Your dining table is one of the most crucial pieces of furniture (especially during the upcoming holiday season!) in your home. A person’s gotta eat, after all! Not only is it the place you and your family dine on the regular, but it’s also the focal point of your kitchen or dining room and the place where family and friends gather for everything from formal dinners to casual gatherings to the occasional crafts session and everything in between.
A great dining area means you have a place to enjoy bountiful meals, laughter, shared stories, and memories with family and friends. No wonder choosing a dining table can be hard! There are many factors to consider to make sure you have an attractive and practical setting that fits your space, offers adequate seating and fits in with your own personal style. If you’re ready to invest in a new table, this dining table guide will walk you through everything you need to know to make sure you furnish your dining room with functionality and style.
Consider Your Dining Table Shape
When choosing a dining table, one of the first things to consider is the shape – this helps to narrow your search a bit, too. You can choose from the whole array of selections based on your personal taste, but there are some general guidelines to follow when it comes to the shape of a dining table. It usually boils down to the size and shape of your dining room.
This is the most common shape for a dining table. This is largely because these shapes work best in rectangular rooms and most dining rooms are – you guessed it – rectangular! It’s a good shape to seat more than 4 people, so keep this in mind if you have a big family or love entertaining. But keep in mind, it’s not awesome for super large gatherings because there’s not as much room on the tabletop to fit place settings on both sides and food in the middle.
Round tables are great because they can accommodate the most people. It’s easy to squeeze in an extra table setting or two where there aren’t any corners! They’re better for small rooms or rooms that aren’t square, as their rounded edges help create easy flow through the room. Circular tables are perfect for small gatherings and make an intimate and cozy setting for conversation. Oval tables help fill out longer, more narrow rooms.
Find the Right Dining Table Length
The size of your dining room table will depend on the size of your room and how many people you want to accommodate.
In order to make sure each diner has enough elbow room while chatting, follow these standard seats to size ratios:
- A 48” long table seats 4 people
- A 60” long table seats 6 people
- A 72” long table seats 8 people
Of course, if you don’t mind a more intimate setting or have little ones at the table with you, you might be able to squeeze in an extra seat.
Expandable dining tables are also a great option! If you don’t need as much table space on the day-to-day, but want to have the flexibility for an occasional dinner party or holiday gathering, consider a table with leaves that can be dropped or inserted at the center of the table.
Go For The Right Dining Table Height
Dining tables generally come in 3 height variations. Most standard dining tables fall between 28-30” to allow for comfortable legroom underneath. Counter height tables are closer to 36”. And pub-style tables are the tallest, falling in the range of 40-42”.
If you’re not married to the idea of a traditional dining table, counter and pub tables are worth considering! They’re convenient because they can double as a place to serve food or extra space for food prep and work especially well in small spaces with open kitchens.
Pick Your Dining Table Material
Dining tables come in a wide range of materials. So when choosing a dining table, this factor mainly boils down to your own personal aesthetics and how much wear and tear your dining table will need to withstand. Here are some of the most popular material options for dining tables.
Wood is the most common choice for dining tables because it’s super durable and stands up to everyday butchering! It’s also easy to maintain or refinish with paint or stain as needed.
Natural wood offers a beautiful color and texture in a dining space and there are plenty of different types and shades of wood to choose from. Weathered or reclaimed wood looks great in a variety of styles and can also hide nicks or scratches – great for families! Solid wood is more expensive and can be damaged more easily, so it’s more of an investment.
Veneer or laminate options can mimic the look of wood but are usually a much more affordable alternative. It is a non-porous material so it’s easy to clean and holds up to stains better than many other materials. However, if the veneer chips, stains, or get scratched, it can’t be refinished, unlike solid wood.
Glass dining tables provide a sleek look for modern or contemporary spaces. They are great for small dining area because they don’t add any clunky visual weight to a room.
Glass is also super low maintenance and easy to clean. However, these tables might not be very family-friendly as they easily show finger smudges and their sharp edges can pose a threat to rambunctious little ones!
Many people consider marble to be one of the best dining table materials. It’s luxurious and sophisticated and puts the natural beauty of the stone on full display. However, marble is a porous material meaning it can stain easily and quickly. While it’s great for elegant, traditional settings, it might not be the best choice if you have a family of young kiddos or like to entertain often.
A metal dining table can add a cool, industrial feel to any room. It’s also super durable and easy to clean up. Some metals can be prone to corrosion, however, so make sure to choose a cleaning product that won’t damage it.
Explore Dining Table Styles
Finally, choosing the best dining table means finding the right style for your space. There are so many styles to consider, from modern to rustic, contemporary to traditional, and each style has plenty of variation within it! In addition to being functional, you want your dining table to reflect your personal style and complement the decor in the rest of your home.