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How to Choose a Dining Table Set

Updated on July 10, 2009

How to Choose a Dining Table Set

If you love to entertain family and friends over the holidays or year round, your dining room can be one of the most important rooms in your home. Choosing the right dining table set should be simple and fun, once you determine your needs and desired style.

The first step is to assess the space. How many guests do you typically need to seat? Will you be using the space daily, once a week or just for holidays? If you will be using the space daily, it would be wise to purchase a more durable, easy to clean dining table set. If you are planning on seating more than 4-6 people, look for a table with expandable leafs that can be inserted for parties and special occasions.

Choosing a Style for Your Dining Table Set:

What feeling are you trying to create in your dining room? What style do you prefer?

  • Contemporary: Elegant and sophisticated with clean lines and angles, metal, painted wood or glass dining table sets are often used.
  • Country: Comfortable, inviting and simple, country style rooms often feature oak dining table sets and light finishes.
  • Traditional: Feature a dark wood table and chairs, rounded edges and floral accents. Traditional sets can be formal or casual, depending on accents and accessories.

Large casual contemporary oak dining table set by Crate and Barrel.
Large casual contemporary oak dining table set by Crate and Barrel.
Pub dining table set by Sunburst. This table is counter height.
Pub dining table set by Sunburst. This table is counter height.
Round glass dining table set.
Round glass dining table set.

Options in Dining Room Table Sets:

It's all about choices! Here are some examples of some of the choices you will likely come across when you are out shopping. The photos to the right can help you determine what might suit your needs when decorating your dining room.

  • Pub dining table set – a unique style set that is great for casual entertaining and daily use.
  • Square or round dining table set: both of these shapes provide extra space in the center of the table, making dining a little more spacious when you have many people seated. Round dining table sets also work great in smaller rooms and can have collapsible leafs. Square tables are becoming available in more styles as they gain popularity
  • Small dining table set – perfect for small dining rooms, or if you also use your dining room for crafting or as a home office.
  • Oak dining table set – Beautiful and classic, oak can be both formal and casual.
  • Glass dining table set – a more modern and elegant style. Easy to maintain and keep clean, but can be delicate.

Tips for Making the Final Decision:

When you have found a set (or two) that you love, here are some tips to help you decide which set is right for your room.

  1. Will the style blend with the furnishings in the rest of your home?
  2. How will you arrange the pieces? Try to picture it in your home.
  3. Do you need to purchase additional pieces such as corner cabinets, a china cabinet or buffet table? If the dining table set does not have matching pieces, will it be difficult to find pieces to go with it?
  4. Is it the right size for the room? Be sure to measure! Furniture looks smaller in a wide open store. Also consider if guest will be able to move easily around the room if the set is larger. Will you be able to fit adequate additional seating for larger parties?
  5. Sit down at the table. Is the chair comfortable? Will you need to add chair cushions? If they are upholstered, is the fabric easy to clean?
  6. How will the materials of the table top hold up over years of use? Soft woods will need to be covered with a table pad. Marble dining tables also need special care when cleaning.
  7. Does the table feel sturdy when you lean against it? If it is a glass top dining set be sure to check that the table is level and doesn’t shake at all when you put weight on it.

When you have evaluated all of these things, you should be ready to make a final decision on your dining table set. The most important thing is that you love the look of the set and will enjoy it every time you walk through your dining room or sit down for a meal with family and friends!

Do you need to furnish your dining room, but have a really tight budget? Go with a more casual look, or use assorted chairs for an eclectic feel. Pull it all together with matching or coordinating chair covers!

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