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Outdoor Bistro Tables to Transform Your Back Yard Into An Open Air Cafe

With the warmer weather here in the northern hemisphere, I’m seeing more and more outdoor dining open up for restaurants. Even places that didn’t have an outdoor section before are trying it out due to popular demand. Some are lovely, inviting spaces and others not so much. What gives? Chances are, the visual disconnect is the type of tables these businesses are using. Outdoor bistro tables are very distinctive, enticing dining furniture that romanticize the idea of a casual table for two. The good news is, whatever your local restaurants are doing, a good bistro table can bring that breezy, Parisian feel right to your own back yard.

Signature Sidewalk Dining

Your favorite outdoor restaurant look is surprisingly easy to replicate at home (by Oxford Garden)

We associate bistro-style tables with cafes and outdoor restaurants. But while this might seem like a stylistic choice as bistro tables are very distinct-looking, it’s really more a matter of practicality. Outdoor bistro tables are small enough not to crowd any sidewalk they’re near (or on) the way that traditional dining tables or picnic tables can. The more urban a dining establishment’s location, the more likely you’ll see a bistro setup. It’s also easier for waitstaff to reach all corners of the table without tripping over you or other patrons, making bistro tables feel more elegant than family-size banquet tables.

Compact Outdoor Bistro Tables For Small Spaces

Vine Bar Table in Bark, F700BA by Kalco

If bistro tables are so closely associated with a specific type of commercial dining, why should you have one in your home? While you certainly don’t have to worry about foot traffic the way a business does, a small size still poses advantages. A lot of porches are long but narrow to wrap around the front of a house. In apartments, a balcony is usually a tight square box to not conflict with your neighbors’ space. In either case, traditional tables and chairs are simply too large to fit. Bistro-style furniture is slender and easy to navigate around even when someone is sitting, causing fewer collisions and spills when getting up for a minute.

Outdoor Bistro Tables Need To Be Weatherproof!

Bistro Table for Outdoors (Glass Top), 184AJS by Polart

Finding the perfect bistro table for your porch can be a hassle. A lot of the cuter styles are labeled for indoor use only. Surely you could get away with one of those for the sake of style? Nope, not this time. If you want it to be outside, a bistro table and chair need to be fit for their environment. Rain, sun, and bugs are only a few factors your outside table needs to account for that an inside one doesn’t. Depending on your local weather, look for bistro tables that are water-repellent, fade-proof, and uninhabitable for unwanted wildlife. Fortunately, many bistro sets are designed for outdoor use. Depending on the look you want, teak, powder coated aluminum, or cast resin can all be stylish, sturdy options.

Spring for A Full Set

Though matching sets tend to feel less stylized than individual bistro pieces, they age better together (by Thos. Baker)

Okay, so you need an outdoor bistro set. But should you get a bistro table and chairs as a set or individually? I find that unlike indoor bistro tables and chairs, mixing and matching can be troublesome with outdoor furniture. If the pieces aren’t all the same material, they’ll wear out differently over time. Plus unlike inside furniture, it’s odd to have just a table for your deck. This makes it harder to find bistro furniture that isn’t a complete set without shopping secondhand. If you don’t want to spend your entire summer finding a summer-appropriate bistro table for your outside, it’s easier to get everything together.

Adding Extra Flair

Regents Park Bistro Set, SP913288 by Toscano

Once you have a set in mind, you can dress up your bistro to your liking. Indoors you can have more delicate displays, but outside your decoration needs to be as weatherproof as the table itself. Your display doesn’t need to be permanent. Seasonal plants like gourds or potted flowers are pretty to look at, hefty enough to stay put on windy days, and won’t mind if you forget them in inclement weather. A classy champagne bucket or a patterned tea pitcher can bring the restaurant charm to your table while you’re outside. With metal chairs, you can add tie-on cushions that add both color and comfort. If you want a traditional bistro-style candlelight, outdoor or hurricane lanterns prevent the wind from blowing out the flame (or setting your house ablaze!).

Bistro tables are a staple for both the cute cafe down the block, but they can bring the same sense of style and elegance to your own front yard. If you love the look, don’t wait for your local restaurant to get it’s act together. With your own outdoor bistro table, you can enjoy a nice cup of coffee en plein air whenever the mood strikes!