Best bistro sets: the perfect buy for small patios

Small outdoor space? Take a look at our pick of the best bistro sets for small patios: seven of our favourite compact yet stylish buys

Best bistro sets
(Image credit: Made)

If you’re looking for the best bistro sets for small spaces, you’ve come to the right place. If you love the idea of spending weekend mornings outside with a cup of coffee and a good book, a bistro set is an essential piece of garden furniture – especially if your garden is on the small side.

But what makes a good bistro set? A compact design and easy storage is a must for limited spaces, or you can choose a slightly roomier design that will stay out as a centrepiece to your garden all year round. To save you from doing all the hard work, we’ve rounded up our top buys from the designs out there right now – and if you scroll to the bottom, you’ll find a handy guide to choosing the best bistro set.

Looking for something bigger for outdoor dining? Take a look at our pick of the best garden dining sets

The best bistro sets 2020

(Image credit: Made)

1. Tice garden compact bistro set

Best industrial-style: a compact bistro set with a stylish mesh finish

Specifications
Table: H75xW46xD52cm
Chairs: H68xW46xD47cm
Material: Metal
Reasons to buy
+Tucks in for compact storage+Comes in a variety of colours
Reasons to avoid
-Must be covered or stored away when it rains

This affordable bistro set from Made is another reminder that they really get small-space living: it’s compact, stylish and available in five on-trend colours.

Small space credentials

The dining chairs fit snugly under the table when not in use. We particularly love the satisfying way the curves of the design come together – it’s the little things in life, after all!

Worth noting

Metal patio furniture works well in any space, traditional or modern, and this bistro set is no exception. The mesh design has serious industrial vibes and we love the range of on-trend colours, from soft green to sophisticated grey and bold chartreuse.

Buy the Tice garden compact bistro set

(Image credit: Argos)

2. Wooden Bench to Bistro Set

Best multifunctional design: bistro set that doubles up as a bench

Specifications
Table: H80xW40xL80cm
Chairs: H44xW40xL80cm
Material: Acacia wood
Reasons to buy
+Compact design+Weather resistant+Multifunctional: bench and bistro set
Reasons to avoid
-Assembly can be tricky

A compact space calls for furniture that pulls its weight, and this bench-turned-bistro-set from Argos does just that.

Small space credentials

When not in use as a bistro set, this design from Argos folders into a bench that sits flush with your wall, so it takes up less space and doubles up as casual seating at the same time.

Worth noting

The whole set is made from acacia wood, which is weather-resistant and extremely durable – so you're sure to get years of use out of this set. You can rest assured that the wood is FSC certified, too, so it's been produced sustainably.

Buy the Wooden Bench to Bistro Set

(Image credit: Cuckooland)

3. Garden Trading 2 seater Rive Droite Bistro Set in Clay

Best foldable design: an elegant, neutral design that folds up for easy storage

Specifications
Table: H71xW58xD58cm
Chairs: H78xW50xD42cm
Material: Powder coated steel
Reasons to buy
+Foldable for easy storage+Lightweight+Comes in range of colours
Reasons to avoid
-Uncushioned

Looking for a compact, dainty design that reminds you of dining a la the French Riviera? This Garden Trading bistro set is just the ticket.

Small space credentials

A foldable bistro set ideal for a small garden because it can rest against a wall in your garage or shed when not in use. This set is lightweight, too, which means it's even easier to bring it in and out of wherever you're keeping it.

Worth noting

This set is made from powder-coated steel, so it's technically durable enough to survive a bit of wind and rain, but we'd still recommend covering or bringing in (it's not exactly difficult, as we've shown above!) if it's looking to be a rough few days. We all know what British summers are like, after all.

