Dining Table Buying Guide

The right dining table should combine style and function to be an attractive focal point of your living space. This dining table buying guide outlines the various styles and features to consider.

Dining Tables 101

A dining table is not just an everyday home essential. It's an indispensable piece of furniture that welcomes your guests, expresses your friendship and makes everyone feel special. There's simply nothing like a dining room table laden with good food and drink, and surrounded by the people you love. Generally, dining tables are bigger and more elaborate in design than standard kitchen tables. Depending on the size and layout of your dining room, you may prefer a space-saving round dining table, a square leaf table that can be expanded when needed, or an extra-long rectangular table. Your choice of materials includes wood, marble, metal and glass. 

Dining Table Shapes


Rectangular Dining Table

This style of table introduces a formal ambiance and allows for a traditional seating arrangement with the head (or heads) of the table at the end. You'll appreciate how many people can fit comfortably for full-course meals or casual drinks, with elbow room to spare. The rectangular shape is ideal for long, narrow dining rooms or large eat-in kitchens. A rectangular dining table should, at a minimum, be 36 inches (91 cm) wide.

Round Dining Table

A round dining table can be a perfect pick for a smaller home. Round tables offer more seating while taking up less space. Because of their shape, round tables also promote conversation among the entire group and encourage a casual, intimate atmosphere. When buying a round table, consider the strength of the legs and overall sturdiness of the table. A pedestal base offers plenty of leg room, even when you’re seating a crowd. Generally, round tables with a diameter of 48 inches (122 cm) seats four, 54 inches (137 cm) seats six, and 60 inches (152 cm) seats eight. 

Oval Dining Table

By keeping everyone within sight of each other, an oval dining table also helps to create a cozier ambience and promote conversation. Small oval tables can seat six people comfortably, while larger models can accommodate eight or more. Some round dining tables come with middle extensions to create an oval table in a pinch. This is extremely handy for kids’ parties, extra big dinners, or when extra guests show up. 

Square Dining Table

One of the more modern styles available, a square dining table can highlight the clean lines you’ve created in your home. This table style is well suited to eat-in kitchens and square dining rooms. Along with a sleek look, square dining tables place guests closer together, encouraging more intimate conversations. If versatility is on your wish list, consider a square table with extra leaves that transform your purchase into a rectangular table when needed. This makes for the perfect table for both casual everyday dining and formal entertaining. 

Dining Table Styles


Modern Dining Table

Many different factors can instil a modern vibe in a dining table. Both square and circular tabletops naturally convey a contemporary theme. Similarly, certain materials, such as laminate, metal and glass, have an inherently modern feel. Generally, modern dining tables are designed with clean lines as opposed to ornate details. They also tend to be more affordable and require less upkeep, making them a great choice at any stage of life.

Trestle Table

A traditional-style dining table recently returned to fashion, the trestle table consists of two or three supports for legs and a long board or plank for a tabletop. Longer examples of this dining table are great for narrow, tight spaces. One of the main advantages of the trestle table is the absence of fixed legs at the corners. This means people sitting at the ends have just as much leg space as everyone else. In the typical Americana style, trestle tables are accompanied by spindle-backed chairs, although bench seats are also common. 

Harvest Table

A rustic, farmhouse-style table is not just for country homes these days. Most harvest tables feature a simple wax or stain finish to highlight the wood’s natural character. These tables tend to have thick, sturdy tabletops and massive legs that can support family-style dinners. Whether you're putting on a holiday feast or throwing a party with friends, you'll enjoy entertaining more and never worry that your table isn't up to the task. Timeless in style and incredibly durable, a good-quality harvest table is an investment that will stand up beautifully as time passes.

Dining Table Sets

This is a convenient and affordable option for any home. Dining table sets consist of a table and matching chairs. Buying a dining table set eliminates the stress and guesswork involved in shopping for matching pieces. Better yet, buying a dining table set is usually more affordable than purchasing the items individually. Your taste in chairs may ultimately have a strong influence on your purchase decision. There are many styles available, from the traditional Windsor chair with its bow back and spindles to contemporary chairs with pedestal designs and modern materials.

Dining Table Buying Tips:

• Consider how many people you want to seat, both for everyday dining and entertaining
• 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

Material +

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.

Legs +

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.

Accents +

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.

Height +

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:

• Always follow the manufacturer’s directions for care and maintenance
• 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
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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