How to find the best outdoor furniture for your small space

When you got the keys to your apartment or house, you were probably stoked about the outdoor space. Whether it's a yard, deck, porch, patio, or balcony, even small outdoor areas can be furnished, homey places to hang out. Throw up string lights and play some music and your space is instantly transformed — add some furniture and it's a game changer.

Of course if you're working with a smaller outdoor space, you have to be strategic about the layout. You can't be cramming in a sofa, fire pit, table and chairs, and loungers because all of that simply won't fit. Outdoor furniture that serves more than one purpose can help you reduce the amount of individual pieces you need in your space.

A tape measure is your best friend when shopping for outdoor furniture for small spaces. Visualize your area and figure out what kind of furniture is top on your list and what will actually fit and work with your home.

If you have a really small plot to work with, pick the one item that's most important to you and plan around that. If a dining table with seating is the most valuable way to use the space, find a table and chairs that you love and fit well with the space, then start building out from there.

After you've established your centerpiece, start adding on other items like a bench or umbrella — or get really wild and splurge for an inflatable hot tub or pool if you have access to a water outlet.

Planning out how to furnish and decorate an area can be overwhelming when you're starting from scratch, so we've found the best options for a few different categories of furniture to give you a head start. Your living room is going to miss you with the amount of time you're about to be spending outdoors.

Best dining set

How to find the best outdoor furniture for your small space

Image: ikea

The Good

Two folding drop-leaves • Compact for storing • Includes four folding chairs

The Bad

Table is a bit skinny

The Bottom Line

This table comfortably seats a small group when you need it and folds away when you don't.

1. Äpplarö table and folding chairs

Save space while comfortably seating four.

The most important furniture in any outdoor space is the table. This is where you and your friends or family will gather around and eat, drink, and hang out together. Unfortunately, with a small space, your table has to be pretty small.

The Äpplarö table from IKEA is the ideal solution for hosting groups of people while still making the most out of your space. The table has two folding drop-leaves, which when fully extended can comfortably seat six. When both sides are folded down, you can easily store the table on the edge of your space so it's compact and out of the way.

The best part is that this table comes with four chairs that fold up to a basically vertical position, making them easy to stack and store when not in use.

Not only is this set compact and versatile, it's also attractive and modern-looking with a nice deep brown finish. It will look good in almost every outdoor space. There's also an option that includes seat cushions for an extra charge.

Best outdoor rug

How to find the best outdoor furniture for your small space

Image: hampton bay

The Good

Easy to clean • Soil, stain, water, and sun resistant • Neutral, modern design

The Bad

Light color might get dirty with extended use

The Bottom Line

This outdoor rug combines style with function.

2. Outdoor rug

Tie your space together with a neutral, durable rug.

A rug isn't essential to an outdoor area, but it does make it feel more homey and put together, plus will do wonders to define the space. When selecting an outdoor rug, think about what's more important to you: style or function. Some rugs focus more on durability and qualities like being waterproof where others might not hold up to the elements as well but have a better look.

This maze cream rug is right in the sweet spot of having a cool look and maintaining structural integrity. It's made from a woven synthetic material, so it won't hurt your feet like a thick braided rug and it won't absorb water and get gross like a pile rug.

The neutral colors of this outdoor rug make it a great addition to any seating area, and it's super easy to clean — just hose down and let it air dry.

Don't forget about your trusty tape measure when shopping for a rug. If it's too big, well, you simply can't use it and if it's too small it's going to look weird and not have the desired effect. If you need visualizations for the dimensions of this rug (it has three options), Home Depot has a handy size guide you should check out.

Best multi-use furniture

How to find the best outdoor furniture for your small space

Image: bay isle home

The Good

Storage and seating space • Small footprint • Durable material

The Bad

Items inside might get wet when it rains

The Bottom Line

This wicker bench is a triple threat.

3. Wicker storage bench

In this one item you get a bench, coffee table, and storage unit.

When you have a small area, multifunctional pieces of furniture are lifesavers. This wicker storage bench is the holy grail of multifunctionality. First of all, just from looks, it can double as a bench or a coffee table. But as a bonus, it also opens up for storage.

It's made from a resin wicker, which makes it durable against weather and other outdoor elements. Plus, wicker just has that classic outdoor look. The bench is a little more than 4 feet wide, so it won't take up a ton of room in your outdoor space, but still provides seating and storage.

Keep cushions, outdoor equipment and games, and other miscellaneous items that don't quite have a home stored in this bench. Your space will feel a lot less cluttered.

Best for balconies

How to find the best outdoor furniture for your small space

Image: Charlton home

The Good

Durable material • Rust resistant

The Bad

Chairs might be a bit bulky for really tiny spaces

The Bottom Line

This simple bistro set is ideal for a small patio or balcony.

4. Bistro set

A great dining option for extra small spaces.

When you're working with a really small outdoor space like a tiny balcony or a garden, sometimes all you can fit is a couple chairs and a compact table. This bistro set is space-saving while still maintaining a modern look.

The seats are sized well enough to lounge comfortably and the table provides space for a couple people to have a drink together and maybe snack on a cheeseboard or some chips.

This metal three-piece set is made up of a durable frame that's water, weather, UV, and rust resistant, making it ready for anything Mother Nature throws at it.

Best outdoor umbrella

How to find the best outdoor furniture for your small space

Image: sunnyglade

The Good

Multiple colors • Tilt mechanism • Affordable

The Bad

Doesn't include stand

The Bottom Line

This umbrella can transform your space by keeping it covered and cool.

