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Dining Room Furniture Buying Guide

JUNE 20, 2016

by Cindy Bouwhuis

Furniture Specialist

Your dining room is a natural gathering place for friends and family. The furniture you choose for this space contributes to the mood and memories of your family dinners and special occasions. It's likely the dining room furniture you buy now will be the furniture you'll have for a long time. Considering a few key points will help you be happy with your purchase for years to come.


To give your home a cohesive feel, choose dining room furniture that reflects the architecture of your house and the style of other rooms in your home. The materials of your table can influence the overall feel. For example, a mahogany table may feel formal, while an oak or pine dining table may feel casual. The shape of the table legs can also impact style. Curved legs tend to feel elegant, while straight legs are often more modern and sleek.


The materials of your dining room furniture may affect the price, but they will also reflect the quality and expected lifespan of your purchase. Hard woods are often the most expensive, but they are quite durable and beautiful. Engineered woods - like particleboard or wood veneers - are less expensive but may still last a long time if cared for correctly.

When considering your budget, think of this purchase as a long-term investment. Most people have the same dining room furniture for several years. Choosing the style, materials, and size you like will matter long after you've forgotten the price.

Dining Table

After determining your style and budget, shape and size are critical factors in choosing the table that will work for you. As far as shape goes, a round or bistro table will fit better in a small or confined space, while a rectangular or oval table more adequately fills a larger dining room.

Before buying a table, measure your dining room. Keep in mind that you will need space to walk around the table and clearance to pull out the chairs. A rule of thumb is to have 48 inches between the edge of the table and the wall or next closest piece of furniture.

Dining Table Size Table Shape Number of People
28-inch to 40-inch Square 4
36-inch to 48-inch Round 4
28-inch by 46-inch to 40-inch by 58-inch Rectangle 4 to 6
58-inch to 78-inch Round 4 to 6
36-inch by 60-inch to 48-inch by 72-inch Rectangle 6 to 8
36-inch by 60-inch to 48-inch by 72-inch Oval 6 to 8
36-inch by 80-inch to 48-inch by 92-inch Rectangle 8 to 10
36-inch by 36-inch to 80-inch by 92-inch Oval 8 to 10
36-inch by 96-inch to 48-inch by 108-inch Rectangle 10 to 12
36-inch by 124-inch to 48-inch by 126-inch Rectangle 14 to 16

Dining Chairs

Purchasing your dining chairs separately from your dining table is an option for those that like a more eclectic feel. Consider these factors when choosing the chairs that will work for you:

  • Size will matter, so make sure the sizes work together when shopping separately for a table and chairs. Most dining tables are 29 to 30 inches tall, and you want about 12 inches from the seat to the top of the table. Look for dining chairs that are 18 to 19 inches tall for standard height tables. For seat width, 20 to 24 inches will be most comfortable, but other widths can work if they fit the scale of your table.

  • Materials vary, so look for the best type and maintenance level for you. Upholstered seats are comfortable, but be sure to choose fabrics that are easier to clean such as leather, micro suede, or cotton. Heavier fabrics like velvet look and feel luxurious, but will require special care. Lower maintenance options include wood chairs that can be cleaned with commercial furniture polish or metal chairs that are wiped down easily with a damp rag.

  • Dining Sets

    Many dining room tables and chairs are sold together as a dining set. This is a quick and easy way to furnish your dining room. Dining sets also save you the trouble of figuring out whether or not the chairs fit the table. You can rest easy knowing that the pieces will work perfectly together.

    Cindy Bouwhuis

    by Cindy Bouwhuis

    Furniture Specialist

    Cindy loves gathering furniture for her new home. When she's not pondering her next furniture purchase, she loves spending time with her family, baking, and taking walks in her charming neighborhood.