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How to Choose a Dining Table
We live our lives around our dining room tables, from family meals and holiday get-togethers to game nights with friends. Your table needs to be sturdy enough to stand the test of time, yet flexible enough to adapt to shifting fads and fit your family's changing priorities. Whether you want a formal matching set, a distressed industrial piece or a cute and cozy breakfast nook, the key to picking the right dining table is to know your needs.
Shape and Size Restraints
First, think about the shape of your dining room. If your dining room is rectangular – then a rectangle or oval table makes the most sense. If your dining room is square – try for a square or round table. Once you’ve figured out what shape will work best for your space, you can plan for the right size and seating.
When measuring, some standard rules will help you find the perfect table. First, take a look at the width. For round or rectangular tables, make sure your table is at least 36″ wide so you have room for place settings and food. Usually as the table length increases, so does the width.
You’ll also want to make sure that your guests can get up and move around the room easily. The ideal table will be big enough to serve your guests without overfilling the room. Try to allow for 42″ to 48″ inches between the edge of your table and the nearby walls or furniture.
Working with a Budget
Tables with removable or drop leaves are smart buys for people who enjoy entertaining on a budget. Rather than using multiple tables for different activities, choose one table that easily adjusts to meet the needs of the moment. Browse tables under $300, $200 or $100.
Choosing a Style
For a harmonious home, pick a table that fits the style of the living spaces around it. Tables with carved legs and glossy wood finishes complement formal homes. Similar tables with more casual, distressed paint textures add a touch of shabby chic. For a charming, rustic farmhouse decor, consider using trestle tables. If your tastes tend to be more modern, consider natural wood pieces with metal accents, which lend authenticity to industrial designs. To add drama to transitional homes, pick counter-height glass-topped tables with bold, architectural lines and curves.
The right table can also balance your room's size and shape. Round tables create cozy settings for conversation in small spaces. Square tables can also add a modern feel to tight areas. To seat more than six people or fill a long, narrow dining room, rectangular tables are your best bet. This classic shape allows more space to pass dishes and directs the eye across the room with its clean lines.
Selecting a Color
To pick the best stain or paint color for your table, consider wear over time. Dark or shiny surfaces show scratches and dust much faster than light colors and distressed wood. Trendy paint colors become outdated as fads change. For staying power, nothing beats neutral hues and natural wood finishes like ivory, black, brown or ash. Try pieces in white or blonde wood stains to achieve Nordic minimal looks, cherry or walnut hues for traditional elegance, and black or chocolate finishes for contemporary cool. Bring in the latest must-have colors with tablecloths, placemats, and rugs for designs that are easy to remix.
Dining tables come in many varieties to fit different lifestyles. Particleboard tables with veneers are made from inexpensive materials overlaid with finished wood. This lightweight, affordable option is perfect for people who move often or are on a budget. Rattan or woven furniture is even lighter and looks great with nautical or bohemian décor. To brighten up dark corners, choose reflective metal or glass tables. Marble tables add a touch of luxury but also require special care. For sturdy, long-lasting pieces, invest in solid wood tables made of durable hardwoods like walnut and dark oak.