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Tips for creating the ultimate outdoor dining space

With the right set-up, you could be enjoying most of your meals al fresco this summer

For those of us who love to dine outdoors, this is the season we’ve been waiting for. From now until the first frost, we’ll be enjoying as many meals as we can outside.

You can create that elegant café or restaurant feel in your own backyard, on a balcony, patio, deck or porch. No matter how much or how little space you happen to have, there is a dining set that fits the bill.

These tips can help make outdoor entertaining a bit easier, whether you’ll be hosting guests or just enjoying a bit of down time on your own.

1. Make sure your dining set has comfy seating

Once you’ve gone to the trouble of setting up a meal outside, you want to be able to enjoy it and linger a while. To do this, make sure to choose an outdoor dining set that truly offers comfortable seating. Everyone will feel more relaxed, there won’t be a rush to get up from the table and your guests are likely to stay a bit longer, leading to more conversation and memory-making.

The Easy Isle outdoor dining table comes with four comfortable chairs. The table has a raised height, which makes it quite versatile; you can serve dinner on it, enjoy a round of drinks and snacks, and play a rousing match of board games on it afterward. This set is made of resin wicker over rust-free aluminum frames. The chairs each have armrests and a solid back, as well as all-weather foam cushions that are wrapped in a neutral-toned, high-performance Nuvella® fabric. You’ll be able to spend hours at this table in ultimate comfort.

Another great option is the Janiyah outdoor dining table. This beautiful light brown set also comes with four chairs but has a completely different look, fashioned out of solid acacia wood. The tabletop is made of individual slats that allow the rainwater to fall through, rather than pool. Two of the four chairs are armchairs, and all have padded seat cushions covered in Nuvella® high-performance fabric.

2. For smaller spaces, opt for a conversation set

Perhaps you prefer a smaller set-up and all you need is a conversation set: two chairs and either a small bistro, accent or high-top table. Often this is more than enough to create a cozy nook to gather with a partner or friend and be able to enjoy drinks and snacks or a full meal together.

The Mandarin Cape outdoor table and chairs set is sleek-looking, done in a gray hue. It would work equally well on a patio, deck or poolside. Made of gray all-weather resin wicker over powder-coated steel, this is a durable 3-piece set that can withstand the rain. The table has an elegant aluminum top.

The Vallerie outdoor chairs with table set has a real upscale, exotic look. It would work beautifully on a balcony, patio or deck. Made of acacia wood with a natural teak tone, it is low maintenance and looks expensive. The cushions are made of all-weather foam and wrapped in rain resistant Nuvella® fabric.

3. Include some functional accents

Choosing a few key entertaining essentials can help make serving meals outdoors a little easier. Use the Evonne tray to carry dishes back and forth, load it up with cutlery and napkins or food and drink. Made of faux rattan in a stylish black, it looks just as great on the table as a piece of décor as it does as a functional serving piece. It has two handles to help you balance whatever load you’re carrying and is safe for use both indoors and out.

Be sure to add some atmosphere to your nighttime dining by including a bit of mood lighting. The Diedrick lantern set is made of galvanized metal and includes metal handles on the top for easy transport. Each includes a glass hurricane shade to shield your candle from the wind; of course, it is safest to use battery-operated candles rather than traditional wax ones, even when outside.

Use any one of these tips to transform your outdoor dining space into a comfortable and inviting destination this Spring, Summer and Fall.

Ashley HomeStore North offers a wide range of furniture solutions for every room of your home, including your favourite outdoor spaces. Looking for more great design ideas? Follow the store on Instagram.