Eight of the best Garden Chairs

It took a long time before we got the right garden furniture. It’s partly a money thing – when you’re doing up a house you need to spend money on the indoor furniture first –  but it was also about finding the right thing. I have always liked the idea of creating an outdoor sitting room and it stands to reason that the chairs should be as comfortable as the ones inside otherwise why would you want to spend time sitting on them.

metal lounge chair from cox and cox
metal lounge chair from cox and cox

Last year we bought the Jonah set from and it has completely changed the way we use the garden. Now we rush out there as soon as the sun comes out rather than waiting to see if it will stay, gathering up a few blankets, perching awkwardly on a high chair at a table and then coming in 20 minutes later because it’s just more comfortable inside.

jonah outdoor armchair from
jonah outdoor armchair from

So here are my favourite outdoor chairs. Picked because they would look just as good inside – because why not? – as well as for reasons of style and budget. See what you think. First up is the JONAH set from pictured in my garden above. This began life as an indoor sofa so it stands to reason that it’s pretty comfortable. Arguably more so as it’s quite upright for indoors. It comes with a showerproof cushion, which I hadn’t brought out when I took this picture but is also very comfortable.  Ours has been outside all winter with no discernable signs of damage and Enid cat now uses it to sharpen her claws, which doesn’t seem to have caused any damaged and frankly rather that than the velvet one inside.


Rowen & Wren


harmen outdoor chair from rowen & wren
harmen outdoor chair from rowen & wren

A more solid sort of deckchair, this can be both upright and more reclined depending on whether you are chatting or sunbathing and it’s also foldable which is particularly useful when it comes to storage during the (loooooooong) winter months. I also think black is a good colour for gardens as it contrasts beautifully with all the green and won’t fight with the decking.


Rockett St George


concrete chesterfield sofa from rockett st george
concrete chesterfield sofa from rockett st george

I first saw this sofa, or one very like it, several years ago when I worked at The Independent. I loved then, and still love, the idea of taking such a classic piece of indoor furniture and converting it to garden use while keeping the inherent “indoorsiness” of it intact. So there are the slightly rumpled cushions and the pleats in the material. The original one even had a coin stuffed down the back of the cushion which was another fabulous detail. It’s pricey yes but it’s fabulous too.


Thornback & Peel


ship in a bottle deckchair from thornback and peel
ship in a bottle deckchair from thornback and peel

A long-term fan of this company with their whimsical designs, this is the latest from their fabric ranges to be transferred to a deckchair. The deckchair is a classic and my only issue these days is getting back up out of one but, it has to be said, it’s very comfortable once you’re in! This design is limited edition and if you bought one a year you could build up a rather lovely collection of individual designs and chairs. This has three postions, you can remove the sling for washing and the frame is made from sustainably sourced wood.


Cox & Cox


metal lounger from cox and cox
metal lounge chair from cox and cox

This would have to be one of the most comfortable as putting your feet up is inherently part of the deal. Plus it has a lovely padded cushion. Having said that the cushion isn’t included and costs another £95 but it looks rather good without it  -see the top picture – and also means that you wouldn’t have to find somewhere to store it – and it’s quite big. I might be tempted to just have the chair and lay a towel over the top so that you don’t burn your legs on the metal.




ohio sofa from next
ohio sofa from next

This would absolutely work as well indoors as outdoors. As you will gather if you scroll through this whole post I have avoided all that square garden furniture which you see so much of. This is square but it’s not a solid block so if you have a small garden, the fact that you can see the grass through the sides and underneath will make the most of the available space and not make it feel like it is dominating everything. Downside? You can’t rest a glass of wine on those thin arms so you’ll have to buy a table as well. And yes it’s a sofa not a chair but the chairs have sold out and as we’ve already broken out of chairs with the concrete sofa which I couldn’t not include I figured we might as well put this in as well. So it’s six of the best garden chairs and two sofas.


John Lewis


john lewis wooden garden chair
john lewis wooden garden chair

Now for something classic that elegant. This still fits with the indoor/outdoor vibe but is comfortable and grown-up and, if you happen to live near a deck in a forest with a couple of firepits you can see how fabulous it would look. But yes it will work just as well in your tiny town garden too. It’s made FCS eucaplytus which has been stained red to, erm, resemble a Scandinavian redwood. No I don’t know why either but it’s a nice shape, looks comfy and, as garden furniture goes, it’s not a bad price.




debenhams set of two round rattan chairs
debenhams set of two round rattan chairs

Now I own this one too in the natural colour. As you may remember I worked with Debenham on their summer catalogue and they sent over this chair for me to photograph in my house for instagram and the blog. Then they said I could keep it.  Now, at the time I wasn’t sure but then I sat in it. It now lives in the kitchen – you can just see the back of it in the top picture and I’m extremely keen on it.

Kate Watson-Smyth

The author Kate Watson-Smyth

I’m a journalist who writes about interiors mainly for The Financial Times but I have also written regularly for The Independent and The Daily Mail. My house has been in Living Etc, HeartHome and featured in The Wall Street Journal & Corriere della Sera. I also run an interior styling consultancy Mad About Your House. Welcome to my Mad House.


  1. With respect….not too sure about that standard lamp in the garden 😉 But I love that I’m not the only one who rushes out into the sunny ‘space’, armed with cushions, drink, straw hat, book……….only to have to rush back inside again, toting all the gear, as the sun beats a hasty retreat……followed by another dash back outside to enjoy its perfidious meanderings once again ;DDD That still doesn’t stop me dreaming of some the fabulous garden furniture shown here!

  2. I got West Elm’s Portside sofa last summer and my god, it transformed the way we used the outside – and how often. There was a time when I would have happily bought uncomfortable furniture because it looked cute but I’m a total convert to comfort now and we spend so much time on that thing even when the sun isn’t blazing above. It’s pricey but we’re already talking about buying more chairs in a similar style. Love the look of the Jonah armchairs from Made that you have! xxx

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