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Living & Dining: How to Choose an Outdoor Dining Table

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Balmy evenings and sun-filled afternoons call for relaxed alfresco dining. Make the most of your outdoor space with our guide to picking the perfect table.

Indoor/outdoor living is an essential part of Australian living, and more and more of us are investing in outdoor spaces as an extension of our indoor space. The centre piece of any family space is, much like indoors, the dining table. It’s where friends and family naturally gather to share meals and spend time together - so it’s important to choose a quality table that complements your style and will last the distance.

What size is right for me?

To choose a size and shape, first measure your space, taking into account traffic flow, doors, stairs, light and available shelter. If there’s no shade, will you need space for an umbrella over the top? Consider how many people you’ll need to seat, as well as any other uses your deck, garden or patio might need to fulfill - will your table need to be pushed against the wall occasionally, or will it sit proudly in its place all year? A round table is ideal in more compact spaces, as the lack of sharp edges ensures an easy flow around the space, while a traditional rectangular style will work well in a large space. The squared-off edges mean it can double as a buffet or drinks table against the wall when entertaining. A lower table with long outdoor benches will suit more relaxed gatherings and lazy breakfasts in the sunshine, while a higher surface with more traditional dining chairs will be the right fit for formal dinner parties.

Material mix

Even in a partially sheltered zone, your outdoor dining table will be exposed to the toughest elements of Aussie summers and winters, so it needs to be able to withstand the extremes. Hardwood timber surfaces in acacia, eucalyptus and teak are a classic choice, able to cope with the worst nature can throw at them. More modern materials such as concrete, polywicker and aluminium will suit a contemporary look, with a slim profile and narrow proportions ideal in smaller spaces, like balconies. Combine multiple materials for a striking yet functional look - timber and aluminium gives you the best of both worlds, with the natural warmth and beauty of timber and the lightness and versatility of metal. 

How to care for your outdoor table

Regularly wipe down the surface with a clean, damp cloth, paying close attention to nooks and crannies where leaf litter and dirt can build up. Bring it undercover where possible for the worst of the weather, and oil or stain the surface as recommended. Freedom offers handy outdoor timber furniture care kits, designed to keep your table looking beautiful, as well as an automatic two-year furniture warranty.

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