Choosing the Right Dining Table

October 20, 2014 3 min read

Besides the sofa, the dining table is the second most sought after furniture piece in the home. It could be that today's modern floor-plans are open-concept and a missing dining table makes the home look incomplete. Being in the same room means the sofa and dining table have to coordinate beautifully or it will look off.

Here are my five design tips when shopping for dining table:

A rectangle or round? It's a misconception that a round table is ideal for compact spaces but this is actually not true. Consider this, a round 100 cm diameter table is wider than a typical 180 cm x 90 cm wide table by 10 cm! My general rule of thumb is that the shape of the table is dictated by the dining area. A rectangle table works best in a rectangular area and a round table in a square area.

As a general guide, allow yourself 80 to 100 cm of space around the dining table. This will allow people to pull out dining chairs to sit and for people to walk by. Following this guideline will determine the maximum size of the table you should get. Typically, the length is not as much of a concern than the width. Average width is a 100 cm, look for 90 or even 80 cm wide for tight spaces. If you want ultimate space saving dining table, look at this >

Glass, timber or paint? Aside from personal preference, look at the durability and how it relates to the rest of your space. Timber, glass and paint are ranked in order of durability with timber being the most to paint being more delicate. As with most things, general care and maintenance will make sure your furniture last a long time. Glass is great for compact spaces because it has a transparent appearance. For timber, avoid matching with your timber floor - try to provide some contrast.

If you are concerned about durability with kids or change your mind a lot - a solid top is ideal because it will go through the paces of slamming utensils or being used as a race track without too much change in appearance. You can resurface a solid top with a different colour or take out scratches. A veneer top is real timber, just a thin slice of it. This allows it to be typically more economical and lighter in weight. Because the veneer is thin, you have to be more careful with deep scratches because you will see the MDF or particle board substrate. Also, water standing for a long time will lift the veneer off.

This is one area that people focus on too much in the appearance and not the functionality. Yes, the leg design is important but also consider how the dining chairs will work with it. Optimal position for legs are set on the corners because it will allow for the maximum number of dining chairs. Pedestal design (legs in the inside centre) is also very good but it might push dining chairs out from the table. Other leg designs may be more interesting but they might reduce the number of chairs you can put or not allow the chairs to push in.