Whether classic or contemporary, open-plan or in a dining room, there’s no greater joy than sharing great food with family and friends – and that’s where your choice of table and chairs add extra flair…not to mention comfort!
For many years, a table with matching chairs was de rigueur but now anything goes and a ‘harlequin’ set of mix and match chairs can be a style statement in its own right, rather than simply suggesting that you’ve begged and borrowed your seating from other people for a large gathering! But avoid mixing different types of wood and keep to an overall style.
Be size wise
Size matters when it comes to dining tables. Allow around 60cm of tabletop for each person if it’s a rectangular table, or about 75cm at a circular one. But be sure there will be enough space surrounding your new dining table to walk comfortably around it, and allow plenty of space to pull out the dining chairs too – at least 60cm, and ideally 90cm, on top of the dining table dimensions. And, of course, if you’re buying an extended table, remember to allow for the extension and extra chairs as well.
A good tip is to use masking tape to mark out the dimensions of the piece of furniture you’re thinking of buying on the floor to see how much space it will take up – not just from a practical point of view, but also to make sure the proportions are right for the room.
Shape is a consideration too – if you’re thinking of a new round or oval table, there’s often less space for pushing chairs in underneath when they’re not in use, so check that out before you buy.
Size matters when it comes to chairs too – avoid any that are less than 50cm wide or you and your guests won’t be able to sit comfortably for any length of time. Upholstered chairs are nicer to sit on and are a good way of introducing pattern to an otherwise neutral room, while chairs with arms can double up as extra seating in the living room if needed.
Take a seat
You could also buy hard chairs and commission seating pads to really customise the look. Tie-on cushions have a very country-home feel, while chunky foam covered in a modern fabric has contemporary style.
The internet has some great bargains, often at a pretty high quality, but it’s always worth, if you can, travelling to a showroom to test the dining chairs out. The only way you’ll establish exactly how comfortable and sturdy they are is to sit on them yourself – this will also give you the chance to have a good look at any upholstery and see just how hardwearing it is.