Dining table buying guide

Dining table buying guide

Alice, Furniture Maker, Manchester

Guide written by:

Alice, Furniture Maker, Manchester

10 guides

Essential for gathering friends or family round for meals, dining room tables come in a range of styles, materials and sizes. But from wood, metal or laminate to various table top or leg designs, it can be hard to make the right decision! Read on for our top tips on choosing the best table for your dining room.

Important features

  • Dining table style
  • Dining table shape and size
  • Material care requirements
  • Convertible tables
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Essential to every dining room, dining tables come in a range of styles and finishes. Of course, you will have to make sure your dining table matches your style and furniture, but you'll also have to consider various technical features. Your choice of dining room table will come down to the following factors:

  • style: traditional, industrial, Scandinavian, retro, rustic, designer;
  • shape: round, square, rectangular, oval, triangular or more original forms;
  • size: number of chairs;
  • care requirements: basic, moderate, difficult;
  • whether or not you require a convertible table: height-adjustable, extendable or folding.

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Dining tables

You will have to start by considering the design of your table in relation to the rest of your interior and furniture. It is essential that the table blends into the room and doesn't look out of place.

Traditional dining tables

Traditional dining tables are rectangular in shape with four basic legs. They are usually made of wood and come in fairly neutral tones. These tables look great in warm and cosy contemporary-style homes.

Industrial-style dining tables

Industrial-style tables usually feature a metal frame with a glass or wooden table top. These tables work well as part of a loft or warehouse-style décor.

Scandinavian-style dining tables

These Scandi-style tables are generally equipped with a rounded table top, which is often white, and 3 or 4 tapered legs made of light wood.

Rustic-style dining tables

Made of solid cherry wood, oak or beech, rustic-style wooden dining tables are generally large and heavy.

Designer dining tables

Available in a range of shapes with contemporary-style legs, designer dining tables are best in minimalist and bright rooms.

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Dining table sets

The shape of your dining table will depend on your tastes, the rest of your dining room furniture and the amount of space you have to fill:

  • round tables are great for small spaces and help to soften the look of the room;
  • square or rectangular tables bring harsh lines into a room but work well in all types of spaces;
  • oval tables fit well in medium-sized or narrow rooms. They help to add depth to a room;
  • triangular tables are only suitable for spacious rooms. They provide original style and a modern feel;
  • designer tables in more original formats work best in large, minimalist-style rooms.

Table legs also play an important role in the overall appearance of the piece. From traditional to x-shaped, hairpin or even single table legs, there's a table leg design to suit all tastes!

It goes without saying that the table must be the right size for the room, but it must also be able to seat the number of guests you tend to invite over. Of course, the bigger the table, the more people it will be able to seat. Tables are generally categorised by the number of people they are designed to serve:

  • 2-4 seats;
  • 4-6 seats;
  • 6-8 seats;
  • 8-12 seats.

It's important to familiarise yourself with the type of care required by each material before making your final decision.

Basic care requirements

Moderate care requirements

Difficult care requirements

Wood composite (laminate, melamine coating, etc.): shock- and scratch-sensitive

Solid wood: regular care using a wax, oil or other specialist products

Glass: finger marks and dust will show up easily; requires almost daily care using glass-cleaning products

Metal: be careful of scratches

Ceramic: easy to clean but fragile (risk of breaking)

Lacquer: marks and dust show easily

Practical for more compact rooms or space-saving in a larger room, convertible tables are designed to be folded down or tidied away once you've finished eating. Here are the main types of convertible tables and their features:

  • dining tables designed to be converted into coffee tables. These tables are equipped with a handle that allows you to adjust the height of the table depending on the situation;
  • foldaway tables: as the name suggests, these tables fold down for easy storage;
  • extendable tables: designed to take up little space once folded, these tables can be fitted with extension leaves to match the number of people dining.

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Guide written by:

Alice, Furniture Maker, Manchester, 10 guides

Alice, Furniture Maker, Manchester

I have been handy since my childhood, I have always been fond of new tools and other small practical machines. Beyond my interest in tools and materials, I am interested in building of all types. My professional experience as an artisan craftsman (ok the word says ‘man’, but it can work for me too.), allows me to with a material and that’s both noble and common at the same time: wood. Surrounded by carpenters and other builders, I am constantly interacting with professional and amateur wood workers, but also various kinds of manufacturing. I am also an amateur gardener, I like to cultivate my vegetable garden. You could say that summer ends under the sign of ratatouille. So, with two passions, I hope to answer your questions.