How to buy the right type of outdoor table set

We’re taking a look at the various different types of garden furniture that are currently popular in the UK, discussing what’s best for your needs, and sharing our insight into how to buy the right type of outdoor table set...

In our recently published comprehensive guide to choosing the perfect garden table and chairs, we had a section that discussed how to decide the best type of outdoor furniture for your needs.

And when we talk about type we are referring to the different sets or individual pieces of furniture you can purchase for your outdoor space, be it the dining-style sets we sell, a sectional garden sofa set, coffee table-style seating and so on.

That was quite a weighty article so the section was very much a brief overview of the different types and how you can decide which might be best for your needs and outdoor space.

Many of the articles that claim to be about different “types” focus on the materials such as the pros and cons of metal, wood, rattan furniture, etc. 

We’ve done many of those articles too, however, in this one we want to focus on the furniture type specifically.

Just like identifying the best material for your space and needs is super important, we also think choosing the right type of set or individual pieces is also a critical part of the buying process too. 

We want to look specifically at the various different types of furniture that are currently popular, discuss how you can decide what will work best in terms of how you like to spend time outside and provide a little more insight into why we think an outdoor table set (dining-style specifically) will dramatically enhance your garden, no matter how big or small your outdoor space is!

What are the popular types of outdoor table sets in the UK?

What are the popular types of garden furniture in the UK?

There is now a vast range of different types of outdoor furniture on sale in the UK, so deciding which set or individual pieces can be a little overwhelming. 

Some of the popular types include:

  • Garden Benches
  • Garden Chairs
  • Outdoor Chaise Lounge
  • Garden Sofas
  • Garden Lounge Sets
  • Outdoor Table Sets
  • Outdoor Day Beds
  • Outdoor Coffee Table Sets
  • Outdoor Bistro Table Sets
  • Sun Loungers
  • Sectional Seating
  • Garden Recliners
  • Garden Hammocks
  • Garden Swing Seats

In fact, even within those listed above there is a wide range of different variations, materials, sizes, functions, finishes and features, etc.

Currently, the two best-selling types of set in the UK are "Outdoor Table Sets" and "Outdoor Sofas Sets", and we tend to find that it is often a straight shoot out between the two in terms of choice but, with Outdoor Tables & Chairs, selling in greater numbers.

Many of the other pieces on our list are often purchased as an additional item to compliment a set or sometimes on their own if space is limited, for example, if you have a small balcony, then a Bench & Side Table might be all you need.

According to the latest Outdoor Furniture Report by Fortune, Outdoor Table Sets account for about half of all global sales, and they say that this product segment is expected to: 

“Witness progressive growth and hold its dominant market share.” 

They go on to add that: 

“The dining segment is expected to show considerable growth in the upcoming years since dining sets provide a comfortable space to dine and drink with family and friends on special occasions.”

All good news for us here at Lazy Susan but why are Outdoor Table Sets such a popular choice, and how do you decide which type of set is best for you and your garden or patio?

How do you decide which type of outdoor furniture set is best?

How do you decide which type of garden furniture is best?

When we talk about the best type of outdoor furniture for your needs, we are really talking about how you like to spend time in your garden. 

For example, would you get the most use from a new outdoor dining table set or would a sofa set be a better purchase?

Do you like to gather friends and family and enjoy a meal or do you prefer to sit back with a drink on a Summers afternoon? 

If you’ve got the space, then maybe you can purchase both so no compromise.

If space is limited then you need to think about what will best multi-task

Start by thinking about how you like to use your outdoor space and look for pieces that will best fit your lifestyle.

Ask yourself questions like:

  1. Do you want it to serve as a more formal outdoor dining area?
  2. Do you like to fire up the BBQ?
  3. Is relaxation more important?
  4. Is kicking back with a good book and a cup of tea or coffee more for you?
  5. Do you like to work or craft in the space weather permitting?

How you and your family use that space is always a great starting point to ensure the set you purchase will truly enhance.

The type of garden you have is also a critical factor in deciding on the right type of furniture. 

It could be you have a large outside space with a big patio. If that's the case, then you can divide it up to perform a number of different functions from outdoor cooking to dining to sofa-style seating, etc. 

Look at that space just as you would any room inside the home and zone it into different functions.

On the flip side, if you have a small plot such as a balcony, then that furniture might need to work a little harder. You may even need to compromise and opt for smaller pieces that perform a number of different functions.

