A formal dining room set will need to have depth and gravitas, which is why Billy Cotton recommends choosing a set with a darker finish. Whilst white and light wood finishes can look pretty, they won't give off the same formal vibe as cherry or mahogany wood. This is partially due to the style of older dining room sets, which have influenced current trends, but also because traditional furniture appears more formal in general. Another good thing to look for when choosing a dining room set is scrollwork/other carved detail. Legs are also another indicator of a solid formal dining room set. Spindle or turned legs are associated with formal designs, as opposed to rounded or tapered legs. For an elevated formal look with regal edge, look for a table that has claw feet.
Dining Chair Types:
A formal dining room set will include chairs too, but you will need to think about whether these chairs will match your dining room. A table in a dark wash is one thing, but a dark table and chair set can make a room appear dull. Because of this, Jessica Davis recommends looking for dining chairs that have another texture or design. This can be achieved with chairs that have a wooden frame and leather back/seats, one of the most popular chair styles for a lot of dining room sets. If different textures won't match the aesthetic of your dining room, we recommend choosing chairs that have ridged or Oxford back detail. These small details will elevate your dining chairs and upgrade your dining room.
Most dining tables in a formal dining room set feature a rectangular or circular shape. Nicole Hollis states that a rectangular dining table is the best option for a large dining room, as it will fill a space without being overly wide. Plus, with a rectangular table, you can position chairs more evenly around a table. Square tables are rarer in formal dining room sets, as they tend to be used for casual kitchen seating or in studio apartments. When it comes to a round table, it's important to figure out how best to position it. Though often useful for smaller dining rooms, a round table can make a space appear even smaller if there isn't enough space left between the wall and the table. No matter the shape, always leave approximately 30 inches between the two.
Generally, rectangular dining tables can seat more people due to their natural shape. A formal dining room set should seat on average 6-8 people, with scope for a couple of extra chairs to be squeezed in. As well as the main chairs, Rodney Lawrence says that it's vital to think about the chairs at either end of your table - will these be included in your seating numbers, or will you leave the end sections out? Either way, when seating a dinner party, at least 10 inches should be left between placemat settings. This is enough room for guests to comfortably eat and stretch out without feeling constricted.