Buyer's Guide to Dining Tables
BUYER'S GUIDE TO DINING TABLES
Dining tables are a big investment, so don’t just shop for looks, find out how to shop for quality, too.
WHICH STYLE DINING TABLE TO CHOOSE?
Your dining table shouldn’t just be picked to match the chairs it goes with – it may need to complement your kitchen cabinetry and living room furniture, too. Make the right choice by answering these questions:
- Want a contemporary look? Very dark or very pale woods, metal or a combination of materials are good choices for a modern feel. Slim tabletops, sleek lines, sharp angles and tapering legs are all details to look out for, too. What’s on trend? Industrial style dining tables for relaxed interiors– often a combination of reclaimed wood and metal (check out our Brunel and District Eight ranges) – and glossy, bespoke-look, upcycled designs, such as the Upcycled Marble range, for super smart, streamlined rooms.
- Conjuring up a traditional feel? Warm wood shades, chunky legs and minimal detailing will give a room a laidback, period look that’s both practical and fuss-free – our Belmont range is a good example. If you’re buying wood, teak is the best material.
- Creating a country cottage-style room? Chunky legs and tabletops, reclaimed wood and distressed finishes all add up to a relaxed style that will complement rustic-look or even seaside style rooms. In dark spaces, go for a whitewash finish; in very bright rooms, darker woods can look dramatic. See our Baxter and Dunham tables for a good choice of looks and finishes.
Dining space a bit tight? Light colours and reflective materials will obviously help stretch a space, but shape plays an important part, too. Circular dining tables, such as the Dunham Cross Leg and Baxter Distressed round dining tables, will comfortably seat as many diners as a square or rectangular table with a much larger footprint. Or, if you’re determined to have a rectangular table, why not match it with a bench instead of chairs to save space? Our Brunel Dining Set comes with a choice of bench and/or chairs, for example, while our Cow Chair makes a neat seat in a tight spot.
- Should it co-ordinate? Buying a dining table isn’t just about a single purchase. You’ll no doubt be picking out chairs too, and perhaps storage items, such as a sideboard or dresser, too. Pieces needn’t match but you should aim for unity, perhaps in your choice of materials. Bear in mind that co-ordinating furniture will help make a small room seem more streamlined. If you are considering adding to a dining set over time – perhaps while you save up – double check that the range you are buying won’t be discontinued in the near future.
- Is it fit for purpose? If you have (or are planning to have) young children or if you’ll be using the table as an extra kitchen worktop, you’ll need a table that will be hardwearing and that won’t be spoilt by a few knocks. Reclaimed or distressed wood is perfect since knocks and bumps will add to its character – or it can always been rubbed down and refinished – check out our Baxter, Brunel, Dunham, Malmo and District Eight tables.
IS THE DINING TABLE THE RIGHT SIZE FOR YOUR ROOM
The quickest way to find out whether the the table you want will fit your room – or to decide on the ideal table size to begin with - is to lay newspaper on the floor, allowing space between the paper and the walls for the chairs, or any other furniture. Allow at least 60cm between the table and the wall, but ideally more - 90cm is perfect.
Table heights vary so if you're buying dining chairs separately, check measurements carefully to get the correct height.
HOW MANY WILL THE DINING TABLE SIT?
Allow between 55cm and 60cm per place setting; for a circular table, allow around 75cm. If the chairs you are choosing have arms (these are also called carvers), you will need another 10cm per place setting – so reckon on 70cm per seat.
HOW TO CHECK FOR QUALITY
A dining table should sit firmly on its feet, and not rock or wobble if you apply pressure. Dovetailed joints are a traditional method and will make furniture very sturdy; dowelled joints are also used. Cheaper furniture may be screwed together or simply stapled.
Solid wood tables are heavier than those made with wood veneer. Solid wood tends to have blemishes and knots, all of which are part of its appeal. Veneers are usually more consistent in appearance.
WHAT TO ASK WHEN YOU ORDER
- Check whether your furniture will be delivered fully assembled. If so, ensure that it will fit through any narrow corridors or doorways. Tables sometimes have detachable legs, making access easier.
- Check about guarantees and delivery and return details, too.