How to Choose the Perfect Dining Table

Often considered the heart of a home, a dining table is where memories are made. From lively celebrations at holidays to meals shared between family members, a dining table is multi-purpose and undoubtedly a focal point. During the lockdown period, dining tables even became desks and homeschool workstations. 

Whether you plan to have a more formal dining room or a communal gathering spot in your kitchen, finding the right table is a matter of room size, shape, and personal taste. As a dining table is an investment that should last five to ten years, we’ve compiled the following considerations to help you choose the right one.

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Before you fall in love with a table that doesn’t fit in your space, pull out the measuring tape and make sure you know what size your room can accommodate.

Measure the room’s length and width, and then move inward at least three feet from the walls and objects to allow for breathing space. Pay attention to doors and other furniture that might take up space around the table. Your table should be no bigger than this measurement. 

Once you’ve done this, if you have plenty of space left, consider how many people will be using the table to determine how large to go. Each place at the table should have at least 22 inches of space to avoid anyone feeling cramped.

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Once you have determined how large your table can be, it should be relatively simple to choose the shape of your table. While square and rectangle tables are the most common, some people prefer an oval or circular dining table. Here’s a general rule of thumb that can help you decide which table to purchase.

  • Rectangular: Perfect for rectangular rooms; can accommodate large groups of people
  • Oval: Works well in rectangular rooms; good for a large space
  • Round: Good for circular or square rooms; often preferable in kitchens and for less formal meals where there is no head of the table. Round tables provide a level of intimacy 
  • Square: Good for square rooms; more intimate
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The Base

When considering which table to get, pay special attention to the base as this will impact how many people can comfortably fit at the table. The three main types of bases for tables are a trestle, legs, or a pedestal.

A pedestal table, like ourAffinity Round Dining Table with Leaf, is generally the most comfortable as it doesn’t get in the way of anyone’s knees.

Of course, your chairs will also have an impact on how comfortable your table is, so make sure that when you are choosing which table to buy, you test out the chairs beneath it and can cross your legs without bumping the underside of the table.

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Choosing the material is a big factor in the appearance and durability of a table. Here are some of the most commonly chosen materials for dining tables.

  • Wood 

Wood is a classic choice that brings warmth to any space. Hardwood is the most durable, so choose a table made of oak, mahogany, cherry, walnut, or maple if you think your table will be used often. 

  • Glass

If you have a dark room or one that is modestly sized, you can open up the space with the addition of a glass table. The glass creates the illusion of more room and allows light to shine through, rather than blocking off a significant portion of the room. If you foresee the table being used by your kids, we recommend tempered glass as it is scratch-resistant.

  • Stone

Marble is particularly popular at the moment for dining tabletops, however, it is very heavy and expensive. As an alternative, some people choose faux marble, but this is not as durable and can be damaged by hot plates. 

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Once you have gone through all the practical considerations, it’s time to start exploring the styles that would work in your room. Whether you want a more rustic table, like the Colibri 88″ Trestle Dining Table with Leaf or a formal table with an antique feel, we have many styles in our Charleston furniture stores.

If you foresee using the table for both big and small dinner parties, you might look into transformable tables with leaves that fold down on the sides or are removable. 

In terms of color, many people opt for a table that is neutral in tone as you want to be able to use it for years, even if other design elements like upholstery and wall paint change. Stay away from light-colored tables if you are planning to use the table every day as they can easily be stained.

Find Your Perfect Dining Table at

Our Furniture Stores in Charleston, SC 

A place to reconnect and relax, your dining table should bring you joy for years to come. Our interior designers advise that you stay away from trends and choose a table that is timeless, well built, and comfortable. It’s best to try the table out in person, so visit our Charleston furniture stores to see what we have in store. Once you have your dream table, you can experiment with whether you want chairs, benches, or a combination to create the perfect gathering place. 

Shop the Look

Surfrider Table

Melding the salty, yet cozy oasis of the California coastline with a modern surf culture, Surfrider is defined by the use of stunning natural materials.

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Ciao Bella Table

The 84″ Cai Bella Dining Table is a fine table inspired by Italy, transporting you to a romantic, rustic farmhouse as you dine.

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Colibri Trestle Table

Be transported to a charming European cafe with the Colibri Trestle Dining Table. Its light, airy finish is sure to bring the perfect ambiance.

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Cottage Dining Table

Comfortably familiar and aesthetically pleasing, the Cottage Dining Table showcases a simple silhouette, a dainty drawer accent, and crisp finish.

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