Shopping time Here's a sampler of furnishings, flooring and table accessories

Shopping time Here's a sampler of furnishings, flooring and table accessories

Dallas Morning News, The (TX) (Published as DALLAS MORNING NEWS) - MAY 24, 1991

Author/Byline: Marice Richter, Staff Writer of The Dallas Morning News, THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS (DAL)

If you like to shop, you'll probably find that setting up an outdoor dining area is a fun project.

Patio dining furniture -- made of wood, aluminum, wrought iron, plastic, wicker and resin -- runs the gamut from traditional to contemporary and from ornate to Euro-style simple.

For those who warm up to wood, the options are plentiful, with redwood dominating the market in table and chair sets as well as picnic tables and benches.

A classic redwood seven-piece dining set featured in the Sears, Roebuck and Co. catalog ($200) includes a rectangular table and four arm chairs. J.C. Penney Co.'s summer catalog features a five-piece set ($599) that gives redwood a sleek, contemporary look. The set comes with a 48-inch round table with four captain's chairs in a silver-gray finish. And for a traditional redwood picnic table with benches, check out Hypermart's version ($40).

Teak selections also abound, and some sets look as though they are suitable indoors or out. Sunnyland Furniture sells a 48-inch round teak table ($569) and matching arm chairs ($359). For teak appeal at lesser cost, Crate & Barrel offers a slat-top rectangular table ($259) of hardwood that looks like teak and matching chairs ($90). The wood is treated with a polyurethane finish for all-weather durability. Accompanying cushions ($30) and the matching umbrella ($219) complete the set.

Wrought iron may be the answer for creating an elegantly traditional look outdoors. If you have a big budget -- or just want to shop like you do -- take a peek at a set from Sunnyland that boasts ornate scroll detailing in a rich jade ($4,000). The hand-cast set comes with an oval, tempered glass-top table and four chairs.

More fiscally conservative shoppers might check out Service Merchandise and Hypermart for traditional mesh-style wrought-iron sets. Selections include a mesh-top round umbrella table with four bucket-style arm chairs ($205) and a white mesh five-piece set ($180) at Service Merchandise and a traditional black-mesh five-piece grouping at Hypermart ($200).

For a wider range of wrought-iron looks, look for the Lyon-Shaw - line at places such as Jackson's Lemmon Avenue Pottery and Sunnyland.

Choose from contemporary and traditional groupings. Sets are available in nine colors, including antique blue and spruce.

Other options Here are some alternatives to wood or wrought-iron furniture: *Wicker: This may be the best choice if you want to create a Victorian look, but it's not really intended to weather the elements.

Durable wicker look-alikes are plentiful. Lloyd Flanders, for example, manufactures a synthetic fiber that looks like wicker. It is constructed with metal tubing over an aluminum frame and is weather-durable. Sunnyland sells a five-piece set with a 48-inch round glass-top table ($1,200); there are 12 colors from which to choose. *Resin: Another popular material for outdoor furniture, resin is a durable synthetic that looks like white plastic. Grosfillex Boutique of France manufactures a complete line of resin products that includes dining sets, chaise lounges and benches. Sunnyland carries many of the products, including a small rectangular table ($129) and five-adjustment matching chairs ($79). The adjustable chairs allow conversion from an upright dining position to a lounging mode.

Lower-priced resin products from Service Merchandise include Syroco's 27-inch round table ($35), stationary chairs ($13) and five-adjustment chairs ($30). *Galvanized steel or aluminum: These are widely used in patio sets. One of Service Merchandise's newest sets is the "Casablanca' by Omni. It has cushioned fan-back arm chairs with a tempered-glass-top umbrella table in a rolled aluminum tubing that looks like black lacquer. (Five-piece group, $440; matching swivel-rocker dining chairs, $440; matching umbella, $110.) The J.C. Penney Co. catalog offers a tempered-glass-top umbrella table with matching aluminum-frame chairs ($360). The frames are white and the seats are a woven mesh in bold green-and-white stripes.

