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Table Talk: How to Choose the Right Table for Outdoor Use

Having an outdoor area is known to be beneficial for people. It provides additional space and adds value to one’s home. More importantly, it gives the owners the health benefits of fresh outdoor air, even if the outdoor space is rather small. Outdoor spaces are perfect for al fresco dining, setting up an outdoor breakfast nook, or just sitting and enjoying the view while sipping coffee. And for the outdoors, tables are vital pieces of furniture. Choosing the right table must be carefully planned to maximize its functionality.

Types of Tables You Can Choose From

There are several types of tables that are commonly used as a small outdoor table. These are some types that you try to consider for your garden, yard, or any outdoor area in your home.

Cocktail Table

Stylish and decorative tables are often used outdoors to hold drinks and snacks while entertaining.[1]

End Table

Usually made of compact and durable materials, end tables are perfect for small spaces. You can put drinks, books, and other items on these within easy reach.

Bar Table

These can hold drinks and mini sandwiches for appetizers during parties.

Accent Table

This type of table adds a decorative element to any outdoor space.

Nested Table

This is the type of table that comes in a set of usually three or four small tables that can be graduated in size to be stacked on top of one another. This is a popular functional choice. It can be used as a table while the smaller ones can be used as chairs for sitting.

Consider the Right Wood for Your Table

Under the wood category, you may find some materials that are suitable for outdoor tables, such as the following.


a hardwood that is indigenous to tropical forest areas. It is the most popular choice for outdoor furniture because it is incredibly sturdy and doesn’t warp, crack or become brittle over time. It has a natural oil that makes it resistant to the effects of elements and insects. The disadvantage of buying it is the cost as it is the most expensive wood available.[2]


This is a Southeast Asian reddish-gold type of wood. It is considered to be stronger than teak but is much heavier. It also has a natural oil that can protect against weathering and insect infestation. But only a few manufacturers use this since the harvesting of this material is highly regulated.


This Australian type of wood also lasts for a long time and is cheaper than the other two previously mentioned. Though insect resistant and eco-friendly, it is vulnerable to cracking if not regularly and properly treated with sealant.


Also known as ironwood. This Central and South American wood fades slower than its counterparts. It also emits an oil that makes it resistant to insects, decomposition, and fungi. It is free from denting, warping, and cracking. However, it is not easy to work with and requires much time to prepare.

White Oak

This water-resistant, rot-resistant, and sturdy wood is easily procured. It is also guaranteed to last for decades. However, it does not have any natural oil so it requires regular treatment of paint and sealant.

There are other types of wood such as Locust, Roble, Mahogany, and African Iroko that are cheaper but have some teak qualities.

Other Materials Used for Outdoor Tables

Other materials are deemed acceptable for manufacturing small outdoor tables. The following are some of them.


You can also use metal instead of wood. Metal is considered the most robust and sturdiest material used in creating garden furniture. Because metal is flexible, furniture designers can create stylish designs to suit the needs of the client. While it may be the strongest material, its major drawback is that it heats up in the sun. It is relatively heavier than its wooden and plastic counterparts. It is also susceptible to rust. But what’s good about steel is that it is 100% recyclable.

Resin and Plastic[4]

Furniture made of plastic and resin is becoming popular in the market. Because plastic and resin can be molded into different forms and shapes, they can easily be adapted to attractive designs. They are lightweight, easy to maintain, and can come in different colors. The only two setbacks are that plastic and resin tables can become brittle when exposed daily to full sunlight and the impact of plastic on the environment when it is meant to be discarded already.

Some Points to Consider When Choosing a Small Table for Your Outdoor Space[5]

  1. Is there enough space available where the small table is going to be placed?
  2. Does the small table live up to its function? There is a specific style for a particular purpose.
  3. Can your small outdoor table be maintained easily? Use materials that are not easily affected by the environment.
  4. Is there adequate storage space for your furniture? If there is not much space to keep them, then use foldable or nesting small tables.
  5. What materials are used to build the furniture? It must withstand rain, moisture, mildew, rust, warping, sun, and temperature. Otherwise, the table may fade, crack due to the heat, and even be affected by the wind.
  6. Is your small outdoor table eco-friendly enough? This means sustainability and protection of the surrounding natural resources are also important.
  7. Is your expensive table the best in quality? Such tables may last longer than the inexpensive ones. However, not all costly tables are quality purchases. You will have to be very discerning when choosing between an expensive table and one that doesn’t cost as much.

The Right Outdoor Table Is Out There Waiting for You

Lately, the combination of two materials to create one piece of furniture has become a common practice. There are materials such as high-pressure laminate, tempered glass, concrete, and ceramics useful in creating this type of furniture.

It is much easier and enjoyable to go furniture shopping for small tables for your outdoor activities whenever the above pointers are followed. Take your time when selecting small outdoor tables so that you wind up with an optimal yet practical piece of furniture.

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