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Dining Table Buying Guide

Buying a new dining table is not an impulse purchase - it is a significant investment that will last a lifetime, so it's important to get it right. At Aram we have a wealth of experience in helping customers work through the many options available and narrowing down the plethora of choices from our extensive range. Here we describe how to choose the perfect table for your home.

Size, shape, style, and materials

These are the four main considerations when choosing your new designer dining table. They relate to three more things to ponder. Where is the table going? Who is going to use the table? What is it going to be used for? A dining table is often so much more than a surface on which to eat, especially in open plan kitchen and dining spaces where it becomes the focal point of daily life - cooking, chatting, working, eating, playing - a table that constantly brings people together in a warm and welcoming environment. Or it may be in a formal dining room that is only used for entertaining and as such, needs to make an impressive visual statement. The wow factor can be further enhanced by table extensions, for those really big dinner parties.

So the first thing to define is where the table will be situated in your home. This will dictate how large the table should be, as well as its shape and style. The ergonomics of the room are also important: to sit, stand and move around the space comfortably mean that other furniture or fittings in the room need to be considered. Decide whether you want the table always to comfortably fill the space; if more space is important most of the time, then opt for an extending table, such as the Naver Corian table - make sure though that, when extended, the room does not become cramped and awkward. Allow between 60cm to 80cm per place setting, dependant on whether you want a cosier feel or a more spacious aspect. We suggest leaving around 75cm to 90cm between the edge of your table and each wall or between other pieces of furniture in the room. This is so that chairs can be pulled out with ease and leaves enough room for people to pass through and behind those seated. Think about access to the room too: will the table top (often a single, large piece) fit through doorways and around corners? Aram can carry out an access check if you are unsure.

A selection of extending tables
  1. Corian Walnut Extending Table Naver Collection ARAM StoreCorian Walnut Extending Table Naver Collection ARAM Store
    Corian Extending Table 2m
    Naver Collection
    From £4,882.00
    On Display
  2. Axy Extending TableAxy Extending Table
    Axy Extendable Table 200cm
    MDF Italia
    From £5,692.00
  3. T3 Papillon Extending TableT3 Papillon Extending Table
    T3 Papillon Extending Table
    Andersen Furniture
    From £3,740.00
  4. Chess Extending TableChess Extending Table
    Chess Extending Table
    Naver Collection
    From £4,551.00
  5. 10648_410648_4
    SH900 Extend Table
    Carl Hansen & Son
    From £6,872.00
  6. CH322 Extending TableCH322 Extending Table
    CH322 Extending Table
    Carl Hansen & Son
    From £4,394.00
  7. Ch337 Extendable Table by Hans Wegner for Carl Hansen - ARAM StoreCh337 Extendable Table by Hans Wegner for Carl Hansen - ARAM Store
    CH337 Extendable Table
    Carl Hansen & Son
    From £3,016.00
  8. Edge Extending Table 120cm by Nissen & Gehl for Naver Collection - ARAM Store Edge Extending Table 120cm by Nissen & Gehl for Naver Collection - ARAM Store
    Edge Extending Table 120cm
    Naver Collection
    From £5,546.00
    On Display
  9. Corduroy Round Extendable Table 120cm by Christian Troels for DK3 - ARAM StoreCorduroy Round Extendable Table 120cm by Christian Troels for DK3 - ARAM Store
    New
    Corduroy Round Extendable Table
    dk3
    From £5,099.00
    On Display

As a rule of thumb, square and circular tables work well in square rooms but can feel awkward in rectangular spaces. Oval and rectangular tables are best suited to rectangular rooms and are probably inappropriate for square ones. Circular tables often offer the best solution for tighter spaces within your home and they can also make your dining experience a more intimate, sociable affair. A central pedestal will not dictate the position of the chairs like legs do, and allows an extra person to be squeezed in, for that unexpected guest (example: Saarinen Dining Table 120cm). For rectangular tables, consider the position of the legs and the distance between them. Some have legs that taper out to create more room, such as the Tweed table from Zanotta.

A selection of circular tables
  1. Saarinen Round Table 120cm by Knoll International - ARAM StoreSaarinen Round Table 120cm by Knoll International - ARAM Store
    Saarinen Dining Table Round 120
    Knoll International
    From £2,352.00
    On Display
  2. Noguchi Dining Table by Isamu Noguchi for Vitra - ARAM Store
    Noguchi Dining Table 120cm
    Vitra
    From £3,770.00
  3. 6497_26497_2
    Circular Pedestal Table 120cm
    Fritz Hansen
    From £2,264.00
  4. JW Table Round 140cmJW Table Round 140cm
    JW Table Round 140cm
    Montana Mobler
    From £2,440.00
  5. TL3 Round Table 130cmTL3 Round Table 130cm
    TL3 Round Table 130cm
    Cassina
    From £2,312.00
  6. Rock Dining Table 140cm by Jean Marie Massaud for MDF Italia - ARAM StoreRock Dining Table 140cm by Jean Marie Massaud for MDF Italia - ARAM Store
    Rock Dining Table 140cm
    MDF Italia
    From £3,384.00
  7. 235_2235_2
    La Rotonda Table
    Cassina
    From £6,174.00
  8. 91 Aalto Round Table by Alvar Aalto for Artek - ARAM Store91 Aalto Round Table by Alvar Aalto for Artek - ARAM Store
    91 Aalto Table Round
    Artek
    From £1,636.00
    On Display

The style and decor of the room, and your home in general, will suggest the style of table that you should go for, and this will also inform your choice of materials. Glass is good to consider if you’re lacking on space and don’t want a room to feel overwhelmed with visually heavy furniture. Because you can see through glass, you create the illusion of space as the eye sees further. Combining glass with metallic finishes helps reflect light, making it feel lighter and brighter: a winning combination if your room is particularly dark (examples: the Waddell 714 Table and Platner Dining Table).

