In this post: We take a look at some of our favorite sustainable outdoor furniture makers and help you determine which one may be right for your home.
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There’s almost nothing better than a perfect sunny day where you can live your life – or maybe even host a party – al fresco. But there’s nothing less fun than having that perfect beautiful party day and realizing your outdoor living space consists of a dried-up planter and a moss-covered plastic chair. (Ok, there are a lot of things worse than this but it’s still a big bummer.)
So if this is you, let’s get ahead of it and start planning for the warm months, shall we? And since this is all about planning to enjoy the outdoors, doesn’t it seem only fitting that the items you select for the outdoors respect the outdoors by selecting sustainable outdoor furniture?
If you think that means that your creativity is going to be hindered by a limited number of choices, we're excited to dispel this myth; there are so many great options to choose from. If anything, there might be too many so let's help you narrow them down.
Finding the right sustainable outdoor furniture for your home: things to consider before you shop
Before buying, consider the space and how you will use it. If you have a new space, maybe live in the space for a season before you make a big investment.
You'll want to understand if this furniture is used every day, all summer, or just occasionally. Will you spend lots of time sitting on it or will it be used for quick outdoor respites? Are children and pets involved in these occasions? These factors will inform how durable and comfortable your new furniture needs to be.
New outdoor furniture can sometimes cost as much as indoor furniture, but the great news is you’ve got lots of options. We’ll highlight products in a wide range of cost options below, and it’s a great idea to have a sense of your budget ahead of time so you can start at the place you’re most likely to have success finding what you want.
How many hours of direct sunlight does your space get? This could impact the materials you choose. Metal furniture and dark fabric, for example, may get quite hot during the sunniest parts of the day, limiting your use of the space.
If you’re considering some sort of shelter from the sun (pergola, umbrella, etc), consider how the sun hits your space. Specifically, make sure the angle of the sun during the times you want to be outside will be shaded by the type of shelter you select.
Exposure to the elements
What’s the weather like where you live? Will your new furniture be exposed to rain and snow? Do you have indoor space to store outdoor furniture in the winter, if needed?
If your space faces harsh conditions, you’ll want to consider covers or furniture made of materials designed to hold up to intense sun and/or moisture. Something additional to consider, if you go the furniture cover route, consider how frequently you’ll need to take them off and put them on. Will you be willing to do this or would a more durable setup that doesn't require covers be more practical?
Consider second-hand in your search for sustainable outdoor furniture
Looking at furniture resellers is a great place to start! You’ll find a wide range of price options and you’ll be doing the planet a huge favor by reusing something that still has a lot of life left in it. Plus, if you’re afraid of long wait times, used outdoor furniture that’s listed and ready to go right now is a great option.
If your budget is tight and you have patience and a large vehicle, you could definitely try Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. If you don’t have a truck or truckload of interest in doing the local search, definitely check out these online sellers, below. (all featured in our Guide to Used Furniture Stores Online article)
While 1stDibs doesn’t have a separate drop-down for outdoor furniture in their navigation, if you search for outdoor furniture (or click/tap on the 1stDibs image in this article) you’ll see they have quite an assortment. Their outdoor offering is a full spectrum of classic staples and also really fun statement pieces.
Image courtesy of 1stDibs
Etsy has quite a selection of outdoor furniture, both secondhand and handmade. You may have to hunt around, but there are some really fun pieces and some great deals to be found. Check out these chaise lounge chairs that will instantly take you back to your childhood!
If you came up short or just aren’t interested in used outdoor furniture, there are quite a few manufacturers you can check out that do a great job with new, sustainable outdoor furniture. New furniture may be a bit more of an investment, but the great news is that these sellers are considering how to make outdoor furniture as durable as possible to extend its longevity.
POLYWOOD outdoor furniture
“Back in 1990, we were the first to create outdoor furniture from recycled plastic materials. “Made with genuine POLYWOOD lumber” is a brand promise — our furniture is built to be enjoyed season after season after season. More importantly, our goal is to help create spaces where friends and family can gather, relax, and connect.”
POLYWOOD® outdoor furniture was the first recycled plastic furniture maker and the one leading the way in offering just about any type of furniture you can imagine for an outdoor space. Their product lineup includes lounge chairs, sofas, chairs, dining furniture, rockers, and more.
They are perhaps best known for their Adirondack Chair, which is now available in modern and classic styles and 11 colors to fit just about any design scheme. (Modern Adirondack chair POLYWOOD®, above) Even better, none of them need to be painted, ever!
Beyond just visual aesthetics, POLYWOOD® wants to make sure its products stand up to the elements. These pieces come with a 20 year warranty and each is designed to resist fading, chipping, peeling, and rotting.
Images courtesy of Room & Board
“Sustainable practices have been fundamental to our company since 1980. Now, we’re setting ambitious goals for better products and practices in service to people and the planet.”
If you want to make a fun statement with your outdoor space, definitely check out the Rayo line from the Room & Board outdoor furniture collection. Between the frame and cushion color options, you can create over 600 different combinations. Amazing.
