Tips & How-to's11 min read

Outdoor Sofa Buying Guide: What To Look For When You Shop

Outdoor Sofa Buying Guide: What To Look For When You Shop

Finding the perfect outdoor sofa comes down to more than just good looks. In the age of ever-changing trends, you want timeless pieces that add something special to your outdoor space.

Here at Outer, we know what takes an outdoor sofa from a simple piece of furniture to something you can’t stop raving to your neighbors about. And we’d love to pass our knowledge on to you!

We’ve compiled a list of the key features to look for when shopping for your new couch so you can find the perfect addition to your outdoor space. But first, let’s take a look at the different types of outdoor furniture on the market so you know exactly what you need.

Types Of Outdoor Furniture

Coffee Tables

Light wood outdoor sofa with cream cushions
Outer Teak Outdoor Coffee Table - Square Leg

A must-have for all outdoor spaces, coffee tables are not only stylish but also functional and versatile. In smaller spaces, they serve as a staple piece for enjoying meals and drinks in lieu of a large dining table.

In larger spaces where different zones have been established, they’re perfect for creating a warm, conversational atmosphere where your guests have somewhere to put their drinks (and you can show off your incredible styling skills, of course!).

Interested in the style and functionality an outdoor coffee table can bring to your space? Take a look at our new Teak Outdoor Coffee Tables. Made exclusively from the highest-quality teak wood in the world, our sophisticated coffee tables fit in with any style seamlessly.

Armchairs And Loveseats

At Outer, we don’t discriminate — we know that not everyone has an abundance of outdoor areas to work with. So we created our armchairs and loveseats just for your warm, cozy space!

Two outdoor chairs and small table with wine and bread
Outer Teak Outdoor Armchair Conversation Set

Easily arranged to suit small patios and balconies, these pieces are specially designed for small backyards, rooftops, patios, and decks to offer comfort and style at a fraction of the size of a sofa or sectional.


Speaking of sectionals, this furniture option should be your go-to if you’re the proud owner of a large outdoor space with plenty of room to fill.

Sectionals are created in separate pieces that can be assembled in multiple configurations, so no matter the shape of your outdoor space, a sectional will suit your needs.

Our range of sectionals — from 4 Seaters to 8 Seaters with size options in-between — makes shopping for this statement piece a total breeze. The only difficult choice you face is between wicker or teak (we don’t envy that decision — they’re both beautiful!).


outdoor sofa next to a glass crystal fire pit
Outer Wicker Outdoor Sofa with Armless Chairs - 5 Seat

For versatility combined with timeless style, look no further than the outdoor sofa. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, styles, and materials, so finding one to suit your needs is simple.

At Outer, all our outdoor sofas are designed with functionality in mind  — we’re so much more than just a pretty face.

However, not all outdoor couches are created equal. Follow our tips below to find the sofa of your dreams!

6 Things To Look For In Your New Outdoor Sofa

When looking for any new outdoor furniture, the product you choose should not only look and feel great but last a long time to provide comfort and style for years. The six features below will help you find the perfect outdoor sofa.

1) Quality Craftsmanship

Our number one recommendation when it comes to shopping for your new outdoor sofa is to look for quality craftsmanship. Skimp on this aspect and you could find yourself needing a new outdoor couch just months down the road.

Find out how your potential new sofa is made. What materials is it made from, and how long is it expected to last?

Outer outdoor sofas, sectionals, armchairs, and loveseats are made from all-weather wicker or hard-wearing teak, depending on your style preference.

Our wicker pieces are handwoven and made from 99+ recycled plastic bottles, and our teak furniture is made using the highest quality teak wood in the world. Everything we make is waterproof, UV resistant, and hardwearing, so you can live your best life outdoors, worry-free!

With warranties of five years on our cushions and fabrics and up to 10 years for sofa legs and frames, you can rest assured you’re choosing unmatched quality with Outer.

2) Durability

Built-in OuterShell™ being used for outdoor couch
Outer Wicker Outdoor Sofa

Durability should be high on your outdoor couch pre-purchase checklist. There’s no use in paying good money for a product that’s just OK — you deserve quality!

Firstly, check that your potential purchase is purpose-built for the outdoors (meaning it’s not just a regular couch that you’ll be using outside).

Next, think about the weather conditions where you live and how your furniture will be protected.

We like to use the term “life-proof.” From rust-proof legs to rot-proof teak and hard-wearing, all-weather wicker, every aspect of our furniture is built with the outdoors in mind.

