Tete-a-tete is a unique piece of outdoor furniture, an elegantly curved settee popularized in the Victorian era made all the more charming by its romantic backstory. "Tête-à-tête" translates to "head-to-head" in French. The phrase is also described as a conversation between two people, or pieces of furniture that fit two people. Others refer to it as a courting bench, a conversation bench, a kissing bench, or a gossip chair. The traditional tete-a-tete seat features chairs with S-shaped, curved backs facing opposite directions, and sharing a center armrest. The first few pieces were designed to foster discrete yet intimate conversations such as courtship. Either way, it is made to represent something happening between two people.
Types of Tete-a-Tete Furniture. As with most furniture, they come in many shapes, sizes, styles, and designs. Most are made of natural wood and feature a two-chair design that, as the name states, sits two. You'll also find that you will see a small table attached in the middle of the two chairs in most designs. What makes it distinctively a tete-a-tete is that all is in one piece. It is structured to intimately put two people together comfortably in one piece of furniture. Many of the pieces you'll see take inspiration from the Adirondack chairs—tall, slatted fan backs with wide armrest and low seats. These chairs are comfortable. You'll find the same with tete-a-tete. Some are attached to a chain and a swing stand to produce a charming tete-a-tete bench swings. Others were given height and paired with a bar table for the perfect couple bar chair during brunch.
Styles and Designs. Many modern tete-a-tete furniture pieces are crafted for outdoor use. Convert your outdoor seating area into a fun social lounge with a few tete-a-tete pieces guaranteed to stimulate the conversation. Most tete-a-tete pieces evolved into a linear form, from the first chair to the center table, then to the second chair. However, you can score a better piece if you prefer one that is curved slightly inwards. The curved design is excellent for people who want a couple chair outdoors by the fire pit in the backyard. Plus, the curved design allows the users a more comfortable conversation as they are angled oblique to one another. Though it has storied roots, the tête-à-tête, whether it's a vintage piece or cozily rustic, or a more modern style, feels perfectly at home in today's living spaces.
Add-Ons. Cupholders are probably the number one concern with many outdoor furniture designs. Luckily, you can find affordable and well-crafted items that can easily be attached to your tete-a-tete, like cupholders. Also, sitting on wood and metal for a long time isn't the most comfortable thing. There are plenty of cushion options for the seats and backrests in various sizes, textures, and thickness clothed in outdoor ready fabrics. On scorching days, patio umbrellas may come in handy to protect the skin and to shield the eyes from the sun's glare while lounging.