Blog Banner

Finding the perfect patio furniture arrangement for your project

January 1, 2021
Posted by Chiara Bastianelli on Jan 1, 2021 9:00:00 AM
Chiara Bastianelli
Find me on:


Few things are as rewarding as comfortable furniture in your outdoor space. Whether we are talking about a porch designed to welcome guests, or a more private environment, the pleasure of enjoying a little relaxation in the open air is great.

In the desires of those who love their home, outdoor living spaces are real extensions, welcoming places made for entertaining and relaxing with friends and family or private oases to get away from everyday life.

Therefore, comfort must be a priority in the designer's work both in outdoor environments and inside the home. From this point of view, there are many options, and the market today offers a great variety of furniture with which the most creative can indulge themselves.

However, the choice of furniture is not everything: it is essential to have a clear idea of how to arrange each piece within the outdoor area.

This allows you to use the space in the best possible way and enhance the effectiveness of the designer's ideas. In fact, through the right arrangement, you can highlight the stylistic value of the furniture, encourage conversation, or create intimacy.

We have collected some useful information to evaluate the layout of the patio design.

Before designing the outdoor space, we recommend that you read the tips that we have listed below. They will help you correctly arrange the patio furniture, an excellent starting point, and then go on to define all the other details with freedom, taste, and creativity.


Download the ebook-Integrate indoor and outdoor spaces


Arrange patio furniture around a focal point

Choosing a focal point is an excellent starting point for planning the arrangement of the patio furniture.

Regardless of the amount of space available, there should be a focal point in each area, that is, something to linger on.

In fact, the creation of focal points allows the eyes to focus on something beautiful and interesting, favoring relaxation. When a guest sits down, what do you want them to see? A landscape? A valuable piece of furniture? A fountain? Or a central space, which serves as the main meeting and socialization point?

The entire layout of the outdoor space can be anchored around the focal point. If you are lucky enough to enjoy a breathtaking view, the layout of the outdoor furniture should be open towards it. If there is a fireplace or hearth, we suggest closing the layout a bit, for example, with a series of surrounding chairs, to create an intimate and welcoming atmosphere.

A good rule of thumb is to place the longest piece of furniture, for example, a three or four-seater sofa such as the Scauri or Bahia 09 models by Dolcefarniente, next to the largest border and facing the focal point.

In this way, attention is not diverted, and the area remains freer from clutter.

Next to it, other smaller seats, tables, and poufs can be positioned to create a seating area.

In small rooms or terraces, a good focal point, for example, a beautiful view, very effectively distracts attention from the lack of space. In any case, the key is to choose low furniture at least in the front, to preserve the line of sight.

The very definition of a focal point is largely determined by how the furniture is arranged.

If you place them in a U shape around an object, such as a fountain or statue, it becomes the focal point. Some designers arrange seating to make the house a strong point; a well-lit building can be a great focal point.


Scauri sofa dolcefarniente


A functional patio furniture arrangement

The way in which the elements of the outdoor space are arranged has very important consequences on the final result.

Not only that: it determines the actual function of the environment.

A symmetrical patio furniture arrangement, for example, forms a formal living area, similar to an open-air living room; on the contrary, an asymmetrical arrangement creates a more casual and relaxing area, closer to the idea of a lounge area.

When designing the outdoor space, the path that guests take to reach the seats or the various areas of interest must be considered very carefully. Is there a clear and unobstructed path to the entrance and exit? Are there any areas that you can expect to get crowded easily?

The goal is to ensure that no one, while walking around, interrupts a conversation because they are forced to pass among the guests in the center of the area. 

Therefore, patio furniture must be arranged to direct the flow of guests around the main seating area, rather than through it.

A good suggestion is to create a little extra space around the seating, useful for walking around easily and very effective for creating the illusion of more space.

In principle, we are talking about a passage area between 75 and 120 cm for the areas with lots of traffic and about 60 cm for the less frequented areas.

Among the most common patio furniture arrangements, there is the classic sofa plus two armchairs, a typical living room combination. Additional chairs or deck chairs, a coffee table, or even an extra sofa can be added to this basic configuration, perhaps positioned at an angle to the other, to form an inviting nest of relaxation.

