After struggling to easily find the right items to furnish her own apartment, Kuldea Co-Founder, Deirdre Mc Gettrick, was inspired to create an online platform to make home shopping as straightforward, efficient and fulfilling as possible. Here, Deirdre shares her expert advice to help you select a truly top table that will bring delightful dining straight into your home. 

When I started looking at the options for a dining set for my apartment, I quickly realised that I was purchasing more than just a table and chairs – this furniture is very often central to busy home life and serves as the backdrop for countless important social events.

Whether you’re anticipating elegant dinner parties, need a functional hub for family meals, or a comfortable spot to do some work on the laptop, I’ve learnt that the dining table undoubtedly needs to be a robust item in the modern home, and it’s worth investing in one that accommodates all your needs.

The shape

To start, the structure of your room will dictate what shape of table you should shop for. Furniture looks at its best when it fits comfortably into a space, so be sure to take this into account when picking the shape of your dining table:

  • Consider the position – will the table be central to your room, in a corner, will it need to be against a wall (either permanently or in-between uses), or does it need to fit into a particular nook or unusual space envelope?
  • Think about the other furniture in the room – can the doors or drawers of adjacent sideboards and cupboards open easily, and will the shape allow clear access and walkways on all the sides?
  • Pick what suits the size as well as shape of the room – opting for a round table with a pedestal base is ideal if you are furnishing a smaller space as they tend to make the perimeter of a room appear larger, and the lack of legs will make room for additional chairs. A rectangular or oval table is likely to be best in a rectangular space, whereas proportionally, a round option works well within a square shaped room. Circular tables have a softer look and are great for creating a warm, cosy atmosphere to a room, especially if positioned under an overhead light and surrounded by soft furnishings. If six or more diners will be using the table at any one time, the clean appearance and well-defined lines of rectangular table will make it easier for people at opposite ends of the table to engage with each other.
  • Think about ‘less obvious’ factors – for example, if you have toddlers or young children who are ‘table height’, the angular corners of rectangular or square tables could pose a risk for bumped heads

The size

Obviously, there will be limitations depending on the size of your room, but prioritizing the main use of the dining table is important when assessing which size to go for.

If you plan to frequently host large parties, you’ll probably select the largest table option for your room. On the other hand, if you prefer more intimate gatherings and dinners, a smaller table may be a better fit and allow you to utilise the extra space in other ways. However, bear in mind that seasonal celebrations and family events can often leave you wishing for more surface area and looking for creative ways to squeeze in extra place settings. I found that an extendable table that could be discreet for the most part, but provide valuable additional seating space on the odd occasion, to be a great problem-solver!

My biggest tip when deciding on the ideal size is to actually make measurements! Guessing rough dimensions can lead to over or under-estimations and could mean you end up with a table that could have been just a bit bigger, or one that looks oversized and awkward.  Measuring your space before choosing a dining table will not only help you to pick one that fits the room, also accommodate your diners comfortably.

The standard rule when determining the best table size for a space is to ensure there is at least 1 metre between your table and the wall or other furniture in order to allow diners to move around easily and ensure a suitably spacious feel. To dine comfortably it’s best to allow each guest about at least 60 centimetres of table surface for optimum elbow room. To provide comfortable lap and leg room, a good rule of thumb is to allow at least 30 centimetres between the seat of your chair and the tabletop.

The use

Some people hardly ever sit at their dining room table but simply use it as a statement piece to display a feature ornament or floral display. In other households, including mine, it is the main eating location, a place to work, an arts and crafts table or, in reality, an extra surface to temporarily ‘put’ those miscellaneous ‘things’ that accumulate throughout the day!

Carefully considering how your table will serve everyday use will help you select and reject choices relating to the best material, finish, size and shape for you.

Think how much time you can actually commit to your table too. Solid wood or veneer looks beautiful but needs ongoing care in order to maintain its appearance and longevity; it will also drink up any spillages and needs to be treated with specialist products rather than usual household cleaners.

Glass is a great choice as it can suit a multitude of interior styles, and can make small rooms look bigger due to its transparency. However, whilst relatively easy to clean, it will need it very regularly (probably at least daily!) as shows up all the smears and sticky finger marks that family life throws at it.

A laminate finish is a cost effective and stylish choice, and is available in a huge selection of colourways and effects. The downside is that, whilst durable and resistant to lasting damage, some may argue its manufactured appearance doesn’t quite measure up to tables made from natural materials.

The look

Of course, practical factors aside, the style you go for is down to your own individual taste, and having a good idea of what you want before you start looking can make finding the perfect table a much easier and quicker process.

However, think very carefully before you commit – sometimes the reality of what you think you like can differ from the overall impact of the table once it is in-situ.

You need a certain amount of vision here! Deciding on a style that harmonizes with your existing décor and furniture can give you more direction on what to look for. Think about your colour scheme and how this will be complemented by certain styles; wooden tables look at home in a traditionally-styled room with furniture that has brown, mahogany and dark toned finishes, whilst lighter toned tables are better in rooms that have a more modern, pared-down feel. Contrasting touches such as stainless steel legs or edges will also significantly change the look – it might also be worth thinking about your tableware and considering if it will match the look of the table, especially if you like to make an impact when entertaining.

Also check if the table comes as part of a range so you can complete the look and introduce other matching items. That said, I do think that sometimes it is useful to think outside of the box; because a dining room table is such a dominant item, selecting a contrast and blending different styles of furniture together can give a new dimension to the space, rather than looking predictable and bland.

The chairs

Some dining tables come as a set with chairs, but many don’t so you will need to choose them separately – and I found this can open up another set of choices and decisions!

  • Make sure chairs easily fit underneath your table and allow adequate manoeuvrability, lap and leg space to guarantee comfort.
  • Consider the practicality of the material – crushed velvet may look luxurious and have a wow-factor boutique feel, but will soon lose its opulence if covered with baby food stains!
  • Think about how the material and style will work with your table – it’s best not to mix different types of wood, and advisable to avoid teaming a rustic farmhouse dining table with a moulded art-deco polypropylene chair!
  • Consider buying additional chairs – this will provide future flexibility in the event of a larger dinner party, but do plan where they will be kept in the meantime, and check if they can easily be stacked to save space.

Finally, remember to check stock availability before you place an order, especially if you need your chairs to be in place with your table for a particular event. ”

With all that food for thought, and whatever your style, Kuldea has a huge range of dining furniture right here ready for your next dinner date!