Enjoying a meal alfresco is one of the highlights of summer. While it may not be possible for all urbanites to host outdoor dinner parties at home, there are still ways to enjoy eating and drinking outdoors—yes, even if your patio is Lilliputian. Finding outdoor dining furniture for an apartment patio is all about versatility and dimensions. (Bonus points if it stows away easily during the rainy season.) The Fermob Bistro Table ($325 at Örling & Wu [28 Water Street]) is designed with this in mind. Inspired by the folding furniture that became popular near the end of the 19th century, French outdoor-furniture company Fermob has created a collection of tables that are minimalist in design—a small circular top (60 centimetres in diameter) on thin, foldable legs—and available in a dozen bright colours. The table comfortably seats three people when open but is small enough to slide under a bed once collapsed.
When space is limited, it’s important to find pieces that maximize visual impact while taking up a minimal amount of space. The Acapulco Multi-Lounge Chair ($249 at CB2 [1277 Robson Street]) is both outdoor furniture and art. Inspired by the midcentury–modern aesthetic of 1950s resorts—think Palm Springs and Miami Beach—this colourful seat will make your patio stand out. It consists of a black steel-tube frame with handwoven PVC cords in black, white, flamingo pink, mustard yellow, and light blue spiralling out from the centre. While the chair isn’t collapsible, its materials make it weatherproof. Plus, it’s so funky that you’ll want to move it indoors to enjoy year-round.
There’s something inherently beachy about the fabric-slung deck chairs from Vancouver’s Gallant & Jones. Create an urban oasis with a few of these chairs on the patio. Each consists of a washable polyester outdoor fabric attached to a white-oak frame, and the headrest is locally made from environmentally friendly kapok fibres. The Tahiti Deck Chair ($288) has an undeniable retro feel with an oversized green palm-leaf print on a white background. Meanwhile, the Blossomed Deck Chair ($292) exudes a psychedelic vibe with its abstract purple-flower design. The best part is, these chairs fold up easily and are light enough to tote along to the beach or park.
Some urban patios come with outdoor lighting; others are nonfunctional once the sun sets. A simple temporary lighting solution also happens to be completely chic. String lights have a quirky bohemian look that can add a sense of intimacy—think mood lighting—when they’re strung across a small space. Two options at Crate & Barrel (650 West 41st Avenue, in Oakridge Centre) have us glowing. Party Take-Out Box String Lights ($96) find mod black polka dots on small lanterns inspired by takeout containers. For a more sophisticated look, the Hemp Ball String Lights ($34) emit a soft, golden glow. Small globes made from natural hemp fibres provide just enough lighting to make you linger on the patio a little longer.