5 Ways To Liven Up Your Patio

It’s finally heating up outside, which means more backyard barbecues and relaxing on the patio. But if your backyard isn’t exactly ready for guests, then there’s never been a better time to start remodeling and designing your space. Transforming your outdoor space can be as simple as adding a chic bistro table or as elaborate as installing a fountain. Here are five ways to level up your backyard for the summer.

Bistro Tables and Chairs

Bistro tables are perhaps one of the most versatile pieces of furniture, fitting seamlessly in the foyer, kitchen, and of course, your patio. In an outdoor setting, bistro tables provide an intimate space for an al fresco dinner or a quiet place for drinking your morning coffee. With a variety of fabrics and finishes, you’re able to choose your style: rustic, modern, industrial, coastal, etc.

Both our metal and wooden sets offer durability against many weather conditions. However, you may prefer a metal set for a more refined, modern look or wood for a warmer, more casual feel.

While bistro tables and chairs come in sets, bistro chairs can become an accent piece of their own. If you’re used to entertaining a large group of people, these chairs give a casual yet elegant feel to a long, outdoor table.

Patio Umbrellas

In theory, the summer sun beating down on you makes the season worthwhile, but in practice, it can leave you drained, burnt and seriously sweaty. A patio umbrella offers shade above your bistro table, while preventing fading, warping or overheating of metal bistro chairs.

Outdoor Area Rugs & Decorative Pillows

While you may opt for more muted décor indoors, outdoor furnishings lend themselves to bright colors, fun patterns and interesting textures. Liven up your patio with an outdoor area rug, decorative cushions, and throw pillows. Even if you choose a more understated bistro table, placing colorful pillows on your bistro chairs can add personality and comfort to your area, while giving you the freedom to change it up as frequently as you please.


Whether it’s a complete landscaping remodel with sod or a few box planters lining the deck, adding greenery can create a serene escape in the comfort of your home. Not to mention, it automatically transforms the look of your backyard. Adding a few trees provides natural shade, while making you feel more established in your home. If you start planting herbs, flowers, or veggies now, the bright colors and fruits of your labor will be waiting for you this summer.

String Lights

In the daytime, string lights create structure in your yard, forming lines and pathways to follow – but the nighttime is when these fixtures really thrive. Whether you’re having a romantic dinner for two or hosting a close group of friends for dinner and drinks, the twinkling lights help set the mood. You can also string lights throughout your newly planted trees for a whimsical, wonderland feel.

Bistro tables are a functional centerpiece to decorate around in your backyard. Whether you crave elegance, fun, or both, your bistro table offers versatility to meet your needs. No matter the size of your backyard, you can make your space larger than life with the right accessories – starting with the perfect bistro table.

Need Furniture Advice? Call Us Today!

You’ve decided to remodel your kitchen, dining room or family game room once the stay-at-home order during this global pandemic is behind us. You’re browsing furniture online now and want to know how it might work in your space. Use our tips below to help you decide on furniture that best meets your needs.

What’s Your Style?

If you’re a homeowner, investing in quality furniture that will last is a good decision. And, if you’re buying furniture to last, you’ll want to think carefully about your style.  After all, you won’t be switching it out for something else any time soon. Start by asking some questions. Are you looking for furniture to offset the bold new colors you’ve picked for the walls? Do you enjoy the natural beauty of wood or the sleek lines of metal? Also, do you have favorite furniture manufacturers?

Maybe a set of barstools is the ideal choice for additional seating at your new kitchen island and bar. You have lots of options for everything from wrought iron and other metals to wood such as oak, cherry, walnut, ash and mahogany. What’s more, styles include bar stools with a back, swivel counter stools and more. Depending on your style, you may pick something sleek and simple. On the other hand, you may want something more luxurious with a high, padded back. When it comes to barstools, you need to know how high the counter is where they’ll sit, in relation to the height of the stool.

Take Measurements

Regardless of the piece, you’ll want to consider how the new furniture will fit in the space. The only way to know how much space it will take up in the room is to take measurements of the room and compare it with the size of the furniture. Make sure you pick furniture that fits and allows plenty of room for movement. For a dining room table and chairs, for example, use the measurements of the pieces seen online and lay them out on the floor with painter’s tape to see how they would work in your space.

Determine Delivery and Set-Up

Buying furniture from a local dealer will ensure quicker delivery. Not only that, but if you need help setting it up, or putting the pieces together, you’ll have an option of adding set-up to the delivery. What this means for you is you need to add the cost of delivery and setup into your budget.

