Dining Room Furniture

Practical choices with plenty of style

Shop around and you'll find dining room furniture to suit not only the space you have available but also the style of your home and your budget.

Dining room furniture often outlasts other furniture in a home. Sofas and armchairs may quickly show the strains of daily family life, but a sturdy table and chairs can go on looking good year after year. It's a good idea, therefore, to study the market and work out your needs carefully before you buy a dining suite.

Dining Room Furniture Styles

You can find an excellent choice of robust, well-made contemporary dining room furniture to suit all tastes and budgets, from the formal elegance of antique reproduction to the sturdy rustic or the casual, modern steel-and-glass look. Folding or extending tables are a good choice to seat extra guests if space is limited. Traditional antique dining room furniture, such as a period-style suite in oak or cherry, is well suited to elegant formal meals. A veneered finish makes for a more affordable option as well.

Multifunctional Dining Room Furniture

Before you buy, it's a good idea to decide how versatile you want your table and chairs to be. Most dining room furniture has to be sturdy enough to meet different needs. During the course of a day, the table may be called on to do duty as a play surface for children's painting sessions, a desk for homework or a worktop for a sewing machine. Of course, it will still set the scene for an informal family breakfast, lunch or tea, but has to be flexible enough to be dressed up for those more elegant evening occasions.

Consider this multi-functional aspect of the room when you shop for the furniture, and remember that it's easier to use attractive table linen to dress up a robust surface like solid oak or cherry for formal dining than it is to protect a delicate veneer from everyday knocks and spills.

Protecting Your Dining Room Set

If you do get a table with a finish that needs protection, purchase a special padded under-cloth which you can cover with a PVC or easily laundered top-cloth for everyday use. For more formal occasions, remove the covers and use table mates where necessary.

A laminate or lacquer coating which wipes clean and resists scratches and scuffs is a cost-effective and practical option, especially if the table is going to be used by children or if it doubles up in other ways, such as a sewing table or work surface. A modern style of table is best left uncovered, but you can give a more conventional table a bold new image with a dramatic tablecloth.

Most contemporary upholstered dining room chairs have been treated to resist stains. For additional protection for these kinds of chairs, you can take advantage of the current fashion trend and use tie-on chair covers, or you can make covers that slip over an upholstered seat.

Make sure to incorporate these rituals into your house cleaning regime to keep your table in great shape for years to come.

Modern Dining Room Furniture

The key to a modern dining room suite is simplicity. Fortunately there is no shortage of clean-lined tables and chairs on the market. Favorite materials for contemporary dining room furniture are glass, chrome and steel, but almost anything could suit the room, as long as the design is streamlined.

Make sure you check out a contemporary dining room suite very carefully for comfort and practicality – a glass-topped table may lose its appeal if you are forever wiping off children's fingerprints. Cast-iron chairs can look dramatic in a contemporary room setting, but they are often very heavy, which makes them difficult to draw up to and away from the table.

Country Dining Room Furniture

In designing a rustic or country-style setting, you are aiming for a cozy, homey effect, whether the dining area is off the kitchen, part of the living area or in a separate room. Wood is the only choice of material for the style, and the type of wood and the sort of table you choose dictates how formal or informal the room looks. For a country-style kitchen and dining room, scrubbed pine or the rustic roughness of natural wood has the right feel.

Casual Dining Room Furniture

For casual dining room furniture, simplicity works best. Pick a pine or beech table with fairly plain chairs in solid wood or wicker. For a main dining area, you'll probably want something a little smarter. Pine is still an appropriate wood, but you'll need to opt for a table design with comfortable upholstered chairs to go with it.

Discount Dining Room Furniture

To acquire great discount dining room furniture, wait for advertised sales at various stores. Sometimes these stores have discontinued lines which you can purchase at bargain prices. And don't forget shopping online on sites such as eBay. There's an abundance of designs, styles and finishes out there waiting for you with heavily discounted price tags.

Also second-hand and reconditioned dining room furniture is available at a fraction of the cost from second-hand stores. This pre-loved furniture has many a year of use left in it. Also deceased estate auctions are another option to gain a special piece of dining room furniture at an affordable price.

By Janette Peel