Get Schooled: Must-Know Facts About Patio Dining Sets

July 02, 2013

Get Schooled: Must-Know Facts About Patio Dining Sets

School may be out, but there are still a few lessons to learn during the dog days of summer–especially if you’re decorating your patio. No need for a pencil and paper, we did the dirty work for you and compiled a list of things to consider before you shop for patio dining sets.

Study hard before you hit the store. You never know, there may be a pop quiz!

1. Dining sets typically seat 4-10 people. Count heads before you hit the store. Couples and small families can stick to a table that seats four or five. But those folks who love to throw backyard barbecues should consider a patio dining set for six or more.

2. A heavy set is harder to move. Yes we may be stating the obvious, but this is an important fact to keep in mind if you have a penchant for rearranging or you don’t plan on using your set year round. Wrought iron, steel, and some types of wood are much harder to lug than lighter weight options like wicker and aluminum.

3. Exposure to the sun can cause wood furniture and fabric cushions to fade. If you’re planning on placing your set in a sunny area, make sure wood has been covered with paint or stain that filters UV rays and fabric has been treated with a UV protectant.

4. On the upside, wood furniture and fabric cushions won’t get too hot in the sun. Unlike other materials (ahem, wrought iron) wood and fabric are less likely to burn your bum after sitting out in the hot sun.

5. Iron and steel sets can rust in the rain. If you live in an area prone to the great summer deluge you’ll either want to be sure you’ll place it in a sheltered area, or make sure it’s been treated with some sort of protective finish.

6. Not all sets have room for an umbrella. If extra shade is at the top of your list, look for a set that comes with a spot to insert an umbrella.

7. There are two types of wicker. Regular wicker has no defenses against wet weather and shouldn’t be left exposed to the elements. If you’re looking for a waterproof option, invest in an all-weather wicker set.

8. Lightweight sets have the potential to blow away in the wind. Aluminum, plastic and even wicker furniture has the potential to take flight on a windy day. If you live in a part of the country known for great summer gusts, choose a material with a little more weight.

9. No every dining set is child-friendly. As any parent knows, little ones are prone to spills and stains – especially during meals. Look for options made of materials that can be easily washed down with soap and water (like aluminum or plastic).

10. Moisture causes mildew. Live in a state known for sticky summers? Keep in mind that moisture breeds mildew – especially in cushions. Opt for a wrought iron or a metal set without the extra padding. Or pick a set with cushions you can hose down or throw in the wash.

11. Tempered glass is resistant to breakage. Which makes it a must for those looking to nab a glass-topped table.

12. Some dining sets have complementary patio furniture. If you’re looking to furnish the entire outdoor area (couch, coffee table, loungers) think about choosing a dining sets that is part of a bigger furniture line. It’ll take the mystery out of creating a cohesive backyard look.

13. Yes, there are sets made for small patios. If you’re not working with a ton of square footage, try a pub style dining set. These sets take up less room thanks to a high-top table and raised chairs. They’re also a great option pool-side.

Megan Mostyn Brown

What’s your favorite piece of patio furniture?



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