The Life and Times of Bistro Furniture

Gone are the days when pub and bistro tables were confined to restaurants and recreational areas. If you are keen on home remodeling projects, you may have come across such furniture set up on a well-manicured lawn or patio. Pub and bistro tables are also a favorite among people who live in smaller homes and apartments. Modern bistro furniture is not only available in multiple types of materials, but also in a variety of colors to light up the space where you’re using them. They’ve come a long way from their meager beginnings across the pond.

What is bistro furniture?

This type of furniture first came about in the 19th Century and was meant to be used in a bistro, a small and intimate café or restaurant. Bistro tables and chairs could typically seat two or three people, reflecting the smaller size of the café. Materials such as wood, aluminum, wrought iron and plastic have been used to make bistro tables and chairs over the years. Today, some bistro table tops are even made of mosaic tiles or colored glass to complement their surroundings.

Pub and bistro tables come in varying heights. Pub tables are taller, usually from 36-42 inches, and reserved for drinks and a small-sized appetizer dish. Bistro furniture, on the other hand, is suitable for everyday use as its height is equivalent to that of a dining table.

History of pub and bistro tables

While some think that the name ‘bistro’ was coined from Russian soldiers who shouted ‘bystra’ or “bring my food quickly” during the Napoleonic war, others contend it was derived from ‘bistreau’, an ancient French word referring to an innkeeper.

The origin of the bistro can be traced back to the early 1800s when they began to spring up in France as families and small taverns sought to supplement their income by providing food and wine to strangers. Apart from supplementing their income, bistros were ideal as the small tables and chairs situated on sidewalks outside the café could easily be folded away, thereby sparing café owners from having to pay for a fixed terrace.

Bistro furniture was quite common in Europe but only made it over to America after the Civil War. Some of the first bistros were introduced in New York due to the significant presence of European settlers and visitors. Bistro tables were crafted in such a way that the people could easily cross their legs beneath them. They had no lip, and their diameter was about 30 inches. The tables were often accompanied by mesh chairs and a five-foot umbrella for protection from the elements. Over time, the size and use of bistro furniture have evolved. It’s not uncommon to see pub or bistro tables used as the primary dining furniture, decorative corner furniture, or even as a work desk. As they are truly meant to live outdoors, people today often use them on their decks and porches for entertaining.

Choose the Right Dinette Set for Your Space

This could be the greatest time in history to shop for a new dinette. If only you knew what a dinette set was. Isn’t a dinette set the same as a dining room set? There isn’t really a difference between a dining room and a dinette, or is there?

As a matter of fact, there is a difference between the two. The dining room is the larger space in which you almost expect a butler to walk through the door with a towel draped over his arm announcing, “Dinner is served.” The room a dinette set occupies can also be called a “breakfast nook”, and that is what it is. It’s a small space set aside for less formal meals.

The room for the dinette set is either small–usually located adjacent to the kitchen–or even at one end of a kitchen. The dinette is for less formal dining and the possibilities of styles and colors are nearly endless. You can have tables with glass tops or solid wood. You can have chairs that emphasize metal, or chairs that feature wood. You can have upholstered chairs, or even opt for a pub table with barstools.

When choosing the right dinette set for your needs there are a few things to consider. You need to know how many people will be eating at the dinette set on a regular basis. If the norm will be a setting of two, pick out a dinette table and chairs accordingly. If you have several children, we have dinette sets to match those needs too.

You will also need to choose a table and chairs to match your practical needs. If counter space in the kitchen is in short supply, you can find tables that are hardy and able to withstand food prep and still look great when it’s time to eat. If the people eating with you are young you can choose chairs that are simple to wipe off after a meal. If they’re older, chairs covered with fabric might be both comfortable and offer a feeling of warmth—not to mention the different color possibilities to match the room.

The next step is to decide what will match your décor. If you have warm, solid wood cabinets in your kitchen, you might want a wooden table with matching chairs. If you have a modern kitchen with stainless steel appliances, you might consider metal framed chairs and a metal framed table with a glass top. People in the San Francisco area can visit our two locations and discover that we have a variety of styles to meet different tastes. From modern to country. For couples or large families. We can help you pick the perfect dinette set for your needs.

Whether you knew what a dinette was or not, this is a great place to share a more intimate dining experience. Whether with a spouse or with your children, we have dinette sets to help create pleasant meal-time memories.

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

You’ve decided to throw a dinner party and realize that it’s also a great excuse to replace your outdated dining room set with a new one. The dining room is where you spend a considerable amount of time gathering and entertaining family and friends so making the right choice is especially important. Before you start shopping, however, take into consideration the following criteria to ensure you find a dining room set you’ll be happy with for a long time.

Measure Size and Space.
First, consider the size and shape of the room and how traffic naturally flows through it. You don’t want a dining room set that takes up so much space it impedes the flow of the room, but you need one large enough to accommodate family members and entertaining guests.

Sometimes it’s difficult to visualize the size of furniture in a particular space. Dining room tables can be deceptively large so try taping off the size you want with masking tape on the floor and include several feet around all sides to ensure that you can move around the room comfortably while guests are seated. It will provide a much better sense of how the size of the dining room set works within the space and how movement flows throughout the room.

If space is an issue, consider expandable dining room sets that give you the option of leaves to extend the size of the table as needed for entertaining. Regardless of the size, it’s important to determine your needs for the dining room set.   

Pick a Shape.
The shape of the dining table can influence the overall feel of the space, whether it’s formal or casual. As a general rule of thumb in design, round tables work better in square-shaped spaces and rectangular tables are best suited for similar shaped rooms. An oval table will fill a rectangular-shaped space better than a square one.

Round tables tend to convey a sense of intimacy and are conducive to conversation since there is no head of the table, while rectangular tables instill more formality in a room. It all boils down to identifying your needs and selecting a dining room set that serves its purpose and reflects your lifestyle.

Material Matters.
Choosing the right material for your dining room set can be difficult as there are several factors to consider, including budget, personal taste and ease of care. Solid wood dining sets are timeless, durable and sturdy, and relatively easy to clean. Glass-top tables can make a room feel more spacious and are easy to clean. Laminate wood tables are highly durable, easy to clean and have the look of solid wood, often at a fraction of the price. Prioritize what’s most important in terms of cost, taste and care.

Match Your Style.
Finally, your new dining room set should reflect your personal style and the design of your home. Think about how it works with your other furniture, décor style and color scheme of the room. If the dining room is its own separate space, you might want to consider a more formal dining room set. If, however, the dining area is simply part of an open great room and kitchen space, then a casual-style dining room set might work better. Don’t be afraid to mix and match one style of table with another style of dining room chairs to create a custom look if you don’t find the perfect set. At the end of the day, you want a dining room set that meets your needs and that you’ll continue to love years from now.