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The Complete Guide to Buying an Outdoor Dining Set

May 18,2021 | Vicky

Eating alfresco is one of the great joys in life. What could be better than sitting outside on a glorious afternoon or beautiful evening and breaking bread with family and friends? Creating the perfect dining experience is an art — you need marvelous meals, delicious drinks, glorious guests, and fantastic furniture.

Although we can’t help when it comes to cooking up a storm in the kitchen, when it comes to the best outdoor dining furniture, we’ve got you covered. That’s why we put together this comprehensive guide to choosing the right table, chairs, and other furniture for the perfect dining experience.

Read on, and learn how to build the perfect space for your next alfresco dinner party.

Step 1 — Decide on the Right Table for Your Dining Set

The table is the centerpiece of your dining space, so it’s vital to get it right. Think about the type of dining experience you want to create. For more formal meals and dinner parties, you might want a longer table with rounded or square ends. For a more informal gathering, a round dining table could be perfect.

You will need to match the size of your dining table with the number of people you will want to serve. Don’t be shy — when word gets around of how great it is to dine at your home, family and friends will be begging for an invite! In other words, go a couple of place settings bigger than you normally would. Even if you don’t fill the table every time, the extra space will make moving around, sitting, and relaxing that much easier.

Dining Table Form and Function — Points to Consider
Think carefully about the height of your dining table. Lower tables are better for relaxing and enjoying a casual soiree, while higher tables will mean people sit up a little more, which is better for more formal gatherings.
If you have young kids you might want a slightly lower table so they can get in and out of chairs and reach their food more easily.
Look at the placement of legs on the table — that will influence where you can easily put chairs and seat guests.
Think about the overall size of your dining table and how much space you will need when it’s surrounded by chairs. Make sure there’s enough space on your deck or patio to comfortably hold the table and chairs while allowing people to move around easily.
If you want to install a patio umbrella, look for a dining table with a center hole.

Step 2 — Choose the Right Dining Chairs for Your Space

Your guests will want to relax in beautiful chairs as they’re enjoying their food. You can choose chairs designed to match your dining table or mix it up a little bit and go for eclectic, alternative designs.

We recommend buying dining chairs in sets of two — if you do that you could get a couple of one design and a couple of another.

For simplicity and ease, you can easily buy a complete dining set — a table that comes with two, four, or six matching chairs.

Dining Chair Form and Function — Points to Consider
Choose chairs matched to the right height of your dining table, lest you get bashed knees!
Consider how much space you will need for people to easily move around and between chairs, and pick the right number and size of chairs accordingly.
Choose colors and styles that will both complement your dining table and your outdoor space as a whole.

Step 3 — Choose the Right Materials for Your Dining Set

Dining sets are available in a wide variety of materials — softwoods like pine, hardwoods like oak and teak, wicker, HDPE lumber, and aluminum are all available. When it comes to choosing the right materials for your dining sets, you’ll want to take several factors into account:

  • Durability — how well will your dining set last when it’s left outside?
  • Maintenance — how easy will your dining set be to look after?
  • Appearance — how will your dining set look over time?
  • Surfaces — how well will the surfaces resist food and drink?
  • Comfort — how comfortable and luxurious will your dining set be?
  • Weight — how easy is it to move the dining set around, and how resilient is it to weather?
  • Price — how much value for money will you get from the dining set?

Step 4 — Work Out How Much Room You Have

Take a look at the variety of dining sets available, and when you’ve narrowed down your choices, think about the overall “footprint” or space the table and chairs will take up.
Carefully measure your outdoor space and use tape or some other way to mark the size of the table before you buy it.
Then, create similar templates for the chairs so you can see how they will interact with the table and the overall space.
You will want some space between chairs and enough space around the outside to allow people to move around easily.
If you’re not keeping the dining set outside all year round you’ll need to work out if you have enough space to store it.

Step 5 — Choose the Right Color of Dining Set

If you’re buying a pine, oak, teak, or wicker dining sets, you’re likely to be limited in your choice of colors and finishes. If you’re going for HDPE lumber, you will have plenty of choices. Even our aluminum dining sets are available in multiple finishes.

All our dining sets are available in a wide variety of tones. From beautiful grays, browns, greens, and other earth colors, to vibrant hues of red, yellow, blue, and more that add some real visual distinction.

You can stay with a modern look by choosing black or white, or bring in a sense of the natural with brown or green.

Step 6 — Accessorize Your Dining Set

You’ve chosen the perfect dining set for your outdoor space, but for the maximum in comfort, you need the right cushions or umbrella. All of our cushions and patio umbrellas are covered in durable outdoor performance fabric, which is designed to stay outside all year-round.
Outdoor cushions and umbrellas are weather- and-fade resistant, so they will stay looking great. They shed water quickly, so they dry out fast after a passing rainstorm. Add in a huge variety of colorways and patterns, and you’re sure to find the perfect dining set, umbrella, cushion, or pillow.
You can even add side tables and other pieces to your outdoor dining area to create more space for people and food.