How to choose a dining table, and our favourite dining tables in stock UK 2022 from Made, Argos, Nkuku

Which material is best for a dining table? How big should it be? What shape? Here’s what to look for when buying a dining room table - and a selection of the best on the market

Buy a dining table that’s as large as the space you can have available can accommodateBuy a dining table that’s as large as the space you can have available can accommodate
Buy a dining table that’s as large as the space you can have available can accommodate

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The humble dining table can - and often does - serve as the hub of your home. Far from simply a place to eat, they frequently double as work spaces for home office work or teenagers studying; a spot to socialise with friends and family; the scene of endless board games and jigsaws; a stable surface for arts, crafts, and all manner of hobby.

It’s worth, then, taking the time to consider what you want from a dining table ahead of buying one - a sound investment can serve you for years to come. Here’s what to consider ahead of buying.

Try and get the biggest table your space can accommodate

You may think you have little reason for a large dining table - reasoning that you don’t use it too much, or there’s a limited number of you living there. But if you’ve a space for a dining table, you’d do well to get the biggest table that space can accommodate.

This will mean you have room for entertaining, if it comes up, and the room won’t look sad or empty with too much space around it. You’ll also be surprised by how useful dining room table space is.

What do we mean by the ‘biggest table that space can accommodate?’

You need to leave a metre of clearance space

That means approximately a metre of space (3 feet, if you prefer) open behind the chairs, so that you can easily get up and down from the table.

Round tables are great if you live in a smaller space

Of course, we don’t all necessarily have a dedicated dining room, let alone a large one at that. If your dining space is in the kitchen or an open-plan living area, consider a round table - they have smaller footprints than rectangular tables, and allow a number of people to sit around them. If it’s good enough for King Arthur....

What material you choose depends on your lifestyle

Tables are produced in a range of materials - which one you chose will, of course, be driven by aesthetic, but there are a few other key considerations for each time.

Wood: wooden tables are durable and easy to repair when scratched. Popular, reasonably price wood options are pine, acacia, mango and teak.

Stone: stone-topped tables (such as marble) are very durable, but they are porous, which makes them prone to absorbing stains (if you will with a spiller). They’re also often quite heavy.

Glass: glass-top tables are often recommended for darker spaces, as they connote openness and space. The downside is that they scratch very easily, and will show up every fingerprint - so they’re best for clean, conscientious people.

Plastics and laminates: if you’re shopping on a budget, buying a table with a plastic or laminate surface will be inexpensive. They’re also easy to clean and maintain. The major downside is that people can perceive them as looking ‘cheap’.

Metallic accents pair with nearly everything

If your table has metallic legs, struts or accents, it will help your dining table tie into your surroundings. Gold, silver, iron and brass are striking, good looking, and match most colour schemes.

Our favourite dining tables now in stock

Dimensions: H75 x W200 x D100cmFrame: Oak, Oak veneer & Brass

Why we love it: It’s elegant without being gauche. The gold-tone brass frame has an opulence to it, but you’re not straying into Marie Antoinette territory.

The edges are rounded and smooth - great if you want to ensure everyone can enjoy conversation over dinner. It’d be perfect for a light, airy dining room or - if you’re lucky indeed - a glass conservatory, for a delightful breakfast. 

It’s pictured here with the Jensen Dining chair.