Most people don't use their dining room table for nightly family dinners. Its purpose usually arises on holidays and during the occasional dinner party. But don't let the seldom-used part diminish its importance; getting stuck at the “kids' table” during a holiday meal is the pits. So make sure your dining table is the right size and shape to welcome all of your guests and ensure that the “Oh no! Where do I seat him?” shuffle never happens again.
Focus on Function
Before you replace your six-seater farmhouse table for more spacious dining room furniture, think about the function you want your new dining table to perform. There are three categories you need to focus on:
Shape. Is your dining room formal or casual? Is your room large and spacious or long and narrow? How many people do you want to seat at your dining room table? If space is an issue, you might want to go with the more traditional rectangle dining table.
If you have space aplenty and love to have lively dinner conversations, opt for a round or square table. These two types of dining tables make it easier for everyone at the table to see and interact with each other. In the past, round and square tables didn't expand and therefore weren't considered great options for entertaining; this is no longer true.
Legs. This might not be the most obvious thing to check out when shopping for a dining room table, but make sure you look at the table's legs. Pedestal tables (where the tabletop is supported by a pedestal fixed to its center) are popular for entertaining because none of your guests have to dodge table legs. The under-the-table structure of trestle tables is a favorite, too. Its supports are vertical posts in the middle of each end of the table, connected by a low horizontal beam.
Chairs. The easiest way to squeeze lots of people around your dining table is to seat them in ballroom chairs. These types of dining chairs are typically slight, armless and easily transportable. If you want chairs that are a little more substantial, try upholstered wingback chairs or the more traditional Windsor chairs. Don't be afraid to mix things up—your chairs don't have to match! And a great alternate option to chairs is to uses benches (with or without backs).
Check out our seven piece dining room set selection to see which set is the perfect fit for your entertaining needs!