Dining Room Table Buying Guide

The dining room table is probably the most used article of furniture in your home. Whether it’s just for enjoying meals together, entertaining guests, providing an area for the children to work on their studies, or a place for family meetings, our dining room tables are very busy.

If you are looking for a new dining room table, there are a virtually endless number of choices, and we’re here to help you pick the best table for you and your family. So, let’s get started.

What Size Dining Table Do I Need?

The first thing you need to do is to measure the room that you’re going to be using for your new table. You need to have room enough to walk around the table comfortably while your guests are seated, with room enough for them to pull out their chairs to sit down. Also, don’t forget to take into consideration any other furniture that’s going to be in that room, such as a sideboard or display cabinet. Finally, keep in mind your skirting boards or radiators when you’re measuring the room.

With room measurements in hand, you can now determine how many seats you’d like to have at your dining room table, and how much room will you need for your chairs. Add an additional 5 or 6 inches to the width of each chair, so that your diners will have some elbow room. If you’re going to have a rectangular table, like most of us, and you’ll be using chairs at both ends of the table, you’ll need to add around 10 to 12 inches to the length of the table and chairs combined.

Once you’re done measuring the room, move on to the number of places you want at your table. Here’s a rough guide of how many folks you can sit at different sized tables:

  • A square table of 24 to 28 inches will seat two people comfortably.
  • Four people can sit at a 36 inch square table, a 43 inch round table, or a rectangular table of about 40 inches by 30 inches.
  • Six to eight can be seated comfortably at a rectangular table measuring 60 inches by 72 inches.
  • If you have eight to ten places at your table, that table will need to be 30 inches by 80 inches.

Extending Tables

If you need to occasionally have larger crowds at your table, but don’t always need the larger size, you can always opt for an extending table. These tables will seat more diners when needed for larger gatherings. These tables employ different types of mechanisms in order to extend:

  • Extension leaf – This is an extra piece of wood that you attach to the end of the table. While this enlarges your table, you need to have a place to store it safely to prevent it from warping or breaking.
  • Drop leaf – This table has one or more hinged leaves which can be brought up to make the table larger. The problem with these is that they can limit leg room when the leaf is in the down position. Also, they won’t support much weight, so be careful if you lean on the table leaf while it’s in the up position.
  • Butterfly leaf – In this configuration, there are one or two butterfly leaves that are concealed in the table when not in use. To actuate the butterfly leaf or leaves, the ends of the table are pulled apart and the leaves are raised up to the table surface.
  • Moving leg tables – These are similar to the butterfly leaf tables, in that the ends are pulled apart, creating an empty space in the middle. Then one or more leaves are inserted into that space.
  • Radial table – A cross between the butterfly and moving leg tables, this table can have a leaf inserted in the middle, but rather than moving the legs, the table top slides open.

Styles of Dining Table 

Your next choice involves style, and there are so many different ones to choose from. Consider the décor already in your home and determine what you think will fit in. Here are a few different styles for you to consider:

  • Traditional- A traditional table is most likely the first style that comes to mind. Traditional tables are usually made of sturdy wood, with carved legs and a dark finish. They’re usually a square or rectangular shape and you can pair them with matching chairs or rebel a little and use mismatched chairs for a more kitschy look if that’s your thing.
  • Farmhouse - If you want to create a warm, welcoming, family feel in your dining room, the farmhouse style might be the perfect choice for you. It’s rustic and cosy, and available in vintage or modern styles. This style of table is often made of solid natural wood, so they’re quite sturdy, making them perfect if you’re planning to use yours heavily.
  • Mid-century Modern - Originating in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, mid-century modern furniture is still incredibly popular today, People love the natural tones and simple yet still aesthetically pleasing characteristics of the style. A  mid-century modern dining table will usually be made of warm-toned wood with angled wooden peg legs, minimalist style, and clean lines. Many mid-century tables are made of light hardwoods such as oak, birch, or maple.
  • Trestle Table – Simply put, a trestle table is a tabletop sitting upon two trestle supports. This type of table is sturdy and functional while also creating a timeless, classic look. This style has its roots in the Middle Ages but is still popular in the 21st
  • Parsons Table- This one is perfect for people with a more modern style. A Parsons dining table is characterised by its sleek, straight lines and 90-degree angles. A Parsons table is a square or rectangular dining table with legs that sit square and flush with the edges of the tabletop. Parsons tables can be made in any size and material but will always maintain its simple, clean look.
  • Round – Round tables come in a variety of styles, but they each have a few advantages in common that are worth noting. First of all, they’re perfect for smaller spaces, as they tend to take up less room. A round table is great for conversation around the table, as everyone can see all of the other diners, and it can create a more democratic feel, as no one is sitting at the head of the table.
  • Industrial – These tables come with a variety of elements such as exposed materials. If you find yourself attracted to the look of reclaimed wood, iron, brick, or concrete, this might be the right choice. Rather than trying to create the illusion of perfection and finished polish, industrial tables let you see their workings upfront. They create a bold statement that is visually daring, interesting, and more contemporary in style.
  • Pedestal - The pedestal table is made from a tabletop sitting on top of a single sturdy pedestal base in the middle. Because they’re often round or oval dining tables, they’re great at making room for lots of people. Stylistically, they offer a streamlined, symmetrical look that can make your room look really put-together. You can also get double pedestal tables, which as the name suggests, feature two pedestal bases rather than one.
  • Scandinavian – These tables tend to be simply designed and use organic and natural materials. They also lean towards a more minimalist style, with a light and sleek look. This style shares some elements with mid-century modern tables, like long tapered legs. Also, Scandinavian tables come in just about any shape or size you can imagine.

