Dining Room Buying Guide: Helpful Hints for Your Shopping Trip at BILTRITE

Whether you dream of dazzling dinner parties or cozy family get-togethers, your new dining set will play a major role.  The great news is that there is a style out there for everyone.  But with so many choices, there are certain considerations you should keep in mind.

Estimating Needs

The first step you should take before you shop for any kind of furniture is to measure the room it will be placed in.  The dimensions of a dining room should inform not only the size of the table, but the general shape as well.  A dining table doesn’t have to be rectangular.  The shape of a table can change the overall impression of the room size.  There are great expandable options in round and square tables as well.  To get an even better idea of how the space can be laid out, use our online room planner.  That way you can tryout round, oval, square and rectangular tables to see what will fit best in the room before you go shopping.

Here are a few rules of thumb to keep in mind when planning your dining room:

  • Diners need 18” to 24” of space away from the table to sit down and pull their      chairs up to the table.
  • Diners  should have 24” to 30” of space at the table to dine comfortably without      bumping elbows with their neighbor.
  • There should be four to five feet of space between the table and the wall to allow the host to easily move through the room and be able to serve the guests.

 How many for dinner?  

The number of diners you expect to seat affects the kind of table you get.  It’s easy to get extra bodies around a pedestal table.

 A table with a leaf is a great way to expand your dining area.  If you have the space, you might want to consider keeping the leaf in the table full time.  A leaf in storage will not age the same as the rest of the table.  Coloration may change or the leaf may warp if stored vertically, instead of horizontally, or if it is kept in a damp environment.  Leaves are usually not an option with glass-topped tables.  Butterfly leaves have become a popular option in recent years because they store the leaf right under the top of the table.  Drop leaf tables can allow you to place a table right against a wall for day to day use.  You can pull them out from the wall and extend the leaf when you need to seat more people.

At BILTRITE Furniture – Leather – Mattresses we offer dining room furniture in five or seven piece sets.  Occasionally retailers will run promotions that include two arm chairs as well.  You should buy at least two more chairs than you think you will need. Holidayentertaining and family gatherings can send you scrambling for seating to accommodate everyone.  If you buy the extra chairs at the outset you can be sure that they fit with the table.  The extra chairs can always be used as accents chairs in other rooms when you are not entertaining.

 Take a Seat

Sit in the chair for some time; don’t go from one to the other too quickly.  You will want your guests to linger over dinner conversation, so make sure that the chair is comfortable for a longer period of time.  It should be wide enough for your guests to be comfortable.  The chair should support the back and allow you to keep your feet on the floor.

Pub-height or counter-height tables have become very popular in recent years.  While they have a youthful image, counter height tables are a great option for older people who have trouble getting up and down from low dining room chairs.  If your kitchen or dining room has a window with a great view, a pub height table is a great way to enjoy.  The higher seating can allow for unobstructed sight lines.  The higher levels of these table tops also make them a great additional work surface in a kitchen with limited counter space.  Keep in mind though; a pub height table may require you to raise your dining room light fixture.

When you purchase your dining table, we recommend you check into table pads as well.  Table pads are often felt-covered on the back side and vinyl on the top surface.  They are usually covered over with a table cloth when used.  The pads protect the table top from hot dishes and moisture and can significantly prolong the life of your dining set.

Storage and Serving

Now that you have tables and chairs you should consider storage and display for your dining room.  Below is a list of different storage pieces that you may want to add to your dining room.

Curio Cabinet:  This cabinet is a free standing display case that has a glass front and sides without any enclosed cabinet space.  Many styles include interior lights, glass shelves and mirrored backs.

China Cabinet:  These cabinets are normally part display and part storage.  The top half of the china cabinet resembles a curio cabinet and possibly contains a railing to allow you to display plates, while the bottom contains cabinets for the storage of other commonly used items.

Buffet:  Buffets are storage pieces, very often a cupboard or “dresser” of sorts to store serving dishes and platters.  The upper surface is used as a service area.

Hutch:  A frequent addition to a buffet, a hutch can provide both display and storage, leaving room for food service as well.

Sideboard:  A sideboard is a table with a wide drawer in the center that is flanked by drawers and cupboards on the sides and is used for storing serving dishes and platters as well as for serving food.

Server:  Similar to a sideboard, a server is a shallow table with drawers and is intended to hold food before it is placed on the table.  The primary difference is that a server doesn’t have cabinet space.

Common wood chair styles:

Windsor chairs are a style of chair that features turned spindles along that back of the chair, turned and angled legs, and turned stretchers between the legs as well as a carved saddle seat.  The chairs were named because of the origination in the town of Windsor England.

Arrow back chairs are a variant of the Windsor chair in the pieces supporting in the back of the chair resemble arrows.  They tend to be round at both ends but flattened in the middle to resemble arrows.

 Slat back chairs have backs that contain at least one, possibly several, wide, flat, vertical supports.

Ladder back chairs are chairs that feature horizontal supports in the upper section of the chair, often resembling a ladder.

 Parsons is a tall dining room chair that features a rectangular back and seat that are both upholstered.

 Common table styles:

Pedestal Table:  This type of table usually has a round top with a single center support rather than four legs.

Leg Table:  A leg table is a more traditional table featuring 4 legs.

Trestle Table:  This table consists of two sets of legs that are connected by a horizontal beam.  These tables are often good in dining spaces that are longer instead of square.

Drop Leaf Table:  A table with hinged leaves that are unfolded for table extension.



Randi K. 4th Generation Family Member