Lounge chairs get all the attention when it comes to shopping for outdoor furniture. But without a side table nearby, it’s hard to enjoy lounging.
“You’ve got to have somewhere to put your drink, for one,” said Keith Williams, a partner at Nievera Williams, a landscape architecture firm in Palm Beach, Fla. “That’s most important.”
Other reasons you might want a small table outside? “You can add an outdoor lantern or lamp,” Mr. Williams said. “Or a garden ornament or beautiful flower arrangement,” to decorate your outdoor space.
Some outdoor accent tables are also strong enough to function as additional seating when you entertain (and may be marketed as multifunctional stool-tables). “They’re easy to move around when you have a big group,” Mr. Williams said.
And they don’t need to match. In fact, it’s often better if they don’t.
“Mixing it up is a lot more interesting,” Mr. Williams said, as it keeps an outdoor space from feeling too formal. “The whole idea of the outdoor room is that you want to have fun.”
How tall should an outdoor accent table be? “It depends on the other furniture and seating heights,” Mr. Williams said. In general, a low chaise longue works well with a lower table, while an upright sofa pairs nicely with higher tables.
Is the weight important? “Absolutely,” Mr. Williams said, noting that heavier is usually better. “We like to use things that can withstand wind and don’t teeter easily.”
What material is best? It depends on the look you want. Some materials, like wood and iron, will weather over time, while others, like composites and powder-coated metals, will resist the elements.
Grey Embossed Stool-Side Table
Textured earthenware table and stool
$199 at CB2: 800-606-6252 or cb2.com
Fermob Bebop Low Table
Powder-coated aluminum table by Tristan Lohner
$523 at 2Modern: 888-222-4410 or 2modern.com
Hedley Faux Bois Side Table
Concrete faux bois table
$595 at Mecox: 212-249-5301 or mecox.com
Amagansett Zig Side Table
Sculptural resin table
$348 at Serena & Lily: 415-969-7759 or serenaandlily.com