Modern outdoor furniture ideas – the best outdoor furniture for modern gardens and backyards

We've pulled together 20 modern outdoor furniture ideas for 2021 to refresh and revive your outdoor space

modern outdoor furniture ideas with modern fire pit fire table
(Image credit: Future)

Looking for some modern furniture ideas to refresh your outdoor space? 

With spring finally upon us, and the May bank holiday weekend fast approaching, many of us will be getting green-fingered and soaking up the sun in our outdoor spaces.

Whether you have a garden, terrace, deck or balcony, during the coming months it will inevitably become an extension of your home.

Global searches for ‘gardening’ are up by 65% on Pinterest, as keen beans are already planning on getting their garden in check.

As spring approaches and temperatures start to rise, it's time to embrace the warm weather and make the most of our outdoor space.

Here are a few modern outdoor furniture ideas that have us dreaming of the bank holiday weekend ahead.

Whether you’re on the hunt for a daybed or hanging chair to curl up in, a couple of statement seats that are as smart as they are comfy or some clever multi-tasking pieces, we’ve pulled together some of the latest looks and designs...

1. All-in-one design

Blurring boundaries between fixtures and foliage is a strong new trend and perfect for making the most of smaller outdoor spaces. Screening with climbers plus built-in seating that includes planters and raised beds too all create a smart, cohesive look.

modern outdoor furniture ideas with built in garden seating


(Image credit: PR Shot)

See Also: Garden Patio Ideas - 50 stunning patio designs that inspire

2. Standout statement seating

A sculpture, practical seating or both? Just a couple of well-chosen pieces of furniture can bring a lushly planted courtyard to life. Look for shapes and colours that echo the colour of flowers or foliage.

modern outdoor furniture ideas with modern garden chairs

(Image credit: Future)

See Also: Small Garden Ideas – the best inspiration for tiny outdoor spaces

3. Modern industrial style pieces

A bold contrast of materials and finishes is certainly one of the most exciting new trends in furniture design. From quirky lounge sets that mix pale timber and inflatable PVC to expansive dining tables that showcase powder-coated steel and natural Acacia the overall effect is truly striking.

modern outdoor furniture ideas with industrial dining table and bench seating

(Image credit: Future)

4. Concrete pieces for an unexpected look

Let the materials and form do all the talking, by going for a simple and sculptural dining set. A pared back combo of concrete stools and a slab style table sit beautifully alongside weathered timber shingles and decking.

modern outdoor furniture ideas with concrete table and concrete outdoor chairs

(Image credit: Future)

See Also: Garden decking ideas

5. Create a focal point with a modern fire feature

A cosy heat source, handy place to perch drinks and nibbles and a true garden centrepiece – fire tables are here to stay. Find a circular, square or rectangular design to suit your seating area and choose from eco-friendly and smokeless Bioethanol or Propane, either bottled or piped.

modern outdoor furniture ideas with modern fire pit fire table

(Image credit: Future)

When the evenings bring in a chill, light up an outdoor fireplace like the ultra-stylish Kamino fireplace from Morsø.

modern outdoor furniture ideas fire feature

(Image credit: Morso)

See Also: How To Install An Outdoor Kitchen – Expert Tips For A Stylish New Cooking Space

6. Put plants in the spotlight

We’ve come to rely on Barcelona-based Kettal for forward-thinking outdoor furniture and accessories and its recently launched Dots lamps don’t disappoint. Also available in a floor-standing version, the planter spotlight can be placed directly into the soil for sleek, subtle and undeniably stylish garden illumination.

modern outdoor furniture ideas with spotlight on plants

(Image credit: Future)

7. Incorporate a modern water feature

There's something about the constant gentle trickle of a water feature that is so overwhelmingly calming.

Here to make water features accessible to all – including those with limited outdoor space in city dwellings – is Cox & Cox's SS20 range.

We love the ultra modern Industrial Style water feature, £425, with a series of copper finished pipes set to a concrete effect back plate that release water to a trough below. Perfect for contemporary gardens.

modern outdoor furniture ideas with modern water feature and fountain

(Image credit: Cox & Cox)

Or, for something more traditional, the Roma water feature, £195, is perfect for more traditional gardens.

8. Outdoor Japandi style

This year welcome Japandi style into the garden with curved slatted wood pieces – like this Rolio lounger from Habitat.

modern outdoor furniture ideas slatted wood sun lounger

(Image credit: Habitat)

9. Portable pieces for warm weather days

Follow your mood, and the sun, by choosing portable pieces. Footstools, pouffes, low level tables and even side tables with carry handles can be easily moved from balcony to garden; inside or out.

modern outdoor furniture ideas with bean bags

(Image credit: Future)

10. Supersized coffee table

Moving the living room outside has to be THE biggest design shift this year and nothing conjures says this more than an expansive coffee table. Stand it on an outdoor rug and pull seating round for an instant, cosy vibe.

modern outdoor furniture ideas with large outdoor coffee table

(Image credit: PR Shot)

11. Go for low-maintenance living with easy care resin

Lightweight and stunning, multi-use pieces are a brilliant way of getting more from a high-end design. Look for durable pieces in seamless polypropelene and mix and match colours to suit each space.

modern outdoor furniture ideas with resin dining table

(Image credit: PR Shot)

