Choosing an Outdoor Dining Set DesignAndrea Lewis
Choosing a new outdoor dining set is an exciting process. With the various kinds of tables and chairs available, it may take some time to decide what set best fits your needs. Consider every factor, from your local weather to your maintenance capabilities, to be sure you make the right choice.
Factors to Consider When Choosing an Outdoor Dining Table
When choosing outdoor dining sets, you want to factor in every aspect of your outdoor space. From the type of space you plan to design to the kinds of dining sets available in your area, review every possibility before deciding. Here are some factors to consider when choosing an outdoor dining table.
1. Furniture Needs
Think about the function and needs of your outdoor space. Where do you plan to serve food? Will you place a hostess outside to greet guests, or will there be a way to enter the restaurant or building from the outdoor dining area? Your furniture may need to be used for several different purposes, including dining and hosting large dinner parties or birthday events. Think about the activities that will take place in the area to decide what type of furniture to buy.
So, if your business sees a mix of small and large groups, square tables that you can separate or push together may be ideal. If you primarily host smaller groups, you might choose round tables for your space.
2. Chair Support and Quality
If you know customers will use the seats regularly, you want strong and durable yet comfortable seats. Consider pieces with backs or cushions to support your guest’s upper body. Some businesses even opt for weather-resistant fabrics for both their cushions and pillows. These fabrics resist water damage and mildew growth and help prevent the color from fading.
3. Easy Cleaning
Many businesses want to invest in outdoor dining furniture that is easy to maintain and care for. While the restaurant workers or building employees are busy attending to customers, you will want to reduce upkeep as much as possible so employees can focus on other tasks.
Furniture materials like wicker, cedar, metal or teak can withstand weather and sunlight. Perform regular cleaning and washing of the material and fabric to help the furniture last for years. If you want to accessorize with cushions and pillows, consider investing in removable cushions that you can take inside during rainy days, or buy pillows with removable covers that you can launder in a washing machine.
Consider where you’ll store your furniture during the off-season or winter months. Whether you plan to place the outdoor sets in an oversized garage, the basement of a building or an outdoor shed, keep in mind that many furniture sets last longer when stored in a protected space.
If your business does not have much storage room, try to find furniture that effortlessly folds in half, can be taken apart or stacks on top of each other. For example, stackable chairs help you maximize your storage space.
Many businesses choose neutral colors like gray, black, brown or natural wood tones to furnish their outdoor space. However, you are not limited to these tones in many cases, and you can choose colorful finishes for your dining sets.
Consider how you can use chair and table colors to complement your landscaping and outdoor design. Or maybe you’ll want to use neutral furniture but incorporate bold tones like reds, oranges or blues into accent pieces like cushions and outdoor rugs. You could also match your dining set color choices to your business logo and overall design.
Consider chair and table quality before investing in several outdoor sets. Different types of outdoor dining sets may be more durable than others. Heavy-duty steel tables can hold up better to gusts of wind than lighter materials. Sealed wood or faux wood furniture can stand up to the sun’s rays and other weather conditions better than untreated wood.
Build quality matters, as well. You’ll want dining sets intended for use outdoors, with durable construction and features made to handle various weather conditions.
When considering quality, consider how often customers will use these dining sets, the location of your business and the weather that is common in the area. For example, areas near the beach or closer to the equator may experience more rain and salty air, calling for coated metal to avoid rust.
7. Location and Specifications
Consider the location and specifications of your outdoor space. In many commercial settings, the type of outdoor space determines what kind of furniture you need, particularly when it comes to size and shape. Some types of locations include the following:
- Patio: Patios are often found in restaurants or bars, where the need for extra seating places dining areas in the front or back of the building. The size and shape of furniture here depend on how much room you have.
- Sidewalk: Cafes, restaurants or coffee shops often use sidewalks for additional seating areas. Small round tables and low-profile chairs suit these spaces.
- Pool: Many hotels, resorts or spas like to place open bars or food areas near the pool. Water-resistant furniture will be important here, along with features like table umbrellas for shade.
- Terrace: Some businesses house a terrace where guests can enjoy food or wine in a wide outdoor space. Again, tables with umbrellas may be more suitable for these locations.
- Balcony: Some hotels or restaurants may have a balcony allowing smaller dining tables and chairs.
Pay attention to the surroundings near your building and the land where your business is located. Some restaurants may be limited in outdoor seating space, and you may want to modify your plans for furniture based on these discoveries.
