Features: April '15
Get your garden ready for summer with our pick of outdoor furniture.
While the Great British Summer usually comes and goes in the blink of an eye, getting your garden ready now so you can make the most of it when the sun does appear is essential. Here we've chosen three different options and given you the lowdown so you can choose the one that's right for you and your space.
Great for entertaining
The Italian Essence Reclaimed Teak Garden Dining Table and Chairs Set by Viva Lagoon is the perfect choice if you have a large family or plan on doing a lot of entertaining this summer. It is a great investment buy as it’s both sturdy and super stylish, and is available in a choice of four, six or eight chairs, so that you can choose the exact seating configuration to suit your needs.
Made from reclaimed teak and aluminium, the generous teak tabletop sits on a sleek aluminium frame. The all-white chairs, meanwhile, are understated yet stylish and beautifully complement the table. Crafted from all-weather Textilene, they can be left outdoors even when the weather takes a turn for the worse meaning you don’t have to worry about finding room to store them.
Top style tips: Brighten things up with patterned, colourful melamine plates and bowls, acrylic glasses and a funky oilcloth tablecloth, or keep it sleek and sophisticated with white linen napkins, elegant glass tea light holders and contemporary white china.
Great for relaxing
Garden furniture used to be a simple choice between iron, wood and plastic, and most sets consisted only of a dining table and chairs. However, garden lounge furniture has been increasingly popular and is great for those who want to relax.
If you’re a fan of comfort and want to create an outdoor living room, then look no further than this Shawna Two Seater Rattan Sofa Set by Out There Interiors, which beautifully mimics living room furniture but for your outside space.
Perfect for relaxing on a lazy, sunny Sunday afternoon with the papers, this comprises a sofa, two armchairs and a coffee table. This furniture set is crafted from all-weather synthetic rattan with generous cushions which have been made from shower-proof fabric so you won’t have to make a mad dash for it with them should the heavens open.
Top style tips: Ideal for a decadent, al fresco afternoon tea, choose pretty, vintage style floral tableware and lace trimmed napkins to complete the look and of course, don’t forget the cakes!
The clever one
We love clever furniture here at Furnish and you don’t get outdoor furniture much cleverer than this Garden Trough Dining Table by The Orchard.
Simple and understated, this chunky and substantial set is made from Canadian Yellow Pine and is finished with a clear, protective varnish. While matching benches are also available, if you want to create an eclectic look try teaming the table with brightly coloured, metal chairs and stools.
But what’s really special about this table is the sunken zinc trough which sits neatly in the middle of the table. Great for growing herbs in, this clever trough can also act as an ice bucket; simply fill with ice and use it to keep soft and alcoholic drinks nicely cool – perfect if you can’t be bothered to keep heading indoors to visit the fridge.
Top style tips: When not in use as an ice bucket, keep small colourful potted plants in the trough to add colour and interest or use to house pillar candles to create a special effect when dining al fresco in the evening.
Check out our tips for creating a delectable dining table.
Whether it’s for a casual weekday supper or for something a little more formal, our top tips show you how to create a dining room table to be proud of.
The dining table and chairs
There is, of course, a plethora of choices when it comes to choosing your dining room table and chairs. From solid wood to glass and metal, it really comes down to personal choice and available budget.
Once you’ve settled on a style, it’s important to think about how you’ll use it. If you have a small family but entertain a lot, investing in an extendable table is a good idea. If you do go for this option, look for additional chairs that can be stacked or folded away when you don’t need them.
The most important thing to consider when it comes to the dining chairs is comfort. Once you’ve got that sorted, you can choose designs which match your dining table for a cohesive look or those which contrast for something a little more eclectic. Brightly coloured painted wooden or plastic chairs can look great with a wooden or sleek gloss table.
While you might not use table linen everyday, it’s a good idea to have an assortment of choices on hand. Plastic coated tablecloths are ideal for young families as they can be wiped clean after every mealtime and come in a variety of designs and colours to add interest to your table.
For more formal occasions and those times you really want to impress, a linen tablecloth and napkins are a must. With a huge range of patterns and colours available, it can be hard to choose but white or off-white linen always looks stylish and works in both contemporary and classic schemes.
If your dining table is particularly precious, think about investing in a table protector, which will safeguard against any knocks, spills and burns.
Choosing hard-wearing, dishwasher-safe cutlery is a good bet for everyday use. If you fancy something a little grander for supper parties and special occasions, there’s a huge range to choose from, whether sleek, modern designer styles or ornate, classic collections.
If you want to create a vintage look, consider collecting a mish mash of designs from second hand shops. Cutlery that is only going to be used occasionally should always be stored in a felt-lined box to prevent it from getting damaged.
When it comes to special occasions, it’s important to think about what glassware you’ll need. Red and white wine glasses are essential, plus tumblers and jugs for water and soft drinks. Strictly speaking, clear glass looks the most stylish but coloured glass can look good if you’re going for a particular theme.
From the all-important plates to bowls and serving dishes, choosing your tableware is where your style personality can really come into play. White tableware looks the chicest whatever your style but if you want to add some colour and pattern, think about adding side plates and serving bowls and platters in different colours and styles.
For an impressive dining table, try layering soup course, first course and main course plates and bowls in varying colours or patterns to give a restaurant feel.
Flowers look beautiful on a dining table, especially for special occasions. Opt for low vases and think about the height of flowers so you don’t have guests straining over them to see one another.
Placemats are a good idea for both everyday and special occasions; as well as protecting your table they’ll also add pattern and colour while candlesticks are great and instantly pretty up a dining table. Apply the same principle as flowers and make sure they’re low enough for guests to see over.
A smattering of tealights is an affordable, hassle-free way to create a simple yet stylish display.