How to Choose the Best Bistro Set for You

The word “bistro” originates in France where small restaurants serve their world-renowned homemade food on tiny tables. A bistro set is the ideal choice for outdoor or indoor dining where space is limited, but where you can enjoy a casual meal or a cup of coffee or glass of wine by yourself or with a companion.

Bistro set characteristics

Country-Living-red-bistro-setSmall bistro tables are typically round and no more than 36 inches in diameter. They usually come with only two chairs; however, a full-sized 36-inch table can usually accommodate another chair. Larger, rectangular bistro sets are also gaining in popularity for patio use. Always measure your available space before you start shopping.

Outdoor bistro sets

Choosing the right bistro set for you depends upon the space you have available and if your set will be unprotected from the weather. You also might want to leave the set out all year round. If that’s the case, choose waterproof outdoor bistro sets designed for that purpose, such as iron or metal frames with mosaic porcelain tile or glass tops.

Patio bistro sets come in handy for a quick meal with a partner in summer or as an extra dining location for a party. For large patios, you can slip one into a corner and surround it with flower pots, even if you already have a larger outdoor dining set.

If you have a small balcony, a small bistro set allows you to enjoy your outdoor space more often. For apartments or condos with balconies that can be seen from inside the home, choose decorative bistro sets that enhance the space and that complement the interior of your home.

Garden gazebos also make a charming and romantic location for a bistro set. Relax and enjoy the happy sound of birds at your feeders and watch as beautiful butterflies and busy bees visit the colorful flowers in your garden. Even if you don’t have a gazebo, any flat spot in your yard or garden (or smoothed gravel patch) can turn into a private sitting space in a secluded or shady location.

Indoor bistro sets

Rectangular-bistro-setAdding a bistro set inside your home creates informal intimacy that can become an appealing design feature in your kitchen or an enclosed Florida or Arizona room. Guests are usually attracted to the coziness of bistro seating rather than taking up space at a larger dining table, especially if there are only two people. Indoor sets also offer additional seating space should you entertain more people for a meal than you can accommodate at your main dining table. Some styles and materials used for outdoor bistro sets make attractive additions indoors as well.

For seating around an indoor bistro set, you should allow for at least 24 inches of clearance between the edge of your table and the wall. Allow another 36 inches of clearance between the edge of the table and the walkway.

-by Diane Quinn


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