Note where the sun often hits the space and whether you’ll need extra lighting during the day or spaces for shade. If you need room for shade structures, you can choose smaller tables. Alternatively, if you want to add lighting to guests’ tables, consider larger surfaces so the light fixtures don’t take up too much space.
Be aware of your local trees and shrubbery, as well. Some branches may create overhangs in the space or create extra shade, meaning you won’t need tables with umbrellas. If there are no overhanging plants, you then have more room to choose high tables and bar-height chairs.
If your space is often hit by direct sunlight, you’ll want UV-resistant tables and chairs, and you might add umbrellas to the tables. The space around your outdoor area is just as important. Will it be surrounded by fences or shrubs? Those features minimize the room you have for furniture, so you might have to select smaller pieces.
9. Dimensions and Design Flow
Make sure you measure the space before investing in new furniture. You’ll want the dining furniture to fit into the area. Consider usable space, the shape of your area and the approximate number of people who walk through the dining area. If your seating space is oddly shaped, you may consider smaller tables and thin chairs. Some opt for bistro tables and barstools to suit small spaces.
It is also helpful to think three-dimensionally by envisioning what it would be like to sit as a guest at these tables. Think about their eye-line and what they can see from their seat. What is it like to stand up or move around the space? You want to fit as many tables as possible without causing guests to bump into someone or something.
10. Environment and Weather
The last thing to consider should be your local environment and weather patterns. Note these conditions and consider how they could impact your outdoor furniture:
- Heat: Think about the heat during the summer and how that would impact your furniture’s condition. You might choose lighter furniture colors that don’t get as hot in the sun.
- Cold: During the off-season or winter months, furniture may need to be stored in a different location. Consider lighter materials, like aluminum, that are easier to transport.
- Sunlight: Direct sunlight can cause some furniture to crack or fabric to fade. UV-resistant materials can help prevent fading and wear.
- Rain: Excessive rain could cause furniture to collect mildew. Select mesh furniture designs that let water pass through instead of collecting pools of rain.
- Winds: High winds can knock over furniture or umbrellas. Choose heavy, sturdier options like steel tables and chairs.
Determine the Purpose of the Furniture
The purpose of the furniture is one of the main factors that businesses consider when buying new dining sets. Think about the function, usage and flexibility you want for each piece of furniture. Both chairs and tables should fit the space and be easy to maintain.
Function and Use
Make a list of what you plan to use each piece of furniture for. A list can also help you organize the space and decide where you want each chair and table and how many of each piece you need. Do you have a bar area outside that requires higher chairs and tables? Is your outdoor space solely for hosting large groups? Do you have a combination of areas that serve different purposes? Consider how expansive your outdoor dining area is, as well.
Factor in how you’ll rearrange your outdoor dining sets and the various purposes they could serve aside from seating areas. Multi-functional and flexible pieces make it easy to move seats around, accommodate large parties and store pieces during the off-season.
For example, some ottomans have compartments beneath the seat, making it easy to store extra napkins or silverware. Some chairs are stackable or foldable for easy storage. If your business wants to switch out different seats or tables, foldable pieces may make this process smooth. Also consider tables or chairs with wheels that make it easy to move seating around or pack up if the weather turns bad.
Some pieces could serve multiple purposes, such as benches repurposed for seats outside. Game tables are also versatile furniture pieces, where your visitors can sit to dine at your establishment or relax and enjoy a game of chess or checkers.
Explore Different Design Options
The next consideration is the design of your current space and the new seating. You’ll want to choose chairs, tables and accessories that match your current aesthetic or achieve your new style goals and invite customers to your business.
Select Chairs to Accompany Your Set
Selecting chairs may be one of the most critical decisions for your guests. You can add chairs that match entirely or mix and match different styles to create a unique aesthetic. Whatever style you choose, buy extra of each type of chair to ensure you have a replacement available.
Some other aspects to consider when choosing chairs include:
- Height: Try to match the size of the chairs with the table. This will ensure that customers and guests don’t bump their hips or knees when entering or exiting their seats.
- Style and colors: You may choose seats that match the aesthetic of the seating area, your building and the tables you’ve bought. Mismatching styles could look unorganized if not done intentionally.
- Space: You will want to provide a decent amount of space between each chair to make guests as comfortable as possible.
