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A comprehensive guide to selecting a new dining table

A comprehensive guide to selecting a new dining table

At Ohio Hardwood Furniture and OHF Interiors we recognize that purchasing a dining table can at times be an overwhelming task with a number of often confusing factors to consider. What size table best fits my space? How many people will I be trying to seat for normal day-to-day use and how many will I be looking to seat at holidays or parties? What style of table best suits my home and personal design preferences? What wood species should I have the table built from? What stain color will pair best with my dining room? 
Our knowledgeable staff is trained to work through these questions with you to arrive at design solutions that tick off all the stylistic and practical considerations at play when selecting a table. Here we'll run through a list of factors we are always considering when working with our customers on a new table. 

This factor is obvious but crucially important when purchasing a table. Balance is key here- we don't want a table that is too small that it's dwarfed by the dining room space but it also shouldn't be too large that the table makes navigating around the dining area difficult. We like to account for about 24" of space per person per side of the table. Therefore a 72" long x 42" wide table should fit eight, three on each side and a person at each end. Ideally we also like to allow 3' of space from the edge of the table to the nearest wall or piece of furniture to allow ample room for chairs to be pushed out and people to walk around the table. 
Shape is another key consideration when purchasing a dining table. Most of our tables are going to come in some variation of round, square, rectangular, rectangular with rounded corners, oval or boat-shaped (although we do have some more unique shapes). We always like to consider the shape of the room when selling a dining table. A longer, narrower room may not be conducive to a round or square table as they will look out of balance and likely lead to cramped space against two walls and too much space in other areas of the room. Table shape can also impact how many people can comfortably sit at the table (this is especially relevant for holidays and dinner parties when you're having more people over than would be eating at your table at a typical meal). Let's take a look at our Old World table shown below. It is rectangular but we've put a round radius and eliminated the sharp 90 degree corner. By doing so you do lose some surface area. However with the rounded edge you are now able to allow someone to sit at the "corner" of the table. With a true rectangular table the 90 degree corners are not conducive to having guests sit. 
We offer leg, single pedestal, double pedestal and trestle tables. Often tabletop size dictates which style of base we'll direct our customers towards and there are engineering practicalities that also must be considered. For instance we won't  sell a customer a 96" long table with four Shaker style tapered legs. There would simply be too long an expanse between legs and over time the weight of a solid wood table top would cause bowing in the middle of the table. For something like this we would need to add a 5th leg to the middle of the table for additional support (all of our legs tables with self storing leaves require a 5th leg due to the added weight of the leaves and self storing gear mechanism). Often in this scenario a double pedestal or trestle table will be a better option. On the other hand we often get requests for some of our pedestal tables in a 36" table top width. On many tables this 36" top width will not allow ample leg room- knees will constantly be bumping into the pedestal causing discomfort. In scenarios where a rather narrow table is required, legs tables are often a good choice. 
Wood species:
There are both design and practical considerations when it comes to selecting a wood species for your dining table and our staff will ask questions about your lifestyle and how you plan to use the table to make informed suggestions, If you have kids and are using the table daily for family meals and as a space to do homework or play board games, our staff will suggest a harder wood with a more textured grain like quartersawn white oak that will mask nicks and scratches much more than softer brown maple with its uniform, smooth grain. If you're going for a very formal dining room we'll likely suggest something like cherry or elm with a slightly glossier finish. 
Stain Color: 
This largely comes down to personal preference however there are some practical considerations when making your stain decisions. Nicks and scratches are going to be more noticeable on dark finishes like deep browns, dark grays and blacks. Paints are fine on table bases but generally not durable enough to do on table tops. 
Questions? We are happy to offer expert guidance on selecting the new dining table that's right for you. Reach out to us at 330-657-2095 or stop on by our brick and mortar store!