Dining Table Buying Guide
Dining Tables 101
Dining Table Shapes
Rectangular Dining Table
Round Dining Table
Oval Dining Table
Square Dining Table
Dining Table Styles
Modern Dining Table
Dining Table Sets
Dining Table Buying Tips:
• Buy a smaller table with leaves to accommodate both a smaller space and occasional big dinners
• Measure the dimensions of the room and try to allow for at least 4 feet (1.2 metres) around the table on all sides
• Read magazines and design books and browse online to get a sense of the dining table styles you like
Dining Table Features
When it comes to making a purchase, the material of your dining table will often be the determining factor. A table made of reclaimed, naturally worn solid wood will enhance a rustic setting and is well suited to casual dining. Alternatively, polished mahogany, marble and glass are examples of materials that create a more elegant look. For households with young children, particle board and laminate tabletops are ideal, since they're easy to wipe clean and don’t require a lot of polishing and special treatment.
The legs of your dining room table will affect its look and functionality. One of the first things to consider is where the legs are placed. If they're too close together or too bulky, seated guests may feel cramped. Or they may be forced to sit in awkward spots around the table. A pedestal base helps eliminate this problem, since the support for the tabletop is a single leg in the middle. A trestle base also solves this problem by running a main support down the length of the table (although this design prevents people from sitting at the “head” of the table). Legs can serve an ornamental role as well. Options include carved, turned and clawfoot styles.
Drop Leaf / Extension +
Ideal for small dining rooms and kitchens, a drop leaf expands your dining room table as you need it. Generally, a drop leaf is an attached extra panel that’s raised into place by a hinged support system. With the drop leaf in position, you can seat extra guests and ensure there's plenty of elbow room for all. It’s a great choice if you need a larger table on occasion but prefer a smaller table for everyday use. Some dining tables have two drop leaves, one on either side of the table, while others have a single drop leaf on one side.
Gate Leg +
Usually found on drop leaf tables, a gate leg is a support system that folds out to carry the weight of the raised leaf. The traditional style of gate leg table has an old-fashioned, homey look that many people adore. You can also find the gate leg design on more elegant and modern dining tables. Gate leg tables work well in dining rooms and eat-in kitchens where space is limited.
The right accents can tie your dining room furniture together and show off your unique design taste. For example, a rustic wood table with modern chrome accents is an exciting blend of old and new. A DIY wood finish or decal can refresh an aging dining table. Paint, stain or veneer finishes are classic choices for wood dining room tables. If you really want to overhaul your table's look, try adding a new pair of legs that serve as accents to the existing tabletop.
The height of your dining table sets the tone for the dining experience and will influence what dining chairs you can buy. Most dining tables come close to the standard height of 30 inches (76 cm) from the ground. Dining tables higher or lower than this standard tend to be more casual. For example, a higher table would fall into the category of a pub or cocktail table. If you’re into a more exotic experience, consider purchasing a very low dining table with seat cushions placed on the floor.
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Dining Table Maintenance Tips:
• For a low-maintenance table, choose a waterproof or stain-resistant finish like laminate or glass
• Place a table pad under a table cloth to prevent scratches to a tabletop with a delicate veneer
• Regular use of tablecloths, coasters and placemats will help prevent damage to your tabletop
• Dust a wood table often as dust buildup can lead to surface scratches
• Avoid placing a wood dining table over a radiator or other heat source, since swings in temperature can warp or split the wood