There’s something special about sharing a great meal outdoors. The smells, the fresh breeze, the idea of transferring a perfectly charred burger from the best grill right to your plate and sitting down underneath the setting sun … summers are made for eating outdoors, so why shouldn’t we do it in comfort?
That’s where the best outdoor dining set can make or break your outdoor dining experience. Having an ideal setup for family dinners, group soirees or even an intimate snack goes a long way in terms of setting the mood and tone of your meal. That’s why you should do a little research and consider a variety of factors before picking up this very useful piece of outdoor furniture.
What To Consider Before Purchasing an Outdoor Dining Set
What kind of space do you have?
Before buying an outdoor dining set, measure, measure and then measure again. There’s nothing worse than having those boxes delivered and getting excited to have outdoor snacks, only to realize the dining table you bought doesn’t actually fit in your space. If you need a visual, use painter’s tape or even chalk to mock up where the set will go and ensure you’ve got plenty of room to still enjoy your area without feeling cramped. Alternatively, you’ll also want to make sure the set isn’t too small for the area you had in mind.
How many people are you entertaining?
What is the intended purpose of your outdoor dining set? Do you imagine leisurely family meals? Cocktail parties with friends? Board games well into the wee hours of the night? Think about your needs and how many people you’ll typically want to host, then look for sets that can accommodate that number of people.
Which material do you need?
When it comes to outdoor furniture, there are tons of materials to choose from. Wood is nice and sturdy, but it requires maintenance between seasons to keep it looking fresh and new. Metal is another sturdy bet, but you’ll want to look for an outdoor dining set that’s rust-resistant. Woven plastics are another popular option, but they may not last as long as some of the other materials out there. When thinking about the material also consider how long you hope to have your set for, what kind of maintenance you’re willing to do and how people in your life will interact with said material (for example, kids and pets always equal spills, so something that’s easy-to-clean is almost always preferred in those cases).
Will you be able to store it?
Some outdoor dining sets can be wrapped up and left outside during the colder winter months, while others are made from more sensitive materials that don’t hold up to extreme weather conditions. If you don’t have a place to store your furniture in-between seasons, that’s something to take into consideration before purchasing.
What kind of vibe are you going for?
If you’re creating an outdoor space, odds are you’re looking to create a mood. In that vein, ask yourself what kind of a vibe you’re going for and find an outdoor dining set that matches. Whether that’s romantic, contemporary, modern, mid-century modern or country, there are sets to match every style. Be sure to also consider any other outdoor furniture you already have and ask yourself how the dining set will fit in with that look. Otherwise, you may end up with a weird and fragmented flow in what was supposed to be your outdoor oasis.
What is your price point?
Creating an outdoor space isn’t always cheap, but it is worth it if you’ve put thought and consideration into what you’re creating. Give yourself a budget for the entire space, knowing the bulk of your funds will go to the bigger items, like a table, chairs and sofas. Find pieces within that budget then look for bargains on decorative items like throws, lights, firepits and outdoor rugs to add layers and comfort. There’s also nothing wrong with adding a new piece each season if you really are strapped for cash. As the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Shop Outdoor Dining Sets
1. 17 Stories Macy-Leigh Rectangular Picnic Table
BEST PICNIC STYLE
Tight on space but still fancying that alfresco dining experience with friends and fam? That’s where a sleek picnic table comes in handy. We’re fans of this updated take, which features two long bench seats and a solid fir wood top. The seats tuck underneath when not in use, which frees up backyard space while still allowing ample seating. Meanwhile, the weather-resistant steel frame is both durable and stylish, upping the game for traditional picnic tables everywhere.
2. Nestfair Black 7-Piece Wicker Outdoor Dining Set
BEST BAR HEIGHT
If you’re going for backyard bar vibes, this modern and stylish outdoor dining set seats six people comfortably without taking up a ton of space. It’s great for dining or cocktail parties, and each chair holds up to 330 pounds with zippered cushions that can easily be thrown in the wash. The sturdy steel table frame is equally durable, and we’re fans of the rattan-wood combo that gives this outdoor dining set tons of interest.
