Dining tables are fast becoming one of the most important pieces of furniture we will buy. Whether you put them in a dedicated dining room, or in your kitchen they are still the piece of furniture we use the most for entertaining and celebrating special occasions. Dining tables and dining chairs come in huge range of styles and sizes so this is generally a decision that requires some forethought and planning.
Make sure you measure your dining room/space carefully. Measuring up properly is one of the most important things you can do, and you will need exact measurements, not a vague idea of the space. There is nothing worse than spending hours finding the perfect dining furniture only to discover it's too large.
Think about how the dining table will fit in the space. Whilst its tempting to get the biggest dining table you possibly can you will need to consider leaving enough space for your guests or family to push their chairs back, and get in and out. You should really allow a metre on each side if you can, any less and people wont be able to get in and out without disrupting the table, which is not most peoples idea of a relaxing meal.
Next to consider is the number of people you would like to have seated at the table on a day to day basis, and at special occasions. There is a huge selection of extending dining tables around these days, so if you will definitely want to entertain more people than you would seat day to day. Each diner will need at least 60 cm of width to accommodate their dining chair and place setting.
Choose a height for the dining room table. A standard table is 30 inches high. Generally, 29 inches are provided by the table legs while the thickness of the table provides the additional inch. If you use a thicker table top then simply shorten the legs to compensate.
Don't forget to make sure your dining chairs are the right height for your table too. Dining tables can be anything from 70 cm to 74 cm high, and although chairs are supposed to be standard sizes they do vary in height.
Choosing the shape of your dining table is the next step. If it is going to be a highly social area, and the scene of many dinner parties, a round or oval dining table encourages conversation amongst all of your guests, and also has a little bit more room in the middle for serving dishes. It is rare for a round or oval table to be an extending table, so the size you buy should be big enough for your needs. Round dining tables also work well if your table is in the middle of an open plan living space as they can fit into corners and wont dominate the room, although they do take up a little more space.
If you only have a small amount of space a square table is probably your best option. Most will seat 2-4 and quite a number of square tables can be extended to seat more. Square tables are cosy for smaller groups but often have less room for serving dishes etc.
Rectangular tables are the most common type. Generally you can seat more people around a rectangular dining table, and a large number of these are extendable. If you buy an extending dining table think about getting one that extends from the middle so the legs are still at the end as this will allow you to seat the largest number possible. You will also have the largest choice of tops and legs with this style, whether you are buying a contemporary or traditional dining table.