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If you’re lucky enough to have outdoor space – even a little – you might be looking for a coffee table. Why? A coffee table can make the smallest outdoor space a destination for al fresco dining.

Smaller than a dining table, but capable of holding at least two place settings, a coffee table is ideal for balconies, pint-sized decks, and intimate garden nooks.

“Smaller coffee tables are great additions to expand the residential living space, if you want to take that living room or dining room outside,” said Samuel Jimenez, senior partner and studio director at J. Mendoza Gardens, New York.

There’s a caveat if you live in a vertical city like New York: It’s important to think about the wind, Mr. Jimenez warned, because lightweight cafe tables “tend to be a bit like sails.”

To reduce the chances of your new table blowing away, he suggested choosing one with a slatted or perforated top. You can also choose a collapsible model that can be stored indoors when not in use, or a table with a weighted base.

And if all else fails, consider deploying a leash. “When we get to the upper floors, we have to think about attaching the furniture to the parapet or to a paving stone,” Jimenez said. That way, “you’re not going to be flying things around the roof terrace.”

  • What materials are the best? Lightweight aluminum is nice for portability, but powder-coated steel and wood are heavier, Jimenez said, which is good if you’re worried about the wind.

  • What is the optimal shape for the top? A square top offers more dining space, but “a circle tends to be better than a square for a tight space,” Jimenez said, because it’s easier to squeeze in.

  • What if you’re having a big dinner party? If you have a few small outdoor tables, he said, you can always bring them together.

Table with acacia wood legs and polystone top

$ 399 at article: 888-746-3455 or

Powder coated steel table with terrazzo base

$ 495 at Design Within Reach: 800-944-2233 or

Portable table with steel legs, linoleum top and leather details

$ 345 at West Elm: 888-922-4119 or

28 inch square powder coated steel table with umbrella hole

$ 346 at Horne: 877-404-6763 or

Table with powder coated steel base and bamboo slatted top

$ 575 at Danish Design Store: 866-482-8722 or

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