Purchase Furniture Online: Consider the Source

You want to be able to call the company and ask questions as well as get advice on your purchase. Our owners at California Stools, Bars and Dinettes are in store during normal business hours, seven days a week, at our two Bay Area locations in San Jose and Pleasant Hill and are happy to talk to you. Just give us a call!

The Evolution of the Kitchen Table

The standard family kitchen table has long been revered as a place to gather with your loved ones. Children can be working on homework while Mom is cooking up dinner, guests can chat with the host while she prepares food and drinks, and the family can all catch up together over a nice meal and discuss their day. However, this wasn’t always the case. The purpose and use of the kitchen table has changed over time, across countries, and in differing economic situations. Let’s take a look at the evolution of the kitchen table and how it gets used today.

A Historical Look at the Kitchen Table

Have you ever read the Laura Ingalls Wilder books? Then you’re familiar with the concept of one room homes. Because of these, homesteaders such as the Ingalls’ would have a large table in the middle of the room where meals were prepared, sewing was done, and children’s schoolwork was completed. It was the main gathering space in the home. In wealthier families, there would have been a separate dining room that had the table in it, but it was only used for dining, not for any other purpose.

In more modern times, a kitchen table will be near the kitchen and will be the most used area in the home. Modern families of all classes will be more likely to gather around the kitchen table for a variety of activities. Some homes may also have a dining room for more formal events such as Easter, Thanksgiving, or Christmas dinner but it is less frequently used.

Kitchen Table Design Styles Through History

As mentioned above, homesteading or working-class families of the 1800s would have been more likely to have a large piece of wood with four wooden legs as their kitchen table. Wealthier families of the same time period would have used wood as well, but it would contain more elaborate carvings and likely be heavier and larger than that of the working class.

Over time, additional materials have been used to create kitchen tables with style. Wrought iron legs and frames with glass tabletops were very common in the 1990s, and they still are frequently used for outdoor settings because they are more durable than wood against Mother Nature. Today’s style also tends to be more minimalist, with slim frames, legs, and tabletops. We also are more likely to see plastic and enamel tables than in previous generations.

Shop for Your Perfect Kitchen Table Today!

At California Stools, Bars and Dinettes, we have a variety of kitchen table options to suit your family’s needs. You can opt for the classic wood kitchen table, go a bit more modern with glass, choose something durable like laminate, or try a versatile expandable kitchen table. Whatever you need, we’ve got it in one of our two locations. Shop with us today in either San Jose or Pleasant Hill for the perfect kitchen table for your family.

How to Build a Great Home Bar

Entertaining at home can be more fun than going out because you don’t have to worry about driving, it’s less crowded, you’ll always get your drink right away and, frankly, it’s a lot cheaper! Building a home bar is a great way to make inviting friends over an even better experience. Here are a few things to consider when designing your own home bar.


If you don’t have a lot of extra space for a home bar, consider one with a smaller profile. This can mean that it is long enough to seat 2-3 people, or that it doesn’t wrap around in a U-shape. A smaller home bar is great to tuck into a corner or for those who like to entertain on a budget. A larger home bar can seat 4-5 people and may include the U-shape design. This will allow for more storage with cabinets, a bigger counterspace for preparing drinks, and makes the bar more of a focal point in the room.


The design style of your home bar reflects your personal taste as a homeowner and host. Consider the overall aesthetic of your home and how you want your home bar to fit in to that. Perhaps you want dark wood paneling to recreate the feel of your favorite neighborhood bar. On the opposite end, maybe you’re looking for something light and airy such as wrought iron for an outdoor home bar by the pool.


Once you’ve picked out the home bar, the next step is to consider the lighting. You’ll want lights that are bright enough for you to be able to see the drinks you’re making, but you’ll also want it to be dim and cozy enough for your guests. Take a look at the existing lighting in the space you’re building a home bar and see what adjustments you might need to make. Consider dimmable lights or multiple lighting options.


You may decide to place your home bar in an area that is plentiful with comfortable seating already. In that case, you might not need to worry much about bar stools. But if you’d like your guests to come sit at the bar with you, look for chairs that sit up high enough that you can look at each other directly while preparing drinks on the opposite side of the bar. You may also consider bistro or pub tables near your bar.

Shop with California Stools, Bars, and Dinettes!

When it comes time to build your home bar, look no further than the experts at California Stools, Bars and Dinettes! We have two Bay Area store locations that offer a variety of home bars to suit any size and style preferences you may have. We can also help you choose bar stools for your new home bar and even pub tables if you’re looking to bring additional seating to your entertaining space. Come visit us in San Jose or Pleasant Hill today!

