How To Choose An Outdoor Bistro Table

Bistro tables are the perfect outdoor furniture for big or small spaces. This post will outline bistro table size, materials and style tips for any patio.

Outdoor bistro tables are small tables named after the round tables found in French cafes. If you want a touch of nostalgia and dream outdoor-living, then you need to find the perfect bistro table!

Traditionally, bistro tables are designed for the garden or patio but are also perfect for small spaces like apartment balconies. They are a cute combination of style and practicality as they provide somewhere to relax outdoors without taking up too much space.

This guide will talk about

  • What size and height bistro tables should be
  • How to make bistro tables and chairs more comfortable
  • The best materials for bistro tables that will last
  • Style inspiration for garden and patio bistro tables

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What size and height should bistro tables be? 

Bistro tables are traditionally small, round tables. This adds to the feeling of a French "cafe-style" in your space.

Where regular outdoor dining tables are usually around 28 to 30 inches high, bistro tables should be around 18 to 26 inches high to achieve the look. If you are matching your bistro table with a lounge chair instead of dining chairs, you may want something slightly shorter to reach it comfortably.

Bistro tables can be square, but this will look more like a side table than a table used for relaxing with drinks in the back garden. For round bistro tables, you can expect to find them anywhere from 24 to 36 inches in diameter.

Bistro tables are perfect for small spaces such as apartment balconies. Their size means you can have somewhere to socialize without overcrowding the space. Although most bistro tables are small enough already, you could also consider choosing a table and chairs that fold away. This will help you maximize your patio space even more.

What materials are best for outdoor bistro tables?

Bistro tables are fantastic for creating a unique space in your backyard. However, because they are outdoors they need to be made from the right materials to last.

Traditional bistro tables are made from wrought iron. You may have seen them hidden in the back corner of your grandparents' garden - often painted white with artistic patterns. You might have noticed that these wrought iron table sets tend to rust if they are not properly maintained.

If you want to leave the table and chairs out in the elements, you should opt for metal furniture that is plated or painted to protect it from rust.

Black Mosaic Metal Folding Bistro Table
Black Traditional Metal Round Bistro Table
Gray Traditional Metal Outdoor Bistro Table
Black Classic Metal Rectangular Bistro Table
Gray Elegant Metal Round Bistro Table
Black Brown Classic Metal Bistro Table

Wicker bistro tables are a popular choice because of their neutral colors and relaxed style.

Black Modern Wicker Round Bistro Table
Brown Classic Resin Bistro Table
Brown Modern Rattan Outdoor Bistro Table
Brown Classic Wicker Bistro Table
Brown Traditional Rattan Square Bistro Table
Brown Classic Rattan Round Bistro Table

No matter what material you choose for your bistro table, make sure that it is lightweight. Bistro tables are small and perfect for moving around to wherever you need them. This means that you need to be able to lift them easily!

Another consideration is where the table will be located. If it is near a pool area, you need to stay away from untreated wood or traditional wrought iron as these will quickly deteriorate.

Bistro tables on an apartment balcony will generally be exposed to city pollution. This means you want to choose something that you can easily clean such as painted metal or resin wicker.

What are the best styles for bistro table and chairs? 

There are a few classic bistro table styles that will suit most styles. Almost all of them will add distinct European flavors to your outdoor lifestyle.

The most common choice is white wrought iron bistro tables. These are perfect in a green garden setting and will create an "English flower garden" atmosphere.

White Vintage Metal Folding Bistro Table
White Classic Metal Bistro Table
White Traditional Metal Folding Bistro Table
White Elegant Metal Outdoor Bistro Table
White Traditional Metal Folding Bistro Table
White Modern Metal Bistro Table

Mosaic bistro tables with metal frames are another popular style. Mosaic table tops nod to the traditional Mediterranean designs and complement warm patio colors and brick beautifully.

Black Mosaic Metal Bistro Table
Black Traditional Metal Mosaic Bistro Table
Blue Modern Metal Mosaic Bistro Table
Brown Modern Solid Wood Mosaic Bistro Table
Blue Contemporary Metal Mosaic Dining Table
Black Classic Metal Mosaic Flower Bistro Table

Metal chairs with delicate floral decals will feel the most like a European cafe. Match these with comfortable cushions and a shaded patio to instantly transport yourself to an outdoor cafe somewhere in France.

Black Modern Metal Bistro Table
Silver Contemporary Steel Bistro Table
Gray Modern Aluminum Folding Bistro Table
Silver Contemporary Metal Outdoor Bistro Table
Silver Modern Metal Bistro Table
Black Modern Metal Outdoor Bistro Table

For a more robust style bistro table, a combination of wicker and glass is a classic option. Mixing materials adds interest to your outdoor furniture, and a glass tabletop will provide more stability while keeping the warmth of the wicker style.

How can I make my bistro table and chairs more comfortable? 

One problem with bistro tables and chairs is that they can be hard and uncomfortable.

This is difficult to avoid as they are made to stay outdoors. That means you can't get comfortable upholstered dining chairs to go with your tiny table!

There are a few things you can do to make your bistro chairs more comfortable regardless of the weather.

Firstly, you can keep an outdoor storage box full of cushions and blankets. This box can serve as an extra surface and means you have comfortable seats (and blankets for when it gets colder in the evening!).

Secondly, choose a table that can hold an umbrella. Shelter from the sun means you can get more use out of your bistro table throughout the year.

If you would like a bistro dining set that is relatively comfortable and weather-resistant, a resin wicker set with water-resistant upholstery will be your best option.