Summer is the season for outdoor entertaining – barbecues and pool parties and just lounging around spending time with friends and family and soaking up a little sun. But it can be a little difficult to decorate a one-season space, especially if you have a relatively small deck or patio. One of the best ways to maximize seating in a small outdoor space (and simplify storage in the off season) is to opt for nesting outdoor furniture. These are full outdoor dining sets designed specially to fit into a very small footprint, so a table and chairs that can seat four or more can be stowed to take up no more space than the table itself.
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If you’ve never heard of nesting outdoor furniture before, the concept is fairly simple: instead of having a standard table and chairs, where the chairs push maybe half way under the table, nesting outdoor furniture is specifically designed so the chairs fit completely underneath the table, often forming a smooth, solid exterior. This allows the furniture to be packed completely away when not in use, and expand to form a full set of usable furniture when needed. In fact, some offer more than just a table and chairs – this Naples set also includes four ottomans that can be used with the chairs, or even as chairs, effectively doubling the seating while taking up almost no space.
This is useful for outdoor spaces of every size. For a small deck or patio, it means having seating when you need it that won’t take up all your space when you aren’t using it. For a large outdoor space, it means having the ability to accommodate anything from a small group to a large crowd without having to overload on built in seating or outdoor sectionals. In a larger space, you can even disguise a nesting outdoor set as a large coffee table for a built-in sectional, and simply pull out additional seating as needed.
Nesting outdoor furniture makes a great alternative to the inexpensive throw-away furniture typical of the summer season – folding chairs, budget lawn chairs, or cheap plastic seating. The whole notion behind these budget options is that they can be put away easily and won’t be a tragedy to lose if you have guests only infrequently and can’t store the furniture in the off season. But nesting outdoor sets offer a sleek, polished appearance that budget options don’t, and offer seating for four to eight in as little as a 40″ square.
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As for the off season, many nesting outdoor sets are made of materials that hold up well to the elements, like synthetic wicker and coated aluminum or steel, so they’re a little more durable than a lot of other outdoor seating options as well. Plus, because they’re so compact and stowable, keeping them in storage during the off season becomes a much more viable option as well. Even keeping them covered – which is generally a rather unsightly option for large pieces of outdoor furniture – can work for nesting outdoor sets because you’re covering a single, small, uniform shape rather than a large and unwieldy set.
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You can get this space saving design with a more conventional look as well. After all, while fully-nesting outdoor furniture looks totally normal when it’s in use, it can look a tad cubist when it’s in storage. Circular nesting outdoor sets nix the boxy quality of some other designs while retaining many of the space-saving qualities. Rather than fitting entirely underneath the table, these come with wedge-shaped chairs that have cushions with a concave edge that allows them to be pushed almost all the way in against the table.
Unlike a conventional round table set, where ordinary chairs can be pushed in only part way, these circular sets maximize seating and minimize the footprint of the set by forming the chairs to the shape of the table. The cushions push right in against the base, and can reasonably seat two people per wedge – unlike conventional seating, which places one person at each of the four “sides” of a round table.
Nesting outdoor furniture makes the absolute most of the space available, and is as easy to store and stow as it is comfortable to use. Though the look isn’t traditional, this versatile outdoor furniture is both useful and stylish, especially for those with limited space or in need of a flexible seating solution. What do you think of these nesting outdoor sets?