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Sectional Outdoor Beds: A Flexible Solution For A Smaller Outdoor Space

When you don’t have a lot of space to work with, choosing the right furniture for your patio or deck can be a real challenge – especially if you use the space both for hosting guests and for soaking up a little sun by yourself. The best furniture for a crowd is definitely not the best furniture for lounging (and vice versa), and in a smaller back yard, you might not have the luxury of being able to accommodate both. That said, sectional outdoor beds offer the best of both worlds. Fully assembled, they offer a comfy, cushy lounge for one or two, but they can also be pulled apart and rearranged to seat a crowd.

Two Piece

Sojourn Outdoor Patio Daybed EEI-1982-CHC-TUS from Modway Furniture
Sojourn Outdoor Patio Daybed EEI-1982-CHC-TUS from Modway Furniture

The very most basic sectional outdoor beds come in two pieces, like a sofa and ottoman that fit perfectly together. These are usually round, and have one piece with a raised back, armrests, and pillows or a cushioned back, and a second piece that’s symmetrically shaped, but more like a bench than a seat. Together, they make a roomy bed that’s perfect for stretching out and lounging in, but can easily be re-positioned to be used as a sofa and footrest, a sofa and table, or a sofa and a backless seat, more than doubling your seating capacity in a single piece of furniture.

Three Piece

Magatama Three Piece Outdoor Patio Chaise EEI-727-EXP-RED-SET from Modway Furniture
Magatama Three Piece Outdoor Patio Chaise EEI-727-EXP-RED-SET from Modway Furniture

If you’re worried about sticking your guests with a seat that doesn’t have a backrest, one simple twist on this basic setup is to have both halves of the outdoor bed be sofa-like, with arms and a backrest, so when they’re pulled apart they’re both equally comfortable to sit in. To ensure the set can still be used as a bed when it’s pushed together, the backs will usually be a little uneven and asymmetrical (to give you room to climb in without too much trouble!), creating a more chaise-like look, but without sacrificing usability or comfort on the bed end of things. Bonus: the tiny “coffee table” included in this set can be used as a side table when the sectional is pushed together.

Square And Stocky

Convene Four Piece Outdoor Patio Daybed EEI-2160-EXP-TRQ-SET from Modway Furniture
Convene Four Piece Outdoor Patio Daybed EEI-2160-EXP-TRQ-SET from Modway Furniture

A lot of sectional outdoor beds are round or oval in shape, meant to be placed in the middle of a deck or patio away from the edges of your yard, in contrast to most built-in outdoor seating. But if you want or need to put your seating in a corner or up against a wall or fence, sticking with something rectangular is a better bet. Rather than splitting into a sofa and ottoman, these sets transform completely, with two corner chairs that can be moved apart and two ottomans that can be squeezed in between to make for one long sectional that can easily accommodate the corners and dimensions of your space.

Hole In One

Sojourn Outdoor Patio Daybed EEI-1984-CHC-NAV-SET from Modway Furniture
Sojourn Outdoor Patio Daybed EEI-1984-CHC-NAV-SET from Modway Furniture

If your main concern is less about having seating for yourself when you don’t have guests and more about being able to make space to use your patio for something other than sitting, sectional outdoor beds are still a great option. Round ones in particular can be pushed together to be pretty unobtrusive and small. The round table in the center of this set makes it a little less well-suited to use as a daybed (unless you toss a cushion on top of it!), but pulled apart? It makes a really nice five-piece dining set that can easily be mixed, matched, and moved around, or pushed together and out of the way if you need to use your deck for something else.

A Little Shady

Sojourn Outdoor Patio Daybed EEI-1986-CHC-BEI-SET from Modway Furniture
Sojourn Outdoor Patio Daybed EEI-1986-CHC-BEI-SET from Modway Furniture

On the flip side, if you’re mostly interested in sectional outdoor beds for use as an actual outdoor bed (but maybe can’t justify having just an outdoor bed when you have periodic house guests), you want to look less for a set that’s symmetrical, and more for one that has a really nicely made “sofa” side. A big canopy will make for an obviously-skewed sectional set when it’s pulled apart, but is ideal for solo lounging, as it offers plenty of light shade in addition to ample room to spread out. You’ll wind up with two curved, backless seats, a sofa, and a table when you pull the set apart, which is a tad bit less flexible, but a nearly king-sized outdoor bed when it’s all put together!

Backyard Getaway

Majorca Day Bed 703603 from Zuo Modern
Majorca Day Bed 703603 from Zuo Modern

And if you’re really longing for some fresh air, but maybe not looking forward to spending the whole afternoon in the sun? Fully covered sectional outdoor beds might be your best bet. Rather than having a canopy on one side, these have a dome that covers the top completely, paired with removable fabric curtains that help shelter the inside from light (or nosy neighbors!). Instead of pulling apart into two sofas, the middle can be removed and converted into two benches, with nesting tables hidden underneath to complete the set. This is definitely the most unusual looking set in the bunch, but is perfect if you want to spend a lot of time in a shady spot outside, and occasionally play host to a small, cozy group of guests without buying a full set of outdoor furniture.

As with most multi-function furniture, sectional outdoor beds aren’t without their drawbacks or design quirks, but if you’re looking for a way to make the most of a smaller space, this is a great place to start!