bistro chair that, thanks to its material (and, again, price), you don’t need to be too precious with — a good quality in any furniture you plan to keep outdoors.

Another price-performing set is this twofer of director’s chairs in sunny yellow that break down to about $47 each. The look is classic, according to Ramirez, who says the fabric seats on these foldable chairs add softness. “Since they fold up and tuck away, they’re a great option for an outdoor area that needs to be multifunctional,” she adds. To those who don’t like them in yellow, Ramirez notes they come in a few other colorful options.

These more-unusual-looking metal chairs were suggested by Shaffer, who loves how retro they look. He told us he could easily imagining them “in front of an Airstream trailer” or on an “urban rooftop patio” and notes that, at $70 apiece, they’re a good deal for UV-resistant, multifunctional chairs that work just as well inside when you no longer need them outdoors.

If you’re looking to bring a European feel to your patio, Azzarito recommends this pair of French-café-style chairs that each come out to about $108. Made of rattan, they’re also stackable, making them easier to store when the time comes.

And for something that looks right out of Palm Springs, Azzarito pointed us to this set of chairs that she says will make your patio “look like it’s right there” in the iconic desert getaway. They’re constructed with powder-coated stainless-steel frames that resemble bamboo stalks, and have thick, fade-resistant cushions as their seats and backrests. Each comes out to $225 a piece.

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The Best Patio Chairs, According to Interior Designers