Choosing the Perfect Table


Remember your first dining room table? Maybe it was a hand-me-down table with four wobbly legs and faux wood laminate that peeled away as the meaning of life was discussed over bowls of mac and cheese. Thankfully times change and even our dining experiences get an upgrade!

As much fun as shopping can be, deciding on your next dining pieces can quickly become overwhelming. A dining table is often a pillar of family life – more than just meals are shared around a table. Sure, meals are shared…but stories are told, memories are made, and life’s problems are solved (for a day at least). It’s a piece you hope gets passed along for years to come.

Family All Together At Christmas Dinner

So where to start? We think there are five main things to consider when buying your dream dining table:

  • Room Size. Pull out your handy measuring tape. (When you can’t find it, use that plastic ruler from grade school.) Measure the size of your space. Allow for at least 2-3 feet around the perimeter of your dream table for chairs and people. Now think – what else does your dream dining room have in it? A buffet or sideboard for serving? A hutch for storage and display? What about a wine cabinet or curio? Allow room for anything else that might end up in your dining room, and have a rough size of your table in mind when you start shopping. (Measuring your space is also helpful when considering what size rug to purchase!

  • Seating. How many people are you feeding on a regular basis? What about special occasions? Do you want leaves for extra length, or do you want a solid top? If you want those extra leaves for special guests, would you prefer the leaves self-stored in the table or butterfly leaves that disappear (yes, there is such magic!)?


Consider the type of seating you’ll want – chairs and/or benches? Don’t rule out benches – these can have extension leaves too!

  • Another important tip: For the love of all that is furniture, take a measuring device with you! When buying chairs and tables from different stores, always check the width and height of the chairs. Make sure the arms fit under your table apron, and all your chairs will fit around your table. Please. We are pleading. Measure everything!

mean nun

  • Style. This includes table top and base shapes, stain, and material. Our favorite is a solid milled hardwood table (can you guess why?), which will last long enough to become an heirloom piece. But you have to decide – what fits your personality, your home décor? Are you trying to match other pieces in your home, or do you have an eclectic mix of furniture? As you shop, here are some terms to be aware of (so you sound like you really know your stuff): trestle – table that has a stretcher bar extending from each base to add support; pedestal – table top that sits on one center pedestal (some tables have double pedestals); leg tables – tables with four legs, one on each corner. Here’s a great article that goes into further detail about style!

  • Lifestyle.

Happy funny messy eater

  • Get something that suites your life stage now and later! Are you feeding a bunch of messy kiddos who eat with their hands and use forks to beat the table? Will there be finger paint on your pristine new table top??Or are you feeding distinguished adults that sip wine and eat caviar with pinkies lifted high? Make sure your table, its finish and build fit your lifestyle needs today and tomorrow.

  • Function. How will you mostly serve meals? Does your family line politely up at a buffet to fix their plates then sit, or do they noisily pass pots and dishes at the table, snatching the last of the mashed potatoes right before you get the dish?

For more suggestions and decorating tips, BH&G has a great gallery of photos here, or you can shop our incredible selections here. Happy shopping and happy dining from all of us at The Amish Craftsman!