Patios have never been more important than during quarantine. We polled hundreds of design pros to find the top five trends, with chic examples whether you want to splurge or save.

FOR ANYONE WHO likes to entertain, social distancing carries an additional pointed pain. Even when regulations begin to relax, will we really want to sit around a once convivially crowded table enclosed in four walls? I think that as we are able to gather, the first places we will do this is outdoors, said New York interior designer Kammi Reiss. The open air and sunlight will feel more safe than closed-in tight spaces. We tapped hundreds of design professionals to get their reads on this unique summers outdoor furnishing directions. For each, weve offered specific suggestions both pricey and affordable, so you can shop the trends no matter your means.House-Worthy Patio Pieces
My favorite outdoor trend is furnishings that appear to belong indoors, said Mel Bean. The Tulsa, Okla., designer credits improved materials and finishes with making it possible for her to layer in unpredictable pieces and to transcend expectations. Though sturdy teak furniture is a patio stalwart, brands have begun deftly integrating slivers of the wood into more sinuous forms made of other materials. At left, 1stdibss Sandglass side table features a teak top and powder-coated aluminum base, while West Elms Mexa number (right) incorporates nylon cord. With their mixed finishes, these two seem to have escaped from a living room, yet both will stand up to the elements.
Watching the Weaves Change Color
This Paola Lenti chair [left] has a clever and unexpected blend of color, Houston-based designer Lucinda Loya noted. For years, the only color conversation in outdoor furniture was primary or pastel. Multihued weaves hammer the final nail in the safe-color coffin. Ms. Lentis lounge comes in hundreds of colorways. Textiles, textures, colors and weaves allow for incredible personalization, said Ms. Lenti, but also a vibrancy that promotes a sense of joy. Of MoMAs more accessibly priced new retro aluminum-framed folder (right), Amanda Lindroth, a designer based in the Bahamas, said, It reminds me of childhood. Everyone carried those chairs to the beach and sat high up over the sand.
For Love of the Flame
With our options for places to relax and recreate drastically curtailed, patios become outdoor living rooms, said Ms. Bean. If you add a heat source, those al fresco spaces can be enjoyed from early spring well into fall. Fire pits, already popular but newly relevant, let us escape to open-air seating areas that are an antidote to screen time, a source of calm and serenity, said Los Angeles-based landscape designer Patricia Benner. She favors designs of hardworking corten steel: I love the weathered, earthy patina of the naturally oxidized finish. Design Within Reachs model (left) arrives assembled, while HBeeFires origami-like fixture (right) cleverly collapses into three pieces.
Dark Matters
Something traditional like wicker, usually found in natural or white, looks fresh and current in black, said Stefan Beckman, whose design studio produces homewares under the label Lateral Objects. Of the almost-black nautical rope used to execute the weatherproof examples at left, San Francisco designer Lindsay Anyon Brier said, It turns a classic wicker basket on its head. The affordable carryall at right, meanwhile, lets people cart interior accessories like cushions out to a terrace and back, another trend. I keep baskets near our patio doors and bring them outside when needed, said Joanna Leung, vice president at Ratana Outdoor Furniture.
Curvy, Cozy, Comfy
If you ask New York designer Keita Turner, the boom in bulbous, enveloping outdoor furniture might reflect our collective desire to return to the womb. Her other theory: People are opting for an alternative to the boxy, clean, linear shapes that have dominated the market in recent years. Judy Olson Dunne of New Yorks Butter and Eggs Interiors concurs: The shapes are interesting and typically very comfortable. The concave seat of Ligne Rosets new outdoor version of its 1965 modular Saparella Sofa (left) beckons like an adult cradle. Of the Repp Patio Sofa (right) with its tufted seat cushion, Ms. Turner said, It could hardly be more inviting if it tried.
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