You probably didn’t need a former American President to tell you of the greatness that can occur around the dinner table. Yet, President Reagan’s words are worth recalling when it comes to selecting the perfect new dinning table for your home.
It’s no secret; the dinner table becomes a sacred place within the home. It not only works as the communal centre piece, but it is also often the place where family, friends and those newly acquainted, share two of humankinds greatest loves- food and conversation.
Almost everyone has some memories connected to their family dining table. Whether it is the snap, crackle and pop of breakfast cereal, or reaching for the fruit bowl at morning tea, roasts on Sundays while the family pet turns on the most pleading of eyes, or ploughing through homework assignments while mum tried to set the table around you.
Then there’s the loud and vibrant, or confidingly quiet of conversations between friends, shared tears over loss, or laugher and cheer to the clink of celebratory champagne. Wrapping Christmas presents, getting nostalgic over photo albums, or the most epic and engaging games of Monopoly you could ever imagine.
The dining table regularly becomes the focal point of the home for both the family who inhabits it, as well as the guests who are honoured to sit around it.
So it stands to reason that choosing the right dining table can be an overwhelming affair, particularly when you are unsure what you are looking for. The options are abundant and without taking part in a bit of research, and knowing your space well you’re almost definitely destined to end up with a dining table that is more of a misfit than a communal hub.
These days most modern homes are an amalgamation of various styles, shapes, trends and textures, which means gone are the days when you purchase your dining room table and chairs in the a set. Before you dive headfirst into the endless array of dining table options, consider the guide below.
“All great change begins at the dinner table”
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Know your style
From traditional to modern, rustic, mid century, chic or industrial, there are many different styles of furniture available right now, so it pays to think about creating a mood board using magazines or online tools to find the look that is reflective of you and your family, whilst remaining functional. Whether you want to go with an inner city industrial vibe, a warm and inviting country house feel or go minimalist with a metal table in a warm wooden toned room, it pays to remember that the table you choose will set the tone for the entire dining room area.
Size up your space
It’s amazing how often we see spaces where the family dining table has been crammed into a tiny space where the family and guests have to squeeze themselves up against a sideboard or wall in order to access a seat at the table. This, while not necessarily welcoming or comfortable, does not mean you need to go out and purchase a new house! Regardless of the space you have available there are ways to make your particular space work to be obliging to your table and your guests.
There are a couple of standard rules that you can apply to sizing up your space with the golden rule being to ensure there is around 90 to 105 centimetres of space between the table and the edge of the walls or furniture. Following this rule will give adequate room to move around and also ensure diner comfort by allowing guests to get up and sit down without feeling cramped. The space can, by all means, be larger but a too small table can look diminutive in a large dining room, so use the process below to give yourself a more visual representation.
Accurately size up your area using chalk, tape or even a bed sheet as a template to work out the maximum and minimum size of the table. This is a simple way to make the decision around size much easier. This will help you to know which size table will work for you in your space.
Get in Shape
After the size of table, one of the biggest decisions you will need to make is which shape table will best suit your needs. This decision will largely be based on the space you have available in your dining area especially when bearing in mind that you will need adequate space around the table. The three main shapes of dining table are rectangular, square and round or oval; we discuss each in more detail below.
Being the most classic shape of dining room table, a rectangular table brings the best of both worlds because not only does it play the perfect, hospitable host to your guests, it is well-defined visually with straight lines and works well when it comes to functionality.
Probably one of the least popular designs when it comes to interior decorating magazines and websites, however they work well for small families and groups of around 4 to 6 guests. Square tables are perfect for smaller spaces and look great in long narrow rooms or coupled with a rug underneath to create a whole new space inside an existing space.
Round and oval
We suggest round or oval style tables for smaller spaces where you want to create a more intimate setting. Curves are a nice change when many lines within homes are straight, but generally they work best for groups of 6 or less guests. Play with seating options to enhance the intimacy of the setting when using a round or oval table.
There is no doubt that the decision about which style, size and shape dining room table you will welcome into your home is not an easy one. Yet once you spend some time assessing your space, needs and personal taste you are likely to make a rewarding choice and enjoy a table that long holds the memories of laughter, conversation and friendship. If only the dining room table could talk...
"There are times when wisdom cannot be found in the chambers of parliament or the halls of academia but at the unpretentious setting of the kitchen table.” – E.A. Bucchianeri