Entertaining at the Kitchen Island

It’s hard to name a gathering that doesn’t involve food. From hosting Thanksgiving dinner to inviting the girls over for wine and gossip, there always seems to be a reason to be in the kitchen. Whether you’re chatting away together while preparing a big meal or just grabbing a casual snack, the kitchen is the place to be when entertaining.

Because of this, kitchen islands have become one of the hottest trends in kitchen designs over the past several years. Since they’ve become such a major focal point in the home, the islands have gotten bigger with more room for seating. Whether it’s a place your kids do their homework after school or a casual seating option for when you’re dining alone, it’s important to select the right chairs for your island. Here are three things to consider when matching the right chairs to your island.

Your Design Aesthetic

You’ll want your kitchen island chairs to match the overall tone of your decor’s vibe. If you’ve got a lot of classic, clean lines, you may want to try chairs with metal frames. For a darker, heavier style, wood chairs might suit you better. Also keep in mind the color of the metal or wood, as well as any upholstery you may include and stitching or buttons that accent the chair’s fabric.

How They’ll Be Used

If you will be frequently using the kitchen island chairs, consider more comfortable, upholstered options. However, if your chairs will be tucked underneath the island to save space, backless chairs will work well to keep the visual clutter to a minimum. For a kitchen that fully wraps around the island or an island that stands between the kitchen and dining or living room area in an open concept floor plan, chairs that swivel are a nice option so your seated guests can take full advantage of their surroundings. For an outdoor kitchen with an island, you’ll want durable chairs that can withstand sun, rain and wind, without showing signs of aging.

Your Island Style

Simple, single level kitchen islands are often primarily used for cooking with occasional dining or entertaining. Kitchen islands with two levels allow for the appropriate counter height for cooking on one side, but an elevated level on the opposite side for dining and entertaining guests. For chairs that suit this higher level, consider 34″ kitchen island chairs. These will help to elevate the guests seated on one side of the island so they have a better view without disrupting the flow of the kitchen.

Visit California Stools, Bars and Dinettes!

If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, we invite you to stop by our San Jose or Pleasant Hill locations to view our kitchen island stools. We can help you make the perfect selection and have them delivered right to your door!

2020 Trends in Dining Room and Kitchen Furniture

With a new decade comes new and updated trends, especially in interior design and home furnishings. If you’re looking to spruce up your space, you may need a few inspired ideas for your home.

Dining and kitchen furniture are always evolving and becoming more stylish and functional to make a house feel more like home, while also reflecting your personal style.

Below are a few of our favorite trends for your kitchen and dining space this year that will remain in style even beyond 2020.

Large Statement Dining Tables

With homeowners putting much of their savings into building their dream home, this leaves them wanting to spend more time at home and less time spending money dining out. Family dinners and dinner parties with friends means that you need a great space for entertaining. Don’t skimp on a small table; large dining tables seating six or more people in a dining room are coming back in style for quality time at home.

Mismatched Chairs

Although this isn’t a new trend, it’s one that will never go out of style. Pick up different styles and colors of chairs in similar heights and sizes for your dining room seating. Not only does this give you more bang for the buck, it also makes your dining space pop with an eclectic and distinct space that is truly yours.

Bold Monochrome Rooms

Monochrome is really having its moment right now and can look great in your kitchen and dining spaces. Aligning the colors of your walls, artwork, tables and chairs within the room can make this space stand out in a way that is not only beautiful, but also photographable. Instead of gray on gray or tons of tan like we’ve seen in the past, the newer monochrome trend tends towards bolder colors. Think cobalt blue, mustard yellow or hunter green.

Combine the Old With the New

Who says that you can only entirely decorate with antiques or all new furniture store-bought styles? Mixing old pieces from local shops with newly purchased pieces helps to showcase your individual style with statement pieces. Try finding an antique sideboard to pair with your dining room table, chairs and bench for a modern farmhouse feel.

Bring the Outdoors Indoors

Hanging plants, living walls and other big potted plants belong in your common spaces, especially in kitchens and dining areas. Some of our favorite beautiful and low-maintenance indoor plants are Ficus trees, the Spider Plant, Pothos plant, Philodendron, and of course the easiest of all if you live in a dry climate, cacti and succulents. Plus, studies show that feeling more connected to nature and greenery sparks more creativity, so get those plants in your kitchen and start creating new recipes in your kitchen!

