Step Up To The Table
Your turn to host the holidays? Time to invest in the right dining room furniture
If it’s your turn to host the holidays this year, then it’s probably time to convert your formal dining room from a junk room to its intended purpose—a place to host elegant meals with family and friends. A table comes first.
First of all congratulations—you’re growing up. Buying a formal dining table is a sign of maturity.
“From our experience, you get a younger crowd buying casual,” says Paul Krasnoo, president of The Simple Stores, a group of online stores, including The Simple Dining Room Store, based in Boston.
“Casual is selling more than formal. As people age, they tend to come back to the formal styles because those are less trendy. The Queen Anne style is going to be here 100 years, 200 years from now.”
Good thing you’re reading this now because if you’re looking to serve Thanksgiving turkey on your new table, it’s time to get started.
“Plan ahead,” Krasnoo says. “Inventory moves fast when it’s in stock. Because most of the products are made overseas, it takes four to eight weeks to come back in stock. In the Amazon.com world, where people expect things the next day, that can come as a surprise.” Consider a table with leaves for the flexibility it will offer to entertain varying numbers of guests. For easy storage, some tables offer leaves that attach to the underside of the table when not in use, Krasnoo says.
If you prefer a round table, some offer leaves, which can be attached on the outside curve of the table, he says. These are more expensive, he notes.
Count on about 25 inches for each guest, he says. Some tables expand from 61 inches to 131 inches and can accommodate 10 people.
“The flexibility is a good thing,” he says. “You can’t add leaves after the fact.” While Queen Anne may be still in style 100 years from now, fi nding an exact match of your Queen Anne pieces in a few years won’t be so easy, especially for a cherry finish, Krasnoo says. Cherry darkens over time.
“If you plan on buying the matching china cabinet two years from now, it may not exist,” he says. “Or it may exist, but the finish may no longer match. Cherry is the most popular finish, but it changes color over time.”
Buy matching pieces such as a buffet or china cabinet and extra chairs when you make your purchase. Then your finish will match, and if a chair is damaged or if you need extra chairs for a holiday meal, you’re set, he says.
“Buying your pieces all at one time will be advantageous in the long run,” he says.
If you’re looking for a more stable finish, oak is a good choice, he says. Another consideration is whether you want the distressed look, which makes wood look antique and worn with artfully created fake wormholes. Some people like it, Krasnoo says. But others find they don’t care for it—after their furniture has arrived. “People should do their due diligence to see if they want distressed product or not.”
Which brings us to the return policy.
Make sure you clearly understand the seller’s return policy, whether it’s a brick and mortar store or online business.
Finally, once you’ve purchased your table, Krasnoo strongly recommends getting a mat to protect it. “It’s one of the most overlooked aspects,” he says. “It’s recommended, but most people don’t use them.”
A mat is typically made of pressed board and wrapped in synthetic material for water proofing, Krasnoo says.
“If you place hot items on the table, items that will leave condensation, the mat will prolong the life of the table,” he said. “We recommend them for any table from an entry level piece to a solid wood heirloom piece.”
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