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.

Dining table and dining chair basics

To keep things simple when you're buying a dining table or chairs, let's start with the basics.

Types of dining tables

Most dining tables fall into one of these six types.

Rectangular dining tables

Rectangular dining tables are the right shape to fit most dining rooms. Width is usually proportional to length - the longer the table, the wider it will be.

Round dining tables

There's nothing like a round dining table for sociable dining. They're also a good choice for a square dining room or an uneven number of diners.

Oval dining tables

Just that little bit different, the oval dining table is pleasingly cirved and takes up about the same amount of room as a rectangular dining table.

Boat-shaped dining tables

A boat-shaped dining table is a rectangular table with inward curving sides. A popular style in the 1950s and 1960s, the shape has a cool retro look.

Square dining tables

Often compact, square dining tables are perfect for cosy yet comfortable dining. If you want a large square dining table, your dining room needs to be as wide as it is long.

Extending dining tables

An extending table can be quickly increased in length so that you can seat more people just whenever you need to.

Flip top extending tables

A flip top mechanism turns a square dining table into a rectangular one. The top of a flip top table will be hinged along one side.

Drop leaf extending tables

A drop leaf dining table has two hinged leaves. Raise the leaves to create a full size dining table or drop them to tuck the table against a wall.

Extra leaf extending tables

Many extending tables have extra leaves that fix to the table ends or fill a gap in the table top that's revealed when the two ends are pulled apart.

Butterfly extending tables

This extension mechanism is operated by pulling the table ends away from each other to allow an extension leaf to rise up and pop into place.

Dining table finishes

Think about how you'll use your table and how hardwearing it needs to be.

Wood dining tables

The classic dining table look, wood dining tables showcase real wood's natural beauty and are available in a variety of styles and finishes.

Marble dining tables

If you choose a marble dining table, you'll know that you're getting a one of a kind piece. Marble does need to be treated with care, though.

Glass dining tables

Glass-topped dining tables bring home a contemporary look while creating a feeling of light and space. They do require frequent cleaning.

Ceramic dining tables

Very on trend, ceramic dining tables have a cool urban look and are an excellent choice for families as they're heat resistant and scratch resistant.

High-gloss dining tables

Stylish and glamorous - and much more affordable than marble - high-gloss dining tables work well in both classic and contemporary spaces.

Types of dining chairs

Most dining room seating falls into one of three types.

The dining chair

The original dining table seating, the dining chair has evolved over the years and now covers a huge range of styles, shapes, colours and finishes.

The bar stool

Perfect for a casual snack at a kitchen counter or around a bar table, bar stools usually have back support and a foot rest. Many are height adjustable.

The dining bench

A practical dining bench is a great way to accomodate more diners in less space. Most are backless so it's easy for the middle diner to get in and out.

Dining chair finishes

Dining chair finish will determine durability, and can affect the price.

Wooden dining chairs

Always in fashion, wood dining chairs have a natural warmth and come in many wood tones. Styles include retro, shaker, traditional and country.

Metal dining chairs

Metal dining chairs are often contemporary in style. They're perfectly in tune with the ever-popular industrial style trend.

Upholstered dining chairs

For comfort and style, you can't match upholstered dining chairs. Whether covered in fabric or leather, upholstered chairs are usually well cushioned.

Fabric dining chairs

Available a huge choice of textures, patterns and colours, fabric dining chairs are a very popular choice for all kinds of dining spaces.

Leather dining chairs

Leather is less affordable than fabric but is undeniably stylish. As it improves with age and use, it's a good choice for family dining rooms.

Faux leather dining chairs

The perfect compromise, faux leather dining chairs have the look and feel of real leather but tend to be more affordable, and come in a wide range of colours.

PVC dining chairs

The original family-friendly upholstery choice, PVC moves in and out fashion. Some peaple love it because it's unpretentious and easy to clean.