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How to | Choose the Perfect Dining Table

An ideal snapshot of family life will find everyone gathered around the dining table, sharing food and exchanging stories and laughter. Dining tables are the heart of the home—a large piece of furniture that’s a substantial purchase. Choosing the perfect one can be challenging, but with a few simple tips to guide you, shopping for a dining table need not to be fraught with indecision.

Consider Room and Family Size

How large is your dining area? How many people live in your home? Do you entertain guests or host family holiday gatherings? These questions will help start you on the path to choosing from a huge assortment of dining tables. Size should be your first consideration as you begin to narrow your choices down.

To avoid creating a cramped dining space, start by taking measurements. If you have no furniture in the area, plan to leave approximately 106 to 122 centimetres between your new table and the walls. For a dining room with furniture, take those pieces into account. Measure from the front edge of each piece of furniture towards where your table will be, allowing for a 106- to 122-centimetre space in between. This will create a comfortable flow for foot traffic around the room, even if people are sitting at the table.

As a general rule, look for a table that’s at least 91 centimetres wide. This will allow plenty of room for guests to eat while leaving space for placement of serving dishes. Each person should have about 61 centimetres of space to ensure that diners aren’t cramped or bumping elbows with each other. These measurements work well for square and rectangular tables.

If you’d like the ability to add additional guest seating when necessary without taking up extra space all the time, consider an extendable dining table. These give you the flexibility of large-scale seating without committing to a huge piece of dining furniture. The Nora Extendable Dining Table is a warm and rustic option for family gatherings and holidays. It quickly accommodates extra guests with a discrete panel that pulls upwards to add length in the middle of the table. When the meal is over, simply shift the panel back into place and return the table to its original size.

For round dining tables, the number of seats depends on the diameter and whether the table has a pedestal base or legs. On the smaller side, a 91-centimetre round table with a pedestal base will seat four people.  Going larger, a 1.5-metre round dining table with legs will seat four people, while one of the same size with a pedestal base will seat six. To seat as many as nine guests, look for a table that’s as large as 2 metres.

Choose According to Shape

With those numbers in mind, what shape is best for a dining table? Decorators who think outside the box choose round dining tables to add a beautiful flow to square rooms. If your dining area is small, consider a glass-topped round table like the Doreen. With its rustic wood base, it has a simple appeal that will make your dining room look light and airy.

For a long and narrow dining space, try a rectangular table. These work well in dedicated dining rooms as well as in open dining areas that are set up alongside a kitchen bar. The Atlantic Mango Wood Dining Table is perfect to build an attractive dining area off of your kitchen. It’s solid, clean and practical, accenting the space without making it seem visually cluttered.

While small square tables work well in compact dining spaces, they aren’t the ideal choice for large dining rooms. A square table really dominates a room, taking up a huge amount of space. In addition to this, there’s a huge distance from one side of a square table to the other. This will make conversation hard for people sitting across from one another, resulting in your guests having to shout.

Moving Forward with Your Choice

Because a dining room table is such a noticeable and frequently-used piece of furniture, it’s among one of the most important decisions you’ll make when decorating your home. If you’re having trouble imagining what a particular table will look like, use a bed sheet folded to match the table footprint and lay it on the floor in your dining space to get a visual. This will help you feel confident in moving forward with a choice. Once your new table is delivered, it will be the center of many meals, conversations and holidays for years to come.

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