Tips for Choosing a Dining Table

The dining room table is more than a place to share a bountiful meal – it’s where your family and friends gather together to share stories and catch up. Choosing the right dining table is important because it will be one of the most used furniture pieces in your home. With so many shapes, sizes, styles, and materials out there, it may be overwhelming what to pick that will suit your home best. Here are a few factors to consider to help you choose the right dining table for you.

1. Measurement and size

Your first consideration: the dining table has to fit the dining area. It’s pretty obvious, but there are people who go out to furniture stores to look for a table, buy something pretty, then go home only to find out that it’s too big and leaves little space for chairs, or it’s awkwardly small for their dining room. The size of the dining table is one thing – and it’s a large piece of furniture – and accounting for the space around it is another thing.

In addition to the footprint of the table, you have to consider the space for the chairs and the walkway around it too. You’ll want three feet of room on all sides of the table (unless you’re really planning to have one side placed against a wall) so you can comfortably sit in the chair and move around the space. First, measure the length and width of the dining room then subtract six feet from those two measurements to get a target dining table length and width. This measurement is for when you are planning to place the table at the center. Make some adjustments on the measurement if you want to place the table adjacent to a wall, or if you wanted to have more space on one side.

For the measurement of your dining table, consider how many people will be using it on a daily basis. Base the size of the table on the number of people you usually have for dinner. If you entertain guests semi-regularly and you have enough room, it’s best to upsize. So if you’re a household of six, go for a table that seats eight.  Each person at the table needs around 24 inches of length and 12 inches width to spread out and eat comfortably. So, a rectangular table that measures 4×3 feet seats up to 4 people.

Also, consider the height of the table. Most buyers prefer the standard 29-30 inch table height, but some are looking for a more casual dining space with the same height as their counter table

2. Lifestyle

Before considering any table in sight, start with your lifestyle. If the dining table you’re looking for will be used as an extension of your kitchen or family area, chances are you’ll use it more often, such as for eating meals, preparing food, doing homework or making crafts. If this is the case, then go for something that is more casual in style and material. Look for a durable material that is easy to clean.

If you’re searching for a formal dining room for special occasions, choose one that looks impressive. You can choose something more ornate with a delicate finish if you want.

If you love to entertain, you can consider an extendable dining table. One common version of it is a table with a “drop leaf” that are either inserted mid-table or lifted on either end. Just keep in mind the added space when the table is extended. Also check if the extensions can be stored within the table top, and if not, if you have space where you can store it when not in use.

If you have kids in your house, they tend to make tables messy. Steer clear from porous materials like wooden tables, unless you coat it with glass. Choose a table with an easy-to-clean finish like gloss or matte.

3. Shape

The shape of your dining table must be cohesive with the shape of the room. It has a large impact on the functionality of your dining area, so make sure you consider the best shape that works for your space.

Round or oval dining tables always feel social, and it’s great for maximizing space, especially for smaller areas. Square tables give an open and spacious feel, and it helps break up a long and narrow area. Rectangular tables are the most common and the easiest to fit in within most rooms, and it’s the best choice for larger areas and for serving large groups of people. To know more about different shapes of dining tables, read here (

4. Style

Modern Kitchen Chair Room Furniture Modern Inside

The style of the dining table – considering the table is a big piece of furniture – must be carefully chosen, as it can make or break the interior design style you are rooting for. The style of the table must suit your home’s overall décor, as it is the best thing you can use to anchor your style.

If your style is minimalistic, sleek or modern, consider a glass dining table or something with metallic accents. If you’re going for a country, rustic or vintage, consider a wood table with a distressed finish. If you want something traditional, choose a table with some carved detailing.

5. Material and finish

Choosing the best material for your dining table depends on your personal style and preference, budget, as well as how much time for maintenance and cleaning you are willing to spend to keep your table stylish. Learn about the common materials used for making dining tables here. (

When it comes to table finishes, you have a lot of choices too. Here are some of them:

  • High gloss – instantly creates a bright, fresh and modern feel. It’s very sleek and works well for contemporary dining areas.
  • Matte – offers a clean-lined crisp look that is soft and cool to the eyes. It offers a relaxed and casual feel and can effortlessly blend with different finishes.
  • Solid wood – brings warmth and texture to the room, making the dining area look welcoming. It is very durable and long lasting. It can be used for any style of dining table.
  • Timber veneer – also looks warm and textured. Its crisp finish makes it appropriate for most interior design styles.
  • White or gray oak veneer – gives a clean and smooth texture that can also add a homey feel. It’s best for a room that needs to feel modern.
  • Tempered glass – makes an illusion of more space, and allows you to be bold with your chair styles and color choices. It looks clear, fresh and crisp.
  • Frosted glass – gives off a soft, calming and slightly hazy look. It offers a durable surface that looks luxurious yet practical.

6. Base or table supports

The base of the table can affect how many people you can fit at a table. Make sure the leg space for people who are going to sit by the table isn’t invaded by the supports. When shopping for a table, sit in front of it as if you’re using it, then see if your legs hit the table’s legs. See if you have enough space for your knees if you can scoot all the way in and if you can also cross your legs underneath it.

Base, or table supports, are usually in the form of legs, a pedestal or a trestle. Legs, as the name suggests, are legs that support the surface and are found on the corners underneath the table. It is often used on rectangular and square tables, and it is only limited to how long it can be extended without the table bowing in the middle. A pedestal base is placed on the center underneath the table, allowing for additional leg room, since it doesn’t occupy any sides or corners of the table. This base can be applied to most table shapes, especially for smaller-sized tables. Meanwhile, a trestle base, like the picture shown above, consists of trestle supports at the side linked by a horizontal cross part over which the tabletop is placed. Of these three, the pedestal base allows for more leg room. However, it’s best to choose the table support that will not make your table shaky and keep your tabletop intact.

7. Sturdiness

A good dining table is sturdy and can last years of use. It must be able to handle all the dishes, cookware, drinks and all the weight you can place on it. Dining tables made of wood and metal are notably durable. But if you’re looking for something a bit upscale and sturdier, you can go for marble, which is known for its strength and luxurious appeal.

To see if a table is well-made and of good construction, you must also take a look at the joinery. It’s what makes the tabletop and the base fit together, and the more solid it is, the longer the table will last. The rule here is that the simpler, the better. If you’re looking at a wood table, it’s better if it’s joined directly with wood also. If there are a lot of screws and attachments, steer clear. Look at the connection points and check if there are gaps – if there are, it’s poorly constructed. Try to move it and check if it wobbles. A good table must stay put.

8. Chairs

Of course, your dining table isn’t complete without its matching chairs. People used to buy tables and chairs in sets, but nowadays, buyers are more open to mixing and matching, since hundreds of designs, colors, materials, and styles are available.

Side chairs, or armless chairs, are the most common seating style for dining tables because of its versatility. It’s easier to slide into from the side and to put back under the tabletop. They take up less space and offers the widest range of options. Bench chairs are great for adding a bit of creativity in your dining area, as it can help you achieve the “diner” look. Also, it’s great for families with kids because you can squish more small bottoms in smaller spaces. Meanwhile, armchairs are great for the elderly, as it makes it easier to climb in and stand up. However, these may require more space in terms of width.

When it comes to picking dining chairs for tables, the most important thing is that it must offer you enough room under the table to move, cross and uncross your legs. It must also match the style of your dining table. If you’re going for a mixed, eclectic style, go for it, but make sure the styles aren’t too diverse from each other so the chairs won’t look out of place.