How to Pick the Perfect Dining Table For Your Specific Needs

How to Pick the Perfect Dining Table For Your Specific Needs

Additions and Remodels
How To
By Mateos Glen Hayes October 03, 2022

Dining tables are the centerpiece of every dining room. It’s no exaggeration to say that a dining table can make or break your dining room’s interior design. As such it’s important to get the table that best fits your needs, but also complements your home’s interior aesthetic. Alas, with so many shapes, sizes, colors, and materials for dining tables, it can be challenging to figure out which dining table is going to be the best for you.

After all, a dining table needs to be functional but also beautiful. To figure out which table best fits your needs we’ll need to delve into some important details that should be considered when shopping for a new dining table. Namely, we need to discuss the dimensions of dining tables, the pros, and cons of various materials, as well as how the table’s shape and legs will fit in your dining room space.    

Measuring Made Easy

More clearance between your dining table, the walls, and other furniture is better than less.

More clearance between your dining table, the walls, and other furniture is better than less.

When considering your options for a new dining table it is important to visualize how a new dining table will fit in your space. Fortunately, there is a quick and simple way you can do this without having to resort to any heavy lifting. A bed sheet or two can help you to physically see just how much space your table will take.

Simply take some bed sheets and fold them into the shape and dimensions of the dining table in question. Then, place this sheet on the ground where the new table will go so you have an easy way of measuring the table’s clearance. Your measurements should also account for whether you have a folding dining table as this will increase the dimensions of the table. 

Table-to-Wall Clearance

With your sheet in place, the first thing to measure is your table-to-wall clearance. This will give you a good idea of how much room your dinner party guests will have to sit down or get up from their seats. It is of course important that you be able to sit down and get up from the table without constantly bumping into the wall, so you’ll want to allow at least 42 inches of clearance between the edge of your prospective dining table and the walls. 

Table-to-Furniture Clearance 

A minimum of 42 inches of clearance between your dining table and other furniture is a must.

A minimum of 42 inches of clearance between your dining table and other furniture is a must.

Similarly, you’ll want to make sure that your table isn’t going to be too close to other furniture as this can make things feel cramped. It also makes it difficult to move around and can even be a hazard since it increases the risk of people tripping or running into things. As with the walls, it’s best to leave a minimum of 42 inches between the edge of the dining table and any furniture although more is always better in this situation.  

Seating Capacity

All dining room tables have a limit to how many people they can seat comfortably, so it is best to ensure that the table you choose can seat as many people as you need it to without any issues. Ideally, each person should have at least two feet of eating space so that diners aren’t bumping elbows at the table. One good rule of thumb is to keep room for at least one more seat than you normally need so that you can more easily accommodate the occasional guest. 

Table Shapes 

Round dining tables are the most space-efficient option, perfect for a smaller dining space.

Round dining tables are the most space-efficient option, perfect for a smaller dining space.

Of course, the shape of a table is going to play a major role in how it takes up space as well. Depending on their shape, some dining room tables will be better suited to some room layouts than others. 

Round Tables

These are by far the best tables for a smaller room layout. Oval dining tables are a very space-efficient design because they give you more room for seating and each diner has more elbow room than with a similarly sized square or rectangle table. There’s also something unquestionable retro about a dining round table, particularly one with a design inspired by the 1960s American diner aesthetic.  

Rectangular Tables

Rectangle dining tables are often long and narrow making them great choices for seating a lot of people in a narrow dining room.

Rectangle dining tables are often long and narrow making them great choices for seating a lot of people in a narrow dining room.

Rectangular dining tables have long been the design of choice for long and narrow dining rooms and it’s easy to see why. They make maximum use of the space while still giving plenty of room for traffic flow. This design also allows a rectangular dining table to seat a lot of people, and capacity can be increased further using bench seating. 

Square Tables

If you’d prefer something a bit more up close and personal but don’t want an oval dining table design, square tables are your best option. Square dining room tables are a bit more limited in their use since they work best in a square room. They are also a bit limited in capacity because making a square dining table larger means it’s harder to reach for food.  

Table Supports 

Trestle designs such as this one can steal away leg room or knee room.

Trestle designs such as this one can steal away leg room or knee room.

This detail is literally right under your nose, but it should not be missed. What kind of supports or legs your table has will determine your dining room table’s legroom and how much space it takes up. Certain dining room table base designs will rob leg room, reducing the number of people that can comfortably sit. This is why thin table legs are the best because they provide good support without taking up a lot of floor space. Pedestal and trestle bases add more style to your dining room table, but that comes at the cost of reduced leg or knee room.  

Material Choices

Choosing the right material for your next dining room table isn’t always straightforward. It’s often a difficult balancing act where you have to find the material that gives you the best mix of quality and style while still conforming to your budget. Since you will likely keep your dining table for several years it’s important to get this choice right so you aren’t stuck with a table that leaves you disappointed.

A classy glass table opens up the space and gives your dining room a modern Scandi-like feel.

A classy glass table opens up the space and gives your dining room a modern Scandi-like feel.

Glass

Starting at around $750, glass dining tables are perfect for that modern crisp feel of Scandinavian-style furniture. They reduce the cluttered feeling of a small dining room and are pretty affordable. Unfortunately, dining table glass is more fragile than other dining table materials. Glass dining tables are at greater risk of chipping, scratching, or cracking from heat. However, glass dining tables can last for years provided that they are well taken care of.

Metal

Stainless steel, brass, and even zinc are common dining table metal materials. These can come unpainted or with lacquer and paint. The benefit of a table made of metal is that it has amazing durability. A metal table is a hefty thing that can take years of heavy use without breaking. They are also often more affordable than wooden dining tables starting at just $250. That being said, metal dining tables can be difficult to repair if their paint is chipped. Metal tables also get dirty faster owing to their metallic sheen which makes stains highly visible.

Choose marble for a beautifully luxurious tabletop that has no equal.

Choose marble for a beautifully luxurious tabletop that has no equal.

Stone 

There is a wide range of stone tabletops available for you to choose from including marble, cast stone, granite, and quartz. Starting at $500, these tables are fairly affordable although prices do go up quickly for high-end stone and larger tables. Stone tables are quite heavy, and they can be chipped by rough use, so it is best to put the table somewhere spacious to avoid people running into it. 

Plastic

This may not be the nicest-looking material for a dining table, but plastic makes for a sturdy and long-lasting design that can take a lot of abuse. On top of requiring little upkeep, plastic tables are quite affordable as well, making them the ideal choice for a busy family with lots of young children.

Elevate your dining room design with a timeless hardwood table.

Elevate your dining room design with a timeless hardwood table.

Wood

Wooden dining tables are the classiest of dining table types out there. You pay more on average for a hardwood table but you get a lot of value in the form of a timeless design that’s bound to elevate your dining room design. Plus, wooden dining tables are easy to restore because their durability allows for easy resurfacing to give any wooden dining table a like-new shine. That means that even an old beat-up dining table can be skillfully restored, making this a good option for those that want a wooden dining table but are looking to save a few bucks.

With these considerations in mind, you will be able to easily choose the right dining table for your specific needs. All you need is a bit of patience and research and you will be able to find the table that will elevate the beauty of your dining room and impress your guests. Quality and beauty are things that everyone can and should have, and the perfect dining table is a good place to start.

MG

Written by
Mateos Glen Hayes

Written by Mateos Glen Hayes

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