Whether it’s a large family gathering or a quiet morning drinking coffee alone, your dining table will play a vital role in your daily life. Kitchen and dining tables are often considered the central piece of the home, and so will need to be both practical and aesthetically appealing. Use these expert tips to choose the perfect dining table for your home!
What size should my dining table be?
The number one rule of buying a kitchen and dining table is that it has to fit your dining area. Although that does seem pretty obvious, dining tables are deceptively large and often need quite a lot of space, both for the table itself and around it.
- Use a measuring tape to figure out the length and the width of your dining area, then subtract about 6 feet from each measurement to get an ideal dining table size. For example, if a dining room is 14 feet by 16 feet, aim for a table that measures around 8 feet by 10 feet.
- Each person at the table will need at least 22 inches to 24 inches of table space to comfortably sit in a chair and use the table.
- As with any larger piece of furniture, you should mark out the rough dimensions using painter’s tape to help you visualize how the table will fill the space.
What shape should my dining table be?
The shape of your kitchen and dining table is equally as important as the size because it will influence how many people will be able to comfortably use the table. It will also affect the general atmosphere within the room, so make sure to pick wisely!
Need a large surface to fill the room? Rectangular
- Rectangular tables are the most common since a majority of dining areas are also rectangular.
- These tables can fill up a room without being too overbearing and can be easily pushed up against one wall when not being used.
- A downside of rectangular tables is the corners - they unnecessarily take up space and can’t be used comfortably by guests.
Want something subtle for a smaller room? Square
- Square dining tables are a popular option for square-shaped dining areas.
- This is because they take up much less space than rectangular tables, creating a more subtle and welcoming atmosphere.
- These tables do have the same downside as rectangular tables of corners taking up unnecessary space, which may be a deal-breaker if you’re short on space.
Need lots of space for a party? Oval
- Oval tables are great for larger gatherings as the lack of corners gives you the flexibility to add more people to the table.
- They work incredibly well in tighter, rectangular spaces because of this.
- However, these tables can be difficult to store if not in use as they can’t be comfortably pushed into a corner or against a wall.
Want something smaller yet still social? Round
- Round tables are another great option for parties as they lack corners and there is no head of the table.
- They work best in square rooms, as larger spaces will feel cold and empty with this smaller shape.
- You can, unfortunately, lose some serving space once all your places are set at the table.
What types of dining tables are available?
The type of table you should purchase depends mostly on how much space you have in your dining room and how many people will be using the table, both daily and on special occasions.
Want something traditional? Fixed
- As the name suggests, fixed kitchen and dining tables have a fixed size and shape that cannot be altered.
- These tables are among the most popular models as they are incredibly customizable, can accommodate a large number of people, and are usually not too expensive.
Need to fit more people? Extendable
- Extendable kitchen and dining tables are great for smaller rooms that will still need to fit a larger gathering of people every once in a while.
- These tables use either inserts that are stored under the table surface when not in use, or ‘wings’ that you can fold out when needed.
- Extendable tables can get quite expensive, especially if they feature complex extension mechanisms, so this may not be the best option for you if you are on a tight budget.
Have very limited space? Folding
- These tables are the perfect solution for an incredibly small living space as they can be folded flat when not in use and stored away easily.
- Folding tables can only usually fit around 1 or 2 people, making them much better suited for individual use rather than social gatherings.
- Their small size allows these tables to function not only as kitchen and dining tables but also as desks and living room tables.
- They are very cheap, but usually lack creativity and style in their designs as their main focus is practicality.
What material should I pick for my dining table?
A dining table is a big investment, so it will need to be sturdy and durable to be worth your money. You will also need to balance your personal style with practicality and ease of care.
Love a traditional style? Wood
- Solid wood is incredibly durable, easy to repair, and gives an air of sophistication, making it a popular option for many households.
- It’s often the most expensive option, however you can opt for the cheaper pine, acacia, and mango wood.
- These tables can sometimes show scratches and wear quickly if used regularly.
Need a cheap wood alternative? Wood Veneer
- This is the affordable alternative to solid wood, composed of a very thin layer of solid wood glued to a plywood core.
- Some people may dislike this material as it is much less durable and appears more flimsy than regular wood, giving it a quite cheap and tacky appearance.
Want something luxurious? Stone
- Stone tables can include marble, quartz, or cast stone.
- This material is very durable but can be porous and it absorbs stains easily.
- It can be near to impossible to repair these tables, and their price often runs into the thousands, but that may be worth it to people looking for a luxury table.
Want to stand out? Glass
- Glass dining tables can be made of clear, frosted or tinted glass, and are relatively inexpensive.
- A good glass table can last you years if you’re careful, although it can be incredibly easy to scratch, chip, or crack the surface, let alone glass is prone to smudges and fingerprints.
- These tables can create a feeling of luxury and openness within your dining area.