Best outdoor furniture for your garden, terrace or balcony

We have yet to build our dream Mediterranean villa, but of course we are already collecting the best pieces to furnish it with, selected from the latest outdoor furniture launches.

The summer’s best outdoor furniture

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Christophe Pillet was inspired by the nautical world while creating Costiera and Baia, his latest designs for outdoor furniture specialist Ethimo. The designs are a contemporary interpretation of classic Mediterranean style: ‘We look at light and water from the sea, rather than the land, from a boat,’ says the designer. The discreet silhouettes and materials (wood, aluminum leather and linen, in colors that refer to parasols) have been developed into a system that includes sofas, armchairs, a day bed and tables with austere shapes and inviting upholstered seats. ‘I met Ethimo many years ago, it was an idealization of life in the Mediterranean and I wanted to be part of this story. From there we became friends and business partners.’ (opens in new tab)

Outdoor long pine bench and table furniture set, set outside on grass next to a brick stone building

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‘Brutal Finnish’ furniture company Vaarnii has teamed up with Henrik Tjaerby to create an engineering-inspired outdoor table and bench set with T-shaped beams and joints. The garden furniture set is made from pine, the company’s preferred material, heat-treated to make it more resistant and suitable for outdoor use – a technique normally used for architecture, which inspired the designer. “It’s such an honest design,” Tjaerby explains. ‘The T-element is a standardized size, its proportions predetermined by their manufacture and dictated by function, ease of manufacture and waste. I like things that are modular and I like designs that are easy to understand. In this series, nothing is hidden.’ (opens in new tab)

Outdoor sofa with metal body and white cushions in an outdoor setting with a long brown table dressed with a vased plant, bowls of snack, a bottle of drink and 3 glasses

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French designer Constance Guisset designed the Chelsea outdoor sofa for Tectona with relaxation in mind. The modular system allows the design to adapt to a myriad of outdoor spaces, and the design was adapted specifically with a lower height and inviting cushions. (opens in new tab)

Translucent blue sunbed on a blue tiled pool with green bush in the background

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As a tribute to the sea, Jacopo Foggini designed the ‘A’mare’ collection for the Italian furniture brand Edra. The collection consists of hand-crafted pure polycarbonate sticks and includes outdoor furniture such as chairs, armchairs, a bench, a lounge chair, a coffee table and tables in a characteristic translucent blue shade. (opens in new tab)

Outdoor hanging furniture swing overlooking the mountains at sunset

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First up, we have our eyes on Stephen Burks’ nest-like ‘Kida’ hanging chair for outdoor specialist Dedon, designed to allow users to feel ‘as free as the breeze’. Its sturdy aluminum pole frame is wrapped in cords of weather-resistant Fiber Touch, a synthetic, recyclable fabric used in three striped colors. (opens in new tab)

Outdoor green matching chair (2) and round table with a jug of water placed on the table, set outdoors in a courtyard with matching two-tone brown walls and floors with square bricks and green trees in the background

Top, ‘Kida’ hanging chair by Stephen Burks for Dedon. Above ‘Ringer’ armchairs by Michael Anastassiades for Kettal

(Image credit: Michael Anastassiades)

Another excellent seating option includes London-based designer Michael Anastassiade’s ‘Ringer’ armchair for Kettal, part of a first joint collection that references both the traditional game of horseshoes and a minimal approach to cafe furniture. The chair’s armrest comes with a slight fade in the opening, designed as a subtle invitation to take the seat, echoing the traditional Chinese Horseshoe Back chair. (opens in new tab)

An outdoor setup with two single seats and a 3-seater pebble-shaped light gray sofas, suspended on a large floating teak base with blue cushions.  Blue round side tables and light gray rounded rectangle center table.  All located in a courtyard with tiled floor surrounded by green plants

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Two chairs with woven seats and metal bases.  The one on the left is natural wick and the one on the right is black

Top, ‘Calipso’ sofas by Ilaria Marelli for Ethimo. Above ‘Echoes’ armchairs by Christophe Pillet for Flexform

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And there’s more: Ilaria Marelli’s pebble-shaped ‘Calipso’ sofa for Ethimo, which floats on a large floating teak base and allows for flexible cushion arrangements, suitable for siestas and parties alike; as well as Christophe Pillet’s rustic-chic ‘Echoes’ armchair for Flexform. Woven from fine matt polypropylene cord (in natural, ice, straw or anthracite), the armchair is intended as a soothing mix of Mediterranean style and Scandinavian style. (opens in new tab) (opens in new tab)

Woven rechargeable lanterns lit and photographed on seaside cliffs at night

‘Sparkler’ rechargeable lanterns from Kensaku Oshiro for Poltrona Frau

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Other favorites include Kensaku Oshiro’s family of portable and rechargeable lanterns for Poltrona Frau, inspired both by amphorae and rice paper lamps. The eye-catching designs, called ‘Sparkler’, come in all shapes and sizes (including table, floor and standing versions), all with a handy horseshoe-shaped handle. They would look right at home on Paola Navone’s ‘Sunset Lounge’ table for Exteta, with a circular marble top supported by an exquisitely carved wooden base. (opens in new tab)

Outdoor kitchen setup by the pool with kitchen sink with breakfast table module and 2 kitchen stools, cooking module on wheels with mountain view and green plants/trees in the background

‘Norma’ outdoor kitchen from Rodolfo Dordoni for Roda

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Last but not least is Rodolfo Dordoni’s ‘Norma’ outdoor kitchen for Roda, developed in collaboration with the Italian appliance manufacturer Ilve. It is a modular system consisting of two free-standing modules – one with an extendable table – with slabs made of sintered Lapitec stone. It’s so elegant that we might even get another one indoors.

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