Choice of Materials

Dining tables are traditionally made of wood, but they’re available in a number of other materials. Often a table may be constructed with a combination of materials. An example would be a table with wooden legs or a wooden pedestal, combined with a top made of metal, glass, or stone such as marble or quartz.

How to Accessorise Your Table

Because the dining room table is used for entertaining, it offers a lot of options for accessories. Here are a few items you can use to dress up your table, and with a little imagination, you can make a bold statement using these elements:

  • Table cloths and table runners – These are an easy way to add color to your dining room. The tablecloth can also hide the top of the table if it’s less than perfect.
  • Place mats – Place mats are available in a huge selection of fabric, styles, colours, and textures and can make a bold statement.
  • Candles – Lighted or not, candles always seem to add a touch of elegance. You can dress up the candle holders with greenery or ribbons.
  • China and crystal table settings – If you have a complete set of china and crystal, show them off on your dining table.
  • Floral center pieces – Floral center pieces are always lovely, and if you have access to fresh flowers, the scents can add to the ambiance of the room. Try changing up the size or shape of the vase from time to time.
  • Napkin rings – These can be plain or fancy, and you can change things up by inserting a sprig of a fresh herb such as rosemary along with a napkin.
  • Small sculptures – You can use a small sculpture appropriate in scale to use as a center piece.
  • Seasonal or holiday decorations – Each season can have a distinct theme, so you can dress up your table to match the season.

Our Range of Dining Room Tables

At Carters Furniture, we have a large showroom filled with an extensive range of table sizes, styles, and colours. We have a team of highly trained furniture consultants to help you make the right choices and we’d be happy to help you. We represent some of the top furniture companies from around the world. Some of the manufacturers we represent are:

  • Skovby – Founded in 1933 by cabinetmaker Thorvald Rasmussen, he created a foundation for sustainable and functional furniture design, which his son Villy Rasmussen and grandsons Preben and Jørgen Rasmussen have carried on ever since.
  • Stressless - Renowned the world over for their meticulous design, the vast array of styles and sizes on offer from Stressless means you can pick the perfect table or chairs. 
  • Bentley Designs - One of the leading suppliers of quality furniture in the UK and Ireland, Bentley Designs captures the very best of the latest market trends to create designs for better living.
  • Vida Living – This is an exciting and prestigious furniture design manufacturing company, built on almost 35 years of experience. Vida Living has a growing international reputation as the go-to supplier of the best quality residential furniture, at excellent value, delivered anywhere in the world.

Here at Carters Bed City, we pride ourselves on the vast selection of furniture that we offer, along with our outstanding customer service. Our highly trained staff can provide you with the right advice and information so that you can make the most of your furniture purchase. Because of the special relationships we have with our suppliers, we are able to source furniture from all over the globe, as well as products that are manufactured locally, and we can offer the lowest prices on all of the products we sell. In fact, we have a low price guarantee that states that we will match or beat any competitors price on identical products. We have 2 large showrooms full of the most stylish, practical, and high quality furniture and bedding, and our stores are open seven days a week to serve you.

If you’d like more information about the products and services we offer, visit our website or call us at 01562 540862  (Carters Furniture Store) or 01562 66396  (Carters Bed City). Even better, stop by either of our locations to see for yourself. We look forward to serving you!