How to buy a dining table
A dining table buying guide
A dining table is often at the core of the home. It is the center of family meals, holiday gatherings and memorable conversations. Although a dining table might seem like an easy item to choose, learning how to buy a dining table is key to selecting this important and often-used piece of furniture.
>> Consider your space
First, when considering how to choose a dining table, determine the space that you have available. This is important to do before you shop for a dining table. Measure the room that the table will go in, and then later compare this to the size of the tables that you are interested in purchasing. Leaving about 50 inches between the table and the wall will ensure that you will be able to walk around the table and maneuver in and out of the chairs comfortably. Especially when furnishing a smaller room, it is important to choose a dining table size that will help to make the space feel bigger and more open.
>> Choose a dining table size
Once you have measured your space, as already mentioned, you need to consider appropriate dining table sizes. Depending on how large the space is, there are different types of dining tables available. For example, bistro tables are small and are appropriate for breakfast nooks, eat-in kitchens and patios. In a larger room, a bigger table is a possibility. Apart from the capacity of the room, the appropriate dining table size also depends on how many people you plan to accommodate. Consider how many are in your household and also if you have dinner parties. For immediate family and close friends, a smaller table may be better than a larger table that will feel too formal due to unused seating. If you do have a large household, however, it's a good idea to have a large table as a permanent fixture in your home. Dining tables with drop leaves are also an option for those who have company often, but who want to free up space otherwise. Measuring to allow about 24 inches of space for each person at the table is generally a good rule when considering different dining table sizes.
>> Choose a dining table shape
In determining how to buy a dining table, you'll also need to consider dining table designs and shapes. To choose the appropriate shape, whether round, oblong, rectangular or square, it's important to remember that the shape will determine the number of people it can fit, the way it will fill your space and the atmosphere it will create. Round tables encourage conversation since everyone can see each other easily. Oblong dining tables, which are long, are good for large families or groups. For a more formal feel, a rectangular table will be a good choice. Lastly, square dining tables are good for fewer people and smaller spaces.
>> Decide on a dining table style
When deciding how to buy a dining table, it's important to have the kind of dining table style that you prefer in mind. This has to do with the dining table's design, material and color.
Tables come in a variety of designs. There are pedestal tables, folding tables and those with fancy iron and woodwork, among many others. The decor of your home and other furniture will play an important role in determining the dining table design that you choose.
As for materials and colors, light woods lend a casual feel. A white dining table can also achieve this while still looking elegant. On the other hand, darker woods like cherry and mahogany are more formal, especially when used for ornate tables. However, if you do decide to purchase a wooden style, make sure to get a mahogany, walnut, maple, oak or cherry wood dining room table because hardwood is stronger and it lasts longer than tables that are made of plywood or medium-density fiberwood. Metal and glass, which are often paired together in a dining table design, can lend a modern feel. A more formal feel, if desired, can also be achieved with dark metal, shiny steel or aluminum.
It is also important to take into account how much use the table will get and to choose a material that is durable and, if you have children, that is safe. Glass is formal and elegant, but it is not appropriate for children who may be running around the home.
>> Consider maintenance and care
You also need to consider maintenance and care requirements when determining how to buy a dining table. If you decide on a wood dining table, apart from choosing a durable hardwood, make sure to also check the finish. It is important to avoid a thick veneer when buying a wood table because it can wear off over time.
When cleaning, choose cleaners that are specified for the material of your dining table. For example, for wood, you will want to regularly use furniture polish and a soft cloth. Glass will require glass cleaner, and metal will simply need to be wiped with a damp cloth.
>> Complete the look
After you've chosen the best dining table for your needs, you will want to complete the look of your dining room with other furniture. A buffet is useful for storing dishes and utensils and can also serve as an accent piece and extra serving space. A wine rack, cooler or cabinet could be a nice addition as well, especially for displaying a wine collection. China cabinets can also pull a dining table together, providing extra storage and a stylish way to display your china.