Modern outdoor furniture ideas – stylish looks for modern gardens and backyards

We've pulled together plenty of modern outdoor furniture ideas to refresh and revive your outdoor space no matter what size or style

Modern outdoor furniture idea with bistro table and seating around fire pit
(Image credit: Future)

The latest modern garden furniture ideas are a great way to refresh a tired space and really what is a garden without a place to perch with a paper on Sunday mornings or lounge with a drink on long summer evenings?

Modern gardens are becoming increasingly like living rooms, with outdoor sofas, coffee tables and rugs overtaking the traditional six-seater dining tables and bistro sets. And there are loads of gorgeous options and garden furniture ideas out there to make your outdoor space feel like an extension of your home. 

Whether you want to create a spacious alfresco dining area for outdoor hosting or add a cozy snug to a small garden, we've rounded up the most stylish garden furniture ideas to get you inspired. Have a browse for ideas, and then venture over to our guide to the best garden furniture of the year to invest in some key pieces for your own backyard. 

1. Opt for an all-in-one design

modern outdoor furniture ideas with built in garden seating

(Image credit: PR Shot)

Blurring boundaries between fixtures and foliage is a strong new garden trend and perfect for making the most of smaller outdoor spaces. Matching screening with built-in seating creates a lovely contemporary cohesive look that you can soften with climbers or even add built-in plants to blend garden and seating even further. 

2. Blend your seating into the garden 

modern outdoor furniture ideas with modern garden chairs

(Image credit: Future)

Is it a sculpture or is sitting? Well, actually it definitely could be both. If your garden is on the smaller side opting for just a couple of stand-out chairs can bring the space to life, plus give you a comfy perch. Copy this modern outdoor furniture idea and look out for shapes and colors that echo the color of flowers or foliage in your garden.

3. Add pops of color with your outdoor furniture ideas

modern outdoor furniture ideas with resin dining table

(Image credit: PR Shot)

Don't be afraid to go bold with your garden furniture colors too, especially if your garden is quite architectural and minimal. This deep yellow and mint green work perfectly in this simple small backyard. The mint mirrors the colors of the planting, whilst the yellow brings a sunny Mediterranean feel that works perfectly with the olive tree. 

4. Create a snug with a sunken banquette

modern outdoor furniture ideas garden seating with built in banquette

(Image credit: Future)

Kick back in style with smart and space-efficient, built-in sunken banquette. Again, a great small garden idea as a banquette can be made part of a retaining wall, so will hug the boundaries of your garden. 

You could add your seating to just one corner, but if you mainly use your garden for lounging and entertaining why not wrap it all the way around? You can always add plants above for some texture and greenery. Give the space a real outdoor living room feel with a rug and a coffee table or a fire pit for cozy evenings. 

5. Or build a sofa into a layered garden

Small garden with built in bench and flamingo decor

(Image credit: James Merrell)

Or if you are tighter on space and still want some space for planting, build a bench and turn it into a retaining wall with plants or even a lawn behind. Top with cushions for comfort and to add some color and pull up a dining table so it can double up as extra seating for guests. 

6. Squeezed for space? Build in a floating bench 

Small garden with large ferns and built in bench

(Image credit: Future)

And for a more minimalist look opt for a floating bench. Something as sleek and slimline as this won't add any visual bulk to your garden so ideal if you want the greenery to be the focus. 

7. Bring indoor furniture out

Small courtyard garden with sofa and large mirror

(Image credit: Paul Massey)

Take the outdoor living room idea even further and give your old sofa a new lease of life by getting it out into the garden. This leather button-back sofa looks really quick in this small courtyard garden and creates a lovely casual sitting area, you could cozy it up with a throw and throw pillows too.

Obviously, you will have to protect a sofa from the elements so if you do recreate this modern outdoor furniture idea be sure to seal the furniture and invest in a good quality cover you can throw over at night. 

Another top tip to take from this gorgeous garden; mirrors make a small garden look bigger, just as they would indoors.