The modular sofa of the Kenzia series is perfect for this purpose.

In most cases, it is better to avoid placing all the elements along the walls or edges of the outdoor area.

In addition to a dispersive effect, there would probably be too much space left in the center, making the patio bare.


kenzia modular sofa


The arrangement of the patio furniture should make you feel at home

It is now an established trend: the outdoor spaces of a house are no longer a separate part, but are fully integrated into the home furnishings.

Therefore, the garden or terrace are real rooms to be designed and cared for with the same attention as the interior spaces.

In general, the same stylistic rules used to furnish the house’s interior must be followed in the outdoor areas, with one exception: the coherence between the elements takes on much stronger importance.

Without walls that define the different spaces and with all the beautiful distractions on the patio, most of the furniture should maintain a certain stylistic uniformity, capable of giving identity to the environment.

The arrangement of the patio furniture must be adapted to the needs of the person who commissioned it. To create the effect of several different areas available to guests, you should separate the space into smaller sections to obtain several different entertainment centers, each with its own particularities.

For example, you can recreate a relaxation area, with deck chairs and chaise longues, and another area dedicated to conversation, then furnished with sofas and chairs.

A bench next to a shrub could be a place for more intimate conversations, while the snack corner should be equipped with stools and outdoor bar furniture.

If the space serves above all as a place to host dinners, it must be equipped with a complete dining set, perhaps in an area well separated from that of the outdoor kitchen in case there are children, for safety reasons.


bahia 09 sofa


Make the arrangement of patio furniture comfortable

If the house’s outdoor area is a direct extension of it, as we have seen, it should be as livable and concretely usable as possible.

For example, the area should be practical. Tables, poufs, or other additional pieces should be integrated into each of the functional areas, providing a place to set down objects, drinks, and saucers.

Here are some other tips to make the patio as effective as the inside of the house.

Facilitate interactions

When arranging patio furniture, seating should be placed to encourage conversation. The outdoor sofa or chairs should be close enough to talk without shouting, while leaving enough room to move around.  

In the case of lunches or dinners, when many guests are expected, an elegant, long, and narrow table that is also monumental (for example, Mirach, by Samuele Mazza) is more functional than a round one. In fact, the latter is only suitable in the case of a maximum of 6 - 8 people; for larger numbers, it limits the possibility of conversing only with the guests right next to them.


mirach table samuele mazza


Protection from the sun

Another useful tip is to make sure that at least some seats have sufficient shade on the hottest days; otherwise the patio risks turning into an uncomfortable environment.

Of course, you can take advantage of the natural shade of trees and walls, but it is better to add awnings, pergolas, umbrellas or other shading, placed in strategic points.

Ensure enough light

Correct lighting is then necessary to safely enjoy the outdoor space even at night.

The arrangement of lamps and spotlights must be carefully studied to maximize their effectiveness.

In addition, the study of scenographic and emotional lighting is an excellent tool to enhance the style of the furniture and the whole exterior of the house, in general.

It is important to ensure that areas with more traffic, such as walkways and doors, are well lit and that the dining areas and outdoor kitchen have sufficient lighting.

Conversation or relaxation areas can be equipped with softer lighting, perhaps supplemented by candlelight.


Outdoor kitchen


In conclusion, the importance of a good patio furniture arrangement 

As we have seen, designing the patio furniture arrangement is an activity with a dual nature.

It involves both the designer's creativity and aesthetic sense and the basic rules of design.

In general, the goal is to take advantage of the positioning of each elements to facilitate the flow of people and their entertainment. If the space isn't huge, arranging the furniture well also helps give a sense of greater space.

In any case, the suggestions we have provided can help more easily achieve the purpose of any outdoor project: to create a paradise for entertainment and relaxation.


Download the ebook-Integrate indoor and outdoor spaces

Tags: Outdoor furniture, Outdoor tips

Chiara Bastianelli

Written by Chiara Bastianelli

CEO and and Marketing Manager at DFN - Italian outdoor design company providing you with first-class, customized outdoor furniture and services.

Recent Posts

Subscribe to Email Updates