Modular outdoor furniture might not be a new concept, but finding the best pieces to suit your outdoor space can be trickier than it seems.
From the various materials available to the countless styles on the market, how can you determine what separates the merely OK from the most comfortable, durable, and timeless pieces out there?
Outer has created this complete modular furniture buying guide to help you purchase pieces that not only suit your space but will also last you and your family for many years to come.
Keep reading to learn the key features to look for when buying modular outdoor furniture!
What Is Modular Outdoor Furniture?
Simply put, modular furniture is designed in pieces (modules) that can be arranged into multiple configurations. This makes it easy to transition our Wicker Outdoor Sofa with Armless Chairs, for example, from a five-seater sofa to a loveseat and three armchairs within seconds.
With several possible configurations for each piece of modular furniture, it’s never been easier to find options that perfectly fit your outdoor area (even those corners that usually wind up as dead space).
From classic wicker to timeless teak, there are styles to suit every taste preference and any backyard, and quality modular furniture can benefit your outer space in several ways. Let’s take a look.
Benefits Of Modular Outdoor Furniture
Not loving your backyard’s current layout today? We know the feeling.
Having outdoor furniture that can’t be rearranged keeps your space looking the same until you decide to spend money on a new setup. Modular furniture, on the other hand, helps you keep things fresh for every occasion.
Whether you’re looking to bring everyone closer together or want to spread things out for a night of entertainment, rearranging your space is simple and stress-free. With modular furniture, you never have to settle for buying additional seats that only kind of match what you already have.
Here at Outer, we have everything you need in whichever style you choose. Whether it’s teak, aluminum, or wicker, you can avoid filling your yard with mismatched sofas and sectionals.
Here’s a little-known fact: Modular furniture is typically more eco-conscious than furniture designed for a single layout. Choosing multi-functional furniture that can adapt to changing environments helps put a stop to the needless cycle of buying new products. Here’s how.
Rather than having multiple pieces for a few scenarios, the modular route gives you a few modules of furniture with a wide variety of functions. This makes it easy to order new parts for quick fixes and helps reduce waste that ends up in landfills.
At Outer, there’s no sacrificing responsible design for increased durability or comfort. You get everything you need because that’s how it should be. It’s really that simple.
Whether you’re looking for something modular, like our 4-Seat Outdoor Loveseat with Armless Chairs in White Aluminum, or just need to decorate with a few outdoor-ready Throw Blankets, you can rest assured that all of our products are responsibly made and sustainably sourced.
For example, the teak we use in our Teak Collection, Outdoor Dining Collection and other wood pieces is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, an international non-profit promoting the responsible management of our world’s forests.
By using wood from responsibly managed teak growers, your purchase is leading the way toward a more sustainable environment. And for each tree we harvest, three saplings are planted in its place.
Today’s trends are changing rapidly. The style that everyone wants in a few months might be drastically different than what’s popular now.
Modular furniture has the added benefit of being simple and subtle for easy reconfigurations. When you choose from neutral colors like gray and beige or natural options like finished wood, you set yourself up for a timeless design that works with whatever happens to be trending.
All of our key design values come together to offer premium comfort, innovation, durability, and sustainability with strong, sleek materials that are built to last.
What To Look For When You Shop
First things first — your modular outdoor furniture should be built well and built to last. It’s great to have an outdoor sofa that looks incredible, but if it’s not designed to stick around, it’s not worth the hassle.
Research your new furniture manufacturer to learn about where their materials are sourced and how their furniture pieces are made. This way, you’ll know whether care is being taken to design and create your modular furniture.
At Outer, we set out to design the world’s most comfortable (yet incredibly durable) modular outdoor furniture. And through countless prototypes and sitting tests, we nailed it!
While our product development might be longer than most, the result is well worth it. From our cushion inserts that feel like sitting on a premium mattress to our specially designed built-in covers, we go above and beyond to take care of our customers.
Not every outdoor furniture manufacturer can say that.
From your furniture’s legs and frame to the fabrics used to make the cushion covers, everything about your outdoor pieces should be purpose-built to live outside. If they’re not, you’ll likely find yourself regretting it in just a few months.
Even in the sunniest of climates, the weather can be unpredictable at times. UV rays, rain, storms, wind, and snowfall can damage your outdoor furniture (and that’s in addition to the usual muddy pawprints, pool chemicals, and who knows what else).
Thankfully, every piece of Outer furniture is made from sustainably sourced lifeproof materials that are purpose-built to handle anything life throws at them. In both our Teak collection of modular outdoor furniture and our All-Weather Wicker collection of modular outdoor furniture, we use top-quality materials.
