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One May afternoon, I had my first ever solo lunch date.

I was en route to the university campus library to write my first paper of the semester (/troll celebrity gossip sites for hours between panic attacks), when lulled by the gentle rocking of the express bus, I became suddenly aware of an impending fatigue. Determined to quickly remedy it (procrastinate), I decided to detour to the waterfront and take some deep breaths on a summery patio.

A square foot of serenity

Plunking myself down on an iron, slat-woven bistro set outside a nearby café, I wedged myself between an ivy clad lattice and a wrought iron railing that closed off the seating area into a cozy fifty square foot refuge.

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This is a canvas backed bistro set from the Naples collection, designed for expansive backyards and modestly sized balconies too.

As I waited for the waitress to appear with my order I was effortlessly immersed into my surroundings. The rustle of the light breeze through the branches above slowed my breathing to match its dulcet pace, and the soft flutter of the waves in the distant ocean humbled my gradually ebbing sense of foreboding. My academic anxiety was soon dwarfed by the humbling expansiveness that lay outstretched before me.

Moved by stillness

Eventually my coffee arrived, gently placed in the center of my table that allowed only the exact amount of room that my saucer and book occupied. Watching the few visible licks of vapour rising up from the cup, fighting against the warmth creeping into the shade of the eaves overhead, I was overtaken by a sense of calm.

The battle between the steam and the warm breeze faded into the backdrop of the charming patina that kissed the edges of the cast iron table set; I was suddenly transported to my own island of quiet reflection, simply by sitting still.

Create your own sanctuary

Although my introduction to the restorative powers of a modestly proportioned patio was a perfect storm of opportunity and circumstance, replicating that personal serenity can be as easy as investing in a simple set of chairs and small complimentary table to make a Bistro Set.

Great for areas that are tight on space, and tighter on Zen, investing in a set like this for your outdoor space is a step in the right direction to realigning your backyard chakras.

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Monty Carlo wicker bistro set that is collapsable and can be easily stored. It’s pictured here on a modular deck tile surface, which can also be taken up and re-installed without tools or fuss. This is a great example of how to personalize an outdoor space easily and quickly in spaces small and large.

 

Finding your style

The slat-woven design of the cast iron set that I found myself perched upon that summer afternoon was an authentic representation of the furnishings found in seventeenth century French cafés from which these sets originated. The quaint appeal and artisan quality of those forged frames were the perfect contribution to the restaurants continental courtyard, but one is not limited to a style of such antiquity.

Bold colors and innovative technology have paved the way for manufacturers to create vibrant styles in durable, lightweight materials like cast aluminium. Offered now in an array of designs that range from old world to contemporary, these pint-sized patio furniture sets are now engineered to suit any aesthetic or climate.

Finding your space

One of the universal benefits of these patio sets is that you don’t need a lot of space to house them. Plagued all too often with scarce outdoor real-estate, and a lack of adequate storage space, Bistro Sets are an excellent way to spruce up what little outdoor space you’re afforded in apartments, condos, and micro units. Whether you’re looking to unwind in your very own private-but-limited outdoor space, or store your oasis in the off-season, these sets quell all sorts of dimensional dilemmas.

Certainly not limited to such close quarters, Bistro Sets are also a great way to create the same level of intimacy found in these smaller spaces amidst the sprawling landscapes of larger plots as well. You can place a set in a quiet corner of your yard, perhaps the furthest accessible corner of your property for maximum meditation potential; or even in the centre of a garden enclosed by shrubs and hedges, or a trellis crawling with vines—a vegetative moat to protect you from noise and focus your flights of fancy.

The Pursuit of Relaxation

Carving out a momentary place for just yourself in time and space is the ultimate goal in the pursuit of relaxation. All too often overrun by the day to day stress of keeping your head above water, finding a square inch of quiet self-reflection can mean the difference between a bad mood, a bad day, or even a bad year. By allowing yourself the simple pleasure of an outdoor escape, you can easily prevent the emotional plague of inner dwelling.

It’s astounding what a table and two chairs can do for your sanity.

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Jill Canty

hiker; runner; breakfast food, mcdonalds, and beer lover; HBO and AMC marathoner; insatiable modern fiction devourer; hopeful globe-trotter; concert-goer; proportionate Beyoncé obsession-haver; and - of course - content writer.