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Laurie Rudd

Big solutions for small spaces

Outdoor Style

Deep seating, oversized dining, double lounging … the descriptions and dimensions of outdoor furniture and accessories continue to grow with every season's introductions. Bigger, however, may not always be better when dressing condominium terraces or balcony settings.

In response to urban needs, casual furniture and accessory manufacturers are creating products designed to dress today's outdoor spaces in quality looks delivered on a smaller scale.

Slimmer seating

“We are seeing more requests for smaller or slimmer profile outdoor furnishings,” said Duane Salzwedel, casual furniture manager at The Bruce Company in Middleton, Wis. “This season, we asked all our manufacturers to provide us with selections in the high dining style to respond to requests by condominium owners.”

For most manufacturers, high dining includes 32” to 35” tables with narrow seating options. With its Vertical Living Collection, Winston Furniture offers multiple designs specifically for balcony decorating. “Their seating provides for viewing over railings while still is a comfortable height and size for men,” said Salzwedel, who stocks the Winston line.

Other options for limited space are versatile bistro sets. “We sell a great deal of bistro tables for small spaces,” said Debbie Marko, merchandising manager at California Backyard in Sacramento, Calif., and Reno, Nev. “But what is really selling well right now for balconies are spring or action loungers with a side table. Most people are using their balconies for relaxing more than entertaining, and a pair of spring loungers work great with a center table to accommodate a drink.”

Streamline Accessories

Retailers with a growing condominium or apartment clientele stay on the lookout for items with slimmer lines and easier-to-fit shapes, including outdoor accessories.

For grills, Columbus, Ga.-based Masterbuilt offers the Veranda Electric Pedestal Grill with a small profile yet a full 200 square inches for cooking. Any limit on open fire use in balcony settings also is satisfied with this grill. A successful accessory for The Bruce Company this season was the space-saving water cooler collection from Alfresco Home, available in free-standing and table top models.

Small smart solutions

Size, or the lack of it, is no longer an obstacle for outdoor decorating. Condo or apartment owners no longer need to be relegated to folding chairs and unattractive accessories. There are solutions available to create an attractive oasis adorned with long- lasting quality furnishings even when their outdoors spaces are less than spacious.


These accent end and side tables from Design Décor Corp. have two tiers as shown, but customers can also remove the bottom table to have one tier. Table tops are made of various stones, including marble, travertine and slate. Five distinctly different designs are available.

side tables from Design Décor Corp.

Indoor/outdoor rugs from Couristan
Indoor/outdoor rugs from Couristan come in compact sizes that add an indoor feel to balconies and other relatively small outdoor spaces. The collection includes Amargosa, a rug in the Five Seasons Collection.

Hundreds of years ago, the Japanese developed rain chains as a way of turning falling rain from a roof into a cascading and enchanting water show. Now even customers who don't have much outdoor space can do the same with Good Directions' Rain Chains with Display Fountain.

Good Directions

The Cuzco set from Domus Ventures
The Cuzco set from Domus Ventures marries style with space conservation. The chair, footstool and side table are each made of powder coated aluminum frames and high-density weather wicker. The back of the chair is fully foldable, while both footstool and side table can be inserted into the space under the seat. The result is a lightweight box for easy portability and storage.

The entire top of the Cook-N-Dine Teppanyaki Grill Cart Bellini serves as a cooking surface for the Japanese teppanyaki cooking style. All electronic elements are completely sealed and insulated. Premium German stainless steel withstands the elements all year round. The unit measures just 27.5” x 19.625” x 35” and includes a pull-out workboard.

Cook-N-Dine Teppanyaki Grill Cart

contemporary-styled model 6148 pedestal stove

From Danish designer Morso, the contemporary-styled model 6148 pedestal stove offers clean lines and a clear view of the fire. The stove is made from 98% cast iron and is relatively compact at 37.5” tall and roughly 18” wide.

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