Shop around and you’ll find dining-room furniture to suit not only the space you have available but the style of your home and your budget.
Dining-room furniture often outlasts other furniture in a home – a sofa and armchairs may show the strain of the rough and tumble of family life, but a sturdy table and chairs can go on looking good year after year. So work out your needs carefully before you buy a dining suite.
There’s an excellent choice of robust, well-made contemporary furniture available to suit all tastes and budgets, from the elegance of Georgian reproduction through sturdy farmhouse to modern steel and glass. Folding or extending tables are a good choice if space is limited or to seat extra guests.
A Touch of the Traditional
Traditional dining-room furniture such as a period style suite in solid wood or with a veneered finish is well suited to elegant formal meals. 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 games and painting sessions, a desk for homework, and a worktop for a sewing machine as well as being used for an informal family breakfast, lunch, and tea. Yet it still 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 it’s easier to use attractive table linen to dress up a tough surface like solid wood for formal dining than it is to protect a delicate veneer from everyday knocks and spills. If you do choose a table with a finish that needs protection, buy a table pad you can cover with an easily laundered tablecloth for everyday use. For more formal occasions, take away the pad and use a fancy tablecloth and placemats.
Most modern upholstered dining chairs have been treated to resist stains but for additional protection, use tie-on chair covers, or make covers to slip over upholstered seats.
The key to a modern dining room is simplicity. There is no shortage of clean-lined tables and chairs on the market. Favorites for a contemporary room are materials such as glass, chrome, and steel, but almost anything would suit, as long as the design is streamlined.
A laminate or lacquer 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 young children or if it doubles other ways, as a sewing table or somewhere to study or do homework. 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.
Make sure you check out a contemporary suite very carefully for comfort and practicality -a glass-topped table may lose its appeal if you are forever wiping off children’s fingermarks. Cast-iron chairs can look dramatic in a modern room but they are often very-heavy, which makes them difficult to draw up to and away from the table.
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©2007, Kathy Burns-Millyard.
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