Eating outdoors with friends and family is a simple pleasure that many people enjoy. Having the perfect outdoor dining set makes it even better. Since all other pieces center around the table, choosing the table first and working outwards through your patio is a good idea.

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Outdoor Dining Table

The first thing homeowners should consider is how many people they typically entertain. This will determine the size of the table, with table height coming next on the list. Outdoor dining tables with higher height are a good choice for more formal occasions while tables at a lower height are best for informal or impromptu get-togethers. The age span of guests also makes a difference in the table height decision. It makes sense to choose a lower height outdoor dining table if many of the guests are children or smaller adults. Some popular outdoor dining table styles include:

  • Oval, measuring 60 to 84 inches in length
  • Rectangle, measuring 40 to 102 inches in length
  • Round, measuring 24 to 60 inches in length
  • Square, measuring 30 to 64 inches

The smallest sizes are for two-person seating while the largest sizes accommodate groups of various sizes.

The decking material makes a difference in how well the dining table will sit on the deck and whether it will leave scuff marks when moved. Homeowners should know whether their patio surface contains concrete, wood, pavers, flagstone, or another popular type of decking material. They should also evaluate the shape of the patio to make sure the dining table they select will easily fit. The location of the dining table to outlets is another consideration as is making sure no obstacles block the path from the back door to the patio.

Measuring the space where the outdoor dining set will sit before making a purchase prevents unnecessary returns and repeat deliveries. After deciding on the ideal length, height, and seating space, homeowners should select how many chairs to place around the dining table and ensure there’s enough room to place them without guests feeling overly crowded.

How to Select the Best Chairs for a Patio Dining Table

There’s no rule that says chairs need to match the table if homeowners prefer something else. Some like to keep it more formal by having all chairs match, but others like having different mix and match style options available. Buying at least two of each type of chair ensures that a replacement is available if one of the chairs become damaged. Here are some other things to consider:

  • The height of the chairs should match the height of the table to avoid people bumping their knees when sitting down or standing up.
  • The style and colors of the chair should at least complement the table and the whole outdoor seating space.
  • Make sure there will be enough space between chairs for guest to feel comfortable and not need to sit too close together.

Another popular look for outdoor dining sets is to utilize a bench on one side of the table. In some configurations, the bench can be tucked under the table when not in use to save space. By contrast, the other side of the table and the ends are then populated by side or arm chairs. The end result is a stylish look such as the one achieved by the pairing of the Madera table and bench with Napa chairs below:

madera table and bench with napa chairs

Choosing the Chair Style and Cushions for Outdoor Use

Chairs for patio dining typically come in one of three styles. These include bench seating, swivel rocking chairs with a round base, and standard chairs with either a sleigh base or four legs. Stability of the chairs and how well they match the other outside décor are two considerations with this buying choice.

Polyurethane foam is a popular material for outdoor chair cushions because it allows water to run through the cushion without damaging it. Cushions filled with polyester, on the other hand, are more prone to water damage that can cause them to quickly erode. Regardless of the type of cushions homeowners choose, they should cover them with acrylic fabric dyed in solution. Taking this step will help to protect the cushions from sun and water damage that can cause them to fade or break down prematurely.

Don’t Overlook Type of Material Used to Make the Outdoor Dining Set

Some of the most common materials used to construct outdoor dining pieces include aluminum, light concrete, teak, wicker, and wrought iron. Style is certainly an important consideration when selecting an outdoor dining table and chairs based on materials. Homeowners should also consider the typical weather where they live as some types of material won’t be a good fit. For example, purchasing lightweight chairs would be a mistake in areas that see a lot of wind. Those with heavy rain or snow accumulation need to consider which material resists rotting and mold damage due to moisture.

These steps should make the buying decision easier when it comes to an outdoor dining set. The only thing to do now is sit outside and enjoy it.