8. Blend your indoor and outdoor dining areas

Dining room opening out onto small garden with levels

(Image credit: Future)

If an outdoor dining area is top of your wishlist but don't want your patio or decking to feel cramped when you add a large table, be inspired by this outdoor furniture idea and blend your indoor space without. By picking the same or similar flooring for both your inside space and patio or decking creates that seamless flow between the two and creates the feeling of more space around your outdoor dining table.

9. Create a living room feel with a coffee table

modern outdoor furniture ideas with large outdoor coffee table

(Image credit: PR Shot)

Go all out on creating an outdoor living room and add a coffee table to your setup. Add a corner sofa to wrap around and throw down a rug to complete the look. Be sure to add lots of cushions too to really up that outdoor living room feel, you could even add floor cushions for a laid-back vibe and some extra seating. 

10. Add a swing chair to save on space

modern outdoor furniture ideas with hanging garden swing chair

(Image credit: PR Shot)

Now we aren't talking a bulky 60s number, outdoor swing chairs have shed that skin and you can find plenty of stylish rattan (or faux rattan) pieces. So cocoon yourself in comfort and escape from the world in a blissful hanging chair. Plus, they are great for smaller gardens or if you are after patio ideas too, as they take up zero floor space and won't add any visual bulk. 

11. Add concrete pieces for a contemporary feel

modern outdoor furniture ideas with concrete table and concrete outdoor chairs

(Image credit: Future)

Concrete garden furniture can give an instant contemporary feel and looks lovely clashing with all the natural colors and textures going on in a garden. Let the materials and form do all the talking, by going for a simple and sculptural dining set and you can always soften them up with some cushions in a lovely slubby linen or look to decking ideas that use a warm wood to contrast with the concrete. 

12. Create a focal point with a modern fire feature

modern outdoor furniture ideas with modern fire pit fire table

(Image credit: Future)

Take a firepit to the next level and add a table with a built-in fire to your garden. A cozy heat source for when the night draw in, a hand place to perch drinks and an instant garden centerpiece. 

You can pick from so many different styles too, depending on the look you are going for and the size of your space. Pick a large rectangular design to sit in the center of a snug corner sofa or go for something smaller and slimline with just a couple of lounge chairs surrounding it. 

13. Relax on a stylish lounger

modern outdoor furniture ideas slatted wood sun lounger

(Image credit: Habitat)

As classic, we couldn't not include a sun lounger. And they come in so much more of a stylish form than a yellow plastic number.  For a more sophisticated look, opt for a simple shade in wood that you can add color and comfort to with pillows. Position in a shady spot surrounded by lush potted plants or, if you are more of a sun worshipper, make a feature of the chair on your patio or decking. 

If you are tempted, see our round-up of the best sun loungers

14. Keep it relaxed with curved outdoor furniture 

modern outdoor furniture ideas with outdoor sofas

(Image credit: Future)

In very modern gardens that are designed with lots of clean lines and minimalist plants, choose soft, curved furniture will create the perfect contrast. Outdoor furniture needn't always be formal feeling with straight lines and hard materials, thanks to clever advances in weatherproof fabrics you can now find totally upholstered garden furniture that has a soft, cozy feel but can still cope with all the elements.

What type of 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 do you 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 color 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.

Hebe Hatton

Hebe is the Digital Editor of Livingetc; she has a background in lifestyle and interior journalism and a passion for renovating small spaces. You'll usually find her attempting DIY, whether it's spray painting her whole kitchen, don't try that at home, or ever changing the wallpaper in her hallway. Livingetc has been such a huge inspiration and has influenced Hebe's style since she moved into her first rental and finally had a small amount of control over the decor and now loves being able to help others make decisions when decorating their own homes. Last year she moved from renting to owning her first teeny tiny Edwardian flat in London with her whippet Willow (who yes she chose to match her interiors...) and is already on the lookout for her next project.