Delightful Dining Ideas

We are quickly approaching the trifecta of dining season: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve. I’m not sure if this is true for you, but for me, these holidays are filled with family, friends, food, and drinks. I love to use this time of year as an excuse to fully exercise my dining table. Unfortunately, in today’s busy world, the dining table often gets overlooked and underused; meals are constantly on the go. I think it’s important to have a welcoming dining table to bring everyone together this time year. I’ve put together some helpful tips on how to select the dining table for you.

Shape and Size

Obviously, dining tables come in all shapes and sizes, which is often determined by the amount of space you have the table going into. Homes with open floor plans can accommodate many different shapes of tables: square, rectangular, oval, boat-shaped, or circular. For dining rooms that are contained, the table should mimic the shape of the room. For example, a square room should have a square table, a rectangular room should have a rectangular table and so forth. Circular tables are great solutions for dining rooms that are oddly shaped, such as hexagonal dining rooms.

The size of the table is also dependent on the space but also is also an important consideration for how many people you plan to seat at the table. The list below shows the size of table and number of chairs it will accommodate:

48” Square Table – 4 Chairs
72” Long Rectangular Table – 6 Chairs
96” Long Rectangular Table – 8 Chairs
120” Long Rectangular Table – 10 Chairs
36” – 56” Round Table – 4 Chairs
46” – 66” Round Table – 6 Chairs

The rule of thumb is to have, at minimum, two feet between the wall and back of the dining chair, when the dining chair is slid out from the table.

Leaves are a wonderful asset to a dining room table. Leaves give you the ability to grow your table, fitting more people. There are many different kinds of leaf systems. Traditional leaves insert in the middle of the table and need to be stored (table top side down) in a dry place when not in use. Many tables have self-storing leaves, or butterfly leaves, that fold up (like a butterfly’s wings) and store underneath the table.

Finally, have some fun experimenting with regular dining height or counter height dining. The height on a regular dining table is around 29” – 32” while counter height is between 36” – 39”. Counter height is considered more casual than dining height.

Wood Types and Construction

The variety of wood you choose will lend itself to the design style you are going for. The graining of quarter sawn oak, white oak, and golden oak are generally more traditional in style. Hickory and cherry create very transitional looks. Hickory is also a great wood selection for more rustic designs. Usually, maple and walnut varieties have less noticeable graining and are used in contemporary or modern dining tables.

It’s important to consider how often you will be using your table. Families that plan to use the dining table for every meal, arts and crafts, and whatever science experiments your children decide to try, should stick to solid wood construction. Solid wood construction is very durable, and in the worst- case scenario, if the table top is damaged, solid wood can be sanded down and re-stained, in some circumstances.

Many tables are made out a veneer over a wood core. A veneer is a layer of wood (hickory, maple, cherry, etc) that is stained and applied to the core. This gives you the look of the solid wood table you want, but not the steeper price tag that goes along with solid wood construction. Although this type of constructed table is durable, it will scratch and dent more easily than solid wood and may require more attention and care. This is a great option to get a lot of bank for your buck, however!

Outside of woods, tables come in many unique materials, such as glass, concrete, zinc, marble, and more. These more alternative dining tables are an excellent way to make a statement in your dining space.

I hope this has inspired you to get your dining room ready for the holidays! We have a massive selection of dining tables at both 5 th & Main Furniture by Freed’s (formerly Furniture Mart) and the Ashley Homestore. I hope you have a joyous holiday season!