Kitchen is the Heart of the Home

We all know that the kitchen is the heart of the home. The necessity for nourishment is complemented by our desire for companionship with family and friends as we eat. Victorian era home design reflected the greater formality of that age. The rooms in houses were smaller, often more numerous and were used for specific limited purposes. The kitchen was a distinctly separate part of the house as was the formal dining area. After World War II, designers began to favor the open kitchen concept for houses. Open designs permitted interaction and flow between the kitchen, dining area and living spaces. The “island,” with its informal seating for smaller groups or family has become a mainstay feature. Dining areas have also become less formal with many opening up to both the kitchen and living areas.


When family and friends come together, we tend to celebrate with our favorite and most elaborate cuisine. This tradition has its roots deep in the past, when community feasts often signified deliverance from times of scarcity. Feasts and harvest festivals announced and symbolized survival and prosperity. In ancient days, dining rooms of castles were often huge and far away from the kitchen due to the danger of kitchen fires. But many working-class people had no dining rooms at all. In Victorian times, formal dining areas became the norm for the well-to-do. This involved elaborate and beautiful dining furniture and dining ware, which was often left on display. Some people still enjoy this formality, while others tend toward the more casual, but still elegant, dining areas and furniture of modern design.

Family Activities

Many homes now feature bars or islands off an open kitchen, where smaller groups of the family can gather for comfortable, informal meals. These areas also offer barstools for additional seating capacity when special occasions arise. Islands have become favorite places for children and teenagers to study or play games. Before the coming of the mobile phone, these islands (and bars or peninsulas) were often the communication hub of the home, with access to kitchen and living areas and a phone strategically placed. In this way, whoever was busy preparing food could cook and socialize or supervise children at the same time. Before the open concept became fashionable, the cook was often isolated from family, friends, and entertainment.

Dining Furniture Trends

Along with the open concept, various dining furniture trends have appeared. To mention a few: Smaller, less formal, dinette sets are often used for breakfast nooks. Partial bench seating has become a useful dining room alternative to chairs. Dining decor has become less stuffy and more playful for many. Bolder colors and designs are more common. Mixed chairs and other combinations of modern, rustic and traditional dining furniture are being explored, although the traditional and formal are still viable choices. Whatever changes in dining and kitchen furniture design may lie ahead, however, it’s a very safe bet that the kitchen will always remain the heart of the home.

Dining Furniture Design Tips for Entertaining This Holiday Season

With the holiday season upon us, now is the perfect time to upgrade your dining room furniture. Shopping for dining furniture is more exciting than ever, too, with a host of new trends that will give your entertaining space a punch of excitement and vibrancy.

The best dining furniture is functional, comfortable, durable and aesthetically pleasing. Today’s dining furniture shoppers can find everything from timeless classics to the latest trends in furniture and decor. We’ve rounded up four of the trendiest dining room looks for 2019 and 2020, so you can get ready for a season of entertaining in style and comfort.

Dark wood to bring elegance and drama

Your dining room table is a focal point. Make a bold statement with dark wood but mix it up a bit with contrasting table legs or lighter shades for upholstery on the chairs. Dark wood such as oxidized oak, espresso brown and painted black adds warmth to a room and works well as a backdrop for bright whites and light creams in dinnerware, artwork, chairs and other pieces.

This look works well because the rich look of dark wood evokes older, more formal furniture styles but the contrast also fits well in modern design.

Mixed-up seating to add depth and variety

There are no rules with dining room chairs and no better example than how manufacturers have embraced offering different seating options for tables. Mixing blonde wood chairs with dramatic grey or black stained pieces can turn a simple table into a work of art.

In addition to different materials and contrasting tables with chairs, individual seats can also vary in a set. One fun and exciting way to make any dining room look fresh and inviting is to mix chairs with long benches. As a bonus, the benches can offer greater flexibility, letting more guests enjoy your entertaining.

Combining wood with metal

When it comes to mixing and matching materials, don’t forget that there are countless options for dining room furniture materials. A metal table can mix and match with wood or resin chairs and vice versa. Glass tables can include wood or metal framing, and your chairs can match or contrast for a modern yet classic vibe.

Keep in mind that the metal and wood mashup doesn’t have to stop at your dining room table. You can incorporate a combination of industrial and farmhouse styles with accent pieces and artwork, too.

Step away from modern and make an antique statement

After years of modern, mid-century style furniture filling showrooms and homes, the trend is to soften this look with a throwback to the past. Antique furniture can add a vivid touch to your dining room, but you don’t have to scour through antique shops, pay a fortune or risk wobbly chairs. Today, you can find pieces that evoke the design trends of the past but are constructed with modern materials and techniques.

For some more design inspiration that follows the latest furniture trends, check out We have everything to make your holiday entertaining, and everyday living, more vibrant and comfortable.