5. Patio umbrella

Add some shade to your space with an umbrella.

Keep your area nice and shady with an outdoor umbrella like this 7.5-foot option from Sunnyglade. It provides a nice covering without being too huge. You can also tilt the umbrella to block the sun or let in a little more light.

The 7.5 feet refers to the diameter of the umbrella's shade, which casts enough of a shadow to cover a table and three to four chairs. You will need an umbrella stand, which is not included, but you can find plenty on Amazon, like this water filled base.

This umbrella comes in a few different color options, so you can match it to your other furniture and cushions. The pole also breaks down to make storage easier when you're not using the umbrella.

Best combo of style and function

How to find the best outdoor furniture for your small space

Image: one allium way

The Good

Rustic design • Tons of storage space

The Bad

Can be tricky to assemble

The Bottom Line

This bench will make any porch feel a little more homey.

6. Wooden storage bench

Use this bench for seating and storage.

When you're chilling outside or hosting a gathering, you want your outdoor seating to actually be comfortable — and look good, too. This wooden bench hits those marks and it has built-in storage.

Don't fret about leaving this bench outside as it's got a weather-resistant finish. Not all outdoor furniture has to be made from plastic in order to withstand the elements. Though, it is suggested to place this bench under a covered area like a gazebo or pergola.

Unlike the bench, pillows and cushions are not meant to be weatherproof, so when not in use, you can open up the seat and store anything you don't want ruined inside. As for sizing, this bench is a little more than 4-feet wide and 2-feet deep and comfortably fits two, though you could probably squeeze three.

Best small grill

How to find the best outdoor furniture for your small space

Image: cuisinart

The Good

Compact • Portable • Secure lid • Ash catcher

The Bad

Not great for large groups

The Bottom Line

Grill enough for a few people with this portable charcoal grill.

7. Cuisinart charcoal grill

Host a small barbecue with this compact grill.

Having a small space doesn't mean you're barred from grilling out — you just might have to compromise on size. This charcoal grill from Cuisinart is super compact, easily fitting on a tabletop, while still providing ample enough cooking space.

The grill is about 15 inches every way you measure it and weighs only 2 lbs. It features an ash catcher, so you don't have to worry about messes. It also has latches to secure the lid on, which is great if you happen to accidentally bump into the grill or the surface it's sitting on. Your food might get a little charcoal-y, but you won't have a giant spill on the floor.

Obviously with its compact size, this charcoal grill isn't going to be feeding the masses, but it is really nice for a couple people or a small gathering.

Best fire pit

How to find the best outdoor furniture for your small space

Image: kingso

The Good

Compact, but not too small • Mesh lid holds in embers and debris

The Bad

Not rust proof

The Bottom Line

This fire pit is awesome for nights when you want to sit around a flame and talk.

8. Fire pit

Have a contained bonfire in this small fire pit.

Having a fire in a confined space is tricky because you have to take safety precautions — you can't have a giant, raging fire in a tiny area. This 22-inch fire pit is a great solution to have a bonfire in a small yard or on a deck, patio, or porch.

It has a solid steel underside that keeps everything in place, while the grated lid prevents embers and debris from flying all over. You can use charcoal or firewood in this fire pit.

The tempered steel construction and heat-resistant finish makes this fire pit durable and fit to last through the seasons. Unfortunately, the fire pit is not rust proof, so you might need to store it inside during bad weather.

Best lounger

How to find the best outdoor furniture for your small space

Image: alphabeing

The Good

Waterproof • Portable • Side pocket

The Bad

Can be difficult to inflate

The Bottom Line

Whip out this inflatable lounger when you feel like lying back, and deflate it while not in use.

9. Inflatable air lounger

This inflatable lounger lets you relax without permanently taking up space.

Full-sized lounge chairs don't allow much room for other furniture if your outdoor space is small. But we get it, you still want to lay out and soak up some sun in the summertime. That's where an inflatable lounger comes in.

It's a seat that gets its shape from air — think of it like a bean bag that you can inflate. You're supposed to be able to scoop in air from the wind around you, sort of like you're running with a kite. If that doesn't fill the chair up enough, you can use a fan to get you there.

When you're done using it, just deflate all the air out and fold up the chair into its pouch for easy storage and travel. Though it might seem flimsy, this lounger is actually super durable. It's dirt and moisture repellent, made from a water resistant material, and even has pockets.

Best splurge item

How to find the best outdoor furniture for your small space

Image: intex

The Good

Water jets • Insulated cover • Deflatable for storage

The Bad

Doesn't keep water hot in cold weather • Not suitable for all small spaces

The Bottom Line

You won't get the same quality as a standard hot tub, but this inflatable tub is awesome if you're pinched for space.

10. Intex inflatable hot tub

Pop up this inflatable hot tub for a temporary spa treatment.

If you want to get really wild with your outdoor area, get this inflatable hot tub from Intex. It's got a 77-inch diameter, which might make it a snug fit in smaller spaces, but if you've got a little extra room and love a good soak, it's worth the squeeze.

The great thing about an inflatable hot tub is that it doesn't have to permanently take up space because you can deflate and store it when you want room for other stuff. You can only fit up to four people comfortably in this hot tub, but you probably weren't expecting to host a big crowd in your space anyway.

You won't get all the bells and whistles of a regular hot tub, but this inflatable tub does heat up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit, has 140 water jets for some nice bubbles, and features a multi-colored LED light. It also comes with a cover for when it's not in use.