Our teak furniture is made exclusively from grade A teak wood sourced from sustainable farms in Indonesia that requires zero oiling, varnishing, or staining — its natural oils protect it so you don’t have to.
Our All-Weather Wicker is made from recycled plastics that are handwoven for maximum durability. Paired with our high-strength alloy frame, each wicker seat can support up to 400 pounds. Talk about sturdy!
Both designs use rust-proof stainless steel fastenings and the same metal is used in our wicker furniture legs. This means you can forget about frantically hauling your furniture inside at the first sight of rain — water is no match for Outer furniture
Don’t be fooled by the beautiful light tones of our Outer cushions. They’re totally spill-proof and resistant to stains, water, bleach, dirt, and mold. Both our Pacific Fog Gray and our Palisades Cream options are fade-resistant, which makes direct sunlight no big deal.
And did we mention our covers are machine-washable? Simply unzip and throw them in with cold water, then let them air dry. Done!
Bringing home new modular outdoor furniture should be a fun experience. You don’t want it to be overshadowed by thoughts of the regular maintenance and upkeep that might be required down the road.
To avoid annoying maintenance tasks (like difficult cleaning or quarterly oiling), opt for materials that don’t require a ton of upkeep.
We designed Outer furniture to be as little fuss as possible. Between our All-Weather Wicker, Aluminum, and Teak lines, each of our modular outdoor furniture pieces requires just an occasional hose-down with water to keep it looking fresh.
And why waste your time cleaning the whole sofa if only one seat needs sprucing up?
The benefit of modular outdoor furniture is that when it comes to cleaning time, each piece can be separated and hosed off as needed — total timesaver!
Sizing That Fits Your Space
Modular furniture can be rearranged as often as you need, but you’ll still want to find a piece or multiple pieces that suit your space and take up the perfect amount of room.
Start by measuring the width and length of your space to determine how much square footage you have available. Remember to leave room to walk comfortably around your furniture without running into the edges of it!
It’s also important to keep your outdoor space looking proportionate by choosing furniture that fits your space. Think like Goldilocks — you want something not too big, not too small, but just right.
Smaller spaces could benefit from a single piece of modular outdoor furniture that can be split to accommodate your guests during a game night, for example. Our Teak Outdoor Loveseat with Armless Chairs can switch between four chairs or a small sofa with separate seating easily.
If you’re the proud owner of a spacious deck, you’ll want to fill it out accordingly with a larger piece or multiple pieces. Start with our 6-Seater Wicker Outdoor U Sectional or 6-Seater Wicker Outdoor Sofa with Armless Chairs to offer your guests plenty of seating options.
Each of these modular furniture options can be configured to provide cozy seating for watching a movie or a more conversational setup with separate chairs facing one another.
No matter what kind of backyard gathering you’ve got going on, modular furniture makes seating a breeze.
If your modular outdoor furniture doesn’t have covers available that have been designed for your exact pieces, it’s time to find new furniture!
All outdoor furniture needs protection from the elements, but those generic one-size-fits-all covers just don’t do it for us. Your furniture deserves purpose-built covers!
Every piece of Outer modular furniture comes with built-in protection thanks to our OuterShell™. These covers sit neatly behind each seat cushion, ready to be rolled out at the end of the day to protect your Outer furniture from moisture overnight.
And just to be safe, we’ve also created specially designed All-Weather Covers, unique to each piece of modular furniture to get the perfect fit every time you use them.
These covers protect our furniture from everything, even heavy snowfall, and make transporting them a breeze if you need to store them indoors.
How To Style Modular Outdoor Furniture
Complete Your Look With An Outdoor Rug
When it comes to styling modular outdoor furniture, you can’t go wrong with a neutral-toned rug to really tie an outdoor space together.
Rugs help to anchor your space and define it as a seating area separate from any dining or grassed areas in your backyard. They add warmth to your outdoor space and provide a soft foundation for your feet, kids, and pets.
Our Eco-Friendly Rugs are specially designed to live outdoors, so just like our furniture, they’re not only comfortable but durable, too.
Made from 100% recycled plastic bottles, our rugs come in a variety of sizes and colors to suit any outdoor space.
We stuck to neutral tones in our designs to match our modular furniture pieces and to allow your other accessories, like cushions and throws, to shine. Experiment with color or keep it classic with monochrome vibes; it's up to you!
In true Outer style, our rugs are also easy to clean — just a quick vacuum and the occasional spot-clean or hose-down and you’re all set.
