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How to set up a dining space outside?


To design a pleasant space on a terrace, setting up a dining area requires following a few practical and decor rules.

With the arrival of fine weather, it is lovely to eat breakfast in the sunshine or eat dinner with friends under the stars on a garden table. To design a pleasant space on a terrace, setting up a dining area requires following a few practical and decor rules.

Take care choosing the position of a dining area outside

Setting up a patio requires organisation. For small terraces, just as for large areas, it is advisable to partition off the space so as to create an organised, relaxing exterior. It is possible to physically separate the zone dedicated to dining from the relaxation area where there are sun loungers or deckchairs. An arbour or pergola can fulfill this function. But a movable trellis or shade sail have the advantage of setting up and storing quickly at the end of summer. These temporary structures also protect you from the wind and from being overlooked.

Also, a simple decorative barrier can help to organise the space, especially with different ground coverings. A highly visible wooden stage can show different levels. Whereas wooden planks, a timeless, soothing material, can designate a relaxing area, it may be better to choose a material that is easy to clean for around the outdoor table such as paving or elegant tiles. For a more bohemian feel, a simple exterior rug can provide structure in the space.

Before arranging this additional living space, take the time to envisage the ideal set-up. For practical reasons, choose a space as an extension of the kitchen. Some owners opt for the view. It is perfectly possible to set up a dining space opposite the garden or near the swimming pool. The direction of the sun will play a key role. For a pleasant outdoor meal, avoid being exposed to the south if there is no form of shade to shield the sun’s rays, as without this, the dining space risks being stifling. Choose a space that is south-south west facing in order to benefit from the sunset, or south-south east for a sunny morning.

What furniture to choose for a patio dining area?

Whether you are setting up a modern terrace or an outdoor room with a bohemian spirit, you should choose furniture which matches your style. Opt for outdoor furniture that has been specially designed to resist bad weather and prolonged exposure to UV rays.

The size of the terrace should also be taken into account. , it is suggested to look at folding outdoor furniture. The table and chairs can therefore be put back if you want to bring out a deckchair or sunlounger for relaxing; on the other hand, on a large terrace, folding furniture can be moved to follow the sun. For furniture which is light but strong, choose versions with a frame made from aluminium, HLE steel (high limit elasticity), or if not a woven rattan. Seating fabric designed for the outdoors such as Batyline® is very light, comfortable and easy to clean. From ecru to anthracite grey, not forgetting lichen green or terracotta red, the wide choice of colours allows you to brighten up your patio or terrace according to your taste or current trends.

Our advice for a well-decorated outdoor dining space

To create a warm, personalised atmosphere, outdoor lighting is an essential step.  Hung above a table, an outdoor pendant can create a muted ambiance instantly. If you have located the dining space under a ceiling, opt for built-in spot lights. Mobile and functional, a garden lamp can illuminate the table and chair grouping in a cosy atmosphere. As a back-up, the timeless string of lights, furled around the branches of a tree, or around a pergola, brings a delicate light source, while also decorating the space in a café style. A table lamp such as a lantern will brighten a side table, or maybe an oil-fired lamp chosen for its retro vintage look.

Plants play an important role in setting up a dining space on a patio. The trend for verticality has become more important in outdoor design fashion. With a planted wall, you can create distinct zones without isolating the dining space completely. Consider hanging planters, which work well in small spaces. In terra cotta or coloured containers, plant flowers or shrubs , whatever your preference. However, around the table, take care to avoid nectar-producing plants which attract insects. Train fragrant climbing plants such as honeysuckle or clematis, to wake up the senses.

Finally, think about outdoor decor accessories. Place colourful cushions on the chairs and armchairs and throws for colder evenings. This additional light will liven up the space, as long as you choose shades that are in harmony with the furniture. On the table for mealtime and desserts, scatter candles to give a warm atmosphere for those dinners under the stars.