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Finding Your Perfect Dining Table

Buying a new dining table

Here at Barker and Stonehouse, we believe that shopping for a new dining table should be an exciting and enjoyable experience, so if your first question is “how do I choose a dining table?” then you’ve come to the right place. From different materials and shapes to the financing options available to you, our dining table buying guide covers everything you need to know before making a decision. So have a read and get started on your search for a dining table the right way: safe in the knowledge that you’ll be totally happy with your purchase for years to come.

The importance of the dining room in the home

How to choose a dining table

A dining table is a real investment, and we understand that making the right decision can sometimes seem a little overwhelming. From personal preferences to practicality, there are many things to think about before you begin your search, which is why we’ve taken the time to cover all of the key areas in this dining table guide.

With more than 75 years’ experience in the furniture industry, we certainly know our stuff when it comes to dining tables. We’ve seen styles come and go, we’ve learnt a thing or two from our suppliers, and most importantly we know what our customers love. So, whatever queries you may have, we’re sure that our guide will give you all of the answers you need.

What dining table size is right for me?

It may seem pretty straight forward to measure up your space and select a dining table that’s suitably smaller than these dimensions, but there’s actually a lot more to consider. On the practical side, you should ensure there’s at least a 90cm clearance around the table, and a minimum of 50-60cm width available for each place setting. If you’ve already got your eye on a dining chair that’s quite chunky, such as one with arms, then this will factor into your decision as well, so don’t forget to compare measurements.

A popular option, 6 seater dining tables are usually big enough for most families, perhaps with space for an extra guest or two. If this is a little too large for you at the moment, then a 4 seater dining table that extends to fit 6 people may be ideal. But if your dining table rarely sees more than 2 guests, then you shouldn’t upsize just for the sake of it.

If you’re working with a large area, it may be tempting to opt for the biggest dining table possible, but that’s not necessarily a good idea. Although you want to make the most of your space, you don’t want to overcrowd it, so it’s important to think about what else is in the room and how much floorspace you require. If you’re looking to furnish a smaller space, like a kitchen-diner, be sure to look out for a narrow dining table with slim legs so that you’re not adding unnecessary inches on. Alternatively, a table with a pedestal base will be much more efficient than the traditional four legs, while a dining table with bench will help to maximise your space even more.

Our ultimate suggestion? If you’re torn between dimensions, then the best idea is to invest in an extendable dining table. Your future self will thank you.

Which dining table options are there?

From considering the overall look of your dining room to thinking about practical elements such as budget and upkeep, it’s helpful to narrow down your choices as much as possible due to the vast selection of dining tables on the market.

Aside from the size and the material, your main options to consider when choosing a dining table are:

  • Fixed or extendable: e.g. hidden leaf, drop leaf, flip top, folding.
  • Shape: rectangle, round, square, oval or unusual e.g. hexagon.
  • Colour: light wood, dark wood, white, grey, black, coloured, transparent or metallic.

Fixed or Extendable

Extendable dining tables aren’t just for accommodating extra guests, they also come in handy when you’re serving a more lavish meal where diners can help themselves to various dishes, or if you’re using your table for other tasks such as working, wrapping presents or folding laundry.


In larger spaces, an oval dining table gives you the same sociable element of a round table, but with a little more length to it. Creating a lovely elegant shape and offering space for even more guests, they easily become a focal point and help to centre the room. If you’re looking for something a little different though, you may enjoy an unusual dining table in the shape of a hexagon or octagon.

What dining table shape is best for a small space?

Many homes with kitchen-diners feature a rectangular table which is pushed up against the wall to save space, but can be pulled out when additional seats are required. Round kitchen tables are another popular choice, offering a little more leeway when seating extra guests thanks to their lack of corners. Square dining tables are also ideal for tucking aside into a corner if you only have two regular diners.


When it comes to colour, you’ve got plenty of choice, so the best place to start is with your existing or future colour scheme.

A grey, white or black dining table will complement most dining rooms, so they can be smart choices if you’re often redecorating. Wood is your most traditional and natural option, but there are still many colours, stains and finishes to consider, from oak to walnut. For the bolder types, you can find coloured dining tables, including red and blue, while metallic finishes such as brass are rising in popularity recently. Too indecisive? A clear glass dining table requires no consideration for colour.

What are the different types of dining tables?

Dining table design is always evolving, and you've now got a plethora of styles to choose between. From the type of legs and the finish to those finer details like tabletop edges, each element adds up to create a unique style that could be perfect for your dining room.

Luckily for you, our dining table style guide covers the main looks on the market:

How can I make the most use of my dining table?

How can I accessorise my dining table?

How much should I pay for a dining table?

How can I look after my dining table?

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