Bringing The Outdoors Indoors

Who decides what furniture is meant for the outdoors and what furniture is meant for the indoors? Sure there are obvious discerning factors such as fabric materials, paint finishes, and even footing (afterall, who wants a metal chair foot scooting across the pine flooring?) but other than those obvious differences, what great guru in the sky created a law saying that a hammock can’t be suspended between a ceiling joist and a door frame or that an adirondack chair can’t be put in the corner of a living room for guest seating? NO ONE, that’s who! NO ONE!

In researching my assertation I referred to The Ladies’ Book of Etiquette and Manual of Politness (1861) by Elizabeth Hartley and was simply unable to find mention of using hickory gliders in one’s guest suite. I was able to find plenty of reference to the proper way of speaking (i.e. Never gesticulate when conversing; it looks theatrical, and is ill-bred; so are all contortions of the features, shrugging of shoulders, raising of the eyebrows, or hands.) and even recipes for cold creams made of oyster oils, but alas I could find nothing on bringing the outside in. I am left then, to assume only that there is no rule. You are free to do it. In fact, by laws of art and architecture, you are supposed to do it. Push the boundaries. Don’t let aluminum be confined to the grassy knoll. Bring it in, put it around a card table, and have some fun!

Patio Chairs

The classic choice of outdoor furniture that can pull double duty indoors is wicker seating and even wicker chairs. The material is durable and rather attractive. It lends a cottage or garden feel to a room that may otherwise be stuffy or boring. And since wicker comes in a number of patterns, sizes, and colors, it is easy to find a scale that works for your home. Beyond even that though, wicker is durable. A material made of plant stalks, branches or shoots formed by a kind of weaving into a rigid material, wicker is great for indoor applications and now that there are so many plastic options that are virtually undetectable, it is an obvious choice for high traffic homes as well.

Need more convincing? Why not take a few of these reasons for bringing your outdoors in:


While I only have one daughter, she has the energy and imagination of several toddlers. One minute she is bowling in the living room and the next minute she is leaping from the couch as a ballerina would from the arms of her prince. By using outdoor furniture inside I can quickly clean up the remnants of her latest entomological find without getting upset or having to ban her insatiable desire to be Wonder Woman!


We have a small sitting area in our living room so I love seeing sets like this Ciudad 3-piece from Pier 1 Imports at such an affordable price. Less than $600? You bet! Two armchairs and a loveseat for what I would pay for just one mid-grade recliner is music to my ears. Not to mention the feel it gives the space. Who needs heavy, bulky, pleather when you can have light, airy, wicker?

Wicker Set


Whether your walls are white, baby blue, or pink with yellow stripes, outdoor furniture is designed using materials that can be painted, sanded, chipped, etc. You can really make most pieces look entirely different just by changing out the cushions, adding a pillow or two, or even breaking out the Krylon.


In recent years the popularity of pallet wood DIY projects has increased dramatically. That also means that furniture built using the salvaged materials has become hugely popular and building a square armchair or even sculpting an adirondack chair, is perfectly acceptable for both outdoors and indoors. It is the quintessential DIY for a small budget and a big imagination.


The best thing about using outdoor furniture inside? You can always take it back outside!

What about your design taste or your house? Do you use or would you use your patio set indoors? 

By Andrew M. Odom for the [Tiny House Blog]

Join Our eMail List and download the Tiny House Directory

Simply enter your name and email below to learn more about tiny houses and stay up to date with the movement.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Fonda Rush - August 13, 2016 Reply

I would love to have a swing and a glider in my living room. That would just be too cool! I am a large woman, and I would love to have that swing wide enough and deep enough to accommodate my size. We could anchor it to the ceiling joists with some major hardware and chain where its height can be a little adjustable. It a dream right now, but maybe it could be done.

Leave a Reply: