HOW TO GUIDE: SELECTING DINING FURNITURE

Are you planning to include a dining table either inside your condo unit or on your terraza? If so, here are my tips on how to determine the right solution for your needs. Some questions to help determine which of the many options is best for your needs.

Will you require additional furniture in the room?

Before selecting the dining table, consider what else will be in the space and any other furniture required. Will you need to store dinnerware, or do you like to have a buffet to use as a serving area? Planning the space is key to ensuring you end up with a well-balanced and not crowded room. Pull out your measuring tape, pen and paper (or online design tool) and map out the room. As a rule of thumb, I generally allow 36 to 48 inches from the table's edge to the wall or other furniture. Most buffets are between 20 and 22 inches deep. Also, check out the ceiling. If you are particular about balance, check where there is recessed lighting or electrical for a hanging light or ceiling fan.  How many people will you need to sit on a day-to-day basis?

Unless you have an abundance of space, it is usually best to base your table's size on how many people will regularly be dining. If you enjoy having monthly dinner parties and need to expand to accommodate more seats, then an expandable table (one with a drop-leaf) is a great option. A word of caution if you plan on purchasing an expandable table. Measure the length of the table when the leaf is in to ensure your room will have enough space when it is at its largest.

For the additional chairs, consider two upholstered chairs with arms to place at each end of the table. When not in use for your dinner guests, they can be placed on either side of the buffet or used in the living room or bedrooms as additional seating. Make sure to measure the arms so that the chair can easily slide underneath the tabletop.

I like to allow 18 to 24 inches for each place setting. There also needs to be room for food if you do not use a side server or buffet. This helps me determine the size of the table required. This space allowance is one that most average-sized adults find comfortable. If there are children or your preference is for a cozy feel, you can reduce this measurement.

To get the most chairs around the table, opt for armless chairs. If your room allowance is tight, yet you still need to seat six occasionally, another option is a bench on one side. This way, you can accommodate everyone when you have dinner. When not in use and to give them room openness, slide the bench under the table.How will you use the dining table?

It is important to determine if you will use your table only for formal dining occasions or daily use for meals, as a workstation and for crafts. The most common dining tops are made with wood, glass, laminate/veneer, stone, tile or metal. For a multi-purpose, daily use table, it may work best to opt for a tabletop made with durable material that does not require constant cleaning or prone to scratching. Wood, marble and concrete tops do not show fingerprints as quickly as glass or high gloss tops.  Do you have a shape preference?

There are two parts to consider when it comes to shape and style – the tabletop and the base. The most common form for tabletops is rectangular that seats six people. The main reasons are that most dining rooms happen to be rectangular, and the average dinner party is no more than six.

Square tables are the second most popular shape for dining rooms. A square form is an ideal solution if you are only seating a group of four or fewer people for dinner or plan to use your table for rousing board games like bridge or cards.

Round tables look lovely in any shape room. They are a pleasant surprise from the usual linear lines of rectangular and square models. Since there is no official head of a round table and because everyone can see each other easily, they provide a more casual feel. It is best to keep round tables to seating six people so that guests do not feel too far away from each other.

Oval tables are like rectangular dining tables in that they fit well in rectangular rooms and seat more people. The curves of the oval shape create the illusion of more space in the room.

The table's base is critical because it determines how many people can be seated at the table. Options for bases include pedestal, trestle, cross-legged and saw-horse. A pedestal base or trestle table generally allows for more seating in a smaller space. These styles mean you do not have to worry about the table or chair legs getting in the way.  Do you have a style preference?

Although traditional is still the most common style because it is timeless, other popular options include modern, rustic, industrial, and contemporary.

Considering these factors before selecting your dining table will save you hassles, headaches and money.

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