6 questions to ask before buying a dining room table

December 27, 2014

A dining room is a place where family and friends gather, where we eat and bond with those closest to us. A dining table must fit the room, fit your needs and accommodate everyone. Here are six questions to ask yourself when looking for the perfect dining room table.

1. What’s my style?

Typically, dining tables fall into these broad style categories:

  • Traditional tables are usually made from darker woods and feature ornate legs. These tables are formal and best for dining rooms reserved for special occasions, rather than everyday use.
  • Modern and contemporary styles combine minimalist designs with wood or glass and metal construction. A modern dining table looks best with contemporary décor choices and usually needs more care, especially if it’s a glass dining table.
  • A country style or rustic dining table is defined by its unfinished wood look. These tables work best in more traditional spaces but are informal enough to be used every day.

2. What shape is best?

Tables come in many shapes and sizes. Oval tables are good for small rooms, round dining tables seat the most people but require more space, square tables work in narrow areas and rectangular tables take up the most room, requiring long narrow spaces.

3. What material fits my needs?

The table material you choose is a matter of taste. Solid wood costs more than wood veneer. Glass tops are popular and various man-made materials are available. You might choose a dining room set (matching table and chairs) although there’s a growing trend towards mixing and matching the two.

4. What seating choices do I have?

If a matched set isn’t for you, you can buy chairs in a style to complement the table. Chair height is important — make sure there’s 12 inches between the seat and the bottom of the table so people can sit comfortably.

5. What size table should I buy?

In general, you’ll want to allow between 24 and 30 inches of table space per seat, plus an extra foot for people at each end. This means a 72-inch rectangular table will comfortably seat six people. A circular table of the same size will seat eight. Consider a drop leaf table or extendable table if you’ll occasionally need space for extra guests.

6. Is room size important?

Table size in relation to room size is the most important consideration when choosing a table. The shape and dimensions of your dining room impact your choices. Allow a minimum of 36 inches between table edges and walls or other obstacles so that people can comfortably push their chairs back to rise from the table.

Now that you’re armed with the facts, measure your dining room, determine what shape table will best fit and think about the style that would best suit your home. Then it’s time for the fun part — shopping for the perfect table.

6 questions to ask before buying a dining room table
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