Dining table buying guide

Gathering around the table with friends and family is as much about the occasion as it is about the food. Having a beautiful dining table can make all the difference. Here’s how to choose one that’s stylish, functional and just right for you.

Dining tables

Round or rectangle

Wide choice of sizes

Formal or contemporary styles

Wood, glass or stone

When you're choosing a dining table, your main decision is round or rectangular. The answer generally depends on space. Round tables tend to be smaller - otherwise they're hard to reach across - so they work well in kitchens. Rectangular tables tend to take up more room.

So, if your dining table is going to go in your kitchen, choose one that's small enough to allow room to easily move around it. Remember, kitchens are well-trafficked rooms. If the table is for your dining room, opt for one that's as large as space allows. You'll be glad of it the next time you host a big family gathering.

View all dining tables

Extending dining tables

A larger table in seconds

All styles, all finishes

Easy to open

For kitchens and dining rooms

An extending dining table is ideal if you're a little short on space and only occasionally need to seat a lot of people. Different tables have different extension mechanisms, usually converting a 4 or 6 seater to one that accomodates 8 or 10.

Removable leaf extending tables have one or more extra leaves that can be used to increase the length of the table when needed. Some tables incorporate storage for extra leaves.

Drop leaf extending tables have extra leaves that are hinged to the table ends, so they can be raised to extend the table or dropped to return it to it's original size.

Butterfly leaf extending tables have leaves that are stored within the table and open up, wing-like, from a central hinge.

View all extending tables

Bar tables

Great for kitchens

Best for casual meals

Taller than standard tables

Wood or glass topped

These are small round or slim rectangular tables, ideal for grabbing a bit to eat in your kitchen as they don't take up too much room. Taller than standard dining tables, they're designed to be used with bar stools.

View all bar tables

Materials

Here's a quick guide to all the different materials used for dining room furniture.

Wood

Available in solid oak, mango and acacia, wooden chairs, tables and dining sets tend to have a more rustic look and will age well over time. Every piece of wooden furniture is unique, with different characteristics in colour, grain and durability.


There are some more modern takes on wood too with more varied designs, such as industrial-styled slab tabletops with metal legs or contemporary chairs with curved wood backs. Wood can mark and stain, so consider this if you've got pets or young children or if you're more of a minimalist.


Our furniture experts will be happy to tell you all about the benefits of different woods and finishes, how each piece is made, and the pros and cons of solid wood and veneer.


Our buyer says: Dark wood tends to look heavier so it's a better choice for larger dining spaces. If your room is more compact, light-coloured woods like American oak can help increase the feeling of space.


Wood veneer

Wood veneers are a practical choice for modern family dining as they are so easy to clean and care for. Veneers are a thin layer of wood applied to another material to give it the appearance of wood, cut to enhance the richness of the grain. Versatile and easier to shape, wood with wood veneers lends itself beautifully to exciting contemporary design.


Our buyer says: it's important to remember that wood veneers are real wood, so your dining table will still feature the naturally beautiful grain of the wood that's used. But because of the way wood veneer tables area constructed, surfaces can be more durable and can guarantee exact colour and grain matches for a neater finish. A wood veneer dining table can be more affordable - but every bit as beautiful - as a solid wood dining table.

Metal

Metal can be sleek and modern, industrial style or vintage feel depending on how it's used. Chrome finishes add a glamorous modern look to your space, while cured metal is distinctive and brings to mind more of a retro feel. It also comes with the added benefit of being easy to clean and care for.

Our buyer says: If you like the industrial chic look, then metal dining room furniture can be the perfect choice. But be careful not to overdo it. Too much metal, especially in a small room, can make your space feel cool and uninviting. A chrome-finished dining table can feel lighter and brighter.

Glass

Glass is becoming increasingly popular for dining sets as it gives a contemporary look while creating a feeling of light and space in a smaller room. Our glass dining tables are always made of tempered glass and reinforced to be extra safe. As a material glass is very easy to care for and is spill proof. All our glass meets with British Safety Standards BS6202.


Our buyer says: A glass or glass-topped dining table isn't the easiest to keep clean - especially if you have young children - but it's a great way of increasing the feeling of light and space in a room, and can look absolutely stunning in the right setting.

Stone

Our stone furniture range includes large and small dining tables, occasional tables, stone-topped sidebaords and console tables. Stone finishes include travertine, carrara marble and granite.

Our buyer says: In the right space, a stone-topped table can look amazing. But be sure that you choose the best material for you and your lifestyle. Marble needs very careful maintenance; spills should be cleaned up immediately so it's perhaps not the ideal choice for young families. Granite, on the other hand, is much more durable. It also tends to be less expensive.

Faux Leather

Faux leather-upholstered dining chairs can give your dining room a luxurious and opulent air, with all the good looks of leather but more easier to clean.


Our buyer says: Faux leather used to be regarded as an inferior choice to real leather. Not so anymore. Obviously it's generally more affordable than real leather but many people prefer it for their dining chairs as it's easy to keep clean, is stain resistant and tends not to fade. And, of course, some people feel they are making a more ethical choice.

Acrylic

Modern moulded acrylic or plastic chairs can be very comfortable to sit on. They're light in weight, scratch and scuff-resistant and are generally available in a bolder, brighter range of colours.

Our buyer says: Acrylic is a bold style choice as it feels very modern. Its transparency means that it works well with almost any other material - glass, wood and metal - and is the perfect foil for bold and bright upholstery fabrics. It also takes up less visual space, so it's a good choice for smaller dining rooms.

Gloss finishes

High-gloss finishes are an ultra-modern choice for dining tables and sideboards. They look sleek, and are usually spill proof and easy to clean.


Our buyer says: Gloss finishes come in almost all shapes and sizes - from a polished wood end table to a while lacquered extending dining table that seats 10. These statement pieces are generally easy to keep clean but you have to be prepared to dust or wipe daily, as high-gloss furniture does tend to show every smudge and fingerprint.

How to choose dining furniture to suit your needs.

Start off by thinking about how you use your dining space. Do you mostly hae relaxed suppers, or are you a fan of hosting formal dinner parties? This all affects the type of material, style and finish you go for.

If you're choosing the only eating table in your home, we suggest something versatile that won't feel out of place for family breakfasts, formal dinners and everything in between. If you're looking for a more formal set of table and chairs just for your dining room, you can afford to make more of a statement.

Style should be the second consideration. Think about the look you wish to create - modern, minimal, eclectic or rustic, for example - and use that to inform your decision.

Then carefully consider who's going to be sharing your table. If you have young children, for example, a glass-topped table might not be ideal.

Before you order, measure carefully to make sure your furniture will fit your room and can fit easily into your home. Our larger tables come apart for delivery, so ask us for help if you're concerned. Once your furniture is in production, we can't accept your cancellation without a charge.