Choose The Perfect Colors
Getting the right look means finding the colors that work for you. Since there are so many options available, it’s a good idea to look at your space and see if there are any existing styles or color schemes.
If your backyard is filled with garden greens and lush plants, then a natural look might be the way to go. Pairing this style with teakwood brings out the best of both features and combines the deep golden hue of teak with your green landscape
Looking for something more sleek and modern? You can’t go wrong with basic black or white.
For a simple yet elegant appeal, White Aluminum frames create a luxurious environment, day or night. Whether you choose Deep Sea Navy, Pacific Fog Gray, or Dark Pebble Gray for your cushion color, you’re sure to wow your guests with this on-trend style.
And if darker colors are more your speed, then you’ll love options like the Black Wicker Outdoor Armless Chair. This matte charcoal design makes for a stunning stand-out piece or an eye-catching furniture set while still blending with your existing layout.
Add Climate Control For Modern Living
Another way to style your outdoor modular furniture is to add a centerpiece that does more than just look good.
One of the most sought-after features of an outdoor living space right now is climate control. When winter rolls around and the temperature drops, having to abandon your outdoor space for the season doesn’t feel right.
Sure, you can gather around a fire pit and make the best of a cold situation, but that brings even more problems: bonfire smoke staining your cushions, embers flying everywhere, and, worst of all, most of the heat disappearing into the air.
Our Fire Pit Table is a modern solution for more time spent outside. This versatile and innovative piece can be used as a heat source, a communal cooking device, or even as a table.
Best of all, it evenly distributes heat by redirecting it outward instead of upward. No more leaning closer to the flames to stay warm. Long gone are the days of shielding your eyes from billows of smoke!
The Fire Pit Table is thoughtfully designed to complement any Outer collection, making it a perfect match for your modular furniture.
Make Use Of Versatile Space
Style isn’t always about what you add to your space. Sometimes, it’s the way you arrange your furniture that allows for intimate dinners, exciting game nights, and casual weekend afternoons.
Ready for a night around the fire? Situate your seating in a circle with a good amount of space between each chair. This allows everyone to get equal access to the fire while having plenty of room for snacks and drinks.
If you’re preparing for a backyard party, then consider placing your seating in various spots across the yard for an open and distributed flow.
For even more tips on styling your space, check out our guide from designer Becky Horan on how to arrange your furniture for every occasion.
Get Help From The Experts
The easiest way to style your space is to have someone else do it for you.
Well, maybe it’s not that simple, but our team of professional exterior design experts at Outer makes it easier than ever to build the backyard of your dreams. Just book your free appointment, and we’ll help you unlock your vision.
From the first step of requesting your consultation, we’ll help you maximize your space’s potential. Simply tell us the details of your project and how you envision your perfect space. Then, collaborate with an expert member of our team to achieve your vision.
Whether you’re space planning or reconsidering your overall exterior design, we'll help you select the best products guaranteed to fit your space and lifestyle.
And if you’re set on a particular furniture design that doesn’t match any of our available products, we put creative control in your hands with our custom design capabilities. Here at Outer, it’s simple to build your own custom design that meets all of your needs.
Once you’ve selected your style of choice, you can mix and match between options like our multi-directional Wicker Corner Chair or create new configurations with a right-ended Teak Corner Chair.
All of our products are quick and easy to assemble, and our risk-free home trial allows for free return shipping and 100% money back or 100% merchandise credit within 14 days of delivery.
We hope you’re completely satisfied with your Outer product. But if you don't absolutely love it, we back our sofas with our industry-leading return policy to help you purchase with peace of mind.
Get Inspired By Outer Customers
Still wishing for total confidence before making that final decision? Check out our products in person and discover all the benefits of an Outer sofa.
If you’re located near one of our 1,000+ neighborhood showrooms, request an in-person or virtual visit and experience the quality and comfort of Outer for yourself. Plus, you get to talk with a real Outer customer for honest reviews to give you total certainty before you buy.
Our website is also filled with plenty of design inspiration so you can find the perfect look for your outdoor space every time.
Quality Modular Outdoor Furniture From Outer
Finding quality modular outdoor furniture can be simple when you know what to look for!
By following the tips in this guide — including choosing durable, lifeproof materials and opting for low-maintenance outdoor furniture — you’ll be well on your way to sourcing the best modular furniture money can buy.
Between our Teak collection, including our Teak Outdoor Loveseat with Armless Chairs, our All-Weather Wicker range featuring our 6-Seater Wicker Outdoor U Sectional, and our Aluminum line with a 4-Seat L-Shaped Sectional, the hardest decision will be narrowing down your favorite pieces!