How to choose dining furniture

Choose the right dining sets, tables and chairs for your needs. Select solid wood, extendable tables and even glass tables.

INGATORP Extendable table from Ikea
(Image credit: Ikea)

Thinking about a new dining set for your open plan kitchen or a new dining table kitchen diner? Or are you considering entertaining in your garden and want to create the perfect outdoor dining area? From choosing the right shape to selecting the most practical materials, we cover all the important points to consider when choosing your dining furniture. 

How to choose wooden dining furniture

Soft Grey & Pine Dining Table from Cox & Cox

(Image credit: Cox & Cox)

Wood has all the qualities of a beautiful natural material, and every piece is individual. Remember, though, that solid wood tables can be heavy, and can naturally warp in a centrally heated home, as well as fade in sunlight. Wood can be finished with lacquer, however.

Wood veneers are glued onto an inner board. This generally makes them more stable than solid wood, and lighter, which is useful if you like to move the position of your furniture frequently. Veneers can also create fabulous effects.

High-gloss furniture has a modern feel and is hardwearing, but can be scratched more easily than wood and veneers. Glass furniture is good for small, dark rooms as it will let the light flow through the space, making it feel bigger, but it can also be scratched more readily than wood.

If you are choosing dining furniture for an outdoor area, nothing beats the durability and robustness of a teak dining table.

Vincent Sheppard Leo Dining Table Aluminium and Teak

(Image credit: Lagoon)

Choosing dining seating

Honeycomb dining table in medium from Atkin and Thyme

Honeycomb dining table in medium with matching benches, Atkin and Thyme

(Image credit: Atkin and Thyme)

Wooden chairs are the practical choice for dining rooms, but opt for upholstered designs for extra comfort – leather, or a quality lookalike, is the best choice in busy family homes. Alternatively, consider dining chairs that have a metal frame.

Match existing wood tones if you’re adding a new dining or occasional table to a scheme. Wooden chairs should match the wood of tables, if you choose them, but chairs in materials such as polypropylene with metal legs can create a great-looking combination with a wood table. Dark woods have a more traditional effect but can also give an oriental or masculine feel. Choose paler oak or pine for a country feel, or in a dark room.

Alternatively, and for a more streamlined look, consider dining benches. They can come in either wood or an upholstered finish, such as velvet, which will look especially stylish in an open-plan kitchen or an outdoor living space. In a garden or decking area, opt for lightweight, stackable chair designs that will be easy to move indoors when needed. 

Bridgman Garden - 90cm Paris Ice/White Square Dining Table with 2 Stacking Armchairs

(Image credit: Bridgman)

How to choose the right dining furniture style

Ozzio 4x4 extending dining table from Go Modern Furniture

Ozzio 4x4 extending dining table from Go Modern Furniture

(Image credit: Go Modern Furniture)

Tables with clean lines will create a contemporary look and will work well as part of an ultra-modern kitchen design; for on-trend Mid-century style, pick a design with softly rounded edges and tapering legs. If you’re after a rustic effect, chunkier legs and tabletops will help you achieve this.

Large Dorset Reclaimed Wood Trestle Table Dining Set from Modern Living

(Image credit: Modern Living)

Choosing the best dining table shape

AW18 Homestead Dining by Dunelm

(Image credit: Dunelm)

Think about the shape of your dining table carefully, considering the shape and size of the room it will occupy. Round tables are great for entertaining, and are easier to move around in smaller rooms. An oval shape is also a good way of saving space without sacrificing much table area. Extendable tables are worth considering, but always check how easy the mechanism is to operate first.

Manutti Torsa Garden Dining Table from Go Modern Furniture

Manutti Torsa Garden Dining Table from Go Modern Furniture

(Image credit: Go Modern Furniture)

How much will dining furniture cost?

INGATORP Extendable table from Ikea

(Image credit: Ikea)

As with other types of furniture, there is a wide range of prices available for every budget, but as a rule, expect to pay £50 for a plain pine or metal table, £500 for an oak table, and £1000 for a large solid wood or extendable table.

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Sarah Warwick
Freelance Editor

Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor writing for websites, national newspapers, and magazines. She’s spent most of her journalistic career specialising in homes – long enough to see fridges become smart, decorating fashions embrace both minimalism and maximalism, and interiors that blur the indoor/outdoor link become a must-have. She loves testing the latest home appliances, revealing the trends in furnishings and fittings for every room, and investigating the benefits, costs and practicalities of home improvement. It's no big surprise that she likes to put what she writes about into practice, and is a serial house revamper. For, Sarah reviews coffee machines and vacuum cleaners, taking them through their paces at home to give us an honest, real life review and comparison of every model.