Dining table and dining chair buying guide

Shopping for a new dining table or dining chairs? Take a look at our handy guide for everything you need to know about buying a dining table and dining chairs, from style and design to shape and size.

What to think about when choosing a dining table and dining chairs

There are literally hundreds of dining table and dining chair styles, sizes and finishes to choose from. Let's start with three key questions.

What's your dining style?

Knowing your own dining style can help you decide.

Formal dining style

You're a traditionalist when it comes to entertaining. Even a Tuesday night dinner means linen napkins and the good silverware. You love celebrations and parties, dream of centrepieces and practice calligraphy so you can make your own place cards.

Best dining tables: Make sure that your dining table is large enough to seat everyone in style and comfort. An extending dining table might be a good choice for you.

Best dining chairs: Invest in dining chairs that are traditional in style and beautifully upholstered in either leather or fabric.

Dinner party dining style

You're the hostess or host with the most. For you, Saturday evenings were invented for inviting friends around for diner. You love to try new recipes and nothing makes you happier than wine glasses sparkling with candlelight.

Best dining tables: You put a lot of effort into dining so make sure you choose a dining table that impresses. Opt for a table with a showstopping finish like a marble dining table.

Best dining chairs: Make sure you always have an extra dining chair of five, preferably ones that don't take up too much room. Choose wooden chairs or a versatile dining bench.

Family dining style

For you, dinner time is family time. It's the part of the day when you talk to the kids about school, discuss the family calendar with your significant other, and decide what you're all going to do at the weekend.

Best dining tables: Make sure everyone feels included in the conversation by choosing a round table. For low maintenance meals, opt for an easy-care finish like a traditional wooden dining table.

Best dining chairs: Consider dining chairs that are comfortable - meals times tend to be lengthy affairs at yours - and with family-friendly finishes like faux leather.

Casual dining style

For you, dinner isn't the only reason to have a dining table - there's always something else going on. There's a meal at one end of the table, while at the other there's your laptop, the kids' homework, a craft project and a stack of holiday brochures.

Best dining tables: Make sure your dining table is as hardworking as you are. Ceramic dining tables are heat resistant and scratch proof

Best dining chairs: If you spend a lot of time around your dining table, choose chairs that are both sturdy and comfortable. Messy family? Acrylic dinig chairs might be the best option.

What's your dining space like?

Different kinds of dining spaces demand different types of dining tables and dining chairs.


The kitchen is busiest room in the house. A dining table here will get plenty of wear and tear - and its fair share of spills and scratches. For everyday use, an oak dining set is a practical choice. If your dining chairs will live around a kitchen table, consider easy-clean surfaces like wood dining chairs.

Dining rooms

A separate dining room will give your dining table a bit of protection from everyday life - and this may be all the encouragement you need to head for the glass-topped dining table you've always wanted. Likewise, if your dining chairs will live in a formal dining room, go for a luxury look like dining chairs with velvet or leather upholstery.

Kitchen diners

A dining table for a contemporary open-plan kitchen diner needs to balance style with practicality. High-gloss dining tables add a bit of modern glamour but still work well for busy families. If your dining table is a bar table, then you need bar stools. Ones with backs are perfect if you like to sit down to enjoy a meal.

How much room do you have?

Be realistic about the space you have, no matter how much you love that gorgeus huge industrial-style dining set.

Dining tables and chairs for small dining spaces

If your dining area is on the smaller side, a compact dining table, a bar table and bar stools or a smaller extending table might be the best choice. For seating, consider folding chairs or a space-saving dining bench.

Dining tables and chairs for large dining spaces

If your dining room is more spacious, look at square dining tables or very large extending dining tables that seat 12 or more. When choosing dining chairs, think carefully about proportions. Small or low dining chairs might get lost in a large dining room. Consider taller chairs, dining armchairs and large dining benches with backrests.

What's your dining room budget?

Last but not least - how much an you afford to spend? Remember, a bigger dining table generally means you'll need more dining chairs. And be sure to account for any storage furniture that you might need.

Great value dining style

You don't have to be a big spender to have a cool and stylish dining room. You'll often find fantastic bargains on clearance, or start with the bare minimum and add extra dining chairs over time.

Luxury dining style

If you have a generous budget, you can think big. Browse our selection of big name brands and create the dining room you've always wanted.