According to the furniture industry we are currently in what is called “Dining room season”. This is the time of year when folks suddenly realize just how much family they have… and that they’re all coming for Christmas dinner. Rather than putting up card tables in the living room many people choose to use this season of sales to upgrade from hand-me-downs and buy that quality dining table they really want. But hold it, right there, Hostess with the Mostess. Before you hit up every store within 30 miles and spend a lot more time (and possibly money) than is necessary, let’s go over some basics to help you determine what kind of dining table is right for you.
First off, are you an apartment-dweller or do you take up residence in a spacious two-story? Maybe somewhere in between (like me)? If your dining room is about the same size as your closet, opt for a smaller table with barstool height. Having a taller table will make your room seem a bit larger. On the flip side, going super low could have the same effect. Japanese-style tables are coming back in a big way but are for a more casual diner. See photo below.
If you live in a larger home your possibilities are extended, obviously. Here’s how I go about finding the right table for my client:
DURABILITY: If smaller children are in the home go for something durable and nothing too high. If you intend to use your dining table for more than just dining (say, as a crafts area or as a workspace for your home office) you may prefer a glass top over a wooden top that may be easily scratched.
WOOD v. GLASS TOP: Again, it boils down to practicality. If you eat at the dining table daily, cleaning the glass so often could get tedious. If the glass top is the look you crave but the maintanance is not, you may like a table runner or place mats to keep finger prints to a minimum. Wood tops tend to look more formal when stained; casual when painted.
SIZE DOES MATTER: Dining tables come in shapes and sizes galore: Round, rectangle, oval, square. Some come with leaves, some do not. To determine the shape that is right for your needs, look at your room. Is it long and narrow? A rectangle shape will fill the space to scale; just make sure you don’t get a table so long that the people on one end cannot speak with those on the other without yelling. Is your space smaller with lots of straight edges surrounding it (cabinets, countertops, etc?) Round tables soften the room as it offers contrast to all those hard-looking surfaces. If you like to host intimate dinner parties, a round table lends to easy conversation. Oval tables are also ideal for entertaining and elongate the overall appearance of the dining room.
To determine the size that is right for you, consider what that table’s purpose will be (again, will this double as a workspace?). If you’re shopping for a family of three who only entertain once a year, a 72″ round table may be overkill for you. Sure, it looks grand on Thanksgiving day (and can comfortably seat seven) but on the other 364 days a year when its just the three of you, you will be reaching and talking across a huge space. I caution against getting swept up in the beauty of the table alone; many are made from fine craftsman and the detail can be exquisite (I prefer the hand-carved Jason Scott collection found at Bruno’s Home Furnishings for massive spaces) you could easily be disappointed later that you spent cash on a huge table that goes unappreciated 99% of the time.
BASE: There are also a variety of bases you will see now that you are actively searching: pedestal, four legs, triad, square, iron, etc. You may know right away that you love the look of an iron base but need a glass top. Use this outline to help you make your shopping list of requirements and you’ll be enjoying dinner at your new table by tomorrow night!
Not sure what your style is? Now that you know the basics, allow Designing Diva Interiors to help you find the perfect table for your home or apartment! Modern, transitional or rustic, DDI can save you time and money in locating the perfect piece.