The 10 Best Outdoor Bistro Sets
We spent 45 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. If you live in a climate that allows you to dine al fresco fro time to time, you shouldn't have to be limited to plastic folding chairs and tables. We found bistro sets that are charming enough for a Parisian cafe, are just as comfortable as indoor furniture, and are made from materials that can survive the elements. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best outdoor bistro set on Amazon.
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Why You Should Dine Outdoors More
You'll notice that everyone is so much more mentally present at an outdoor meal versus an indoor one.
Perhaps you aren't convinced you need a dedicated set of table and chairs, just for your patio. You might think that you can simply drag some indoor furniture outside when you feel like being there. However, you know you never feel like going through the hassle, and so then, you just don't eat outdoors. That is a shame not just because everyone enjoys a nice meal al fresco, but eating this way is also good for you. If you've noticed an improved sense of wellbeing after dinner under the stars, it's not just a coincidence.
Think of how much time you spend indoors. Between work, driving, the gym, and relaxing and cooking at home, you usually have a roof over your head — and that's standard for most Americans. That means that, unless you sit by an open window, you spend most of your day breathing in stale air, which is quite unfortunate since being exposed to trees and fresh air is important for your health. If you also eat all of your meals indoors then, you're missing a golden opportunity to breathe in fresh air.
If you're looking for a way to spend more quality time with your family, taking your grub outside could be just the ticket. You know that when you eat inside, somebody keeps getting up to unmute the television because something interesting comes on the news, to answer the phone, or to run to their laptop to do one last thing they forgot. When you're outside, neither you nor your family has any of those technological interruptions in their field of vision. You'll notice that everyone is so much more mentally present at an outdoor meal versus an indoor one. Distance from distractions isn't the only thing at play here — people also feel more relaxed in the presence of nature. That means they'll slow down in everything they do, from chewing to chatting. Don't be surprised if outdoor meals with your family last longer than indoor ones, providing that quality time you were hoping for.
What To Look For In An Outdoor Bistro Set
You'll have different requirements for an outdoor bistro set than those of your indoor dining table and chairs because it will be exposed to the elements, and is meant to complement a more natural setting. First, ask yourself if this set will be a permanent installment of your outdoor relaxation area or a more seasonal one. There are sets that are simple to fold up and store away, taking up very little space in a shed or garage. These are ideal for those who live in areas with extreme weather, who know they won't possibly eat outdoors more than a few months out of the year. Should you be fortunate enough to live somewhere with milder weather, and know that you'll spend a lot of your recreational hours outside, there are more permanent sets. These might mimic some of the more formal chairs and tables from your indoor dining area.
If strong gusts aren't a concern, then you can go for eco-friendly bamboo-based furniture or more classic wicker.
Weatherproofing will be important, no matter where you live. You'll want a UV-resistant coating so that the sun's rays don't cause the color or material of your set to diminish over time. Water-resistant materials will also be paramount. Even if you live in a place that sees almost no rain all year, you never know when your sprinklers or a garden hose will accidentally hit your outdoor furniture. If you live in a windy climate, then make sure your set is made from heavy-duty materials like cast iron or aluminum. You don't want to wake after a storm to find your bistro set in the pool or your neighbor's yard (although that'd be an interesting way to make that important introduction). If strong gusts aren't a concern, then you can go for eco-friendly bamboo-based furniture or more classic wicker.
Your style, and how you plan on using your set, is also important. If it's just for enjoying a quick cup from your Nespresso machine in the mornings, then a casual breakfast set — with a smaller table, and perhaps chairs without armrests, is for you. Meanwhile, should you anticipate having long, leisurely meals with friends, you might want a set with a bigger table, for all of those side dishes, and broader chairs with armrests and comfortable cushions. You might also appreciate a decorative design if you'll often use the set for hosting guests.
Other Items That Improve Outdoor Dining
If you're working on mastering your skills at the lost art of throwing dinner parties, there are a few products that will help you look like a highly experienced host. These will also make the evening easier for you.
Just spin it around to give your friend access to her desired item, and you can stay seated.
Let's first discuss ambiance. While the sounds of crickets and buzzing power lines have a certain allure, they can also grow boring fast, which is why a good pair of outdoor speakers is critical so you can set the mood with music. Lighting is also something to be considered. The stars, of course, are gorgeous and provide a little illumination, but perhaps not enough. That being said, you might want to keep a natural aesthetic and avoid switching on those bright patio lights. Lovely LED candles will come in handy there.
Once you're seated, you probably wouldn't mind relaxing. Though a host's job is never done, you shouldn't have to get up each time a guest wants more salsa or the salt shaker. Adding a tabletop lazy susan to your bistro set will be very helpful here. Just spin it around to give your friend access to her desired item, and you can stay seated. Temperature is another thing with which guests might take issue, so make sure you have an outdoor heater for those cooler nights. However, if you're dining during the day, and trying to fend off the hot sun, add a patio umbrella to your dining area. With the right products, you won't miss eating inside one bit.
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