In many cases, a dining table is at the heart of the home. It’s a place where friends and family can come together, sit down and enjoy some tasty food. We’ve put together this Dining Table Buying Guide to help answer all of your dining table needs. From knowing your table measurements to choosing the right finish to coordinate with your space, we’ve got it covered.
How to Choose the Right Dining Table
If you’ve already started browsing the variety of dining tables on the market, you’ll have seen there are a lot of choices available. Don’t let that overwhelm you though, as the first step will always be narrowing down your search. Ask yourself the following questions and make a note of each suggestion. Chances are there will be a table out there that ticks all of the right boxes!
How will you use your dining table?
Everyday dining = a table that’s durable and easy to clean will be the main priority.
Hub of your home = you’ll want a table that’ll bring people together in a warm and welcoming environment.
Mainly for special occasions = a table with a wow factor and a really premium look will be best to impress your guests. Table extensions will come in handy too.
Doubling up as a workstation or desk = you’ll want a table with a durable surface and enough space for laptops and books.
How many do you need to sit at your dining table?
2-4: many two-seater tables can seat up to four, so this is an ideal option if you’re a little pushed for space.
4-6: Having a table that seats six when you on average only have four is a great option (if you have the space) as you’ll always have room for guests.
6-8: a six to eight-seater dining table will be a real staple piece in your dining room. It’s sure to be an investment piece.
What table finish would be best?
A glossy or matt table finish will instantly create a clean-lined crisp look. Timber or wood finishes will add both warmth and texture to your dining space. A clear glass dining table is ideal if you want to create a fresh, open, and modern dining setting. Choose a frosted glass table if you’re after a durable table with a soft, hazy appearance and a hint of colou
Do you need an extending table?
- You entertain regularly
- You have the space to fill
- You’re after a versatile seating arrangement
- You’re short on space
- You don’t need extra seats
- You don’t think you’d benefit from the extension
What shape dining table would be best?
Round or oval – always feels social and is great for maximising any space. A round table top takes up less room and offers more seating flexibility
Square – gives an open and spacious feel with plenty of table-top surface available. Easy to turn an unused corner into a cosy dining spot.
Rectangular – lots of choices available and easy to fit within most rooms. Great match with dining benches.
Once you have a better idea of the style of dining table you’re going to choose, the next step will be considering your dining chairs…
A round dining table… looks effortlessly sleek and smooth when styled alongside rounded back and curved dining chairs, such as our Form and Santo chairs. This look works so well as the shape of the table is carried through to the shape of the chairs to create a soft and inviting setting.
An extending table… is a great match with a stackable dining chair as you can stack and store the chairs when not needed.
Chrome or metal finishes… will allow you to match up table and chair legs.
Having a dining table alongside chairs with a coordinating metal finish will instantly help to tie the whole dining set together.
A glass dining table… is a great opportunity to add a splash of colour to your space. Clear glass can be placed alongside a whole variety of colours so you can have some fun with your styling.
What Material Dining Table?
Now we’ve covered dining table sizing and shapes, let’s take a look at dining table finishes. We’ve touched on a couple of these designer finishes already, but here’s a comprehensive breakdown of each finish, what look it’ll create in your dining area, and how to clean it
High Gloss Dining Table
The Look: bright, fresh, and super modern
Especially Good for versatile styling. White and grey gloss finishes can be styled alongside a whole variety of dining chair finishes and materials in your existing interior due to their neutral qualities. Gloss is also a very sleek and contemporary dining table finish
Care and Cleaning: use a soft, microfibre damp cloth. You can add a dab of mild detergent like washing up liquid to clean more stubborn marks. Make sure you dry a gloss dining table after cleaning. Most importantly, avoid throwing anything sharp on or across the surface as this will mark the gloss.
Matt Finished Dining Table
The Look: soft, cool and contemporary dining.
A matt dining table will effortlessly blend with multiple finishes so it’s a quick style fix.
Care and Cleaning: similar to gloss, use a soft damp cloth to clean matt painted furniture. Be sure to dry the table after cleaning and don’t drag anything sharp across the surface
Tempered Glass Dining Table
The Look: clear, crisp, and fresh
Glass is a safe, durable material that creates the illusion of more space. Glass also allows you to be bold with your chair styles and colour choices.
Care and Cleaning: you can use antibacterial sprays, even ones that contain bleach, on a glass dining table as the glass is nonporous. Then use a specific glass spray, such as a window cleaner, to protect the surface from smears using a lint-free cloth. Alternatively, you can also use soapy lukewarm water and dish soap to give the table a good clean.
Top Tip: Remember to also clean the underside of your glass table if it’s transparent. It won’t need an in-depth clean like the top surface, but it’s still important to clean and maintain the underside to keep your table looking its best.
Frosted Glass Dining Table
The Look: soft, slightly hazy, and calming.
Frosted glass is the most durable possible version of a matt finish as it is made from tempered safety glass. It’s a luxurious but practical smooth finish.
Care and Cleaning: to clean frosted glass, use a non-streaking window cleaner or antibacterial spray and a soft lint-free towel. Don’t place hot utensils straight from the oven onto a frosted glass surface and don’t drag anything sharp across the table surface.
HPL Finish Dining Table
The Look: satin with a subtle sheen. Bright but not glossy
HPL is incredibly strong, durable, practical, and easy to maintain so it’s an ideal choice for something as often used as a dining table.
Care and Cleaning: HPL can withstand common household cleaners such as washing-up liquid or antibacterial spray, so these are all fine for use on the surface. However, stay away from corrosive chemicals such as descaling agents, oven cleaners, chlorine, and acetone as this will damage the surface.
White or Grey Oak Veneer Dining Table
The Look: the best of both; the texture of timber with a clean even painted surface.
It is a setting that has lots of texture but still needs to feel modern.
Care and Cleaning: use a paper towel or a clean dish cloth rather than a sponge to clean the veneer, as a sponge will more than likely just spread the liquid across the surface. For the best results, try to wipe up any spills as soon as they happen.
Timber Veneers (oak, black ash, wenge, walnut) Dining Tables
The Look: warm and textured with a crisp finish.
Especially good for coordinating with other timber finishes. A wood veneer is a great alternative to a plain white or grey surface and is ideal for adding depth and making quite a statement.
Care and Cleaning: to clean a wooden veneer, dampen a non-abrasive lint-free cloth and move in the direction of the wood grain. For more stubborn marks, apply a dab of mild dishwashing detergent to your cloth. Avoid using wax-based polishes or cleaning products as they are designed for raw solid timbers rather than veneers and can cause a cloudy appearance on the surface.
Real Wood Dining Table
The Look: tactile, warm, and textured.
For styling alongside more modern finishes. Real wood dining tables are both long-lasting and very durable. They will also bring a welcoming and inviting feel to any dining space.
Care and Cleaning: use dish soap and water on your wooden finishes, applied with a damp cloth. Try not to scrub repeatedly in the same area though as this will damage the protective seal on the wood’s surface.
Still can’t choose?
Go for a mixed-material dining table. A dining table with a combination of finishes is a great way to introduce a variety of textures and colors to your space, without making your dining setting look mismatched or messy.
And finally… make sure you use placemats and coasters each mealtime if you want to protect your table surface and keep it looking its best for longer.