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.

Your dining table and dining chair buying questions answered

Q. What dining table should I get? I have three young children.

A. If you have young children, you'll want to be able to enjoy dining together without worrying about protecting a precious surface. Consider finishes that are easy to maintain - like ceremic, which is scratch resistant - or a table that's already weathered or lightly distressed like one of our industrial tables. If the size of your family is likely to increase, think about investing in an extending dining table so that you'll have all the space you need whenever you need it.

Q. I'm interested in buying a dining table that extends. Will the extension leaf match the table?

A. Good question. This tends to depend on the manufacturer. Some manufacturers take care to "pattern match" extension leaves. Often, though, and particularly with natural materials like wood and marble it's not always possible to match a grain or pattern.

Q. I'm redesigning my dining room - on a budget. What's an affordable way to create a luxury look?

A. When marble's out of the question take a look at high-gloss dining tables - a sleek finish always has a high-end feel. And as well as the finish, table shape and the style of the base can help convey opulence. Pedestal base dining tables, for example, always make a strong design statement.

Q. Can I order single dining chairs or do they come in pairs?

A. This depends on the manufacturer. These days, many dining chairs are available both singly and in pairs, although the cost per chair might be lower if you buy a pair.

Q. Do dining chairs require self-assembly?

A. Yes, sometimes. To keep chairs safely packaged during transit, you may need to attach the legs to the base of the seat on arrival. This is very quick and easy to do.

Q. How many dining chairs can I fit around my dining table?

A. Most dining tables are a standard size, made to seat four, six, eight or more people. If you're not sure, you can calculate by measuring both the distance between the table legs along the long side of your table, and the width of a dining chair that you're considering. Be sure to allow about 15 cm between chairs so people can sit and eat comfortably.

Q. What dining chairs are best for older people?

A. If your guests have a trouble getting in and out of chairs, make sure your dining chairs are not particularly low or narrow. Wooden chairs tend to feel sturdy - which can be reassuring for older people - and may offer better back support. Ensure that any seats cushions are tightly secured.

Q. What's the perfect dining chair height for my dining table?

A. This depends on your dining table but the general rule of thumb is to allow at least 25 cm from the chair seat to the underside of your dining table to accommodate legs. Any less, and it's going to feel like a bit of a squeeze.

Q. I'm overwhelmed by dining chair choices. Where do I begin?

A. If you're not sure how to choose chairs for dining table, start at the beginning of this dining chair buying guide where we cover the basics including your dining style and how much space you have in your dining room.