The Quest For The Perfect Outdoor Lounge Chair

The sun is out, the birds are singing, and despite a recent cold snap, it’s a balmy 40 degrees out. In my part of the country, that means it’s time to start thinking SPRING! Really, it’s time to start thinking patio furniture. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’ve spent one too many summers depending on a junky folding chair. Last year I dragged my feet until it was too late to upgrade. But this year I’m getting a head start, shopping while prices are low and the most styles are still available. If you’re in the same boat, here you have it: my quest to find the perfect outdoor lounge chair.

Simple But Sturdy

Convene Outdoor Patio Chaise in White from Modway Furniture
Convene Outdoor Patio Chaise EEI-2179-EXP-WHI in White from Modway Furniture

From where I stand, outdoor lounge chairs should do one thing: be comfortable. Unfortunately, when you put any piece of furniture outside, comfort and style end up low on the priority list. Because, practically, you want your outdoor furniture to be weather resistant, easily stowable, and easy to keep clean. Plastic outdoor lounge chairs are definitely all three, but they’re neither comfortable nor stylish. Which is why I’m grateful for technical innovations like UV-resistant synthetic wicker which won’t crack, and UV- and water-resistant cushions made of antimicrobal foam. Together, they make for a simple yet comfortable, durable, and easy to clean outdoor lounge chair.

Mmm, Backrest

I’m of the opinion that even the simplest of outdoor lounge chairs are significantly improved by an adjustable backrest. Especially if you plan on spending a decent chunk of your summer outside on your deck or by your pool, you want your perfect lounge to have multiple backrest angles: for chatting with your friend, reading a book, looking cool in your swimsuit and shades, and tanning. Personally, I like the relatively simple look of this Shore lounger. But even in the ostensibly narrow category of “lounge chairs with adjustable backs” you wind up with a few options. Opt for a solid rather than an open base if you need extra hidden storage underneath the leg rest; opt for a model without arm rests if you want to double as bench seating for guests..

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Kickin’ It Poolside

One of the most frustrating things about choosing an outdoor lounge chair meant to sit poolside is actually the pool. While there’s been a slew of innovation in color-fast, fade-proof, mold-resistant fabrics and rust-free metal frames, the fact is that cushions and chlorinated pool water just do not mix. But most poolside loungers that take the pool water into account are just plain uncomfortable; hard plastic or bumpy synthetic or natural wicker that don’t play nice with swimsuited bodies. Instead, look for a lounge with an adjustable back, but covered in a flexible, breathable mesh cloth. This will not only let water drip right through, but will conform more comfortably to your body. With a color-fast material, you won’t have to worry about the water fading the color.

(Adjustable!) Chair With Ottoman

There are hundreds of outdoor chairs out there in different styles, from simple folding models to wood to wrought iron. Very few of them are made for lounging. But that’s actually why I especially like this option: a cushy padded chair when it’s folded, with an extendable ottoman. The retractable ottoman by itself is cool enough, but the chair also has an adjustable back. That means you can use it both as a fully-reclining lounge and fold it up for use as a regular chair.

Outdoor Bed For One (Or Two)

Okay, so this isn’t technically an outdoor lounge chair. But if I had a bigger back yard (or, let’s be honest, if I lived in a warmer climate) I would probably live in an outdoor bed. Made of a synthetic wicker over a powdered aluminum frame, it’s both lightweight and sturdy, with ample, relatively weather resistant cushions and a big ol’ canopy, designed for lazy summertime lounging in full sun or shade, much like you’d get from a patio umbrella but with so, so much more style.

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Room To Share

Last but not least, I’m a big fan of space saving patio furniture, even when you have space to spare. That’s why I particularly like modular outdoor beds. Rather than single-cushion daybed, these break into many multiple pieces that can be used to seat a crowd. With a sofa-style body, two ottomans, and a connecting piece that doubles as a small table, you can either use this set as a cushy lounge for two or seating for up to six. That means you won’t need extra furniture for the occasional guest.

Whether you’re looking to remodel your whole deck or just add a single comfy lounger, there are plenty of options out there to fit your needs.

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