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Does Patio Furniture Need To Match?

Our patio furniture is looking tired so we must replace it soon. But do we go for matching sets or mix and match?

Design experts agree that patio furniture does not need to match, quite the contrary in fact. Large matching sets of cookie-cutter furniture are OUT of fashion while mixing it up to create layered, livable, and personal patio furniture is very much IN.

Let’s dive down into the subject of matching patio furniture in more detail, and discover what you can and can’t do when it comes to making a style statement in your yard…

Does Patio Furniture Need To Match?

Is it OK To Mix and Match Patio Furniture?

Absolutely yes! In fact – it’s a thing. Giant sets of cookie-cutter furniture are OUT and layered, livable and personal patio furniture is IN

Many patio furniture sets today are already made of a couple of materials, like teak and wicker chairs or a table made of metal and cement. Don’t worry if your furniture is more mixed than matched. 

Sometimes, all it takes to bring a mixed group together is a can of spray paint or some cushions. 

Designers recommend tying all the furniture together with colors, styles, layout, or themes. 

How Do You Mix and Match Outdoor Patio Furniture?

Many people have two areas on their patio – one with a table and chairs for dining and one with deep seating for relaxing. Even though the two areas may be several feet away from each other, they are usually within sight of each other. To make these two areas complement each other, you can arrange the patio furniture by material, layout, style, or color.

In design, there’s something called the “Rule of Three”. When something is repeated three times – not twice or four times, go figure – then the human brain makes a connection between the things. The brain considers the three similar things as a group.

Designers say to use the Rule of Three to help draw together mixed and matched patio furniture.

Arrange By Construction Material

Common patio furniture construction materials are metal, wood, wicker, and resin. Use the Rule of Three to group three items of the same material together. For example, if you have three metal items – which can include a metal accessory piece – then put them together into your dining setting to strengthen the group.

A glass table with metal legs can be paired with other metal furniture. If chairs have sling backs but wooden legs, they can be paired with a wooden table.

Arrange By Layout

Let’s say you have two furniture sets made from two different materials – one set is wicker, and the other is metal. Instead of mixing the two sets up, you can separate them into two physically distinct areas. Maybe the wicker will be for deep seating and the metal for dining. 

The idea is to create two physically separated groups, so that the difference in style won’t be so obvious. 

Use rugs to create a separation of the two groupings, or planters. Or, create separate areas with statuary or hanging ornaments. Sure, you’ll probably still be able to see both groupings at once, so use color to unify them. 

Remember the Rule of Three – display the same color three times to draw both physical areas together. Let’s say you love the color teal. The three teal things can be pillows, an umbrella, a cushion, plates, place mats or a tablecloth.

Display the three things in both areas.

Arrange By Design Style

Most people have a style they like more than others: modern, traditional, midmod, farmhouse, salvage-chic, or southwestern. Group the design styles into your two areas, dining, and deep seating

For example, put all your farmhouse pieces in the dining area and all your southwestern ones in the deep seating. Then, draw them together with colors.

Arrange By Color

Everyone knows that inside the house, you can unify groupings with repeated colors in pillows, throws and rugs. The same thing works outside.

If you are adding colorful new chairs to an old table, integrate the table setting with melamine plates, vases, tablecloths, and place mats that bring all the colors together. 

A common color in outdoor furniture is green. If your furniture cushions have some green in them, you can draw them all together with potted plants. Plants also help soften most modern furniture. If you have a rose bush or climbing bloomer, repeat the bloom colors in your cushions. 

You can even paint your furniture to match, depending on the material. Wicker (see below), wood, and metal are easy to paint.

Use the Rule of Three and include flower colors, planter colors, wind chime colors, vase, and those adorable Tiki glasses.

Can You Mix and Match Wicker Furniture?

Yup, wicker is easy to mix and match. Wicker has a beautiful texture that complements smooth finishes like metal. The texture of wicker will create interest in your patio group. 

What Goes With Wicker Furniture?

Wicker is a natural looking material that goes with everything. The natural color of wicker goes well with wood

Or you can change wicker to be any color under the sun. Wicker is easy to spray paint, so you can change the color to match or coordinate with your other lawn furniture. 

Matching patio furniture

How Do You Make Wicker Furniture Look Modern?

You can change the look of worn-out wicker furniture with some paint. There are lots of spray paints that will work – find them in your local hardware or hobby store. Be sure to buy exterior paint.

First, power wash your old wicker furniture. Set the pieces out in the middle of your lawn. Clean all the grime, leaves and paint chips off. If you need to, use a brush to get in between the weave. If the piece has oily or greasy stuff on it, use some mild dishwashing soap to clean it off. Paint won’t stick to grease. 

Then, leave the wicker furniture to dry in the sun. Check out the wicker piece. If there are pieces that have broken off and are sticking out, you may be able to repair them with glue. Trim pieces off with an Exacto knife if they can’t be repaired.

Let the wicker pieces dry.

Prepare a place to spray paint. Pick a sunny, dry day without wind. Then, lay out a big sheet of plastic on your driveway, garage floor or the middle of your lawn. Test spray a small, hidden area of the wicker to be sure you like the color. 

Then, get some tunes on and spray the entire piece. Wicker has lots of texture so you may need several coats. Finish with some spray sealant.

To update the wicker look, add a pillow or cushion with a modern pattern.

Here are 12 easy DIY ways to renovate wicker furniture.

What’s The Best Color For Outdoor Furniture?

We checked in with realtors for the best colors. If you are planning on retailing your home, see the following list. If you don’t plan to sell your house anytime soon, then choose colors that will make you happy; Neon green, pink, purple, bright red

Your backyard should be one of your top happy spots.

The number one color that realtors choose for patio furniture is black. Black goes with everything and is ALWAYS a classy choice. One realtor says that “black always looks high-end, even when it’s not”. 

The number two color choice of realtors is super trendy bronze. In fact, they recommend the Sherwin Williams 2021 Color of the Year, Urban Bronze. The color is described as deep and moody and looks great with neutral-colored cushions.

Then, the number three choice is that old realtor favorite – beige. Like black, beige goes with everything.

For pops of color on your black, bronze, or beige furniture, try trending colors like yellow, turquoise, and deep red.

Final Words

So when it comes to choosing your patio furniture, it seems that matching is completely OUT of fashion and mix and match is very much IN fashion.

This goes for styles, colors, materials, layout – just everything – if you think you can make it work then it DOES work.

I’m feeling inspired – I think it’s time to go buy some new mix and match outdoor furniture to make a statement on the patio. Be bold, be bold! 🙂

Mark H.

Homeowner and property investor Mark H. aspires to bring you the very best outdoor living content, based on his years of experience managing outside spaces. Read more >