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What to Look for When Buying a Dining Table for Your Home

Wirecutter deemed the Barrington table to be the finest huge expandable table for under $700. It may be transformed from a cozy four-seater to a spacious 14-seater with the help of three leaves.

The greatest dining table for you will be one that matches your budget.

Is well-made, suits your space, and has a style you’ll enjoy for many years. When selecting a decent one, there are a few key elements to consider.

First and foremost, avoid following fashion trends, according to Christophe Pourny, a professional furniture restorer and author of “The Furniture Bible,” who believes that a decent table should last at least five to ten years.

“If you acquire something too bizarre, with too many strange details, you might wake up one day wondering what you were thinking,” he warned. “Keep it simple and strong,” says the designer.

Stability and craftsmanship are vital to look for while checking tables in furniture stores, along with price and a timeless appearance. Consider how it feels to sit at one of those tables, whether it will be comfortable for long amounts of time, and look for evidence of wear on floor models.

Look for nicks and scrapes on the tables that could suggest how well they would hold up to heavy use at home. If you’re looking for specific dining room sets recommendations, Wirecutter, a product review site run by the New York Times, has a nice sub-$1000 dining table guide here.

Here are some more boxes to check before opening your wallet, in addition to the fundamentals.

Make use of your measuring tape

Target’s drop-leaf table appears similar to Crate & Barrel’s Origami Drop-Leaf table, but it’s a fourth of the price. It isn’t quite as long, but it has a similar layout.

Target’s drop-leaf table appears similar to Crate & Barrel’s Origami Drop-Leaf table, but it’s a fourth of the price. It isn’t quite as long, but it has a similar layout.

The first requirement is that your dining table must match your eating environment! A dining table, on the other hand, is a deceptively huge piece of furniture, and you must allow for space around it as well.

“In addition to the table’s footprint, you’ll need three feet of breathing room on both sides — and more is better — to comfortably sit in a chair and move around the space,” said Lucy Harris, a New York-based interior designer. Start by measuring the length and width of the area you can allocate to the dining table, whether it’s part of a multiuse space or a distinct dining room. To acquire a target dining table length and width, subtract around six feet from those two measures.

After that, consider how you’ll use the table. “Assume that each seat at the table requires 22 to 24 inches of table space, and that larger-scale chairs will demand much more,” said Max Dyer, a furniture industry veteran and current vice president of casegoods at La-Z-Boy Industries.

As a long-time apartment resident, I’ve discovered that a piece of furniture’s “visual weight” has a significant impact on how big it feels in a space. It may technically fit, but if it’s a dark or thick piece or if it’s too close to other furniture, it’ll appear enormous.

Take the time to block out the length and width of a larger piece of furniture on the floor (I prefer to use painter’s tape), as well as the height of the table.

I normally use a tape measure to measure my tape corners, then try to fill in the space with furniture of a comparable size (like a couple of chairs) and take a step back to see how it feels. It’s also helpful if you have a friend stand by with the tape measure while you look about.

If you’re short on room, think about adding leaves to the table so it can be extended. “These allow you to adapt the table for various entertainment demands and party sizes,” said Meredith Mahoney, Birch Lane’s creator and design director.

Mr. Pourny cautioned against having too many mechanisms or leaves attached to or buried within the table (versus stand-alone leaves). “If you buy things that are overly sophisticated, you’re just increasing the chances of anything failing,” he explained.