Published on May 20, 2021

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All of our favorite outdoor activities—sharing homemade meals alfresco, storytelling around a roaring firepit, finally reading that novel that’s been sitting around for months—have something in common: They require a comfortable place to sit. Patio chairs might be a staple of every outdoor living space, but they shouldn’t be an afterthought. With temperatures rising and nature in bloom, it’s time to give your chairs the high-style attention they deserve. So take a seat, relax, and put your feet up. We’ve narrowed your search down to the 10 best options across a range of styles, materials, and price points—all backed by strong reviews by the people who have spent summers in them.

Features to Keep in Mind

Type: We’ve focused on the most common (and versatile) style, but there are more options beyond patio dining chairs. The low-slung Adirondack is suited to farmhouse-style yards (ideally with a vista); the deep-padded, wide-arm club chair is designed for maximum comfort; and the reclining chaise longue is the perfect poolside choice.

Material: When it comes to outdoor furniture, which material you choose is more important than ever because it will need to stand up to weather, moisture, and sun. Sara Khodja, product development lead at CB2, recommends chairs with stainless steel, aluminum, or powder-coated iron frames, but she adds that “properly treated natural materials, like teak and other woods, take a little more effort to maintain, but they too will stand the test of time and beautifully patina over the years.”

Storage: How you store your chairs will have a big impact on their longevity, both in look and functionality. Summer rains can warp wood and rust joints, and the glaring sun can fade almost any surface if given the chance. If you want to be as vigilant as possible, store your furniture under a cover or in a dry shed or garage when not in use. If you don’t have the space, think about adding furniture covers to your cart to shield your pieces from the brunt of the climate.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Article Svelti Dining Chair

With a refined, mid-century-inspired shape; durable material that stands up as well outside as it does inside; and a price point that won’t break the bank, this Article best-seller is our pick for best in show. An array of 10 colors, from moody sage to saturated poppy red, means you’ll have no trouble finding a nature-inspired hue to match your garden’s blooms.

Best Value: Room Essentials Metal Slat Stacking Patio Chair

Need to outfit your next barbecue on a budget? This stackable find is made with rust-resistant metal, praised in many of the 5-star reviews for its exceptional sturdiness. Meanwhile it also gets high marks for style thanks to its beachy slatted back and slender curving arms, all finished in an elegant matte white.

Best Solid Wood: West Elm Playa Outdoor Dining Chair

This Scandinavian-inspired design has a quiet beauty. With a slim frame and low profile, it tucks under any outdoor dining table without blocking views. Crafted from sustainably sourced solid mahogany, each piece is kiln-dried to ensure it can live outside without warping. Small details like the slightly reclined back and subtle rounded edges will win over the design lover.

Best Modern Design: Hay Palissade Side Chair

Leave it to the Danish design masters at Hay to take the most simple silhouette and give it an invigorating refresh by turning the back and seat into one continuous row of flowing stripes. The steel frame is powder-coated in three matte tones that blend into the surroundings and let the outdoors shine (and it’s stackable, of course).

Best Cantilever: Crosley Furniture Brighton Retro Metal Chair

Available in a handful of cheerful primary colors (in UV- and fade-resistant powder-coated finishes), this retro chair adds a nostalgic summer vibe just about anywhere. The cantilevered base provides a unique visual lightness and is engineered to make you feel like you’re floating while still being super-sturdy. Make sure you’re handy with a wrench (or have a friend who is), as there is some assembly necessary for the steel frame.

Best Foldable: Threshold French Cafe Folding Patio Bistro Chair

If you can’t go to Paris this summer, bring a little Paris to you with this cream and French blue woven design. The frame is both rust- and weather-resistant, plus it’s foldable, so stashing extra seats for your next lawn party won’t be a problem. As one reviewer summed up: “This is so cute and fits just right.”

Best Removable Cushion: CB2 Navene Dining Chair

Missing the ocean? This elegant yet durable solid-iron frame is awash in a vibrant, monochrome Capri blue for a look that “creates a strong color statement but is still approachable,” says Khodja. The tonal cushion adds comfort for long, late-into-the-night hangouts and is easy to remove for cleaning or stacking.

Best Metal Bistro: FDW Metal Dining Chair

There’s a reason this iconic Tolix style has been an outdoor go-to for bars, cafés, and restaurants the world over since it was designed in France the early 1930s: It’s lightweight, super-durable, and easy to stack and store. A wide variety of colors is available, whether you go with the classic black and white or a bold fire-truck red.

Best French Bistro: Serena & Lily Outdoor Riviera Dining Chair

We’re back in Paris, this time with another classic design updated for the modern patio. Serena & Lily’s upgrade of the French bistro chair is fortified with an ultra–weather-resistant aluminum frame and water-repellent plastic seat. You can’t go wrong with any of the three chic colorways, and you don’t have to worry about fading: The woven details are designed to handle extreme sun.

Best Director’s: Serena & Lily Director’s Chair

If you want to feel like you’re on location for a glamorous movie shoot, this is the chair for you. The classic X-shape frame is paired with a canvas seat in timeless light gray or navy—or you can go for a playful Breton stripe for a bit of Cannes flair. Each piece is handcrafted from grade-A teak, a material that Tim Johnson, CEO of Fernando Wong Outdoor Living Design, recommends as a great weather-resistant option that ages into a “beautiful gray color.”

Pro Tips for Styling Patio Chairs

  • Let your home’s architecture set the tone. “I pay homage to the architecture of the house,” says award-winning outdoor living designer Fernando Wong. He recommends selecting patio chairs that fit with the style of your home; that way, when you mix in an accent piece from a different era, it’s highlighted “almost as a sculpture.”
  • Use color to stand out (or blend in). “I want everything to be eaten up by the greenery,” jokes Wong, who recommends powder-coated green chairs when you want to let the colors of your plants take center stage, and bright, contrasting shades (or white) when you want your furnishings to pack a punch.

How We Vetted These Products

Every product in a Domino guide meets these criteria:

  1. They blend form and function. We believe the best-designed products reflect your personal style and are a joy to use.
  2. They’re expert approved. In addition to our team of editors, we tap a range of designers, makers, renovators, and all-around knowledgeable people to share their intel.
  3. They’re endorsed by people who actually own them. We pay close attention to real reviews from both our creative community and third-party websites to know that they pass the test IRL.

The products in this story are independently selected by (obsessive) editors. Things you buy through our links may earn us a commission.

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