We've explored far and wide to find the best patio tables for 2011. For more up-to-date information,, check out our Patio Table Picks for 2012.
Bamboo is being used for all kinds of things lately -- flooring, bedsheets, tableware. But bamboo furniture has been around probably as long as, well, someone to make and sit in it. Bamboo 54's outdoor coffee table is made of the real stuff, and even includes an easy knock-down feature for quick assembly. Carrying the smart space-saving design one step further, the Bamboo 54 coffee table features a rack or shelf underneath to store things like magazines and books.
Take a clean, linear, modern design and throw in some curves -- literally -- and you've got Caravan's Royal Tahiti outdoor coffee table. Made of balau -- an exotic hardwood like shorea and ipe -- the wood is strong, durable, mold and insect resistant. Maintained yearly with a furniture oil like tea or linseed oil, the balau wood coffee table will stay a light golden brown.
If you like to buy new patio furniture every year, this may not be the piece for you. Then again, does anyone really want to have to replace their patio furniture annually? I don't think so.
My parents had a set of these teak nesting tables in the 1960s and 1970s -- come to think of it, they probably still have those tables somewhere. That's the sign of good design -- if it repeats itself or comes back every few decades or so, there must have been something right about the design.
So, what's right about Frontgate's Cassara three-piece set of Cassara teak nesting tables? Let's see:
- A nice, classic, go-with-everything design and shape -- a perfect square
- Teak, the wood that is durable outdoors and lasts for decades
- Like those Russian dolls, they nest, which is a really cool, space-efficient concept
- They don't take up lots of room on your deck or patio, and the two spares hide under the bigger one when not in use. Cool.
Oxford Garden's end table is a go-with-anything piece of outdoor furniture that's both functional and great looking. The design on this piece is clean and simple, with a slat-style tabletop and square form. Its clean lines allow the shorea wood to stand out.
Shorea is a hardwood similar to but stronger than the long-popular teak. Shorea has proven to be resistant to the evils of outdoor furniture, like weather, termites, water, and anything else that comes to mind. No doubt about it -- this table is heavy and solid. Like a good friend or a trusty appliance, this table's in for the long haul. And that's a good thing.
A smaller cousin of the mosaic patio dining table in our Top Patio Dining Sets. Pier 1 is known for its colorful pillows and outdoor cushions, and now that vivid color can be found on an outdoor side table. Besides its beauty, mosaic tile is known for its strength and durability, along with being able to stand up in temperature extremes.
The sunflower mosaic table is handcrafted of iron and glass, made in India, and is 14"W x 14"D x 21" H. Available only in select Pier 1 Imports stores; not sold online.
OK: So the Jupiter is not exactly promoted as an outdoor table, but it's got all the makings of a great patio occasional table. That yummy-looking orange base from Zuo Modern is made of ABS (plastic resin) and the tapletop is clear tempered glass. For the more "traditional" modernists, there's the symmetrical Jupiter table, while the assymetrical crowd might gravitate toward the Belvedere. If orange isn't your thing, the base also comes in black and white. One word of advice: Don't keep this piece out in the sun for extended periods of time, because the resin might fade. You're better off keeping it under a patio cover or bringing it outside for entertaining.