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    Guide to Type of Outdoor Dining Sets

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    Why Do You Need an Outdoor Dining Set?

    Family enjoying food on an outdoor dining set.

    It is not uncommon to see an outdoor dining set in houses with extensive gardens. For many people, dining outside or alfresco is a fancy activity they can enjoy when the weather outside is neither too hot nor too warm. To do so, you need a dining table.

    An outdoor dining table can serve many purposes. It can be used for solo meals, dinners, and even large parties and barbeques outdoors. They allow you to take full advantage of your outdoor space and appreciate nature.

    Dining sets also serve as decoration and can be the perfect centerpiece for all your garden furniture. It also helps give your space a cohesive look and makes it look aesthetic. To achieve such a look, you must purchase the right kind and size of dining table. If you purchase one that is either too big or small or is not weather-resistant, you may end up not using it at all.

    Types of Outdoor Dining Sets

    Outdoor dining table with food.

    Outdoor dining sets are classified based on the material they use. When purchasing a dining set, you should consider the material it is made of. This is because the material determines how waterproof your set is, how durable it is and how easy it is to maintain. 

    Picking an outdoor dining set with a suitable material makes it comfortable and long-lasting. Ideally, you should choose a strong, fade-resistant, and weatherproof material for your outdoor set.

    You should also consider the weight and appearance of the material to ensure that it matches your other outdoor furniture and is easy to move around.

    Softwood

    Softwoods are not as popular as hardwoods in the world of outdoor furniture. Still, they are an inexpensive option compared to others. Softwood dining tables are usually made using pine, but they are not durable for outdoor use. Softwoods such as pine do not react well to most weather and are not spill-proof. 

    Softwood also tends to get scratched and dented very quickly, which may ruin the aesthetics of your dining set. Additionally, if you plan to place your softwood dining set outdoors, you must prepare it using varnishing. Sometimes, even despite extra precautions, the wood can get impacted by the weather and other items such as hot plates, cups, spilled drinks, etc. 

    Hardwoods

    Hardwoods are an excellent choice for outdoor furniture because they are designed to last and do not need to be regularly maintained. They are resilient and durable, meaning it takes a lot to dent, damage, or scratch them. 

    If you decide to keep your furniture outside, you should ideally varnish it so that the wood remains intact and does not rot or get damaged by rain and sunlight. Although hardwoods are resistant to weather, they are still impacted by hot plates, cups, and spilled foods and drinks. So, if you purchase a hardwood dining set, ensure that you maintain it.

    Teak

    Teak is another popular material used in outdoor furniture and dining sets and fares way better than other kinds of woods, including pine, oak, bamboo, and wicker. Sets made using Teak are incredibly resilient. Since Teak is a hardwood, it produces oil, making it extremely difficult to dent or scratch. 

    Teak dining sets are entirely resistant to rust, water, and wind, meaning you can leave them out all year round. They also give a classic look, which can blend in with your garden. Teak is only available in one color, but it matches really well with other wooden outdoor furniture. It is a pricier option, so it would not be the best option if you are on a budget.

    Teak dining tables are also challenging to maintain as they need to be regularly rubbed down and treated. Otherwise, they will form a silver patina. 

    Wicker

    Wicker is a popular material used to make dining sets as it is sturdy and relatively inexpensive. Still, it does not fare well outdoors for extended periods. Wicker can get easily damaged if you use your set roughly. Additionally, sun and rain may cause it to lose its appearance quickly, meaning it is not weather-resistant.

    Wicker dining sets are lightweight, which makes them easy to move around, but strong gusts of wind can also cause them to topple over. 

    HDPE Lumber

    HDPE stands for high-density polyethylene, a synthetic resin used to build high-quality and durable outdoor furniture. Dining sets made of this material are expensive but extremely stylish and luxurious. 

    HDPE lumber is extremely easy to maintain, and all you need is a soft-bristle brush, mild dish soap, and water to clean it if it gets dusty. These sets are also sturdy and resistant to wind, water, and even rust, meaning you can leave them out all year round. Due to the luxurious look of these dining sets, they can be used as centerpieces in your garden to add to the aesthetics. 

    These sets are not just pretty; HDPE lumber is also extremely strong, sturdy and resistant to wind, water, and rust. Due to all their features, it is safe to assume that HDPE Lumber dining sets are designed to last a lifetime.

    Aluminum

    Aluminum is a tough and resilient material, meaning dining sets made of this material are durable and easy to maintain. You can easily leave them out all year without any fear. Aluminum dining sets are also lightweight, meaning they can be affected by gusts of wind, which may cause the set to fall over.

    Factors To Consider

    Outdoor dining table by the pool.

    When purchasing a dining set, it is essential to keep a few considerations in mind to end up with a set that you will use and enjoy for a long time. Here are some factors to consider before you make your purchase. 

    Space

    If you are in the market for a dining table, one of the first things you should consider is how much space you have. You can purchase either a small or a large dining set if you have ample room. These sets come in various sizes, so you can choose a small one-person table or a large table meant for parties. 

    If you don’t have a lot of space in your garden or would prefer the dining table not to take over your outdoor space, you may want to consider a bistro set. These sets are designed to seat one to four people and are perfect for balconies and small gardens. Bistro sets aren’t suitable for large parties but work well for small families or solo meals.

    If you have a large space, you can purchase six-seaters or even larger dining sets, but it depends on whether or not you like to host parties. If you rarely invite people over, then an average-sized table would be a much better option. The larger table you purchase, the more expensive it will be. You can also use the leftover space for a more casual seating arrangement using outdoor rattan furniture

    Design

    Other than your dining set being durable and long-lasting, it is also essential that it looks good. Ensure that you purchase a dining set that matches your patio furniture and other furniture pieces such as garden swing seats, so that all the pieces flow together. 

