Tables can be a real space killer in smaller flats and apartments.
They are, however, a necessity. Unless you’re into eating off the floor and doing your paperwork on your lap, that is.
So to help you make the best use of the available space in your home, we put have together this table buying guide.
Follow these 5 steps and you’ll give yourself every chance of getting it right.
1) Drop-Leaf it Like it’s Hot
Drop-leaves might be the answer to all your table prayers. Collapse them when you need the space; raise them when it’s time to sit around the table. Easy.
Drop-leaf tables are also much easier to manoeuvre than the conventional type. This might not sound like a reason to buy one but when you consider that you can tuck them away when not in use to create some flow through your home, you'll see why we bring it up.
If you are being really picky, you might consider drop-leaf tables with square edges as they will sit flush against the wall.
But hold that thought for now. We might be about to contradict it completely in point 4.
2) It’s an Extender
Extending tables are like drop-leaf tables except for the fact that the extending sections are either built-in to the table or are completely detachable (and in some cases freestanding).
Tables with built-in extending sections are a great space saver. It is true that they might eat into leg space but it would be very rare that this would prevent you from getting your feet comfortably under the table.
Some extending mechanisms are also really quite cool. We have a Macintosh table where the fold out mechanism is as smooth as silk. Details like these are perfect for showing your guests that your life is better than theirs (don’t pretend you don't play that game).
Freestanding extender sections that can be removed altogether may sound like a bad idea — in some cases they are — but if you have a suitably-sized alcove, then you could turn the extending section into a desk.
Two birds, one proverbial. And what is more, you’ll also build that oh-so important sense of continuity that all good interior themes possess. Voila.
3) Move Towards the Light
It’s something we bang on about a lot but as a general rule, lighter coloured wooden furniture tends to look better in smaller spaces than darker alternatives.
It’s just the way it is. The likes of natural coloured elm and beech are always going to be difficult to beat in flats and apartments.
We could go into more detail about this phenomenon but there really is no point. Just accept it and move on.
4) Stay Rounded
Round tables can seat just as many people as rectangular tables of equivalent size yet possess a more compact footprint.
It’s not a magic trick but it is a neat trick and it is well worth knowing before you set off at a rate of knots looking for a table for your kitchen-cum-diner-cum-living-room.
All of this doesn’t mean you can just keep seating people around your table and expect them to be comfortable. That wouldn’t make any sense.
Remember, that each diner requires around 70cm of space at a round table. Try and cut into that and people will probably speak ill of you for the rest of the week.
5) Lose Weight
Slim, slender table legs and tabletops are exactly what you should be looking for. For what it's worth, mid-century modern furniture does this very well.
Bulky table legs block light, take up space and mean there is less room under the table. Basically, they’re a non-starter.
Similarly, you should be looking for tables where the legs connect directly to the tabletop. Avoid extraneous panels that hide what’s going on underneath. These will again block light from passing through and will make the table look bigger.
Besides, a well-crafted table won’t need them.
If you'd like to know more about what kind of dining room furniture you need for your home, check out our dining room furniture buying guide.
We do spoil you.