How to Pick the Right Dining Table

July 2, 2020

Has your dining table become an ad hoc home office, homework area, craft centre and general dumping ground for bills, receipts and paperwork? You originally set up your dining area with the best intentions. You imagined boisterous breakfasts, Sunday dinners and the occasional Saturday night soiree under a shimmering chandelier. But then life happened and, in addition to the typical flurry of activity, your dining area has become a veritable dumping ground during these times of social distancing.

Reclaim your dining room by choosing a table that dishes out equal servings of function and style. Here are tips for choosing the perfect dining table for your space.


You don’t buy a dining table for the company you’ll host; you buy it for the room. Your dining area’s dimensions will dictate the ideal size of the table. A table that’s too small will look like it’s floating aimlessly, leaving the room without a visual anchor. On the other hand, an oversized table will make the room look and feel cramped. Start by measuring the room, and within it, the dining spot. Ensure your furniture allows for a minimum three-foot gap between the dining chairs and the walls, which allows room for diners to sit, stand and pass through. In addition, each diner should have two feet of table space to accommodate place settings and elbows.


Similar to your table’s size, the room itself will reveal the ideal shape. A rectangular table is a natural fit in an elongated room, and will also accommodate a larger number of guests. However if your dining room is more of a “nook,” consider a round or oval dining table, which can be easily positioned in small or unusually shaped rooms. A table with a leaf is a great option, allowing you to expand it when hosting many guests.

Did you know? Round and square dining tables encourage conversation and eliminate the social hierarchy of the “head of the table.”


Consider the “visual weight” of the table you choose. A heavy, oak harvest table brings perfect balance to a large, bright dining area. However, if your dining room is on the smaller, dark side, you can lighten the look with glass and reflective metals. The barely-there look of clear glass lets light pass through, making the room appear lighter and less cluttered. By the same logic, pair the table with leggy dining chairs made of transparent acrylic, or polished chrome that reflects light and adds a subtle sparkle to the space.


Resist the urge to indulge in overly trendy pieces. Regardless if you prefer the aesthetic of classic, contemporary or transitional designs, keep it simple. Unusual colour or details can quickly date a piece of furniture. Instead, invest in a table that boasts quality craftsmanship with timeless materials and finishes. This will withstand wear and tear, as well as the changing trends for years to come.

As we all find ourselves spending more time at home, there’s a renewed interest in making the most of our spaces. When you have your fabulous new dining table in place, set it as if you were hosting a party. As a finishing touch, a beautiful centrepiece will ensure your table doesn’t revert to its former “junk pile” self.


Toronto-based, award-winning Interior Stylist, Red Barrinuevo is an Interior Decorator and Principal of Redesign4more, servicing clients in Toronto and the GTA. The firm’s known for enhancing and creating stylish yet functional spaces through their creative home staging, interior styling services, and design services.

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