But if you’re looking for something a little more traditional, they also offer plenty of options there, too. The Oasis sectional and the Finn barstools would set up any household for an awesome outdoor party. They also have a great Emmet line of adirondack inspired chairs and loveseats that would be both beautiful and durable for a fully outdoor space. (This line is actually made by Loll Designs – also on this list of great sellers of outdoor furniture)
Beyond beautiful design options, Room & Board outdoor furniture pieces use innovative materials to improve their sustainability. A key theme in these materials is recycling and upcycling. This includes utilizing multiple types of recycled plastic, metal, and even upcycled airbags! Durability is also a big focus. Many metals are powder coated to resist changes in temperature and moisture and several textile material descriptions highlight their resistance to moisture and fading.
If you are looking for outdoor furniture with a modern, upscale sensibility that can literally weather the storm, the Room & Board outdoor furniture lineup has a lot of great options for you to consider.
“At Yardbird, we’ve built sustainability into the core of our business.”
Yardbird is a company that set out to reimagine the outdoor furniture industry and they seem to be doing just that. This new path shows in the way they have differentiated their product supply chain, keeping manufacturing in-house, cutting out middlemen, and selling directly to their customers. All of this minimizes costs and energy that would be wasted with multiple points of distribution. While they're at it, they also offset their carbon emissions through a partnership with The Carbon Fund.
Completing their thoughtful approach, Yardbird prioritizes using recyclable and biodegradable packaging, and many of the products themselves are recyclable. This means their waste reduction continues all the way to your home.
The Yardbird style is fairly classic so you can feel confident that the furniture you purchase will look great in your outdoor space for years to come. They seem to focus heavily on comfortable lounge furniture so you’ll definitely want to consider your plan to keep your furniture protected by the elements. It’s good to know, though, that many of their furniture lines are covered by a generous warranty.
Images courtesy of Loll Designs
“We enhance people, the planet, and our company in everything we do.”
Loll Designs has struck a great balance between durability, comfort, and versatility. Almost all of their products are made out of HDPE, which means they not only use recycled plastic but the products themselves also can be recycled.
The range of colors and styles ensures that Loll Designs' furniture fits well in a wide range of design aesthetics. These styles include more traditional Adirondack Chairs, to slightly more modern styles like the Lollygagger, to a completely new take on outdoor seating like the Rapson Cave Chair.
images courtesy of Loll Designs
They also have really great-looking sofas, sectionals, dining and accent tables, and they’ve even considered other outdoor accessories. Their planters, for example, give you options beyond what you see everywhere else in sustainable HDPE.
One of the most unique pieces is the Loll chair. It seems impossible that there could be a chair that is simultaneously more cozy and durable. And if looks and longevity aren’t enough, this chair is ready to party with a built-in slot for a stemmed glass. (image above)
Loll Designs has physical retail locations in the midwest and they also sell their products to other retailers. It’s worth checking on their site to see if they have a physical location near you.
Vivaterra outdoor furniture
Images courtesy of Vivaterra
“Our name VivaTerra, which means ‘living earth', is inspired by our dedication to operating in harmony with nature and our passion for blending global inspiration with modern, eco-conscious design.”
Vivaterra has focused on eco-friendly home products since 2004, and places an especially big focus on the artisans behind the items they sell. One of the things they seem to do really well is utilize recycled and upcycled materials to create sustainable outdoor furniture.
A few of our favorites include these benches made from reclaimed wood. While you may want to keep these in a semi-protected space, they are sure to be a conversation piece at any outdoor soiree.
Yellow Leaf Hammocks
Images courtesy of Yellow Leaf Hammocks
“Doing good while relaxing? We can hang with that.”
Does anything symbolize the kind of life we should all be aspiring to better than a hammock? We think not.
That’s especially true if that hammock is made by Yellow Leaf Hammocks. Yellow Leaf Hammocks are not only beautiful and comfortable but they also empower the people who make them. By paying a fair wage to their employees, the company’s goal is to empower families to move from poverty to the middle class.
Yellow Leaf Hammocks make two styles of hammocks as well as a hammock-like chair, plus all of the stands and hardware you might need to make their products work in or outside your home. They also sell gift cards, which is convenient because these would make great gifts and with all of the colors and styles available, you just might want the recipient to select their own design.
Nardi outdoor furniture
Images courtesy of Nardi
“Nardi is an ambassador of Italian style across the globe…Today, customers who choose Nardi can be proud to own an Italian product, with a unique and original design, that is functional and created while respecting the environment.”
If you don’t think plastic furniture can be stylish and chic, then you don't know Nardi. Let’s change that.
Nardi is an Italian company that’s challenging the idea that outdoor furniture can’t be both durable and beautiful. They use resin (also called polypropylene) in the creation of their products, which allows them to be resistant to the elements, light-weight, colorful, and even recyclable.
The versatility of this material also means that Nardi is able to produce its furniture in a wide range of styles, from more subtle and traditional, to bold and fun. And they even make furniture for commercial settings like offices, restaurants, and hotels.
If you’re worried that this Italian style isn’t available in your part of the world, don’t despair just yet! They have a store locator so you can see if there’s a retailer near you.
We hope you’ve enjoyed checking out some of our favorite outdoor furniture makers and that they’ll help you enjoy some time enjoying the outdoors while helping protect it for others to enjoy for years to come.