If the kitchen is the heart of the home, then the dining room is at least a secondary chamber within it. As those who love entertaining, cooking and socialising can attest, all good conversations, stories, laughter and drama happen in the dining room, or more specifically, around the dining table.
It goes without saying that the dining table is the hero piece of any good dining room and is central to setting the mood and flow within the space. Therefore, there are a few points to consider when choosing a dining table.
Invest wisely in a classic piece
You will have this piece for years or decades to come so choose a dining table that is timeless and will enhance your dining experience. Avoid getting a piece that is overly trendy or in a colour that might date. When choosing a stone or marble piece, it will require some upkeep so keep in mind there will be ongoing maintenance to keep it looking its best. Research this before making a decision to avoid disappointment. You will be looking at this piece for a long time and scratches or stains could detract from your enjoyment of the piece.
Space and shape
As space becomes a commodity, so does the need to harness the space you have most effectively. Rectangular tables work best within long rooms and draw the eye down the space to create a balanced and relaxed flow. Round or square tables work best within square rooms. Oval dining tables work best in long rooms or rooms with curved windows that echo their lines. Round edges on furniture pieces will also have a feminine, softening effect on the entire room while sharp edges can be more masculine. Regarding space, a good rule of thumb is having at least a meter and a half on each side of your dining table to allow enough room for people to get up and walk around the table. However consider that if a table is too small, it will get lost in the room and detract attention from your dining table. The proportion of table to dining room matters!
Ensure your dining chairs will comfortably sit underneath your dining table by measuring the seat and table height prior to purchasing. This will ensure that you and your guests are able to sit comfortably and enjoy the food and company. When choosing dining chairs, we don’t subscribe to the thought that they need to “match” the table. However they should at least look like they belong to the same family to create some synergy between your pieces.
Styling your table is arguably the most fun part of owning a dining table! This is because you can get creative and tailor your dining wares and accessories based on the event. A Christmas, Easter or birthday table styled well can spark delight and excitement in your guests. Go crazy with colour, texture and personality when purchasing dinnerware, glassware, napkins, coasters and other utensils. A centrepiece, such as a vase or vessel can be a talking point among your guests and is easily interchangeable depending on the occasion. These items much more likely to be replaced over the years, so there is no need to be particularly precious about their longevity within your home.
If you have a small space, consider adding a mirror to your dining room to add light and give the impression of more space. Having lighting options like lamps in your dining space helps to set the atmosphere aka mood lighting based on your event or occasion. You might decide to have softer lighting in the evening for dinner to create a more atmospheric environment, or brighter lighting at lunch for a more upbeat feel.
We hope these points have been thought provoking in your quest to purchase a dining table and to make your dining room the most functional and comfortable space for yourself, your family and guests.
Styling Journal Editor & Interior Stylist
Ruth's background is in journalism, visual merchandising and residential furniture sales and procurement.
She is passionate about the psychology behind architecture and interiors and how our design choices are informaed by our personality and life experiences.
Ruth's design philosophy is about investing in classic, key pieces to create enduring interiors that will last a lifetime. She loves using the power of colour ands soft lighting to transform a space. When it comes to styling, Ruth believes that your home should be filled with items you have an emotional connection with, ensuring your home is a reflection of your individuality and tells your own unique story.