So you want an Outdoor Sectional? Do it right – the first time.

Are you tired of sitting around on dingy old patio furniture?

Have you just installed a new deck and would like to update your furnishings?

Are you lucky enough to have installed an inground pool and surround and are looking to have a spot to sit and relax when you are not doing your daily laps (daily, right)?

So, you have decided you want an outdoor sectional. I don’t blame you. I would love one but for reasons I will mention below, I can’t have one…boohoo. But for you, I am hoping that a beautiful weather resistant sofa sectional and maybe chaise lounge set is in your future.

Hillcrest Wicker Look Sectional with Outdoor Decorative Cushions
Hillcrest Wicker Look Sectional with Outdoor Decorative Cushions

So Many Options

Today, there are so many options for decorating outside. Myself, even as an Interior Decorator, cannot believe the options available for making your outdoor decor just as nice, or even nicer in some cases, as your interior decor. From sectionals to seating areas, from cushy comfort patio chair cushions to hammocks, from wooden teak patio tables and chairs to wicker or faux wicker daybeds.

Yes, I said daybed. Read it for what it is…a DAY BED! The name alone surely gives one license to be in a bed during the day…a little nap perhaps or what about a great place to read a great book or magazine.

Oh, I am feeling sleepy…I had better snap out of it and finish this article.

Back to reality. You can find almost every type of furniture for your outdoor decor as you can for your interior decor. And some of the same rules apply when deciding what type and style of furniture will work best for you. I was just about to type “the furniture you want”, which of course, is important – very important.

You want an outdoor sectional…and so do I (I can’t have one though…boohoo). However, when purchasing any type of furniture, we should always go back to the basics of home interior decorating.

Decorating 101

Decorating 101 – the furniture you choose must fit in your space. You may find the most beautiful outdoor sofa sectional done in grey wicker with sky blue cushions (one of my favorites) with a chaise lounge on one side, an ottoman and a matching patio coffee table.

You may imagine yourself lying down on the sectional with a margarita while your friend joins you on the chaise lounge, feet up and themselves, enjoying a mojito, cold beer or a nice glass of wine. There is nothing wrong with this imagination.

Outdoor Patio with Drinks on Table
Outdoor Patio with Drinks on Table

Stay Realistic

However, not to be a dream-downer, but, that patio sectional set may just be in your future except for one important thing – it may just be too big for your deck or patio. And if that is the case, there is no point in buying it and then facing the disappointment that it does not ‘work’ / fit – and then what – return, find another one, have it delivered, etc…that is no fun.

Now just because that sectional set may not have worked for your space does not mean that you give up that dream. I believe in dreams! What it means is that you may have to find an alternative – one that is close to what you were looking for but perhaps just a smaller size – maybe a loveseat sized sectional sofa versus a full sized sofa sectional.

One of the the main points of sectionals in design is for both coziness and sizing / fit – to be able to fit more seating in a smaller space. Sectionals are designed to maximize seating space, even outdoors. And believe me, there are some absolutely gorgeous outdoor sectionals available for purchase these days. Some patio sectionals are nice enough to be a part of interior design as well.

Brentwood Daybed Sectional with Roof
Can’t decide between outdoor daybed and sectional? Get the best of both worlds with this Brentwood Daybed Sectional with Roof

Will It Fit?

The main point here is that you must determine, first and foremost, what will actually fit into your outdoor pool deck or patio or backyard space. And remember that patio furniture can be larger than it looks in the showroom or online. The images and space you see are often much larger than a typical outdoor space.

Small Patio Garden not large enough for an outdoor sectional
While this small patio garden is beautiful, it does not look large enough to fit an outdoor sectional…too bad!

Also remember that you do require walking room around the furniture. 3 feet is a good standard to follow. More than 3 feet is better but, it will do. For a seating arrangement of let’s say, our sofa, chairs, ottomans and coffee table, the area between tables and chairs and sofa requires less space so that the table is accessible from the seats of both the sofa and chairs – the same rule applies in interior decorating and furniture arrangement.

Measure and Measure Again

So now that you have measured your space (you actually did measure, right…not just guess..ok), you can decide what will actually fit into the deck or patio space.

Measuring Tape for Measuring Rooms, Decks and Patios

Get out your measuring tape and be sure you have the correct measurements before you jump into your sectional purchase.

Measure twice, buy once!

When buying online, or at brick and mortar store, be sure to look at the details of the sizes of the sofa or sectional. The sizes should be stated in the description of the item in an online store. In store, there should be a tag with the actual dimensions of the set. You should know the length, depth and height. The height is probably not so important. The length is very important.

You will need to know where the set will go and how much extra space you will have in the necessary areas in order for it to fit.

For example, if you have a patio of 10 feet (or 120 inches) and the sectional you are considering measures 113″ wide (or long), this obviously will not fit. It simply will not fit into the space – literally.

A smaller sectional of 85″ wide or long would fit leaving you with about 35″ (about 3 feet) room on one side or split between the 2 ends. Depending on the placement of the sectional, the 3 feet extra is a minimum standard for walking room.

If you want the sectional in the middle of the deck length, you are only left with about 1.5 feet on either side…maybe not enough room. However, in using a sectional as an example, most sectionals are designed to be up against a wall, barrier or meant to form a faux wall / barrier.

Nabors 7 Piece Sectional with Cushions by Red Barrel Studio
This sectional requires more space due to the wall which includes an outdoor fireplace. Be sure you have at least 3 feet of space between the fireplace and the back of the sectional.

Notice how this sectional needs to have 3 feet of walking space between the sectional and the outdoor fireplace. If the stone wall with fireplace was just a wall, the sectional could be place right up against the wall. It would therefore, allow about 3 feet more of space on the other side of the sectional.

Measure Twice, Buy Once

So, key message here when you are ready to take the plunge with a new sectional set for your pool area, backyard deck or patio, be sure to measure (twice, if possible) and buy once, making sure you have enough room.

You really don’t want to end up with the sectional sitting on your patio realizing that it won’t fit and you have to return it…after you have fallen in love with it – probably twice – once online and the second time in your backyard.

As with any home decorating challenge, you really can have it all, you just need to do a little homework first and it will pay off bigly – oh my, did I just say that? I think I meant big-league…no, I meant big-time 🙂

Enjoy your new Outdoor Sectional!

Jamarion 4 Piece Sectional by Brayden Studio
Enjoy your outdoor sectional – like this 4 Piece Sectional by Brayden Studio – either on your patio or as shown here, your backyard grass. If you are fortunate enough to have a large yard like this one, you can pretty much purchase the sectional size of your dreams! Dream on!

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