Home Bar Design Ideas for Game Day

Building a home bar can be a dream project for many homeowners, especially for gathering friends and family on big game days. Whether you want a full bar in the media and game room or just a standing bar near the kitchen, it all starts with a plan.

Work the Angles
Consider using a bar layout that is more than just a straight line. A favorite can be a 45-degree angle at two corners that gives some extra space for standing or sitting. If you have enough room for an L-shaped bar then you have enough room for this style.

Choose a Durable Bar Surface
You don’t want to skimp on the bar surface since it’s the most hardworking and visible part of your bar. Marble and granite are great choices to give your bar a top-tier appearance and will last forever. Beautifully dark grained wood can give you a warmer look and is more in line with the traditional pub atmosphere.

Match Bar Stools to the Bar Top
The typical bar top stands about 31 to 43 inches from the floor. This means that bar stools need to be about 29 to 32 inches in order to accommodate most people. If the bar is taller, then the bar stools also need to be taller. It helps to have bar stools that have a back for some support. With so many styles at California Stools Bars Dinettes, you’re sure to find ones that work for your bar. If you’re having a difficult time deciding on a style, then selecting classic wood bar stools are always a good option as they complement any type of décor.

Use Pub Tables
To create a bar with little space and still have a great place to enjoy the game, consider using pub tables. Pub tables are generally taller than most dining tables but usually take up less space than a dining or kitchen set.

Use Pendant Lighting with Recessed Lights
Pendant lighting hanging from the ceiling is a traditional way to light up the bar. A home bar looks good with a cluster of pendant lights, but you may want to consider recessed lighting. The drink prep area will need good lighting. Under cabinet lighting can also work well in many bar areas.

Use Your Walls
Take a look at the space where you plan to put the bar and see if the walls nearby can become a part of the bar. It’s not just about the design because you can use the walls as part of the overall theme. Install shelves to hold bottles or a rack for your favorite glasses. Another option is to build open cabinets to store and display bottles.

Add a Mirror
Many public bars also have mirrors on the wall behind the bar — adding a mirror can be a good way to reflect light and expand the space. The right mirror becomes an important design element.

Consider an Outdoor Bar
If the weather is nice enough most of the year then an outdoor bar can be a unique choice. Outdoor bars should be built close to the home for easier access to amenities and you’ll want to make sure the bar gets plenty of shade.

Fall into a New Dining Room Set in Time for the Holidays

Whether you’re renovating a home or buying a new one, shopping for new furniture can be exciting. Arguably, the most essential furniture you’ll need, particularly during the holiday season, is the dining room set. Follow this step-by-step guide on how to purchase the perfect dining room set to entertain family and friends this fall.

Deciding on shape and size

When buying your dining room set, the first thing you should consider is the table because it serves as the focal point of your space. Begin your search by narrowing in on the most suitable shape and size depending on the space where you intend to set it up. Oval and rectangular dining tables are appropriate for narrow or long rooms. A round dining table is best suited for square-shaped room as it helps to maximize the space and allow movement around the dining set. Square tables are also suitable for small spaces as most of them are designed to seat four people.

Your dining table’s size will depend on the dimensions of the space and how many people you’d like it to accommodate. The space between your dining set and the nearby walls should be at least 40 inches. This allows guests to comfortably get to their seats even while some chairs are pulled out.

How tall should my dining table be?

There are two basic dining table heights: counter and standard. Counter height dining tables are normally 36 inches high and require chairs between 24 to 26 inches high. These pub-type tables are ideal for small spaces to create an open, informal look and feel.  Standard-height dining tables are the more conventional option. They measure about 30 inches tall and are usually paired with 18 to 23-inch chairs. You can also mix and match them with stools and benches. These tables create a formal look and work perfectly for families and larger gatherings.

Choosing dining room chairs

Your dining chairs should complement the table in terms of shape and dimension. You need to ensure that the dining room chairs are the right width to accommodate guests seated next to one another comfortably. Make sure the chairs are also an appropriate height so that you don’t feel like you’re sandwiched between the tabletop and the chair.

Factors to consider when choosing your dining room set

Apart from the size and shape of your dining set, there two more essentials you need to consider when shopping for your dining room set. These include:

  • Material – If you’re going for a wooden table, consider hardwood such as walnut, teak, maple, mahogany or oak rather than composite woods such as plywood. This will enable you to enjoy your dining room set for years on end.
  • Veneer – A thick veneer tends to lift away from your table over time. You can identify a thick veneer as it has obvious “seams” at the corners. It also feels like plastic.

Your dining room is where you make lifelong memories with family and friends and your dining room set is the centerpiece of the space – and should be a true reflection of your personal style and lifestyle.