12. Linear furniture

Take inspiration from your surroundings and use it to inspire your furniture choice. Echo the fine lines of narrow timber deckboards, with sinuous steel strip furniture and a statement, stripy vase.

modern outdoor furniture ideas with linear garden seating

(Image credit: Klaus L Moeller)

13. Swing chair

Cocoon yourself in comfort and escape from the world in a blissful hanging chair. Swap bulky 1960’s numbers and look for finely woven designs that gently filter the light. Pile up with velvet cushions, a faux fur rug and sway gently in the breeze.

modern outdoor furniture ideas with hanging garden swing chair

(Image credit: PR Shot)

The classic hanging chair has been a popular favourite for years, and it's not going to date any time soon. Just accessorise with a sheepskin or some cushions and blankets and it'll be the most loved spot in (and out of) the house.

For total relaxation, the double Paros Swinging Lounger from Cox & Cox offers the ultimate in outdoor lounging. Big enough to share and snuggle up, the lounger gently rocks within its frame to offer the perfect spot, anytime of day.

modern outdoor furniture ideas swing seat sofa

(Image credit: Cox Cox)

Sitting Spiritually has reported a surge of interest in the Swinging Day Bed, and we've got a feeling those handy built-in wine bottle holders may have something to do with it...

(Image credit: Double Exposure Photographic)

Or, ideal for relaxing in the shade, and great for kids, the Hanging Bell Tent can be used both indoors and out, so it can be moved into the play room come winter.

14. Fitted banquette

Kick back in style with smart and space efficient, built-in seating. Upholstered in a bold coral stripe, all-weather fabric, this sunken rest area also features concealed storage, an outdoor fire and doubles as a retaining wall for the surrounding planting.

modern outdoor furniture ideas garden seating with built in banquette

(Image credit: Future)

15. Outdoor upholstered pieces for all-weather lounging

High luxe and sculptural – the fine lines and enveloping shapes of indoor sofas have finally moved outdoors and on to the patio. Thanks to clever advances in weatherproof fabrics these fully upholstered styles can easily cope with all the elements to create a cosy, alfresco spot you won’t want to leave.

modern outdoor furniture ideas with outdoor sofas

(Image credit: Future)

16. Choose a statement patio heater for year-round garden entertaining

Sitting outside as the dusk settles in can seem dreamy in theory but riddled with practicality shortfalls. Tackling two of the biggest hurdles, Heatsail’s Dome is both a patio heater and a dimmable light. You can even have a Bluetooth speaker built into the base. Time to resume all fantasies of sipping sangria on balmy nights.

17. Go for a modern outdoor corner sofa

In terms of seating, a stylish corner sofa has our vote, and is a top trend for this year. The Malmo corner set has a natural look, with rounded edges, made from bamboo and hand wrapped. The soft white seat pads and cushions make it irresistible.

18. Accessorise with something sculptural

They may look like beads on a necklace, but this pastel-hued chain is in fact a hanging outdoor sculpture / ornament, made from 100% stoneware, with ridged edges and a speckled finish.

modern outdoor furniture ideas with hanging sculpture

(Image credit: Future)

19. Choose some decorative lighting

From Barcelona-based designer Jordi Veciana comes Alabast – a family of portable outdoor lamps. Their atmospheric light is the product of silky smooth alabaster lit from within. Charge for four hours and enjoy the glow for eight.

20. Update plants with galvanised pots

Part of Habitat's collab with the Rich brothers, the galvanised planters are bang on trend and give a fresh, modern look to gardens.

galvanised plant pots

(Image credit: Habitat)

Also available as a trough-style window planter.

galvanised plant pots

(Image credit: Habitat)

Q&A

What type of modern outdoor furniture is most durable?

Concrete, polypropylene and resin pieces all cope well with being left outside while synthetic rattan and softwood pieces are best stored somewhere dry or covered in situ when not in use. Timber furniture will naturally ‘silver’ or weather with age which is part of their charm, but you can slow this process with wood preservatives.

How to maintain garden furniture?

A simple wipe over with hot, soapy water and a lint-free cloth is enough to remove dirt from most types of furniture but there are a few other tricks to try. Metal and teak garden furniture can be cleaned using a pressure washer on a low setting, while a non-foaming solution is essential for all-weather rattan to avoid a build-up of dirt.

What is the best treatment for wood furniture?

Unless you want a beautifully weathered surface, all outdoor timber will benefit from a regular coat of wood preservative. Natural oils such as Teak, Danish or Tung oil will repel rain or moisture while a Garden Furniture Wood Stain will colour the timber and protect it too.

Can you keep rattan furniture outside?

Natural rattan is definitely not wet-weather friendly, so always move furniture inside on rainy days. Faux or synthetic rattan made from High Density Polypropylene (HDPE) is a much more durable option and with a regular brush or hose down can be kept free of muck and dirt.

Where can I find quality outdoor furniture?

Outdoor design specialists and high-end furniture retailers have a huge knowledge base and can advise on the most durable materials and finishes as well as the latest looks. Many high-street and mass market retailers tend to stock seasonal lines only, from Early spring to late Summer in the UK - so although they are likely to have a limited choice during Winter they are great for snapping up end-of-season bargains.