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Finding the Perfect Dining Table

Sep 16, 2008
Dinner is one of the only times that a family gets to spend together these days. With parents off at work and children always away with friends, it sometimes seems like there's never a moment for quality family time. That's why when the entire crew comes together, it's important that they gather around a dining table that suits everyone's needs. There are a number of characteristics that make your dining table yours, including aesthetics, structure, and material composition. All of these come together to make the perfect place for your family to lay their plates. You'll likely keep this piece of furniture longer than every other, so take the time to pick a table that will last.

Like most other furniture purchases, the easiest way to narrow down your list of options is by size. How many people do you have in your family, and how often do you all eat together. Luckily, there's a handy solution if that number varies from day to day. Perhaps your children have moved out of the house, and only come in once a week for Sunday dinner. In this case, during the workweek, you can have a small table that won't take up much room in the kitchen, leaving valuable space for cooking. For that one special night, however, you can turn that small table into an option capable of providing your entire family with a place to eat. It's not magic. Instead, you'll be making use of your table's leaves. Simply pull the table apart, and a space will appear. Insert the leaves, and suddenly you have a larger table capable of seating more hungry people.

Now that you've got size figured out, it's time to decide what form you like most. Though rectangular dining tables are by far the most popular, you may prefer a circular design. Owners of this kind of table swear by the ease of maintaining a conversation between large groups. If you're buying a large table, however, the purpose will probably be defeated. You can, however, save the day by purchasing a round table that can handle the addition of eaves to create a "racetrack" shape.

Once you've got size and form down, it's time to move on to style. Fit the dining table to the room it will be placed in. Are the other furnishings contemporary or traditional? An antique wood dining table will look silly in a kitchen devoted to more modern taste. Almost all traditional tables are made of wood, while contemporary tables can utilize glass or even metal. Put some time into thinking about what the table will be used for. If you envision your young children scraping the surface with a butter knife, glass might be the best way to go. You can always refinish a wooden table, but this process is quite expensive.

Choose the table that best represents your family. If you keep that fact in mind, you're sure to walk out of the store with a dining table that will last generations.
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