The pieces may be purchased separately (coordinating umbrella, $90). *Plastic: This is a good option for tight budgets. Hypermart has a white, round umbrella table made of plastic-covered wood ($39) and plastic stacking chairs in white, blue or taupe ($7). *Cement: Looking for a good option to place on the lawn? Try cement furniture. For instance, Jackson's Lemmon Avenue Pottery sells a round table with three benches ($399). *Folding furniture: Pieces of the fold-and-stash variety may be the apartment-dweller's best alternative. Storehouse offers a bistro set in a white epoxy-coated wood ($249). The 38-inch table chairs fold and store easily -- even under a bed.

While it doesn't fold for storage, another option for a balcony or small patio is the J.C. Penney catalog's three-piece aluminum bar set, featuring a tempered-glass-top bar and two folding stools ($200). The bar also has a tempered-glass storage shelf.

What's underfoot Crate & Barrel sells a 6-by-9-foot rug made of all-weather fibers in natural or hunter green ($120) and a 4-by-6-foot rug ($50). The rug can be used on a patio or deck or be thrown directly on the grass.

Steppingstones for a mock patio are available at many area garden centers. Jackson's Lemmon Avenue Pottery sells 12-inch round or square smooth stones ($1.49), 18-inch stones ($4) and 24-inch stones ($8). Steppingstones made of crushed stone also are available for - about double the price.

Umbrellas and tents If you want sun protection and your set doesn't come with an umbrella, look for a large one that can be purchased separately. A tent is another option.

Some sun-screeners seen around town include several differently styled fabric tents at Service Merchandise (shade tent, $99; gazebo-like tent $250); a large canvas-and-wood umbrella ($400) at Jackson's Pottery; and an umbrella with an acrylic canopy ($279) at Crate & Barrel ($279).

Umbrella bases often are sold separately. Prices range from about $30 at Service Merchandise to about $250 for a concrete base in decorative terra cotta for $250 at Jackson's Pottery.

Bug candles and lights Citronella candles are a good solution for keeping away those unwelcome flying visitors. Candles in metal buckets are available at many lawn and garden centers and discount stores (about $6).

But if you want something a little more decorative, Jackson's Pottery sells a candle in a pot that looks like a terra-cotta birdbath ($15) and a "smudge pot' citronella oil lamp ($50).

Crate & Barrel sells a candle in a terra-cotta holder ($7) and one in a ceramic pot ($9). There's also a tulip-shaped citronella candle that can be staked into the ground ($7.50).

Dining out after dark means that you will need light. Candles are an option, but there also is a full range of outdoor lamps available on the market. Sunnyland has a whole department of outdoor lighting, including table-top lamps (about $92) and plastic lamps that wrap around an umbrella pole ($159). Jackson's Pottery sells similar products. Serving carts A serving cart can help you avoid the mad dash to the kitchen.

Some simply offer racks for holding food and drinks; others have burners for keeping food warm. "Cold carts' that hold ice to keep food and beverages cold also are available. Some have wheels so they can be moved around.

Jackson's Lemmon Avenue Pottery sells cold carts and "hot carts' with burners (from $400 and up).

The J.C. Penney catalog offers a cart/rack in resin ($100).

Crate & Barrel also sells a cart in a synthetic finish ($159).

Glasses and tableware To complete your alfresco ambience, glasses and tableware of acrylic and plastic are good options. And there are plenty of both on the market. This year's products seem to draw their inspiration from the sea, with lots of bar sets and pitchers adorned with colorful fish and shells.

Macy's sells a large platter in the shape of a fish ($22), four 14-ounce acrylic glasses adorned with fish ($18) and a matching ice bucket ($36).

For more elegant entertaining, Crate & Barrel sells acrylic champagne flutes ($2.25) and margarita glasses ($3). Also, consider the clear acrylic pitcher ($20) and white antipasto ($18).

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