Outdoor Dining

A delicious alternative to indoor meals

No longer does outdoor dining furniture have to mean scratched, wobbly plastic tables and chairs - imagine yourself dining on a granite-top island complete with padded barstools. The outdoor dining area has been transformed from a wooden picnic table on the grass to an oasis of food, fire and fine furnishings. Barbecue never tasted so great!

Outdoor dining furniture can vary from a long, low table with cushions as seating to an elegant tile-topped table with upholstered chairs. It may even encompass an entire outdoor kitchen with cabinetry, a refrigerator and a dishwasher.

Some people include a fire element in their rooms that they can also cook over, like a firepit or a smoker. Furniture should be functional and comfortable, while still reflecting the theme of your outdoor decor.

You should consider:

  • Whether you want a permanent setup or something you can take inside in the wintertime. If you want something permanent, you'll have to make sure that everything is weatherproofed or properly sheltered. It will also help you make a decision about whether you want to eat at a table or an island.
  • If you want to be able to cook outdoors or just have a place for parties. If it's the former, then you might want to think about getting outdoor appliances that will allow you to do all your cooking in your outdoor kitchen. You may want to buy cabinetry that will store dishes, trash and other kitchen utensils so that you're not hauling things back and forth from your inside kitchen. If you choose the latter, you can buy less expensive furniture and make do with a built-in barbecue.
  • The size of your table. How many people will you entertain at a time? What style should you go with? Consider the size and shape of your outdoor room, and what kind of theme you want to create. A more traditional table will fit into a room with more elegant furnishings. If you're on a budget, get a multi-functional table that will transform into a sofa when you're finished. Depending on your style and budget, you may consider an outdoor dining set in teak, wrought iron or coated aluminum.
  • Other dining furniture, including serving carts. A serving cart will allow you to get away with having no table at all, which works for a family who doesn't have the space or the money for multiple outdoor rooms.
  • Patio heating, lighting and misting. Be prepared for all kinds of weather and provide proper heating and cooling for your guests' ultimate comfort. Patio misters send down a fine spray of water to cool a hot brow on a humid day. The right sort of *lighting[/garden-decor/outdoor-lighting.aspx] can set many moods, from energetic to romantic to relaxing.
  • Advertiser Links for outdoor dining