Many restaurants and businesses usually include three styles in their seating areas — benches, armchairs or armless chairs. The chair you choose will depend on how durable and stable your seats need to be and how much room you have for certain chair types. You will probably want the chairs to match your business’s aesthetic.
Your final consideration when choosing seats should be the type of material. While many options exist, select the type of material that fits your aesthetic and local weather. Some types of seat materials include:
- Aluminum: Aluminum is sturdy and durable, but chairs in this material may heat up during the summer. To offer comfort, pair metal chairs with extra cushions or pillows.
- Concrete: Some seats are made with concrete, allowing a weather-resistant and durable chair.
- Teak: Teak is a hardwood known to be durable and water-resistant. Remember that many kinds of wood are prone to rotting or cracking over time without proper sealant.
- Wicker: Wicker chairs offer a boho or natural aesthetic to your outdoor seating area.
- Wood: Wooden chairs of all types are prevalent in outdoor areas but can rot or mold if not sealed correctly.
Whichever type you prefer, keep in mind that some lighter chairs may fall over in windy weather. If your area experiences heavy snow or rain, it may be best to avoid materials prone to rotting.
Some design options may include various accessories, including umbrellas, aesthetic fire pits or fairy lights. However you design your area, explore some different accessories and accents that could enhance your space and add a finishing touch.
Other outdoor seating accessories include:
- Umbrellas and shades: Avoid direct sunlight with outdoor umbrellas or shades that you can place over the seating area. Sun protection can also help your guests avoid harmful ultraviolet rays that damage skin over time.
- Fire pits: The evenings could get chilly for outdoor guests in certain areas. Consider investing in a fire pit, fire table or chimenea to provide some heat and light to the site. Outdoor fires can also create a warm and welcoming atmosphere for new and returning customers. Try traditional fires that use wood and propane or a modern option that uses natural gas or bioethanol for a smokeless and ventilated area.
- Lighting: While natural moonlight or starlight can create a lovely atmosphere, it is often not enough light for guests to see while eating. Try overhead lights or tall floor lamps so customers can find their seats and see their food. Some restaurants or cafes use Tiki torches or lamps level with the ground. You could even repurpose fairy or holiday lights by stringing them along the eaves of your building and some tree branches.
- Rugs: Many businesses invest in weather-proof rugs to add pattern or texture to their outdoor space. Rugs can also prevent chairs from moving while cushioning guests’ feet and adding color to your current design. Many outdoor mats are made with polypropylene fabric in woven fibers or other durable textiles.
- Pillows: Accent pillows in different colors and patterns add some new texture to your design. They are also great for keeping guests comfortable in any season. Cushions and pillows with quick-drying foam and water-resistant covers add much-needed style to an outdoor space.
Choose Furniture That Is Low-Maintenance and Comfortable
One of the final things you should consider before purchasing new outdoor furniture is whether or not the pieces are low-maintenance and comfortable.
Think about how much effort you can put into maintaining your tables and chairs. Depending on your location and how often you plan to use the furnishings, you may require different types of furniture. Remember that certain materials may require more upkeep and cleaning to protect them from wear and tear or mold.
If you’ve made a budget for furniture maintenance, you may consider adding a section for cleaning materials, depending on how often you plan to clean. This may include scrub brushes, soap, water buckets, special cleaners or cloths. While some tables or frames resist scratches, you may also need fillers or buffs to clean up the edges and tops.
Many modern cushions and fabrics come with light synthetic fibers, fabric slings or webbings that allow your guests to be comfortable while they eat. With the introduction of ergonomic chair designs, many businesses can now invest in seats with different seating angles, armrests or leg inclinations for extreme comfort. The more comfortable your dining sets are, the more eager your customers may be to return in the future. Comfortable furniture can also mean guests stay longer and potentially order more from you.
Explore Bramsford’s Dining Set Options to Make the Right Choice for You
Bramsford’s commercial outdoor dining sets invite guests to eat in a comfortable and inviting space. We offer various outdoor restaurant tables and chairs for unique sets that fit your business’s needs. Give your customers an area where they can relax while leaving a lasting impression that will have them returning for seconds. Every restaurant, cafe or small business can improve sales with a unique outdoor space that includes commercial-grade chairs and tables.
With a sturdy signature design and various size options, Bramsford furniture allows you to combine different pieces to create your unique style. Browse our products online to find the best dining sets that fit your aesthetic and current business design.