Outdoor Accent Tables Buying Guide

Originally Published on July 11, 2023. Last Updated on February 20, 2024.

Accent tables are some of the most useful pieces to add to an outdoor space, bringing ample functionality, practicality, and style—all while taking up little room. These furnishings are sometimes treated as afterthoughts, with larger pieces like sofas, Adirondacks, and chaises getting the majority of attention. However, it doesn’t take long to realize how much you need one (or a few) until you reach for a spot to rest your drink and realize the patio floor is the only available option.

There’s an abundance of outdoor table designs available, making the shopping experience a bit irksome if you’re unsure where to start. To streamline your search, use our guide to help you quickly find the best-suited tables for your space.

Jump To Section
Step 1: What to Look for in a Patio Accent Table
Step 2: Determine How Much Room You Have
Step 3: Choose the Right Materials For Your Table
Step 4: Choose the Right Style
Step 5: Choose the Right Color For Your Set

Step 1: What to Look for in a Patio Accent Table

POLYWOOD Vineyard 3-Piece Rocking Set in Black
Featured: Vineyard 3-Piece Rocking Set in Black

Keep these key features front of mind when selecting a new accent table.

Points to Consider 

  • Durability: The table can handle harsh weather and outdoor elements.
  • Maintenance: Cleaning and upkeep should be effortless.
  • Appearance: It will maintain its good looks throughout the seasons.
  • Design aesthetic: The design complements your home’s style.
  • Weight: The table has enough heft to resist strong winds, but it’s still easy to move.
  • Price: The table offers plenty of value over time to offset its cost.

What is the difference between an accent table and a side table?

“Accent table” is a blanket term that refers to any small table that complements an outdoor space or seating arrangement. A side table is a type of accent table, as are end, coffee, conversation, console, and fire pit tables.

  • Side table: A side table has a small frame designed to fit against a wall or the side of a room. 
  • End table: An end table sits beside a large piece of furniture like a sofa or sectional and typically stands as tall as the seat’s arm.
  • Coffee table: A coffee table has a low-sitting frame and typically sits in front of a sofa.
  • Conversation table: A conversation table fits at the center of a furniture grouping.
  • Console table: Console tables are tall, narrow pieces designed to lean against walls or the backs of sofas.
  • Fire pit table: A fire pit table features a tabletop with a built-in propane or natural gas burner.

Step 2: Determine How Much Room You Have

Knowing if you have space to accommodate an accent table before buying one is essential. Follow these steps to find out if you have room for a new addition:

  1. Measure your space. Use a tape measure to find the width and length of your outdoor setting, and multiply the numbers to find the square footage.
  2. Measure any furniture in the room. Get the length and width of all seating and decor, then subtract those dimensions from the square footage. The resulting difference is open space. 
  3. Determine if the remaining room is usable. You don’t want an accent table to block entrances or walkways, so double-check your open space to ensure it’s unoccupied. 

Accent Table Sizing

What's the difference between side, end, and coffee tables? | Accent Table sizing Guide

What's the difference between conversation, console, and fire pit tables? | Accent Table sizing Guide

Sizing FAQs

  • How big should an accent table be?

Let your space and seating dimensions determine accent table size. You’ll want a piece that’s a little smaller so it doesn’t jut out past the furniture and block anyone’s path.

EXAMPLE: The Lakeside Deep Seating Chair has a seat depth of about 23 inches, and its armrests sit a little over 21 inches off the ground. The ideal pairing is the Lakeside End Table. It’s about 17 inches tall, and the top measures roughly 18-by-18 inches.

Accent Table Sizing: Lakeside Deep Seating Chair and End Table

  • How tall should an accent table be between two chairs?

The general rule is that an accent table should stand within 2–4 inches of the chairs’ armrests—this applies to height and distance. The goals are to keep your essentials within reach and maintain the balance of a room. 

Step 3: Choose the Right Materials For Your Patio Table


Softwood accent tables are inexpensive and easily accessible, which are big pluses to homeowners. However, if softwood isn’t regularly maintained, it’s susceptible to pests, fading, and water damage. 


Stronger than softwoods, hardwood tables are beautiful additions to any outdoor space. But the materials are hard to come by, making them more expensive. If you choose this accent table type for your home, you can look forward to minimal upkeep, but be prepared to ask for help when moving it because hardwoods are heavy.

High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) Lumber

HDPE is a durable plastic used to craft a variety of outdoor items, such as furniture and playground equipment. It’s weatherproof, corrosion-proof, wind- and fade-resistant, and easy to clean. HDPE is a little more expensive than other materials, but the long list of perks offsets the cost.


Aluminum accent tables are attractive to homeowners because they’re durable, inexpensive, lightweight, and rustproof. The downside of this metal is that it’s vulnerable to strong winds and highly conductive. This means direct sunlight can heat the surface, quickly melting the ice in your drink, overheating potted plants, and becoming too hot to touch.

Wrought Iron

A popular choice for patio tables, wrought iron has an elegant appearance. It’s resistant to pests, mold, and wind, but unfortunately, this material needs continuous maintenance to keep rust at bay.


Stone accent tables offer clean looks and minimal details, which appeals to those who prefer low-key style. They’re durable and low-maintenance, but the extra heft makes moving a challenge. Plus, stone is naturally porous and should be sealed regularly to prevent stains and water damage.

Learn how to Care for Your Outdoor Accent Table

Step 4: Choose the Right Style Accent Table

From small-but-mighty side tables to space-saving console tables, we offer various styles to meet your needs. 

Side & End Tables

The purpose is in the name: These tables sit at the side or end of furniture and keep your drinks, snacks, and other essentials close at hand. They’re intended to be supporting characters instead of focal points, and often have extra shelves or folding features for added convenience.

POLYWOOD South Beach 18" Side Table POLYWOOD Square 18" Folding Side Table

Coffee & Conversation Tables

Choose a coffee or conversation table if you have a large furniture set. These pieces have short legs and spacious tabletops, making them the ideal centerpieces for sectionals or groups of Adirondacks.

POLYWOOD Lakeside Coffee Table POLYWOOD Round 37" Conversation Table POLYWOOD Riviera Modern Conversation Table

Fire Pit Tables

Fire pit tables do their best work in the center of settings, with room on all sides so everyone can gather and enjoy the warm glow. Their wide tabletops and low-maintenance burners will add comfort, coziness, and convenience to your life. 

POLYWOOD Round 48" Fire Pit Table POLYWOOD Square 42" Fire Pit Table POLYWOOD Rectangle 34" X 46" Fire Pit Table

Console Tables

Designed for functionality, a console table can be your go-to storage spot for extra cushions, blankets, and decor. They’re tall and narrow, fitting perfectly against walls or the backs of sofas. 

POLYWOOD Newport 55” Console Table POLYWOOD 68" Console Table with Storage

Step 5: Choose the Right Color For Your Set

Many opt to keep their look cohesive by choosing a single color across their seating and accent table(s). But if you want to bring hints of color to your space, you can easily do so with accent tables. Try a sunny yellow side table for brightness between a pair of grey rocking chairs. Or use black coffee and end tables to add a bit of drama and contrast to a white sectional. 

Classic Finish | Traditional Colors
Classic Finish | Vibrant Colors
Classic Finish | Select Availability
Vintage Finish | Traditional Colors

Shop POLYWOOD Accent Tables

Shop Side & End Tables Shop Coffee Tables Shop Fire Pit Tables Shop Console Tables

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