Dining outdoors is arguably the best part of the summer months. Whether you're planning to relax by yourself or entertain a large group of guests, a good patio dining set is a must-have! Below are some expert tips that will you choose the perfect set that will suit all of your needs.
How do I determine the size and placement of my outdoor dining set?
This is the first, and most important step to choosing your outdoor dining set. You'll need to be super exact with measurements to avoid any nasty surprises after you purchase the set.
Most importantly, consider what you will be using the dining set for. If you have a small family and probably won't be inviting guests over, you'll only need a small set. The more people that will use the set, the larger it should be.
Measure out exactly how much space you have to work with. When doing this, take into account at least 3 feet of space on all sides of the table to ensure people will be able to move around the furniture comfortably.
If you have anything that dictates the boundaries of your dining area, like railings or steps, stick to a smaller setup, even if you think you could squeeze in a bigger one.
What material is best for a patio dining set?
The material you choose for your patio dining set will determine how long it'll last you and whether you'll need to purchase any protective covers or accessories. When choosing the material, go for something you think will be comfortable and will look attractive in your garden.
Aluminum outdoor furniture is very easy to clean and doesn't require any special treatments or repainting. It's lightweight so it can be easily moved and rearranged in the area, or even indoors if the weather gets bad. You may need to use cushions to make aluminum chairs more comfortable to sit on.
Steel or wrought iron furniture is sturdier and more durable than aluminum. It also doesn't need to be stored inside, even in bad weather conditions. However, this sort of furniture is usually very heavy, so it'll be difficult to move it around if you want to rearrange. It's also one of the more expensive options, and like aluminum, you'll need cushions to be comfortable.
Plastic outdoor furniture is the cheapest option when it comes to materials. It's pretty lightweight but can resist most types of harsher weather. Leaving it exposed to the sun for long periods of time may cause it to fade and lose its shine though. This furniture is usually pretty comfortable, so you won't need to use cushions to sit on it.
Wooden patio furniture is by far the most popular and attractive of the material options. This is because the material is very natural, making it blend seamlessly with an outdoor setting. However, you may need some cushions to make yourself comfortable. Also, the wooden furniture will need to be treated with a preservative solution on a regular basis to prevent damage. The best types of wood for garden furniture are cedar, redwood, or teak.
Wicker furniture also blends in very well with an outdoor setting. It has a subtle and beautiful appearance and will make the area look very cozy. However, this is probably the least durable furniture material, and experts recommend storing it indoors whenever it's not in use. Wicker also needs to be waterproofed every year, so the maintenance is not very easy.
Resin wicker is a variation of wicker furniture. It can resist the elements much better than standard wicker as resin is incredibly resistant to moisture. This also makes it very easy to clean, as you won't have to worry about accidentally ruining your furniture!
What sort of table should my patio dining set have?
The table will be the focal point of the dining set, so it's important to get it right. The most important factor influencing your decision should be the space you have available - nobody wants to buy a dining set just to realize it's too big for their space!
Have a large area to fill? => Oval or rectangle
Oval and rectangle tables are both great options for filling a large space.
They can hold a lot of people, so they're perfect for people who host garden parties on the regular.
Some models will even have extendable parts that will let more guests join the table!
These two shapes are quite formal though, so they may not be the best option if you prefer having a more casual atmosphere.
The most common material for oval and rectangle outdoor tables is wood, followed closely by plastic.
Want a more intimate atmosphere? => Round or square
Round and square outdoor tables tend to be smaller in size than oval and rectangle tables.
There's no 'head of the table' so everything feels a lot more intimate and casual.
They're much easier to store away and don't take up a lot of space on your patio.
Wicker sets usually have square tables, while aluminum and wrought iron sets seem to favor round tables.
Have really limited space? => Bar-height
Bar-height tables are an amazing solution to having limited space but still wanting more than two people to be able to use the outdoor dining set.
Coupled with some barstools, you'll be creating a quite intimate setting.
This type of table is capable of making even the smallest of spaces seem more open visually.
Bar-height tables come in practically any material, but wood seems to be the most popular.
Beware, bar-height tables are pretty hard to move around, so make sure to pick a spot wisely!
Want something just for you and a partner? => Bistro
Bistro tables are perfect if only one or two people will be using the outdoor dining set.
They provide just enough space for your food and drink and can be stored away indoors with ease.
Speaking of indoors, if you're really short on cash, you can use a bistro table both indoors and outdoors, simply moving it from place to place when needed!
Bistro tables are usually made out of aluminum or lightweight wood, though we have seen some plastic models out there too!
Jessica started out as an interior photographer, but her love of pretty settings took her to the field of interior design, where she can combine two of her greatest passions, creating and then capturing the beauty of homes.