outdoor dining

Our top 12 outdoor furniture picks (plus an honorable mention)

It may be overcast and chilly by Los Angeles’ standards right now, but trust us - summer is a-comin! And that means a few things are top priority — it’s time to invest in another wide-brimmed hat for beach days, errand-running mornings, and flea and farmers’ marketing on the weekends; get yourself a damn good face sunscreen because melanoma is real, y’all (I happen to love this one, actually), and, yes, that back patio / back yard / deck / poolside situation you’ve got going on could desperately use some thoughtful love and attention.

While it’s true that us Californians can take advantage of the outdoors more often than other parts of the country and are therefore pretty intense when it comes to our outdoor spaces being lovely and livable, it can easily be argued that areas where the sunny, warm season is an ephemeral three to four months ought to take their outdoor areas even more seriously because that quarterly seasonal stretch is over before you can say “vegan hot dogs and buns on the barbecue.” Also, getting outside is good for your health, so we all should be doing it.

We’ve often had clients ask us about outdoor furniture because it seems there’s a bit of a dearth in the market for attractive outdoor pieces substantial enough to endure the elements of relentless sunlight (hi, desert), occasional precipitation (hi, desert), and regular wear and tear. When I was working with a designer in Santa Monica, whenever we’d sell vintage outdoor pieces to a client, we’d consistently recommend, with very few exceptions, that most of our vintage outdoor pieces be placed under covered patio and backyard spaces for protection from the weather. Really, I suppose once it’s yours, you can do whatever the heck you like with it, but if you want a vintage rattan Peacock chair (and we mean actual rattan, not newly-made faux rattan made from polyethylene created to tolerate extreme heat and cold) to last more than a year, you put that precious shit under a canopy, my friend.

Some tips from us Lily Spindle ladies:

  1. Consult with (and potentially hire) a good, trustworthy landscape designer when it comes to the design and creation of your pathways and walkways, gardens, plantings, lighting, and irrigation systems. There’s an artistry to landscape design just as there is to interior design and the knowledge and guidance landscape designers can impart is inimitable. (When it comes to the furniture bits, however we’re the women to call because just as architects are brilliant at what they do, it’s likely you don’t want them choosing your sofa, dining chairs, or bathroom finishes, for that matter)

  2. If you don’t dine al fresco on your own but do have lots of guests with kids and the like during the warmer months, choose a dining table large enough to accommodate at least 8-10 people. Benches (whether built-in or otherwise) are fantastic for this purpose because they provide ample seating for a fair amount of large and small humans and can be utilized differently when not in use at the dining table.

  3. Consider where you’re setting up your potential lounge area. Is there blazing sun all afternoon long? It may not seem like a problem initially, but no sane adult person will want to hang out there without coverage of some kind - a well-placed umbrella or two, a beautiful pergola, or a simple sail shade fabric cover will make the space decidedly more alluring. Additionally, a gorgeous pergola is romantic, practical, and adds value to your home, to boot.

  4. Buy native plants. We live in an urban desert, for instance, and maintaining the health and vitality of a lawn is a fruitless and gross water-wasting obsession. Research the best plants for your region and refer to tip #1 for further details and wisdom!

  5. Your outdoor furniture should reflect the design and feel of your home’s architecture and interior, as well. I guess it goes without saying, but we’ll say it nonetheless . . . if your home is super modern and clean, a set of ornate, tall-backed wicker settees and a silver teak dining table boasting an elaborate base would be a strange departure from your aesthetic and will not look awesome. Not that we have anything against wicker settees and silver teak dining tables! They’re stunning when well-placed and complementing the vibe of the entirety of the space.

  6. If you have a gorgeous view, you are lucky as hell and must take advantage of it.

  7. Don’t knock the string lights. They’re the most functional, least expensive, and easiest means to getting much-needed light in your outdoor living space.

Our top 12 outdoor furniture picks (with an honorable mention tacked on for good measure) features everything from the uber affordable under $200 group to the significantly higher end “pricing upon request” pieces, including sofas, occasional chairs, and tables. Hope it inspires you to get thyself outside and enjoy these wonderful summer days and nights. (And if you’d like our help, don’t hesitate to email us and we’ll happily get you sorted!)

xx - Rebecca + Debra

1 - Malawi Chairs, $399 ; Ixtapa Loveseat, $389 ; Braided Jute Pouf, $90 ; Shroom Coffee Table, $799 - All CB2, as featured in Domino magazine’s tour of Garance Dore’s LA home

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6 - Paloma Sofa, $788

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9 - Fermob Outdoor Furniture Collection
(varying prices and pieces, designed in France)

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10 - Grid Modular Sofa, $9995 - $11,995

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11 - Oasis Sofa + Chaise, $2298 - $3098

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*Honorable mention* Gajah USA’s Seminyak Rattan Collection; $1495

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Let's do this thing al fresco style

It's like your momma always said: buy your snowblower in May, your bikini in August, your chocolates after Valentine's Day, and your outdoor furniture in the midst of summer! Well, maybe your momma didn't share those bright and shiny pearls of wisdom. But WE are!

Here in Southern California we're lucky enough (er, sort of, given that this past January was the driest on record since such record-keeping actually began in 1895) to be able to dine al fresco pretty much all year 'round.  To make it easy, we've put together a grouping of some of Lily Spindle's top picks for super stylish and unbelievably affordable dining tables and dining chairs!

And, here you have it - a few simple + straightforward outdoor dining + designing tips ::

Don't forget the lighting! Just because you're outdoors doesn't mean the lighting isn't crucial. Candles, globes, hanging lanterns, chandeliers and string lights provide romantic, atmospheric lighting and, let's be honest, pretty much everyone looks gorgeous when bathed in the soft, warm glow of mood lighting.

Don't be afraid to bring the indoors out! Graphic, fun rugs outside are pretty wonderful when used in a lounge area and the New York Times' T Magazine recently featured an awesome selection of outdoor pillows ranging from Maharam to Missoni to Holly Hunt, so go for gold and be fearless

Do bring art into your outdoor space. As an extension of your home, your exterior design deserves as much consideration as your interior. And we promise you, art is not exclusive to the walls of your living room! 

Six words -- colorful pots. colorful pots. colorful pots.

Lily Spindle Top Outdoor Dining Tables
  1.  Devon Dining Table, Restoration Hardware. 96"L x 40"D x 29.5"H (teak); $1900
  2.   New York Reclaimed Teak Table, Teak Warehouse. 98"L x 39"D x H30"H;  $2795
  3.   Coronado Dining Table, Restoration Hardware. 96"L x 40"D x 29.5"H (teak); $2665
  4.   Manhattan Reclaimed Teak Table, Teak Warehouse. 98"L x 39"D x 30.5"H; $2295
  5.   Trestle Table (reclaimed teak), Teak Warehouse. 98"L x 39"D x 29"H; $2595
  6.   Crosby Teak Dining Table, Serena & Lily. 102"L x 39"D x 29"H; 2050
  7.   Somerset Teak Trestle Table, Teak Warehouse. 98"L x 39"D x 29"H; $3795
Lily Spindle Top Outdoor Dining Chair picks
  1. Kruger Dining Chair in Turkish Tile Blue, Crate + Barrel. $99/each
  2. Garvin Side Chair, Aeon Furniture Industrial Classics. All Modern. $140/set of 2
  3. Lisboa Dining Chair, DWR. $120/each
  4. Kruger Dining Chair in Ribbon Red, Crate + Barrel. $99/each
  5. Lyle Dining Chair, Crate + Barrel. $199/each