It’s that time of year again: when everyone is getting ready to whip their outdoor spaces into shape in preparation for summer. But if you’ve got limited space for your back yard bashes, all this talk of new decks, outdoor kitchens, and landscaping projects is probably lost on you. Even if you only have a small deck, patio, or even balcony, though, you can still entertain guests – you just need to budget your space a little better. Smart outdoor seating sets made for smaller spaces are not only a little more compact than most outdoor furniture, but often come with cool built-in features that will help you make the most of a smaller outdoor area.
Build Up, Not Out
One of the easiest ways to reduce the footprint of your outdoor seating is to build up rather than out. Tiny bar tables aren’t just for the aesthetic – the added height makes for more comfortable sitting for people with long legs, and means you won’t have to spread out as much to get comfy. Admittedly they have a little less surface space, and are usually limited to between two and four seats when used as traditional dining tables, but bar tables on their own (without the bar stools) are also a great place to set drinks when you have a group that’s standing and mingling as well.
Get Set Up To Mix Drinks For A Crowd
If you’re going to have a lot of people in a smaller space – especially of that mingling rather than lounging variety – it might be worthwhile to invest in an actual bar rather than just a bar table. Full outdoor bar sets are built to give you all the storage space you need to store liquor bottles, barware, and glassware, paired with a big enough bar top to mix and serve drinks, whether you’re crafting cocktails for a few close friends or showing off your flair bartending for a crowd.
Plenty Of Surface Space On A Tiny Table
One of the biggest drawbacks to trying to entertain at a small outdoor seating set is that sizing down your table to save space means you won’t have anywhere to put your actual food or drinks. The good news is, the smallest tables tend to come with some kind of supplementary storage. Even if it’s just a shelf underneath the main tabletop, it’ll give you a little more room to spread out and actually enjoy your time outside.
Small Surfaces Doing Double Duty
If you’re less concerned about finding a spot for your appetizers and more worried about keeping your drinks cold, look for outdoor dining tables with ice buckets built into the center of the table. It’s a small but clever alteration that can transform a so-so, slightly-small outdoor seating set into a really elegant place to enjoy a drink (and maybe the sunset) with your special someone – or just whittle away the evening over a bottle of wine.
Chase Back The Chill With A Cozy Conversation Table
If you like to host small, intimate groups of people – especially if your conversations tend to linger late into the evening – you might want to consider investing in an outdoor table that has a built in fireplace, heater, or fire pit. Gas or ethanol heaters are both freestanding and clean burning, with the beautiful appearance of natural flame, and when they’re built into a table can help light and heat an intimate outdoor area. If you want a little more flexibility with the space, you can also opt for tabletop fireplaces that you can set out when you need the added heat and stow when you need your full tabletop.
Seat A Big Crowd – No Matter How Small Your Space
The biggest challenge of entertaining in a small space is if you want to host a large group and be able to sit comfortably to talk and eat all together. But even this isn’t impossible with the right outdoor furniture. Nesting outdoor seating sets are specifically designed for smaller spaces, with multiple seats and ottomans that fit perfectly under each other and underneath the table, meaning they stow away in a very compact cube, but can be pulled apart to seat almost any size crowd around the same table. These cleverly designed sets won’t take up more space than you have on a daily basis, but easily expand to fit almost any size crowd.
Just because you don’t have a big deck, patio, or back yard doesn’t mean you can’t be the one to host summer events for your family or friends – you just need to make smart choices to get the most out of the space you have!