Dining Room Ideas

How to choose a dining table

Our top tips for solving the dining table dilemma
dark dining tableChris Warnes

From daily meals to dinner party degustations, the dining table is the heart of the home and choosing the right one is more of a challenge than we often care to admit. Expensive and enduring, a new table is a long-term relationship so whether you are moving out, moving on or just looking for a replacement, it’s not a decision to be taken lightly. Here are our tips for getting it right. 

Start by determining your style – if the rest of your home is Hamptons style, an iron industrial look table just isn’t going to work. Look closely at your kitchen and living areas and the colours, materials, and textures already in use. This should give you a good starting point for the style of dining table you should be looking for to suit your home, but don’t feel everything needs to be perfectly matched either. “A dining table is the  place where family and friends can gather to eat and enjoy long conversations,” says Samantha Clarke, marketing manager at Focus on Furniture. As one of the biggest and most central pieces in the home, be sure to choose something you love and that you’ll never get tired of looking at.

modern dining table
(Credit: Brigid Arnott)

Measure the space you have to work with and think carefully about the purpose of the table. If you are endlessly entertaining, you are going to need something that seats more than just the members of your family. “Leave enough space for people to get in and out of their seats,” warns Samantha. If you’re only an occasional entertainer and don’t always need the seats, look into something extendable.

rustic dining table
(Credit: Marcel Aucar)

For small spaces and to seat anything less than six people, a round table will create a perfectly intimate atmosphere. It’s also a great option for softening up a room. Rectangular tables are easily the most popular – and for good reason; the space they call home is usually rectangle too. They are a functional classic and perfect for seating more than four people. If you are not limited by space or have space to fill, a square table could be most suited – they are a popular choice for contemporary home and great for conversation, but with all that surface area you might want to invest in a lazy Susan.

dark dining table
(Credit: Chris Warnes)

It is imperative that you give some thought to what your new table will be made of – glass, timber, marble or concrete; there’s something for everyone. While glass is more difficult to keep clean and prone to scratching, it’s a great option for smaller spaces as there’s always more floor space in sight. Concrete is hardy and very much on trend, but not easy to move so make sure you are in it for the long-haul. If it’s a high-end appeal you’re hoping to achieve, you can’t go past the timeless beauty of marble – just keep in mind it’s high maintenance upkeep. Then there is timber, which really is in a league of its own. With such a variety of colours and finishes, it’s one of the most flexible options on the market. A hardwood like oak or teak will be a safer investment, however, a composite wood will suit a more budget-conscious buyer. 


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