    Weather

    The weather of your area is one of the most important things to consider when purchasing an outdoor dining table. If you live in an area with a hot and dry climate, you should avoid buying wood dining tables as they can crack and splinter. If your weather is wet, wood can also rot. If you live in an area that experiences high-velocity winds, you should avoid getting dining sets made using lightweight materials such as aluminum, wicker, etc. Otherwise, your set will get blown away, and you will need to fix it repeatedly.

    Too much direct sunlight and high temperatures also cause paint to fade and bleach. So you should avoid purchasing plastic dining sets for outdoor use. 

    Chairs 

    Selecting the right chairs for your outdoor dining set is crucial. Some people try to keep the design simple by matching their chairs to their tables. Suppose you want to switch things up and make your dining table more interesting. In that case, you can purchase slightly different chairs in contrasting colors to create an attractive centerpiece.

    Despite whatever design you choose for your seats, you should ensure that they are comfortable. The height of the dining chair should also match the table so that you can easily eat or do your work without straining yourself. It is also important to note the space between chairs. Ensure that there is enough space between chairs and behind so you can sit without feeling crowded. 

    Choosing the right chair type is also essential. Here are a few chair types that you can choose from. 

    Types of chairs Feature
    Swivel chairs. Swivel chairs come with arms and also have a rocker feature that adds mobility.
    Cushioned Seats Cushioned chairs are comfortable and extremely customizable. You can choose the chair style, the padding style, the pattern, etc.
    Sling chairs These chairs offer sling-style seating that is comfortable and quick to dry. They have a mesh look that cradles your body.
    Stackable chairs These chairs are affordable, convenient, and space-saving. If needed, you can stack them and store them away until you need them.
    Folding chairs Folding chairs are excellent for when you invite over a lot of guests since they are portable and can be stored away when not in use.

    Flexibility

    If you do not have a lot of space, you may want to purchase a foldable outdoor dining table. Such sets allow you to fold the set and store it away when not in use. Additionally, many furniture pieces also come with storage options, such as ottomans. 

    Flexible dining sets are also multipurpose, meaning you can use them in various ways, such as a work table, a game table, and a dining table.

    Quality

    Before purchasing a dining set, you should determine whether you are buying it as a short-term solution or if you intend to use it for the long term. Based on this, you should plan on a budget. Suppose you are aiming to keep your dining set for an extended period. In that case, you may want to purchase one made of a string material that is waterproof and fade-resistant. 

    Such sets are expensive, but you usually get what you pay for. You can use them roughly and not fear dents or scratches, which may ruin the look of the set.

    On the other hand, cheaper sets are a good idea if you are on a budget. They are usually not of great quality, but they can last you for some time. Over time they will start to look worn out, and you will probably need to replace them. You may initially save money, but you will have to spend a lot on its maintenance.

    Additional Accessories

    Dining sets also come with a couple of functional and decorative accessories. Umbrellas and cushions are standard accessories that come with dining sets. They allow you to increase the comfort of your dining set. 

    When choosing additional accessories, you must ensure they are designed to stay outside all year round. The fabric they use must be weather and fade-resistant; otherwise, it will likely fade quickly.

    Umbrellas are an excellent addition if your table is in an area that does not get enough shade. This is because it helps provide shade for you and your table. It could also help increase the longevity of your table by protecting it from direct sunlight. 

    Some outdoor dining sets are also extendable, which allows you to host more people. Such tables are excellent in smaller gardens because, when not needed, you can fold them to occupy less space.

    Dining Height

    The height of your dining set is another essential consideration because too high of tables and chairs can be challenging to use. The standard size of tables is around 30 inches tall and is the most preferred for outdoor settings. If you want higher counter-style tables, you may want to choose the 36-inch or even 42-inch height table. Ensure that your chairs are taller, too; otherwise, you may have trouble using the table. 

    Pros and Cons of Wooden Outdoor Dining Sets 

    Wooden outdoor dining sets are an excellent choice if you want your dining set to blend in with the rest of your garden and dark-colored outdoor furniture. However, there are pros and cons to choosing this material for an outdoor setting.

    Pros Cons
    Have an elegant and rustic look.  They need to be maintained on a regular basis and are prone to moisture damage.
    It can last for long periods if you take care of it properly. Sets made of wood are more expensive than those made of other kinds of materials.
    Available in a variety of different styles and sizes. They are heavy and difficult to move around.
    They have storage drawers which can be useful if you have a small garden.
    Teak has antifungal properties making it an excellent choice for an outdoor dining set. 

    FAQs

    1. What is the best material for outdoor dining sets?

    The best material for outdoor dining sets is stainless steel. It is a sturdy metal alloy built to handle large weights without breaking. It is also rust and weatherproof, so you can leave it out all year without repercussions.

    2. What should I look for in an outdoor dining set?

    When choosing an outdoor dining set, you should choose one made using high-quality material. The set should also match the style and color of your other outdoor furniture. Additionally, it should be of the right height and size because if it is too big, it may overshadow your garden.

    3. Should outdoor furniture pieces match?

    No. All your pieces don’t need to match, but you should ensure that there is one element that ties them all together; otherwise, they may look like a jumble of pieces without any aesthetic coherence. 

    Conclusion

    Choosing the proper furniture for your outdoor space is crucial because it can make or break the aesthetics of an area. If you intend to purchase a dining set for your outdoor space, ensure that it fits the space, matches your other furniture, and is of the right height. It should also be durable and weatherproof. By considering these factors, you will end up with a table you love and will use for the years to come.

    If you are also searching for other outdoor furniture, you may check out our Guide to Selecting Outdoor Furniture for more recommendations.

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