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The dining table is a central focal point in any home. After all, this is the one thing that most of your guests will likely see. The options can be endless: thrifted or new? Benches or chairs? Round, rectangle, or oval? Here are our tips for buying the dining table that suits your lifestyle:
- Set a well-defined budget: furniture can be unexpectedly expensive, often needlessly so. The cute antique in the store may tempt you. Have a hard upper limit before the siren song of mahogany lulls you in.
- Measure your space: Don’t just look at your dining room; measure it to know precisely what maximum and minimum size of the table would work in your space. Be mindful of the table-to-wall clearance space that you need. Have a realistic idea of how many people will use the set at any given time. An eight-seater for a family of three will likely be overkill. A four-seater might make it awkward if you have guests staying in often. If you want to visualize how much space a table will take up, measure out old newspapers or fold bedsheets to the exact dimensions and see how much of your room is taken up by it.
- Choose a shape: Round tables are great for dinner-time conversations as no one feels left out (or feels the pressure of being at the head of the table). They are also inherently safer as there are no sharp edges. However, round tables have less area, so that it might feel cramped. Rectangular tables with foldable benches are a great space-saving option.
- Material: Wood, metal, or glass? Glass-top tables look elegant and can brighten up a room. They are also usually cheaper. However, they are never as stable as wood- avoid engineered wood or plyboard. Metal accents – such as hairpin legs, can drive up the cost of a piece, so we consider that if that’s your style. If you are not worried about the price tag, you can look at extremely luxurious materials such as marble and leather. (Be prepared to clean them gently later).
- Design and style: Unless done impeccably, embellishments will seem dated quickly. Our tip is to go with the minimalist, even borderline boring tables. A vase full of fresh blooms or cute throw pillows on the chairs can give it a little more pizzazz. Ornate craving that may go out style tomorrow is far more brutal to change.
- Bonus tips: If you move homes often, look for foldable pieces or easy to dismantle. If you live alone, look for bamboo or wicker furniture which is lightweight and easy to move on your own. Do not buy pure white upholstery – it will never be clean (off-white, ecru or light grey are just as light-enhancing without getting dirty quite so fast). Metals are heavier to move around but durable and easy to clean. Use what will fit into your situation, even if it means ignoring the trends.
The best furniture is the furniture that makes you feel comfortable and is well-constructed enough to last decades. The best dining table should fit your space and budget and have a style you’ll love for years.