When it comes to durability, we mean business. All Outer furniture comes with a built-in OuterShell™ that tucks neatly behind the couch cushions to keep your furniture clean, dry, and ready to use at a moment’s notice.

Need extra protection? Our all-weather covers have got you, well, covered! Tailored to fit whichever Outer sofa you’ve purchased, each cover zips snugly over your furniture to keep it protected during extra-harsh weather conditions.

3) Comfort

Making sure your new outdoor couch is comfortable seems like a no-brainer, right? You’d be surprised how many buyers choose looks over comfort. We say, why decide? Let’s have both.

Outer’s multi-layer memory foam cushion offers luxurious comfort typically found in premium mattresses. Our cushion fabric is a solution-dyed yarn that’s as soft as it is durable, built to withstand mold, mildew, and stains.

You can feel our fabric for yourself by ordering some of our free swatches.

Our risk-free at-home trial will ensure your new outdoor couch is the simplest purchase you ever make. This gives you a chance to fall in love with your new sofa and make sure it lives up to your comfort expectations.

And if you have any questions about what it’s like living with an Outer outdoor couch, you can hear from real Outer customers about the comfort of the couch through our Virtual Neighborhood Showrooms.

4) Cleaning Simplicity

Family kids playing cards on outdoor sofa
Outer Wicker Outdoor Sofa

Let’s face it — despite our best efforts, furniture gets dirty. Dogs get muddy paws on our rugs, kids get crumbs between seat cushions, and when you add in a dash of red wine spillage, you have a real mess on your hands!

Your outdoor sofa is meant to be enjoyed, so it should be easy to clean — it’s as simple as that.

During your search for your new outdoor sofa, take a close look at the materials used in manufacturing, particularly fabrics. These are the most-used part of your outdoor couch and can wear down the fastest.

Outer’s life-proof fabrics allow you to spend more time enjoying your outdoor sofa and less time worrying about getting it dirty. Our fabric is hand-sewn and resistant to anything you throw at it — from harsh weather conditions and UV rays to bleach and mold.

We recommend cleaning your outdoor couch at the beginning and end of each season, as well as after entertaining guests. This ensures that your sofa is fresh and looking as good as new whenever you’re ready to use it.

5) Sustainability

This aspect can be a little harder to find in outdoor sofas, and we’re proud to make a difference with sustainable furniture at Outer.

When we started creating the world’s most comfortable, durable, and innovative outdoor furniture, we always knew we wanted it to be sustainable, too. Because why not help out the planet if we can?

From our 30% recycled all-weather wicker to our sustainably sourced teak, we’re shaking up the outdoor sofa game and reducing our carbon footprint all at the same time.

Our wicker furniture is made from environmentally responsible plastic molded from recycled bottles, which means you can actually recycle your outdoor couch.

Our teak is sourced from a farm in Central Java, Indonesia. For each tree we harvest, the farm plants three more in its place.

This isn’t your parents’ furniture — it’s the feel-good, eco-friendly version we’ve all been waiting for.

6) Timeless Style

Timeless style outdoor sofa and fire pit
Outer Wicker Outdoor Sofa with Armless Chairs - 5 Seat

We know looks aren’t everything, but let’s be honest — we all want outdoor furniture that brings warmth and luxury to our spaces!

The key is to opt for timeless pieces that will serve you and your family for years to come, no matter how the trends change. You want pieces that will survive the test of time, and we delivered.

Outer outdoor sofas are made using neutral tones (like Pacific Fog Grey and Palisades Cream) that pair seamlessly with accessories, so you can experiment and style your outdoor sofa with different colors and fabrics to suit your taste.

What To Avoid When Looking For A New Outdoor Sofa

It’s easy to look for the qualities that make an outdoor sofa great. But avoiding a few common mistakes that come with purchasing new furniture is also important.

Below are a few things to avoid to get the most out of your outdoor furniture and plan ahead for the long term!

1) Cheaply Made Pieces

Finding quality craftsmanship can be done through a bit of research and by verifying the product has a good warranty. But what about weeding out the sofas made of cheap materials that try to pass as quality design?

The answer can vary depending on which material you choose. Teak wood, for example, can be identified by its grain, which is straight with streaks that are a few shades darker than other parts of this honey-colored wood.

If the grain of the teak seems off or doesn’t compare to what you’ve seen, it might be a good time to ask the company a few follow-up questions.

The quality of our teak at Outer is not only guaranteed; it’s Forest Stewardship Council-certified. This gold standard for forest-harvested wood means our products are environmentally responsible and economically viable.

