Outdoor Sofa Searching

The combination of all this nice weather and hosting Clara’s party outside have us back on The Outdoor Update Train. Chugga chugga, baby. Just picture me wearing spit-up-stained overalls with a striped hat to shade my mom-to-an-adorable-baby-who-wakes-up-all-night eyes. It’s particularly exciting because we worked for a few months last year to renovate the sunroom by ripping up the old carpet, removing the old broken doors, lofting the ceiling, getting some electrical work done, installing a plank ceiling, hanging two fans, and tiling the floor. There’s currently a daybed out there (an indoor daybed from West Elm, which has no long-term business being outside) along with an ancient Ikea coffee table. And two of our dining room chairs haven’t made it back inside since the birthday party.

We stole those two chairs, plus four of their brethren from the dining room for extra party seating (they’re outdoor chairs from Target) – and seeing the space filled up with all that temporary/borrowed/mismatched furniture really got us craving some more permanent pieces out there. And so the hunt for an outdoor sofa began.

We figured that buying the biggest piece first would help us determine what other items we’ll need to fill things out. And since we already have a dining table with an umbrella on the deck, we thought a cushy lounge area in the shade of the sunroom-turned-veranda was in order. We knew we wanted that woven wicker look over something wooden or metal (we both fell hard for the Arhaus furniture at the showhouse, but it was more than we wanted to spend). We also wanted Sunbrella fabric, which we hear is super durable and long-lasting, so here are a few of the things we checked out:

1.  We liked the look of this sofa from Crate & Barrel, but we heard from a few friends with similar sofas that two-piece or three-piece bases can drift apart, so we’d rather have a sofa that’s all one piece. We did like that it came with Sunbrella fabric, and we appreciated that it was on sale, although it was still $2,222.

2. This Pottery Barn couch looked amazing to us. So luxe and cushy. When we first saw it, it was selling for around $2,000 I think – but it was $399 more to upgrade to Sunbrella fabric – and now it’s no longer available. Womp.

3. This is another Pottery Barn option that’s still available, but the $1,400 version (pictured above) is more of a loveseat. Our space would need the larger $1,800 option, but neither of them came with Sunbrella fabric, which was an additional upcharge of $300+.

4. We saw this one on Amazon for $489 (so much cheaper than the others!) with a really promising 4.5 star rating. I excitedly read about how much people loved it… but then I discovered the one star reviews from people who had theirs for more than one season. Apparently the wicker fell apart after one summer of use for a number of people. Another womp.

5. We’ve seen this baby from Restoration Hardware in the showroom and it’s gorgeous! But the fact that it’s sold without any cushions (it’s $1500 for the wicker part and an additional $555 for the Sunbrella cushions) was kind of a bummer.

6. We had also been eying this one from Home Depot since hearing awesome things about the brand (Brown Jordan) having a really well made product. It comes with a 15 year frame warranty, a 5 year fabric warranty, and free white-glove shipping (they carry it wherever you want it and unwrap it/place it for you). We also appreciated the $1,399 price tag and the fact that it comes standard with Sunbrella fabric.

While on our little sofa hunt, we also checked places like Craigslist, Joss & Main, Overstock, Hayneedle, and Wayfair but didn’t see anything we liked as much. We really appreciated being able to see as many of our options in person as we could – just to make sure they were comfortable, not too low to the ground, and the fabric wasn’t scratchy. In fact, when we stumbled upon a floor model of the Home Depot/Brown Jordan option (technically it was the chair from that set) it pushed us over the edge. It was comfortable and it looked great in person. Boom, this guy was on his way to our house:

Although the price is nothing to sneeze at, we hope that it’ll be a nice long-lasting choice for us, which is the goal with the sunroom (there’s no Phase 2 out there). Its arrival should be the kick-start to some other updates that we’ve meaning to get going on back there, like making a coffee table, installing some sconces for lighting/ambiance, adding an outdoor-friendly table to fill out the other side of the space, and introducing some finishing touches (potted plants, side tables, etc).

Until then, you can find me standing in the driveway holding an adorable baby and waiting for the delivery truck. Really, I need to calm down.


  1. Lynette says

    This is so awesome :) you guys always brighten up my day with your nifty ideas and amazing designs thank you!

  2. Barbara says

    Nice choice! Have you seen the coffee tables made from pallets with wheels on the bottom? Would look cool out there, no?

  3. says

    So exciting! I’m glad you found one that was less pricey. I must say, that #5 from RH has me swooning. I’m a sucker for those long, one-piece cushions!

    • says

      We were just talking about that. I think we might bring it up into the storage room and organize that space (and use the top of the daybed for laying things out like pillows or linens) in the hopes that when we make that a bunk-room someday we can use it somehow.


  4. Stephanie says

    You made a good choice. Outdoor furniture is astonishingly expensive and the price is good for a quality piece, as you discovered. We just bought two new chairs with really nice, thick cushions; they were priced at more than 50 percent off and it was still $1300 for the pair. We don’t spend as much on some of our indoor furniture as we do on the outside stuff!

