Have you ever stopped to think about your dining table and all of the wonderful conversations that have been held around it? The dining table is such a key piece of furniture in our homes. It brings people together to enjoy delicious meals and build relationships through conversation. We think it’s one of the key areas of your home. What do you think?
Are you in the process of purchasing a new dining table be it for an open plan meals area, an outdoor entertaining area or a dedicated dining room? Believe it or not there are a lot of things you will want to consider
so that you can get the desired outcome. I’m going to answer some of the common asked questions that will hopefully assist you with your purchase.
What size dining table should I choose? The first thing you want to consider is how many people will be using the dining table on a regular basis and then when you are entertaining. Next look at the space around your dining table, if you have a huge amount of space you could consider a round dining table but if you are limited in space a rectangular dining table will be best. Be sure to factor in the dining chairs when considering fit. I do this by drafting up a floorplan and drawing in the dining table with the chairs shown fully out sitting around the table, I then add an extra half meter at a minimum for access beyond the chair being out. There is nothing more challenging then trying to contortion yourself into a seat due to lack of space. You want to be sure your family and guests can feel comfortable and easily access their chair. When it comes to the actual dining table size have a think about what you will be putting on the table. Do you tend to sit serving dishes in the middle of the table so people can help themselves, if so you need to allocate surface space for this. Once you have considered all of these things, you will then be able to determine your ideal dining table size.
What finish should I choose for my dining table and chairs? The main two things to consider is tieing your dining suite into the sitting area if it’s open plan. You can do this by echoing a finish that you have in your sitting area in your dining suite. For instance you may have a light oak side table that sits next to your lounge, you could then opt for a light oak dining table. The second consideration needs to be that the finish you choose for your dining table and chairs need to be durable and easy care. You are potentially going to be using your dining table and chairs everyday so they need to be able to withstand the wear and tear that will come with this.
Should my dining chairs match the dining table? You don’t need to match your dining table to your chairs, this can result in a furniture showroom effect sometimes it’s nice to create a more bespoke look by selecting a non matching dining chair to your dining table especially if you are wanting to achieve a more relaxed casual look.
Should I choose a high or low back chair and should it be upholstered? If you are wanting to create a formal look dining room select darker timbers and high back plush mid to dark tone upholstery for your dining chairs as this will immediately elevate a space. For a relaxed casual feel I’d recommend a lighter colour way and with lower back chairs.
How about table legs? When you are selecting a dining table be sure to look at the location of the legs of the dining table and ensure they won’t be in the way of users on a daily basis and when the table is used by your maximum number of users. No body wants table legs being in the way of their dining experience.
Table height is another overlooked consideration that can occur when you select a different dining table style to chairs. The best way to check that your chair seat height will work with your chosen table is to move the selected chair/s over to the selected table when you are in the furniture showroom to test that you are happy and that the table height in relation to the chair seat is ergonomically sound prior to making the purchase. If a table height is too high it will be uncomfortable and if it’s too low it means some users won’t be able to fit their legs comfortably under the table.
Table weight is another consideration that will impact you if you have a smaller home where you move your table in and out of a space to cater for various people number groupings. If a table is too heavy it will become frustrating for you and your family members to lift. The same is the case for extension tables, be sure that it is user friendly and easy to extend and that the leaf is either stored within the table or you have a safe location to store it. Also ensure that this extension mechanism will last the test of time too.
If you need extra seats for your extendable dining table you could consider using quality, comfortable fold up dining chairs that can be stored away and then brought out when you have more guests and the dining table extended. Another alternative is to purchase more chairs and use them in other areas of the home when your dining table isn’t extended. Once place would be either side of your hall table in your entry. Another could be in a guest bedroom. Just think creatively for options.
Sometimes I’ve had clients opt for custom made dining tables. Going this route results in a stunning dining table, just be sure that what is designed will fit the space and more importantly is easily transportable. Sometimes custom made dining tables are designed to be extra long or wide meaning extra cost is incurred for transportation, which is fine but you want to ensure that this extra long table will be able to fit up your stairs and stairwell, in your access lift and through your door when it arrives to your home or apartment.
Lastly, you’ll want to consider lighting. There’s nothing worse then dining in the dark. Be sure that your dining area is adequately lit. One option would be to hang a feature pendant over your dining table. This works beautifully if your dining table will always remain in the same location. If you have the slightest inkling that you may move your dining suite around from time to time then I wouldn’t recommend a pendant light as it will then be sitting above the space isolated and become a little odd looking. When it comes to selecting a pendant light consider where you are wanting to bring a statement, if your dining table is a breathtaking parquet top in exquisite timber you may want to select a pendant light that is more understated but if the dining suite isn’t a feature then you may choose to have your pendant light bring the statement.
When it comes to entertaining I like to dress my dining table with a beautiful linen tablecloth, get my napkins out and style the table with a lovely centerpiece or candles to create a special occasion, making for a beautiful ambience for dining with ambient lighting and tasty food.
Finally, as with all furniture selections, it’s important to take the time to plan out your space and measure twice to ensure the purchases you make will give the best outcome for your space.