Shopping for Dining Tables

11/23/2011 15:00

Shopping for dining tables is a complicated task that can take a lot of work and time. Dining tables can be as simple or as extravagant as you want, but above all else they must be functional. Even families who do not sit down at the dinner table regularly need a dining table for special occasions, so the need to have a functional table the dining room has not changed much over the years, despite Americans' waning desire to have a sit-down dinner every single night. Dining tables are at the heart of every major family event and holiday, so you want to be sure to have one that will last forever. Some very old dining tables have even been passed down through families for generations, so just keep that in mind as you are shopping. Here are some tips on what to look for in a high quality dining table.

Good Craftsmanship

One of the most important traits of a good dining table is good craftsmanship. A table that is not made well will not stand the test of time, so it is very important to find one that is sturdy. There are a number of things to look for when trying to find a table that offers good craftsmanship. First, if the table is made of wood, make sure that it is solid wood. Solid wood tables are heavier than MDF, or medium density fiberboard tables, and they will last a lot longer. Dining tables that are made of MDF will chip easily and lose their finish. Another note about wood dining tables is to consider the type of wood the table is made from. Even a solid wood table will chip and lose its finish if the wood is very soft. Oak or one of the other extremely hard woods is a much better choice than softer woods. If the table is metal, then shoppers should also be sure to look for a very heavy metal because heavier metal is generally of higher quality.


Another important feature to think about when purchasing a dining table is size. Expandability is also an option in some tables, which may come with a leaf. A leaf is the perfect solution for those who have a smaller immediate family but enjoy entertaining large crowds. By purchasing a table that has a leaf, you can have a table that seats two to four people most of the time, but then expands to seat as many as six, eight, or even ten people for special occasions. Some tables even have two leaves, which makes the expandability options even better.

No matter what size of table you need for your immediate family and for entertaining, just remember to measure your space. Even a smaller table with a leaf is not much help in entertaining if you do not have the room to expand the table into. Try to get creative with your space options when adding the leaf because you probably will not do it more than a couple of times per year.


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Of course everyone likes to let a little bit of their personality shine when purchasing new furniture, and a new dining table is no different. However, remember that dining tables are not replaced as often as other types of furniture so purchasing a classic piece that will stay in style for years to come will keep your home looking current and modern, even as styles of furniture change. Also remember that the style you choose should be one you enjoy. A table you don't like will only end up being covered with a table cloth all of the time, so take your time and choose wisely.