  5. Isabel says

    LOL, ur 2 funny although I would be right there on the driveway keeping you and Teddy company! Nice choice, I really like the style of that one over the others. We just purchased a wicker rocker (for me) and swivel chair (for the hubs) for our screened-in porch and even though it was a significant purchase, every time I sit down to read and rock and the hubs is contentedly swiveling back and forth, I know we made the right choice!

  6. Lauren says

    We just ordered a Brown Jordan dining set for our porch, and I cannot wait until it gets here! My in-laws have had some Brown Jordan lounge furniture that has lasted for over 20 years.

  7. says

    This is probably a silly question, but does anyone have any advice/experience to share about how you keep the cushions clean? We have a similar set from World Market from a few years ago. We leave it out all summer, and anytime we would go out to use them, we’d find that the exposure to dust and moisture in the air from being outside would leave them a little to dusty to sit on.

    So, I would have to clean it a day ahead of time, but then the cushion covers are SO hard to get on and off that it was such a task.

    It all seems so high maintenance to me that I must be missing something…right?

    • says

      Anyone have advice for Bridget? I think we’re planning to hose ours off and lay the cushions out in the sun to dry when it’s pollen season and we also hope that having them under an awning will help to keep things cleaner.


    • Britiney says

      I wonder if you could just flip the cushions over when you want to use them. The bottom would be less dusty and then the dust would fall off of them when they’re upside down so they’re ready for the next flip? Or covers maybe? That seems a hassle too.

    • Ali says

      We definitely flip them over for a quick fix! Otherwise hose or low pressure, pressure washer and leave in the sun to dry as Sherry suggested. I’ve also seen people leave beach towels/fabric/plastic over them when they are not being used. If they are going to get wet (color from fabric/towels might bleed) a clear plastic may be your best bet.

    • Amanda says

      You should definitely buy an outdoor cover for them! They sell ones very similar to bbq covers, and while they almost certainly don’t last for years (try a year or 2), they will get the dirt and sun damage instead of your fancy patio set. The hassle is about 30 seconds of pulling it off and smashing it under the chair or in a box to hide it. My parents wicker set has lasted years looking awesome because of the covers!

    • Ashley says

      I use my hand held dust pan brush to brush off the cushions of my outdoor seats. A lot if my friends also have a storage bin outside which would be good for long term care. They only take them out when needed.

    • says

      Thanks for the advice Britiney and Ali (and Sherry).

      I realized (too late) that I should have been doing the flip technique from the start. The underside of the cushion is still in good condition. But it also has the visible zipper and 2 velcro tabs to attach the the bench frame, which look a little funky when facing upwards.

      Any other tips not mentioned here?

    • Jessica C. says

      We have an outdoor sectional and bought a 150-gallon waterproof storage box (which can also be used to sit on) at Sam’s club and we keep all the cushions in there during the week. We’re at work all week and don’t really use the outdoor space much, then on the weekends when we’re out there or have people over we take them out. It’s the BEST way to keep them from getting dirty, looking worn, dull, etc. We live in FL so we use it year round, we have to do it this way or they wouldn’t last more than a few months.

    • Shanna haycraft says

      My mom has always flipped the seat cushion up so it would lean against the back cushion when inclement weather was headed our way and keeps the seat pretty dry for the most part – less surface area exposed to the rain. We live in central Illinois in the middle of a sea of corn and can rain pretty hard here since there isn’t much to block the wind.

      Sherry – I was like you and shopped For-Freaking-Ever (over a year) for a 3 person sofa arrangement watching deals and sales to see when the best time to buy was. We just got ours last week from Target – the belvedere Collection – at 20% off with 2 chairs (all costing around $860). I couldn’t believe how costly outdoor furniture is either. Can’t wait to see the rest – I loved the outdoor living at the showhouse! Hope u can sneak a good nap in soon – I’ve totally been there my son didn’t sleep well the first 18mo of his life either – hang in there!

    • Sharon S says

      We have Sunbrella cushions for our outdoor chairs on our screened porch that get covered in pollen each Spring. I’ve found that using a Swiffer or a dry microfiber cloth works the best and the dust/dirt/pollen comes right off. We leave them outside all winter and they still look great (this is the third season with this set).

    • Stacy says

      Bridget b – have you tried flipping them over to the side you don’t want up when not using the set and then flipping them to the side you do when you decide to use them? I do this with the cushions for my adirondack chairs and they look great. I also give them a quick sweep with a dust broom just to make sure there aren’t any spider webs on them.

    • Colleen says

      Maybe I’m just crazy, but I keep all of our outdoor cushions and pillows in our mud room when we are not using them (my mom did the same!). Our current set are three years old and look brand new, and it only takes a second to set them up outside when needed.

    • Trish says

      Bridget, I used Clorox Clean Up with Bleach on mine and they came out beautiful. My cushions are a print and they were so dirty I fugured I had nothing to lose. I’ve used this method for 2 seasons so far and have been happy with the results! The cushions take a few days to dry in the sun but if you try to use as little water as possible (just let it run off the cushion held on end)then sqeeze/press out as much water as you can and dry on end. This link is the link I got the idea from!

  8. Elizabeth says

    You will love Your BJ sofa! We have 2 of their lounge chairs sitting in direct sun for 4+ hours a day. We’ve had them for 4 years now and they still look brand new. And we bought them off Craigslist, so who knows what the previous owners did to them. Great quality!!

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