A dining set is an anchoring furniture grouping that provides the venue for everything from formal dinner parties and family meals to homework time. There are plenty of different options to choose from, so it can help to narrow down the selection by a few key characteristics. When shopping for dining sets, be sure to consider the size, structure, flexibility and seating that different groups offer:
The size is important because it determines both how many people can sit at the table, and how much space it takes up in your space. It is helpful to consider not only the table’s footprint, but the amount of space that people will need to properly pull chairs out, leaving room to walk around when guests are seated.
The structure is mostly a matter of aesthetics, but also affects functionality in small ways. The traditional 4 leg dining table is the simplest option, with the legs placed one at each corner of the table. A pedestal dining table features a single base that supports the table from the center (however, there are also extra-long double pedestals that require two bases for stability). Trestle tables feature vertical end supports and width-way support that spans the length of the table, while X or cross leg dining tables featured crossed supports at either end.
Most people choose a dining table thinking about how they’ll use it on a day to day basis, but it is also important to think about if it is versatile enough for special occasions or events. There are a few different types of tables that are designed to expand and create extra dining space when needed. All of these options involve extra leaves that can be added to the table to expand the amount of space; the main difference is where they are kept and how they are added. Traditionally, dining tables with leaves can be pulled apart across the middle to add or remove the extra pieces and the leaves are kept in a separate storage area when not in use. However, butterfly leaf tables have collapsible leaves that fold into a space inside table, and can be simply flipped open when needed. Drop leaf tables don’t have true “leaves” that can come off, but feature end panels that can fold downwards and out of the way when they are not in use.
Seating comes into play in two different ways: amount and type. The amount of seating that comes with a dining set will typically match its size, and can come in the form of dining chairs with arms, parson’s chairs, and dining benches. Some dining sets will have options that allow you to select which seating configuration you would prefer and almost all will also offer the coordinating seating separately, so you can always get additional seating or replacements later if needed.