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Lounging Outdoors with Patio Furniture

The patio is an integral part of your home, and the outdoor furniture you choose to anchor it with is a direct reflection of your personal style. Think extendable dining tables for a barbecue, adirondack chairs during an intimate backyard picnic or a single lounger beside the pool for solo retreats. Not only do these items encourage soaking up the sun, they also help create an ambience that's relaxing and fun—whether you want to recreate a tropical aesthetic or just love hosting others in a lively atmosphere.

Backyard Entertaining

Enjoy mingling with friends and family as you fire up the grill? Bring together elements from both the kitchen and the dining room to create a patio that's food prep-friendly. For instance, if you have a spacious deck, be sure to leave ample room between the lounging area and the barbecue. A rectangular dining table surrounded by arm chairs at one end and a grill at the other gives the pitmaster enough room to maneuver steaks, ribs, burgers and other favorites. Want to create an open barrier between the two sections? Consider adding cement planters filled with seasonal blooms or even faux trees, such as olive or fig, to form a separation that's both stylish and functional. If your patio is smaller in scale, replace the rectangular table with a bistro one—connecting it to the cooking area with an easy-to-clean polypropylene rug positioned underfoot. Do your loved ones enjoy playing games? Rearrange your outdoor furniture once the eating is done to accommodate group activities, including bean bag toss, bocce ball and croquet.

Kick Back and Relax

If you're more the type who likes to take it easy, transform your patio or veranda into a personal sanctuary. Begin by configuring a sectional sofa near the firepit, complete with weather- and mildew-resistant cushions. Consider wicker furniture for a casual aesthetic, or take a more modern approach with slipcovered loveseats, swivel chairs, ottomans and other items that are reminiscent of your interior living room. Looking for some respite from the sun? Get comfy underneath a patio umbrella. Be sure to keep a side table nearby as well—as it provides convenient storage for reading materials, sunglasses, cell phones and other personal items. For smaller spaces, such as the front porch, rely on a metal bench to help you settle in. The addition of UV-resistant lumbar pillows and a picnic blanket thrown over the back enhance the coziness. Don't forget to arrange outdoor furniture around the pool. A set of adirondack chairs along the water's edge introduces a tropical feel while sipping on fruity cocktails and mocktails. For those who prefer to stay dry, hang a hammock from nearby trees to catch a quick nap.

Decorate Your Outdoor Space

Take advantage of your time spent outdoors with decor that brightens up the space. If you have a green thumb that's itching to be put to use, consider planting bright flowers and vibrant greenery in a small garden. Or, for a lower-maintenance option, go with faux florals instead. Either way, vases in classic shapes, including square and rectangular, add a simple yet stylish touch. Enjoy homegrown herbs? Affix rail planters to window ledges and yard fences to watch your tasty sprouts of basil, dill, rosemary and others grow. For those who prefer nighttime gatherings, place pillar candles inside glass lanterns to set a romantic atmosphere, or hang string lights above for a soft glow.