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How to choose a dining room table

Fancy dinner parties, family gatherings, intimate convos over a bottle of wine — your dining table has big responsibilities. Choosing one that shapes up is tricky, especially in a small space. Here's how to find the perfect fit.

Crowd control
First things first. Decide how many people you'd like your dining table to seat. They'll need room to eat their food comfortably, without bashing elbows with a neighbour. If space is tight, an extending table will solve all your problems. You can stash away the leaves when guests aren't over, reclaiming that precious extra floor space.

Mind the gap
The ideal size of your table depends on the size of your room. There should be plenty of space for everyone to get up and down easily from their dining chairs, and not end up stuck in a corner. The golden rule? Leave 1m clearance between the table and the wall, and don't forget to factor in any other furniture.

Gather round
Round tables are MADE for small spaces. They slot easily into tight spots, and fit more people around them than angled styles. Having no corners means everyone faces each other, so they're great for making conversation. And they'll keep food fights to a minimum if you're serving up a sharing platter. 

Try before you buy
The best way to make sure you end up with a table you love? Check how it'll look in the room. Our top tip: test out the size by folding a bedsheet into the right shape on the floor. It'll help you work out if there's enough moving space, and it's an easier way to measure the right dimensions.

Pull up a pew 
Both you and your guests will need somewhere to sit, but not everyone has the space for spare chairs. Benches take up less room than dining chairs and can usually cram a few more people on. Scooching required. Drape a throw or sheepskin rug over one end to keep everyone feeling comfy.

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