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How to buy the right dining table

Image of a dressed dining table by @thistimeincolour

How to buy the right dining table

The shape of your table can have a huge impact on your dining experience. Circular or oval tables often feel more convivial as diners have a more open field of view, whereas rectangular tables lend themselves to bench seating, which is ideal if you need flexibility. Read on for more tips to dining in style.

Size up your space

The proportions and geometry of your dining space will help you decide the best shape for your table (round, oval, square or rectangular). It’s important to get the right-sized table for your space so that the seating arrangement isn’t cramped. You’ll also need to make sure there’s enough room to move around and exit the room while everyone’s seated. At least a metre of space behind each chair is a good guide.

Square, rectangular or oval?

The shape of your space often dictates the dining table you choose. Circular tables work well in compact rooms as they have a smaller footprint and greater capacity to seat guests. Extending tables can be useful in smaller dining spaces that you regularly use to entertain. Consider a round table that can be extended to become an oval when you’re expecting extra diners.

If you have a square dining room, slot in a square table. It’ll be perfect for creating an intimate feel at small gatherings. A long room will lend itself well to a rectangular table. Most of these come with extensions, which are ideal for larger gatherings. If you prefer curves to corners, forgo a rectangular table in favour of an oval design. The latter occupies less space visually but will seat a similar number of diners.

Allow elbow room

Your guests’ enjoyment is key when you’re entertaining, so look for a table that’s big enough to seat everyone comfortably. You don’t want diners to be elbow-to-elbow, but you also want a table that allows guests to interact with one another easily. Allow a minimum width of 60–75cm for each guest and remember to allow space behind to slide chairs out from the table.

Are you sitting comfortably?

Once you’ve established the dining table you’ll sit at, it’s time to think about what you’ll be sitting on. Don’t overcrowd your table with large spacious chairs – there’s nothing worse than feeling penned in while trying to enjoy a meal.

Further to this, investing in comfortable seating for the dining room is a must! If you love cooking and socialising then you’re likely to spend hours at the dining table, so it’s worth making sure it’s as comfy as can be. Chairs with armrests are super-comfortable, but you’ll need more clearance to get in and out easily. This is why they’re often only used at the head of the table.

If you want your guests to feel extra welcome, choose upholstered chairs with high-quality seat pads to ensure they can happily sit and chat for hours. Fear food and drink stains? Shop for dining chairs upholstered in stain-resistant fabrics. This will reduce worries about sticky fingers or wine spillages on your new chairs.

Keep it casual

For informal get-togethers, a dining table with benches creates a casual, jovial atmosphere and means one or two more diners can be squeezed in if need be! Always consider access if using benches: bench seating pushed up against a wall or crammed into a tight space may leave diners feeling trapped. Stools might be better if space is tight.

And finally…

Choose matching chairs if you want a unified look in your dining room. Think about mixing and matching dining chairs if you’re looking to create a more eclectic vibe.

Featured image: A beautiful colourful dining table in the home of Ola Zwolenik of @thistimeincolour.

Want more? Don’t miss our other great reads on ideas for children’s bedrooms and tips for creating a home office.