Once you've established how you use your outdoor space, along with your budget, you can look to purchase the right type of furniture. 

If you like to sit with drinks, enjoy a family BBQ or a spot of lunch in the summer, etc then a new Outdoor Table Set is a logical choice.

What are the popular types of outdoor table sets?

What are the popular types of garden table sets?

As we mentioned above, within the different types of outdoor furniture there are different variations, and there are a number of different types of outdoor table sets to choose from. 

You could argue that a table is a table but not true, as the different menu sub-categories in our webshop will testify. 

Our collection is available in a range of shapes, sizes and seating options.

Just as there are different table styles for the inside of our home, so too is true for the outside, and as kitchen tables will differ from a dining-style tables, our range has tables for different settings or circumstances too.

And by that, we mean that some tables are better suited in terms of size, shape, and seating for a family meal or BBQ on a patio, while others are better suited for sharing a coffee with a friend on a balcony.

In our collection, we provide a range of different types of Outdoor Tables that can be summarised as follows:

  1. Outdoor Dining Table Sets
    Our large 8-Seater and 10+ Seater Outdoor Tables
  2. Outdoor Family Table Sets
    Our mid-sized 4 and 6-Seater Family Sized Outdoor Tables
  3. Outdoor Bistro Table Sets
    Our smaller 2 and 4-Seater Café-Style Outdoor Tables

Our range of tables is also available in a range of different shapes, again with some subtle differences:

  1. Oval Outdoor Tables
    Oval-shaped outdoor table sets are our best-selling shape as they’re an excellent all-rounder. A great option for a narrow patio, an oval table perfectly balances the semi-formal seating of a rectangular with the more casual outdoor dining style of a round table. They provide a similar amount of tabletop surface space as a similar-sized rectangle but it's much easier to squeeze in a few extra seats if necessary as nobody has to sit at a corner. 
  2. Round Outdoor Tables
    We tend to find that our round tables work great on smaller patios and balconies, and they are perfect for smaller intimate gatherings of 4 people or less. They bring a cosy Parisienne Café feel that you just don’t seem to get with other shapes. That said, a larger round table is great for parties where you want to keep the conversation open and flowing between all guests. It makes it a little easier for everybody to see each other and pass food and drinks. Like an oval outdoor table, you have the advantage of no awkward corners, and whilst you sacrifice a little (barely noticeable), they still provide a good amount of tabletop surface space. The thing to think about, when compared to an equivalent seater rectangular or oval table, is that conversation can become tricky with a larger round table as diners are restricted to those they’re sat next to.
  3. Rectangle Outdoor Tables
    A rectangle table has a number of advantages over the other shapes and they're a good option if you want to sit more than 8 people at large gatherings. The longer, narrow form is also perfect for large-scale entertaining patios with the hosts sitting at the heads of the table to create a semi-formal feel. The simple, linear shape of these often larger outdoor tables tends to provide good scale and fit on a larger more open patio. A rectangular table can also really help to “emphasise” or create a more streamlined look. By pairing it with a rectangle-shaped and square paved patio, you can create a very sharp, uniform design with strong clean lines.
  4. Square Outdoor Tables
    A square table is a great option for an L-shaped, square or rectangular patio but it can be tricky to make them work on anything round or curved. It is also a great option when you have a smaller guest list, such as 4 of you for drinks and nibbles. A larger rectangular table can be a little off-putting as it doesn’t balance, so in this instance, a square outdoor table set will create a more intimate setting and give you all equal elbow room. The other big advantage you get with a square (and rectangle) outdoor table set is that they are the perfect option if you want to maybe push one side against a wall, in a corner or position on the front edge of a straight paved/decked patio.

60 cm 2-Seater Eve Garden Bistro Table Set from Lazy Susan

We then offer a range of table sizes and seating options from our small intimate round 60 cm 2-Seater Eve Outdoor Bistro Table Set (above) up to our large party starting rectangular 2.6m Madison Outdoor Dining Table Set (below), with a whole host of different sizes in between.

2.6m Madison Garden Table Set from Lazy Susan

Many of our competitors will offer a similar range of different types of outdoor tables, while others will provide different types of tables altogether such as a more modern style picnic-style with fixed or freestanding benches or a sofa style that pairs laid-back seating with a lower table.

You can shop around to find your preference but the key to getting the right one comes down to size and space.

How do you decide which outdoor table set is best?

How do you decide which garden table set is best?

In much the same way as you narrowed down the type of garden furniture, selecting an Outdoor Table Set is a case of what you need and what space you’ve got free for it to fit and function. 

