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On the record, Andrew Busch is an expert Design Associate at Room & Board Chicago, with a skill for creating modern outdoor spaces. Off the record, he’s the most fun and helpful person to talk to about creating those spaces; his passion for beautiful, functional outdoor spaces is electric.

Whether it’s a patio or balcony or a sprawling backyard, Andrew takes thoughtful steps in his design approach to help customers create a look they love.  We talked specifically about outdoor dining ideas. “How do you anticipate using your outdoor dining space? What’s the square footage? Those are the first questions I start with,” Andrew says. “You can dine outside just as beautifully as you do indoors.” Here are a few other things to keep in mind:

Embrace multi-function

“Benches are such an incredible space-saver. Pairing Pratt benches with the Pratt outdoor tables offers so much versatility. You can tuck the benches under when you’re not using them, and they’re ideal for entertaining – indoors or out.”

Pratt outdoor dining table, Pratt outdoor benches

Pratt outdoor table, Pratt outdoor benches

“Most of our outdoor benches are made from steel, instead of aluminum like a lot of our competitors, so not only do you get a more durable outdoor product, but you’re creating more of a seamless transition and look in your furniture as you move around between the inside of your home and your outdoor space.

A few of my favorite products to pull indoors (if outdoor season is fleeting like here in Chicago) are the Pratt benches I mentioned, plus chairs like the Mini and Sabrina. The Minis are stackable so you can get some incredible function there.”

Don’t be afraid to combine dining with lounge

“Two Crest chairs around a Penelope table get you the lounge factor plus a great, cozy dining solution. Penelope is one of our smallest outdoor tables and one of my favorites for balconies because you can squeeze it in pretty much anywhere.”

Weight restriction on your balcony? The Penelope table is only 46 pounds, making it a lightweight solution for a balcony that’s also sturdy enough to not get blown away in the wind.

Crest outdoor swivel chairs, Penelope outdoor counter table

Crest chairs, Penelope table

“Similarly, I love the look of a Laguna sofa around the Penelope outdoor coffee table (or a Maris table). The armless sofa is super modern and comes in a modular design, so you still get the lounge factor plus the flexibility of how and where you want to use the pieces.”

Laguna sofa, Penelope lounge chairs, Penelope coffee table, Case Study planters

Maximize space with a counter-height table

“The Slim counter table can easily be an eating or bar area. And because of its rectangular design, you can place it against a wall and still get four stools around it, or you can pull it away from the wall for even more seating.”

Slim counter table (available online and in stores on 4/11), Rollins stools

Montego counter table, Finn counter stools, Maui umbrella

It’s great to have all your pieces from one collection – or to mix it up!

“If you really like a cohesive look, our Montego outdoor collection is so big that you’re able to get everything you need: dining, lounge, formal, casual—it all goes together seamlessly. But that doesn’t mean we can’t mix outdoor furniture, just like we recommend for designing interiors.”

Montego round bar table, Montego bar stools

Montego sofa with cushions, Montego lounge chair with cushions, Boyd round ottoman, solid outdoor pillows

Looking for design help with your outdoor dining area? Check out our Free Design Services to get started.

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1 Comment

  1. Crystal says:

    Hi there,
    In the first picture (caption = Pratt outdoor table, Pratt outdoor benches), what’s the material of the exterior of the pool house?
    We’re currently designing a pool house and I love this!

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