Fundamentals of Patio Furniture

Nice weather encourages outdoor dining. Whether you are sipping on drinks at an outdoor bar overlooking the sunset on a summer evening or meeting up with friends for brunch at a European style sidewalk café, outdoor dining is a timeless trend that only intends to grow. The right patio furniture can make a big difference in one’s outdoor dining experience. Fortunately, there is a growing market for outdoor restaurant furniture available and the styles and color materials are more variable to coordinate with many patio décor themes but most importantly, durable and long lasting through environmental stresses.

What You Should Look For

Aesthetics seems to be the single most important factor to most people when purchasing restaurant patio furniture. Understandably, people want furniture with a style that reflects their tastes, décor and brand the best. However, low quality patio furniture that doesn’t last, is very uncomfortable or that you are not happy with in the long run negate its visual appeal – giving you more than what you bargained for. Buying a “cheaper alternative” can be a very expensive mistake with mounting costs of constant replacement and repair for the furniture’s maintenance. Fanciful patio furniture is crucial but there are other major considerations to account for:

  • Measuring your patio space to determine what and how much you can fit.
  • Furniture type and style that will harmonize your venue’s interior and exterior.
  • Versatility, weather-resistance, strength, and easy storage.
  • How much maintenance is required.
  • What your budget can afford.
  • Best time to buy

Figuring out your general patio seating needs is foremost to making the right purchases. What kind of outdoor dining space you want to create? Do you want an outdoor kitchen area or do you want to create a place for people to lounge outside over cocktails on summer nights? Measuring your current space can help you calculate the number of guests you can accommodate. Sturdy patio tables and chairs are recommended for formal outdoor dining areas. For a casual outdoor lounge, you can use patio lounge chairs and side tables.

Outdoor Dining Layout Considerations

Not all patios are the same. Each patio/outdoor commercial setting possess its unique constellations of characteristics. These features are relative to the existing space, the layout, and how the furniture is arranged. Just as you would draw a restaurant floor plan for your indoor dining room, you should also keep your patio size in mind. Bulky outdoor restaurant furniture would not augur well in a tiny patio. Select items that fit well in your existing space. Consider your patio designing process akin to how director would view the creation of a theater’s stage set. Props and scenery are purposely positioned at specific points to support the story of the show. So does the commercial patio furniture you select and where you place them speaks in high volumes about your outdoor dining space.


Space planning is an interior design term that best describes how a patio is created. If you decide to enlist help with your patio layout from a commercial designer, he/she will gather all the relevant information for the site including your expectations and preferences for how and what you want to use your outdoor restaurant for. A preliminary patio layout plan set in place will allow you to virtually put yourself into that space as well as envision the seating plan your designer created for you. This is especially important if you are using built-in amenities that are fixed as they cannot be rearranged later on. With portable amenities however, you can have a better understanding how seasonal changes will impact your furniture and the overall patio.


        

Different Types of Patio Furniture

Furniture Type Image Material Durability Maintenance Affordability
Rattan Patio Table Faux Rattan Patio Table Faux Rattan Has a slightly rustic, country and coastal vibe. Extremely weather-resistant, lightweight, easy to clean, and recyclable. Wash with mild detergent, rinse and clean. Price varies by size and furniture though faux rattan is thought to be cheaper and more weather resistant than natural rattan.
Rattan Patio Chair Faux Rattan Patio Chair Synthetic Wicker Lends a traditional, homey feel to your patio. Versatile, waterproof, fade resistant and easy to clean. Use hose or pressure washer. Remove cushion (if included) and wash using a sponge with soap. Rinse with cold water. Considerably more affordable and resistant to rain, sleet, snow, moisture, and other forms of inclement weather than natural wicker.
(Plastic) Teak Chair Patio Faux Teak Chair (Plastic) Teak Lightweight, eco-friendly, low maintenance, waterproof (if actual wood teak is coated with an exterior grade varnish). Has a beachy/summery look. Plastic teak tends to last longer Easy to clean with soapy water. Rinse the suds and allow the item to completely dry before use. Depending on the size and usage plastic teak can up to 40% cheaper than wood teak and longer lasting.
Aluminum Bar Stool Aluminum Patio Bar Stool Aluminum Many include protective powder coating against outdoor elements. Lightweight construction yet durably built. Easy to form and mold. Rust and water resistant. Low maintenance. Wash with soapy water and rinse. Preserve finish with paint touch-ups to avoid oxidation. Though prices of aluminum are continually fluctuating based on global supply and demand, they are considerably lower than stainless steel.
Resin Table Top Patio Resin Table Top Resin Low maintenance, lightweight, and inexpensive. No painting or sealing required. Fire retardant. Won’t easily crack, peel or fade. Use cleaning agents that specifically prevent mildew and rinse with water. Perfect choice for those who are cost-conscious. Generally more affordable than patio furniture made of other materials.

Best Time to Buy Patio Furniture

While spring and summer days are the best periods of the year for outdoor dining, it may come as a shock to you that these seasons are not the best time to buy patio furniture. On the contrary, patio furniture is most expensive during that time with venues hosting outdoor events such as music festivals, expos, barbecues, pool parties, etc. So when is the best time to find bargains on patio furniture? Believe it or not, clearance sales on patio furniture are available from August to October when commercial furniture manufacturers and online distributors are selling these items at reduced prices to dispose of superfluous stock and make room for fall inventory.


Restaurant patio furniture is sold at approximately 20% off the original price in early August. You can find savings up to 70% off by the time October rolls around! Be sure to watch out for sales and if you have your eyes set on an particular item you’ve always wanted, swoop in for a buy when its being sold at a discount rate. When shopping for outdoor restaurant furniture online, you can request for notifications when an item is on sale.

Mistakes to Avoid

Indoor restaurants are pretty straightforward: dining room used for dining, kitchen used for meal preparations, storage room used for storing equipment and supplies, bathrooms and so on. Your approach to your patio design is your personal decision but when enthusiastic designers and decorators get carried away, they fall into a trap of making these following avoidable mistakes:

  • Purchasing residential patio furniture. Learn why it’s not advisable here
  • Choosing impractical items
  • Using restaurant furniture specifically designed for indoor use for your patio
  • Too much or not enough furniture
  • Under-accessorizing, using too many props, or no décor
  • Poor seating arrangement
  • Not enough or too much color

Attractive and comfortable patio furniture for your outdoor area is an easy way to increase your dining space. Decorative and well placed furniture will emit a warm and inviting charm. Creating a cozy seating area can transform your patio into a favorite spot for making new memories. Today’s trend is to create a comfortable and enjoyable outdoor dining experience for your guests as you would at your indoor establishment. There is patio furniture to coordinate with every space, vision and budget.

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