A truly memorable event, though it may seem casually thrown together, requires hours of careful planning and painstaking preparation. From a formal garden wedding ceremony to a game-day backyard cookout, a semi-frantic checklist is running through the host’s mind right up to the moment that champagne cork, or first kernel of kettle-corn, pops.
Outdoor furniture designers know this and have created collections with greater versatility and functionality to meet demanding customer expectations. Today’s outdoor furniture pieces are often customizable as well as multi-use, making life easier and flexible.
The 3 (or 4) M’s: Modular, Multi-Use, Minimal Maintenance
Royal Botania’s Calypso collection is a great example of a contemporary collection with endless possibilities. Originating with a simple dining armchair, the concept has exponentially expanded to include dining, bar, and lounge modules designed to hook together and complement each other in endless combinations.
Each module has removable seat backs available in low-maintenance all-weather wicker, or in padded upholstery slip-covers that zipper on and off to facilitate easy cleaning and storage, as well as updating with different colors for changing seasons and event themes.
Outdoor furniture can be a considerable investment…that’s why it’s so important that furniture items be very versatile and easy to maintain, so as to maximize their usage.
As you can see in this side-by-side of the very popular Gloster Grid collection in situ, the same chaise does not seem out of place around a crackling fire pit when all the pool floaties have been retired for winter.
Play with Table Heights
For an outdoor event, furniture is often arranged in discrete stations to manage the flow of guest traffic and create space for the logistics of service and resupplying.
Don’t be afraid to mix together outdoor tables, chairs, stools, and benches of varying heights and widths. Bar height tables are more conducive for the free flow of mingling, as sitting down in an armchair or outdoor deep seating at a party can often take on the weight of a semi-permanent state. Staging a wide array of seating options creates a more free-flowing social dynamic. Bar height tables also work great as buffet tables: laying out an assortment of crock pots and sides for a potluck. Elevate for a more elegant spread with a tablecloth or table runner.
Invest in Outdoor Table Features
There are a number of features and enhancements available on outdoor dining and lounge tables which greatly assist the hosting and service elements for any size gathering.
This attractive Drummond teak dining table from Barlow Tyrie features a rotating “lazy susan” for ferrying shared food service items such as salad dressing and sides.
Some outdoor lounge tables contain built-in cooler compartments for keeping beverages chilled.
Extendable dining tables are a popular option for quickly expanding seating capacity. Mamagreen Maxximus extends to be the largest dining table we sell, and with a smooth-gliding sliding-rail opening and closing mechanism, you won’t need the strength of a gladiator to add nearly 6 feet in length.
Serving Carts Will Serve You Well
Serving carts are as indispensable for outdoor dining as side tables are for an outdoor living room. Both allow guests and hosts to temporarily stow serving items as well as beverages, plates, and other accouterments.
Outdoor Fire Pit Seating
As the seasons change, so too will the functionality of your outdoor space. Here are a few seating ideas to create the ultimate outdoor fire pit come fall and winter.
Create Private Escapes
A chaise lounge by the pool affords you the ability to pamper your guests with fresh air, sunshine, fruity cocktails, and the quiet refuge of a good book. Complement it with a side table to rest your belongings so you have everything you need for a quiet afternoon at arm’s length.
Garden furniture from Garpa celebrates the slow natural pace of country life, with a melange of old world and new world style influences.
Let Your Umbrella Be Your Smile
The perfect patio umbrella can extend your stay outdoors indefinitely. It’s at least 20 degrees cooler in the shade on a sweltering summer day. Learn everything you need to know: what’s the difference between cantilever and market umbrellas? How large should my patio umbrella be? And the answers to lots of other common questions in our complete Patio Umbrella Buying Guide.
Create an Inviting Aesthetic
Think of a wine tasting room or an alpine ski lodge. There is something warm and calming about being surrounded by hand-worked wood. Add some comfortable cushions, a few soft throws, and a warm crock of soup, and you’re starting to approach the Danish principle of hygge: “finding comfort, pleasure, and warmth in simple, soothing things such as a cozy atmosphere or the feeling of friendship. ”
Incorporate rustic elements and earthy textures into your outdoor dining and deep seating to foster a sense of connectedness between guests and the surrounding natural features. Teak is a very common building material in outdoor furniture for many reasons, not least of which is its timeless visual appeal. It also performs amazingly well outdoors.
As part of its old-world charm, untreated teak develops a noble silvery patina as it ages. This tropical hardwood is naturally very oil-dense: teak oil protects against moisture damage and insects. After it’s been kiln-fired it also resists warping. If cleaned with mild soap and a scrub brush just a couple times a year, teak outdoor furniture can hold up to bad weather and the ravages of time for decades. Many teak park benches in London that began life as WWII war memorials are still in service today. Teak is so hardy, in fact, that cushion storage chests are built out of it to protect your outdoor fabrics when not in use.
Tying It All Together
Finally, there are those little touches that really tie the (outdoor) room together. An outdoor rug not only softens the feeling of bare feet on a wooden deck or concrete poolside patio, it provides a visual anchor for defining your outdoor dining room or lounge. With a wide range of colors, patterns, and textures, CurranFLOOR has durable all-weather polypropylene, vinyl, and other man-made fiber rugs that you can custom-build to the dimensions that meet your needs.
Paul is the Outdoor Furniture Storyteller at Curran and sisalcarpet.com. For the past 2 years he has been focused on crafting content that helps connect those who enjoy the finer things in life with heirloom outdoor furniture pieces. With over a decade of experience in e-commerce and web publishing, he envisions Curran as a comprehensive destination for building dream outdoor spaces. His favorite furniture style? Mid-Century Modern (it kind of encompasses a little bit of everything :D).