Platner Dining Table by Warren Platner from Knoll International
Pli Dining Table by Victoria Wilmotte from ClassiCon
S Table by Xavier Lust from MDF Italia
Waddell 714 Dining Table by Theodore Waddell from Cassina

Natural wood is a popular choice for a slightly softer, more tactile appeal. Hardwoods such as oak, walnut, cherry and maple offer durability and all woods supplied by Aram carry the global FSC certification to ensure that they are sustainably sourced. As a natural material, wood can only improve with age - the colour deepens and a surface patina develops that adds unique character. There are options for surface finish such as soaped, oiled or lacquered, each providing a subtle difference. A soap-impregnated surface can be scrubbed to lift out spills and stains; oiled tables can be sanded and re-oiled to reinvigorate the rich lustre of the grain; a clear lacquer will offer practical protection from spills but perhaps lessens the tactile quality of the wood.

A selection of wood tables
  1. CH339 Extendable Table by Hans Wegner for Carl Hansen and Son - ARAM StoreCH339 Extendable Table by Hans Wegner for Carl Hansen and Son - ARAM Store
    CH339 Extendable Table
    Carl Hansen & Son
    From £4,873.00
  2. 8221_28221_2
    EM Table 2m
    Vitra
    From £4,140.00
  3. Essay Table CM32 265cm by Cecilie Manz for Fritz Hansen - ARAM StoreEssay Table CM32 265cm by Cecilie Manz for Fritz Hansen - ARAM Store
    Essay Table CM32 265cm
    Fritz Hansen
    From £4,346.00
  4. CH338 Extendable Table by Hans Wegner for Carl Hansen - ARAM STORECH338 Extendable Table by Hans Wegner for Carl Hansen - ARAM STORE
    CH338 Extendable Table
    Carl Hansen & Son
    From £4,084.00
    On Display
  5. Sibast No 2 Table 200cmSibast No 2 Table 200cm
    Sibast No 2 Table 200cm
    Sibast Furniture
    From £3,385.00
  6. Plank Extending Table 210cm - elmPlank Extending Table 210cm - elm
    Plank Extending Table 210cm
    Naver Collection
    From £4,347.00
    On Display
  7. CH006 Extendable Table by Hans J. Wegner for Carl Hansen & Son - ARAM StoreCH006 Extendable Table by Hans J. Wegner for Carl Hansen & Son - ARAM Store
    New
    CH006 Extendable Dining Table
    Carl Hansen & Son
    From £3,942.00

Nothing makes a statement quite like marble. The geology of our amazing planet grants us an incredible range of colours and patterns in this crystalline stone - from rich, dark Marquina black, through luscious Verde Alpi, eye-catching Rosse Rubino and stunning Portoro Silver to the classically appealing paler hues of Arabescato, Calacatta, Carrara and Statuarietto. The Tuscan hills have been a primary source of marble for millennia but it is now mined from South America and Asia, extending the variety even more. The surface can be left untreated on which a patina of use will develop, or it can be sealed by lacquer with a gloss or satin finish.

Saarinen Oval Dining Table 198cm by Eero Saarinen from Knoll International
Bolero Rectangular Dining Table by Roberto Lazzeroni from Poltrona Frau
Vendome Dining Table 180cm by Giulio Cappellini from Cappellini
Materic Dining Table 160cm by Piero Lissoni from Porro
Other statement pieces
  1. Brut Dining Table - Konstatin Grcic - MagisBrut Dining Table - Konstatin Grcic - Magis
    Brut Dining Table 260cm
    Magis
    From £2,667.00
  2. Officina Dining Table 220cm by Magis - ARAM StoreOfficina Dining Table 220cm by Magis - ARAM Store
    Officina Dining Table 200cm
    Magis
    From £2,656.00
  3. Reale Table 180cm - glass top oak frameReale Table 180cm - glass top oak frame
    Reale Table 180cm
    Zanotta
    From £3,496.00
  4. Olimpino Table 240cmOlimpino Table 240cm
    Olimpino Table 240cm
    Cassina
    From £4,543.00
  5. Isokon Dining Table by Marcel Breuer for Isokon - ARAM Store
    New
    Isokon Dining Table
    Isokon Plus
    From £2,640.00
  6. Seito Table 240cmSeito Table 240cm
    Seito Table 240cm
    Walter Knoll
    From £8,912.00
  7. Bell Dining Table - Sebastian Herkner - ClassiCon - ARAM STOREBell Dining Table - Sebastian Herkner - ClassiCon - ARAM STORE
    Bell High Dining Table
    ClassiCon
    From £10,645.00
  8. 135_1135_1
    Eileen Gray Double X Table
    Aram Designs
    From £2,724.00
    On Display

Aram has a wide variety of dining tables on display in store at Drury Lane and we are more than happy to discuss all the options with you to ensure that the table you choose will be a lifelong companion for your home.

Dining table size graphic adapted from Creature Comforts Creative