Of course, what you like plays the biggest part in deciding which type of set you like best.

But how you like to use your outdoor space and the free outdoor space you have available is what will help decide which type of set will fit and function best.

Measure the length and width of the outdoor space you have free for the outdoor table set.

You need enough free space for the table plus 75cm around it for the chairs and an additional 75cm for the working space so that you can move around safely when in place and pull chairs in and out, etc.

Every patio is different, so factor in items you don’t want to or can’t move such as large planters, BBQs, fire pits, walls, steps, etc and measure from them.

The measurement you need for our sets must be a free or safe space where the table and chairs can be placed and moved in and out and you won't trip over.

Lazy Susan Top Tips

“If you are unsure if the space will still function when the outdoor table set is in situ, take our dimensions and mark it out with some washable “sidewalk” chalk on your patio or with some old bits of cardboard.”

How to measure for our June Garden Table Set

If we take our best-selling June Set as an example:

  1. On its own, it is 150 cm long by 95 cm wide. 
  2. Add to that 75 cm for the Garden Chairs
  3. Add on another 75 cm for Working Space
  4. You will need approximately 300 cm by 245 cm free space for that set to work (as shown in the diagram above)

You will find the dimensions for each table and chair in the dimensions section in our shop so you can calculate the above for each range.

The 75cm for chairs and 75cm working space is a safe guide only. As each patio is different, you might be happy to work with a little less space. 

For example, if one side of the patio is pushed close to a wall, then you can take that 150 cm down as long as there is room for people to pull the chair out and sit comfortably.

Our top tip above is a great way to visualise how it will fit and flow when in situ!

What are the advantages of buying an outdoor table set over individual pieces of furniture?

What are the advantages of buying a garden table set over individual pieces of garden furniture?

Generally speaking, whether an Outdoor Table Set is better than individual pieces of garden furniture will depend on your individual needs, preferences and the type of space you are working with.

That is why we sell our collection as both sets and as individual pieces so you can tailor your purchase to get what will best enhance your garden.

For example, you could pair a 4-Seater Outdoor Table Set with a Garden Bench to create both separate seating areas and the option for extra seats at the table if you get a few extra guests (as shown in the photo above). 

That’s one of the significant advantages of cast aluminium over other materials, it feels robust but is not so heavy that you can’t easily pick it up and move it.

Alternatively, you might need a 5-seater set as you’re a family of 5 who loves a BBQ. Not a common option in set form but easily remedied with our range. Purchase the 4-Seater Outdoor Table Set and add an additional Garden Chair and the problem is solved.

Because the key to a good Outdoor Table Set is coordination. Individual pieces can work great but it can be harder to get a good match or fit. 

Whatever you need, for however you like to use your garden, and whatever amount of space you have for that furniture to fit, we have a set for you.

Purchasing a full outdoor table set has a number of advantages too:

  1. Coordination
    A garden furniture set is designed to have a cohesive and coordinated look. All our Sets are designed to complement each other and create a harmonious look.
  2. Space Utilisation
    By purchasing a full set, you’re making the best use of the space. It is designed to fit together neatly, you know the total dimensions, which means it can be more space-efficient than a collection of individual pieces that might not fit together as well.
  3. Convenience
    Our range is lightweight, easy to move, and easy to clean. It is simple to set up and requires very little in the way of maintenance, leaving you more time to just enjoy your outdoor living space.
  4. Cost-Effective
    Purchasing a set from us is more cost-effective than buying individual pieces of furniture. We offer some fab bundle deals, so you make big savings when buying a full set over each piece separately.
  5. Flexibility
    As our collection is designed to coordinate, we often find that people purchase a set from us and then add other pieces such as Garden Benches or Side Tables the next summer. This not only spreads the cost but also means you can adapt your outdoor space as your needs change.

Looking to buy a new Outdoor Table Set from Lazy Susan?

Looking to buy a new Garden Table Set from Lazy Susan

You’ll currently find up to 25% OFF on selected sets. But hurry, this offer ends very soon! 

Shop our Summer Sale!

If you're still shopping around, then please sign up for our newsletter in the box below to hear about any future news, competitions, promos, sales and discounts.

If you have any photos of your Lazy Susan Outdoor Table Set in your garden, then we’d love to see a few for our Do Some Good charity campaign. 

Simply tag us @LazySusanFurniture on Instagram or Facebook or email them to us at [email protected].

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