3. Marella 7-Piece Teak Dining Set
If you like to entertain in the backyard but don’t always want a bulky outdoor dining set taking up the entire space, an expandable dining table is always a smart idea. We love the look of this teak and wicker outdoor dining set, which expands to comfortably seat at least 10 people. You can also add cushions for extra comfort, while Marella makes chairs with and without armrests so you can further customize your outdoor dining experience. It’s worth noting Frontgate offers a 10-year structural warranty on its products, so even though this is one of the more expensive outdoor dining sets, it’s also built to last.
4. Athena 7-Piece Dining Fire Table Set
Why go for a regular old outdoor dining set when you can grab one with a built-in firepit? This wood-panel-inspired table comes with a porcelain top and a cast-aluminum base, but the best part is the central firepit, which gives off 55,000 BTUs of warmth when lit. That means you and the fam or friends can gather and stay cozy well into the night, snacking and chatting from the accompanying resin wicker chairs. Not using the fire? No problem — the set comes with an aluminum burner cover so you can easily host regular old dinner gatherings too.
5. Lark Manor Mcgahan Rectangular Dining Set
If you’ve got young kids or you just happen to spill a lot, this sturdy but practical outdoor dining set is functional and stylish. The metal material is a breeze to clean (and keep clean), plus it’s weather and rust-resistant. We like how the chairs stack so you can easily tuck them away between seasons or functions, and we’re also fans of the umbrella hole in the middle of the table for those who want to add a little bit of shade. (Umbrellas sold separately.)
6. Hampton Bay Devonwood 7-Piece Dark Brown Wicker Outdoor Dining Set
BEST ROUND TABLE
If you have more space or you want something that feels a little more countryside than modern, this seven-piece round wicker set is a solid choice. The sturdy circular table sits six people comfortably on even comfier wicker chairs, which come with thick cushions sold in a variety of colors. We like how the set comes with a three-year fabric warranty and the entire thing is weather-resistant, not to mention how the chairs stack and store easily when not in use.
7. MF Studio 7 Pieces Outdoor Patio Dining Set
If you need lots of outdoor dining seating but you’re on a tight budget, this set from Walmart comes in under $650 and easily seats six-to-eight people at a time. It’s also designed with families in mind thanks to the detachable cushions, which can be lightly wiped to clean. The sturdy metal tube legs on the table itself ensure the set is durable, and the equally sturdy, reinforced metal leg chairs are made with PE rattan, which is weather- and fade-resistant. All that’s to say this set should last you a few years, even if you do have kids climbing all over the place.
8. Morohope 7-Piece Patio Furniture Set
If you’ve got a small backyard and you’re looking for an outdoor sofa and outdoor dining set combo, Amazon has you covered with this incredibly cozy, weather-resistant set. It features corner bench seating and three additional ottomans for max seating and comfort, along with a small but functional table for meals and snacks. All of those cushions come with removable and machine-washable covers, plus the set comes in several different colors to match your unique style.
9. Nuu Garden Antique Bronze 5-Piece Cast Aluminum Outdoor Patio Dining Set
Bistro tables are great options for those who have smaller backyards, porches or even balconies because they take up less space but still get that outdoor dining job done. We like this set in particular because it comes with four chairs, unlike traditional two-chair sets, which gives it extra function without taking away from that Parisian feel. It also comes with an umbrella hole (umbrella not included) for extra potential shade, and the cast aluminum material is weather-resistant, waterproof and easy to clean, which means this is a set that should last for years.
10. Walker Edison Maui Modern 6 Piece Solid Acacia Wood Slatted Outdoor Dining Set
FAVORITE COMBO SEATING
This outdoor dining set offers the best of both seating worlds: a bench and four cushioned chairs. The result is a sleek, expandable table with lots of seating potential that also happens to work in smaller backyards. The set comes in four different colors and each chair supports up to 250 pounds, while the bench is sturdy enough to hold 400 pounds at a time. Apply teak oil every few months to keep the acacia hardwood sleek and polished, but note this table should not be left out under extreme weather conditions — pack it away during the colder months if you want it to last.