Buy the Garden Trading 2 seater Rive Droite Bistro Set in Clay

(Image credit: Robert Dyas)

4. DuraOcean 2 Seater Bistro Set

Best sustainably made set: for serious eco and style credentials

Specifications
Table: H75xDia.66cm
Chairs: H79.8xW54.4xD54.8cm
Material: Recycled plastic, Eucalptus wood
Reasons to buy
+Made from ocean plastic waste+Fully recyclable+FSC-approved wood sourced from eucalyptus
Reasons to avoid
-None

At the higher end of our selection’s price range, this bistro set from Robert Dyas is worth the investment for its serious commitment to sustainable design – and did we mention it’s a beautiful piece of furniture, too?

Small space credentials

This set doesn't have the foldable, compact design of some of the other entries on this list – it's the sustainability credentials that we love, as we've highlighted below – but it's still a relatively unobtrusive bistro set, with elegant, tapered legs and a slim table that can easily be tucked to one side.

Worth noting

The DuraOcean chair is made with recycled plastic waste from the ocean – think fishing nets, ropes and debris – which not only takes rubbish out of the sea, but also makes for a super-durable design. The wood used for the chair legs and the table is FSC-approved Eucalyptus wood, which means it’s also been sustainably sourced. And when the set comes to the end of its life, it can be fully recycled at your local recycling centre.

Buy the DuraOcean 2 Seater Bistro Set

(Image credit: John Lewis & Partners)

5. Kettler RHS Harlow Carr Garden Bistro Set

Best classic choice: a weatherproof bistro set perfect for traditional gardens

Specifications
Table : H74.5xW70.5cm
Chairs: H89xW67xD67cm
Material: Wicker, aluminium frame, glass top
Reasons to buy
+Cushioned seats+Natural wicker design+Durable frame
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive

We love wicker garden furniture for its classic design, and this Kettler bistro set is the perfect set-up for a romantic evening meal outdoors.

Small space credentials

The bulkiest pick on our list, this bistro set has less in the way of space-saving details to shout about, but its sturdy build and generous table size still works because it's designed to be left outdoors all year round. That means no trying to fit it into what limited storage you have – you can leave it be through the seasons as a permanent fixture of your garden.

Worth noting

This set was made in partnership with the Royal Horticultural Society, so you know it's been built with durability and suitability in mind.

Buy the Kettler RHS Harlow Carr Garden Bistro Set

(Image credit: Argos)

6. Jasmine 2 seater bistro set

Best French-style set: a dainty bistro set inspired by Parisian chic

Specifications
Table: H71xDia.70cm
Chairs: H89.5xW51xD46cm
Material: Steel
Reasons to buy
+Durable material+Table has removable legs for storage+Stackable chairs
Reasons to avoid
-No seat pads

If you prefer an elegant bistro set that wouldn't look out of place on the balcony of a Parisian apartment, this vintage chic design from Argos is for you.

Small space credentials

This bistro set's dainty design means it takes up little space on a patio, but it also has a couple of tricks up its sleeve to make stowing it away even easier: the table has removable legs so you can store it flat, and the chairs are stackable to save on floor space.

Worth noting

If you don't want to bring it in and out, this set can be left outside all year round, though Argos does recommend protecting it with a cover when it's not in use.

Buy the Jasmine 2 seater bistro set

How to choose a bistro set

Before you buy a bistro set, make sure you’ve thought about these key factors:

Size

Crucially, measure your patio and compare to the bistro set you’re thinking about buying to check it’ll fit. Make sure you have enough space to move around the furniture comfortably, and to be able to fully pull the chairs in and out. We’ve specified the height, width and depth for each of our best bistro sets to help you out.

Material

While most manufacturers will recommend taking your bistro set in during bad weather, there’s always a chance you’ll forget when it starts pouring with rain, so check the material the set is made from to ensure it’s durable enough to withstand rain and sunshine. Key factors to check include weather-resistant coatings and UV protection, which prevents fading.

Functionality

If you need to be able to store away your bistro set out of season, choose a design that’s foldable or stackable. For foldable sets in particular, check the reviews to make sure there are no complaints about loose screws or easily damaged joints.

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