Kitchen Tables Have Come a Long Way

Posted on 8/29/2012

How many memories revolve around kitchen tables? Do you remember what your childhood table looked like, felt like, and the conversations or major events that were discussed and resolved there?

If kitchens are considered the center of the home, then the table would be considered the heart. It's a great place to come together and catch up on the lives of those you live with, to bond and learn about your family, and of course to share great food. But not all tables are created equally – there are many different sizes, styles and materials to choose from. When deciding on the perfect piece, there are many options to consider, from aesthetics to lifestyle and what purpose the table will have.

Lifestyle and Table Selection

One of the most important aspects is that your kitchen table needs to fit your lifestyle. Figuring out what you really want will help narrow down your search and make it easier to find just the right table.

For example, if you're moving out for the first time you may want to consider a table that is sturdy, functional, reasonably priced and easy to put together.

On the other hand, if you enjoy throwing lavish dinner parties, an elegant table with interesting details, seating flexibility and a coordinating sideboard may be of more interest.

Kitchen tables for young families will need to be easy to clean, sturdy enough to take the wear and tear (and messy spaghetti dinners) but still be stylish. Look for a table top that is scratch-resistant, has easy to clean seats such as wood or faux leather, and a fun element for kids like a bench – mealtime will feel like a picnic!

If you have a small living space such as a condo, a table that is compact and versatile would be ideal. A counter-height table can also double as extra counter workspace, and stools that tuck under the table will help keep the kitchen/dining area streamlined and easy to move around in.

Alternative Uses

We all use our kitchen table for more than just meals; they are ideally set up for doing homework, sorting laundry, paying bills, surfing the internet, and a great place to gather and play board games.

Consider using a table as a work station or desk in an office. Computer desks are becoming obsolete with the popularity of laptops and tablets – no longer do you need to be tied to one specific area, and we don't have to put up with keyboard drawers taking up precious legroom.

Another option is in a sunroom or as outdoor dining in the warmer months, either on a patio or covered terrace. Bistro sets, made from a combination of metal and glass/wood, are attractive and make summer much more enjoyable. Just be certain to protect from rain or place in a covered area, especially if the set has upholstered chairs.

One interesting concept, featured in Canadian House & Home, Photo Gallery: Kitchen Tables As Islands, is using a kitchen table instead of a built-in island. Some of the benefits include versatility when considering where to place the “island”, gaining extra seating, a chance to mix styles together, and being able to bring your table with you when you move.

Additional Options

Once you've really identified how you want to use your table, then you can sort through the myriad of options to find the set that is right for you. Here are some points to consider:

  • Material (wood, metal, glass, marble, etc.)
  • Height (standard dining or counter-height)
  • Seat type (dining chair, counter-height chair, stool, bench, upholstered, etc.)
  • Color
  • Price
  • Number of people that can be seated (decide if you want a table that can expand to seat additional guests)
  • Style (traditional, casual, contemporary, transitional, etc.)

Also consider how the table will fit in with your kitchen or dining décor. Do you want it to match the style of your kitchen? What about the other furniture in the dining or living areas? How will your kitchen table incorporate with your other furniture? Do you want each room to have its own unique look or do you want a sense of unity to flow from one room to the next?

Do Your Research

Now that you have an idea of what you want, start looking for your ideal table! Browse your local stores to see if something sparks your interest and take pictures so you can imagine how the table will look in your home. Or, if you would rather search online, create a Pin Board of kitchen tables you like. This is a great comparison tool, and if you shop online you can purchase your set without even leaving the comfort of your home.

Kitchen tables really have become multifunctional pieces of furniture, and luckily now there are options that fit every style, purpose and budget. Since there are unlimited options, narrowing down your focus based on your specific needs and requirements will make the selection process easier, and it will also mean you'll be happy with your purchase once you bring it home!