Teak outdoor sofa
Outer Teak Outdoor Coffee Table - Square Leg

Some companies will try to save money by using veneer. Wood veneer is a modern and cost-effective way to quickly make products, but this flimsy material is easily damaged by water and heat, which makes it a less-than-ideal choice for your outdoor needs.

No matter which material you go with, don’t forget to do your research and make sure you’re getting the real deal!

2) Limited Design

This one may sound obvious, but the look of your space is key when choosing the right furniture. If there’s a certain piece you’re set on, consider if it’s going to clash with the design or theme you already have.

Choosing the right style for your space will help bring your backyard oasis to life! Opting for colors like cream, gray, or beige makes a great addition to both colorful yards and neutral themes.

Different materials will also impact design. For example, wrought iron is a common outdoor furniture material, but it is prone to rust and significantly heavier than teak or wicker. This makes it hard to move around and gives it a much shorter lifespan.

3) No Measurements

We’ve all fallen in love with a piece of furniture at first sight, but bringing it home after that encounter could result in an immediate return if you haven’t measured your space first.

A good way to avoid this is to measure the section of your yard, balcony, or patio that you’ll use for the furniture set-up before you go shopping. Have these measurements on hand so you know what will fit whether you’re on a mission for the perfect sofa or happen across it by fate.

Be sure to account for ample space to move around your furniture pieces, too. The only thing worse than furniture that doesn’t fit is a cramped outdoor space.

4) Inability To Store Or Protect

Wicker sofa
Outer Wicker Outdoor Sofa - 3 Seat

We talked about the relationship between location and durability, but be sure to consider when you’ll need to store your furniture at a moment’s notice as well.

In severe conditions, moving your outdoor sofa should be easy. So, buying a heavy sofa and moving it on your own might not be feasible.

Also, consider ease of storage for the winter months when your outdoor furniture might not be used as much. If your home gets a good amount of snow, choosing teak or aluminum options make it so your sofa can be quickly moved and easily stored.

You can also leave your sofa out year-round by choosing All-Weather Wicker. Aside from wind and rain, our wicker selection is designed to withstand all other elements, like snow, too.

5) Style Over Functionality

All too often, people believe they need to sacrifice function for style when buying furniture. But having both is not impossible.

To avoid buying another new outdoor sofa in the next few years when you want a change, look for a modular design that lets you rethink and rearrange your outdoor furniture at any time.

When you buy from Outer, we make sure your chairs can be arranged and rearranged for any number of configurations. Moving furniture around for each outdoor setting, activity, or occasion is simple, and our pieces are made to be functional, comfortable, and stylish.

6) Cumbersome Maintenance

Couple having snacks outside on outdoor sofa
Outer Aluminum Outdoor Sofa with Armless Chair

As we mentioned, cleaning and maintaining your outdoor furniture should be easy. And the material that you choose will impact how often and how long you spend maintaining your outdoor sofa.

This work can range from virtually nothing to cleaning, waxing, and washing your furniture multiple times throughout the year. Materials like aluminum and teak require no regular maintenance, while wrought iron needs a few cleanings each year to make it last.

Aside from caring for different materials, maintenance may also mean replacing parts as things begin to loosen or wear down.

Some companies that mass produce their furniture will frequently change things such as fabrics and even frame styles. Replacing anything from a cushion to a grommet a couple of years after buying it can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack.

The best way to avoid these issues down the road is to verify that your outdoor sofa has a great warranty. Here at Outer, all of our products — from cushions to frames — have a warranty between five and 10 years, making it easy to get the repair or replacement you need.

And when it comes to certain materials, there’s no need to even worry about missing or broken parts. Our aluminum furniture will never rust, decay, or loosen, and our frames are finished with top-of-the-line powder coating guaranteed to last well beyond the 10-year warranty.

Live Better Outside With An Outer Outdoor Sofa

Woman serving up summer snacks by an outdoor sofa
Outer Wicker Outdoor Loveseat

And there you have it — a comprehensive checklist of what to look for and what to avoid when shopping for your new outdoor sofa!

Remember to look beyond style and ensure you’re considering all aspects of what makes an outdoor couch the right choice, from quality craftsmanship to durability.

Infinitely modular, eco-friendly, and sophisticatedly good-looking, Outer’s Outdoor Sofa has it all. From our Teak Outdoor Sofas to our Wicker Outdoor Sectionals, we’ve crafted our outdoor couches with you in mind so you can live better, outside.