When choosing dining furniture for your home, it often pays to use local furniture stores. A major reason for doing so is that should anything go wrong you can complain in person rather than by telephone or email when it is easier for the store to ignore you – or try to! Another valid reason is that you can view the dining furniture in the flesh so to speak, and take your time doing so to make sure you are making the right choice.
It is usually necessary to buy most of your dining room furniture at once to make sure that the pieces properly match. Most dining tables and chairs, for example, come in matched sets. If you purchase them separately, even if made from the same wood with the same finish, it can sometimes be like wallpaper: purchase the same pattern at different times, and you are liable to get variations in shade.
Even the most expensive dining furniture looks wrong if the shades don’t match, so plan ahead what you need, and buy sets all at once if you can. Here are some more tips on purchasing furniture for your dining room that should enable you to avoid some of the problems that people come across when they jump right in without enough thought.
a) How Much Room?
The most important aspect of your choice of furniture for any room is that it fits the space available. That fabulous 12-foot dining table that sits twelve people or more will be no use if your dining room is only 14 feet long. You should allow at least 30 inches of space between a wall and the table (two ft at a squeeze), although if there is the possibility of wheelchair access being needed you should make that 54 inches.
Many people buy the table because it looks great, have it delivered and then find it too much of a squeeze – don’t expect the store to be too sympathetic. You know the old saying: “Act in haste, repent at leisure”.
b) How Many People?
How many people will you have to seat? Most dining furniture comes with a set number of chairs, usually 4-6, but with the possibility of adding others if needed. That is usually the case if the tables are extendable, either with leaves that can be lifted, or additional sections added on.
If you have a maximum number of diners in mind, then first make sure your table can accommodate them, with or without extensions, and secondly make sure you have enough space in your dining room. Some tables extend using a screw, while others pull apart and enable you to add extra supports for the extension leaves.
c) Dining Table Dimension Guide
Allow 30 inches length for each diner. You could reduce that to 24 inches at a push, but only for special occasions. That would a slight squeeze if one or two diners were less than slim, but 30 inches allows comfortable dining for all and would allow for the extra room at each end between the end and side diners.
If you want to sit 12, for example, you would have one at each end, and 5 at each side. So your table would be 36 inches wide and 12 feet long would be fine. Most tables are 30-48 inches wide, and a 12-seater would likely be around 3 feet wide. Six people could comfortably be seated at a 3 ft x 6 ft table.
These dimensions are fine for rectangular tables, but what if your table is round? Allow at least 30 inches per person as a minimum. That is because each person’s table space is triangular shaped and not rectangular. Chair height is generally standard: the height of the chairs should be around 12 inches below table height, and most tables are 30 inches high.
Other Dining Room Furniture
There is more to dining furniture than just the table and chairs, and your dining room would look fairly bare if that was all it contained – particularly a large room. China cabinets, credenzas and buffet servers are common items of dining furniture. Paula Deen Home offers a beautiful Hostess credenza with three shelves and three doors and drawers.
Legacy Classic Furniture markets a fabulous dining room buffet and china hutch cabinet to match its ‘Orleans 632’ extension table set with six ladder-back chairs. There are many more available online, including the magnificent 56 inch wide Messina Estates server by Liberty. Just keep the size of your dining room in mind, and make sure that everything you buy will fit.
Otherwise, the main tip is to buy what you like – you are going to live with it and likely use it most days. Dining furniture is a mix of the practical and the personal, and if you keep the above tips in mind you are more likely to be pleased with your choice than not.