There’s something innately wonderful about gathering your family around a dining table and talking your way through a shared meal. Catching up on news, consoling loved ones, sharing gossip or reminiscing, it’s all made possible by the simple medium of a family dinner that brings everybody together around the dinner table. Sometimes there’s a particular occasion that pulls us all to the dinner table from our various homes or different corners of the same house: Christmas or Easter, mum’s birthday, or Dad’s famous 5-alarm chilli. You might not even call it a dining table in your house- perhaps where you live the dining table is in fact the kitchen table. Whatever the name you give it and for whatever the reason, the humble dining table has had a vital role in the nutritional and social wellbeing of the family unit for time immemorial.
It’s not just their communal use for eating that makes dining tables an essential part of the family unit. Perhaps Mum does her tax return at the dining table, dad plays bridge there, or maybe the dining table is where the children do their GCSE revision. It’s easy to overlook, but true nonetheless that having a straight-forward, no-nonsense dining table space available for any range of purposes is often vitally important to a huge range of activities within the home, each of them contributing significantly to the comfort and wellbeing of the family.
These days dining tables are most often sold in a set with matching chairs, and come in a huge range of styles, materials, sizes and features. Some dining tables expand so as to meet the needs of the various times of the year when guests or extended family are invited to share a meal. Usually this is achieved by an additional leaf of dining table being rotated or extended mechanically to occupy the middle section of the dining table, with the two halves spreading apart to accommodate this growth. Through this means five-seater dining tables can easily become seven-seated dining tables should the situation demand.
When setting out to purchase a new dining table, you will need to give some thought to the flexibility you need in dining tables. Will you need it to extend? If so, where do you propose keeping the spare chairs? What material do you want your dining table to made from? If you opt for a wooden dining table, you will need to consider the other wooden furniture within your dining room or kitchen: an oak dining table is unlikely to sit well beside a pine dresser, while rosewood dining tables and mahogany kitchen units are similarly likely to clash.
You also ought to give some thought to the size of dining tables you should be looking at: how much space is there within your dining room or kitchen? How many people will you need to seat around your dining table on a regular basis? How many will you need to feed at your dining table on special occasions? All of these things will be essential considerations.