Patio Furniture: Plastic, Metal or Wood?

Patio Furniture: Plastic, Metal or Wood?


When decorating your patio, deck or outdoor space, you have the option of choosing from several different types of materials. Given your budget and personal style, your choices will typically boil down to furniture pieces made of plastic, metal or wood. Each of these options has their own advantages and disadvantages, and each achieves a different look. Deciding which to use depends entirely upon your circumstances and needs, but we'll briefly examine these three types.

Plastic Patio Furniture

Advantages – If you choose plastic furniture for your patio, you’ll have a large variety of styles and colors available. You can opt for a neutral color such as white or beige. You can go bold with bright pink or neon blue, or you can decide on a darker color such as forest green or deep rust. There are also plastic styles that mimic wood or other natural materials. Plastic furniture is exceptionally lightweight, and simple to relocate each piece whenever you want and perfect for those who move more frequently. This type of furniture will also withstand the weather quite well. The rain and snow won’t affect it, and the sun won’t bleach out the colors, but you will see some degradation over time, albeit slowly.

Disadvantages – Plastic furniture is, well, plastic. It won’t look as expensive or upscale as other types of patio furniture, but it's still quite versatile. Instead of a trendy look, you’ll get a look that’s much more casual and laid back. Plastic also is not bio-degradable, which means it’s not environmentally friendly a concern for many. Furniture made from plastic is not overly sturdy, especially under increased weight as it could bow or snap. If you have heavy friends or family who will be using it, you might want to opt for a stronger material.

Metal Patio Furniture

Advantages – Furniture pieces made from metal have a more sleek and modern look to them, and can make your patio shine. Cleaning this kind of furniture is a breeze. Merely wipe it down or use a gentle soap if necessary. Metal is one of the most durable types of furniture, so you won’t have to worry about replacing pieces frequently, which is essential for anyone on a budget. Because of the heavy-duty material, this furniture can also take a lot of abuse and sun and still look fabulous.

Disadvantages – Metal patio furniture is usually heavy and bulky, making pieces more challenging to move, especially for seniors or anyone without the means to to do so. If no protective coating exists on the furniture, the metal will tend to rust from exposure to the rain or snow, which will eventually degrade its appearance. Metal also gets quite hot under intense sunlight, which can make it uncomfortable or even dangerous to sit on during the height of summer or in hot climates, especially if you don’t have any patio cover.

Wood Patio Furniture

Advantages – Wood patio furniture is some of the most solid and durable there is, and also the most natural. You can accomplish that rustic, lake or cabin-look easily with just a few of these pieces. Wood furniture is very sturdy and incredibly resilient against heavy weight and moving. If you feel the need to soften up the look a bit, you can do so easily by adding seasonal cushions or even some accent pillows. Natural wood, especially with a proper water-resistant stain and a little upkeep, is also quite resilient to most climates.

Disadvantages – Quality wood furniture can be expensive. If you're opting for designs made out of solid-cut timber, you're going to be paying more for the materials right off the bat. Wood furniture is a bit harder to move and transport, but many companies are now creating their pieces to be assembled, or partially assembled, at home making it that much easier to purchase, have delivered, and transition between homes. It's also important to note for those living in hotter or desert climates that they may see a faster degradation of their wood furniture, but with a little extra care or shade this can be kept to a minimum.

Before you jump into decorating your patio, consider the advantages and disadvantages of these various types of patio furniture. You’ll want to select the material that will suit you and your family best given your budget, lifestyle and that perfect outdoors look that you're after. 

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