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March 1, 2012, 3:36 pm Anna Koorey for Home Beautiful, Yahoo!7
Be the host with the most with a table and chairs worthy of any occasion.
Cast your mind back to the last dinner party you attended – is the meal what you remember most, or did knocking your knees against the table legs, or bumping elbows with your neighbour mar the evening? If it’s the latter, you know that a dining setting can make or break a dinner party – the right-sized table, with comfortable chairs positioned evenly around it, creates a relaxed dining experience. Ensure your next event, be it a Christmas dinner or a simple weeknight meal, is memorable for all the right reasons.
Measure the space you have available before you hit the shops – a six-seater dining table is generally 1500mm to 1800mm long – and take note of the dimensions of the chairs you choose. “Chairs can vary in width between 400mm to 600mm, which is a big consideration when choosing how many people you will seat at the table,” says Wilhelmina McCarroll, design director at Zuster. “Regardless of your chair width, each person should have at least 600mm of space or it starts to feel cramped.”
In terms of space between the table and walls, make sure nobody has to squeeze through to find their place, particularly with bench seating. “A general rule is to allow at least 900mm to comfortably pull out a chair in front of a wall,” explains Corinne Bolton, designer and director at Elm Interiors.Comfort factor
Ensure your guests stay for dessert by investing in comfy dining chairs. Leather is luxurious and longwearing, but sturdy upholstery fabrics such as linen will do the job just as well for less outlay. Rattan or wicker can become uncomfortable over time, so choose chairs with a cushioned seat or add chair pads, a budget-friendly alternative to upholstered dining chairs. Look for styles that tie around the chair so you’re not forever picking them up off the floor. Available in a range of colours from Rapee, they’re practical too – simply remove the covers and throw them in the washing machine.Finish first
From traditional timber to natural stone, glass, stainless steel and even plastic, there’s an endless choice of table materials. Choose wisely: marble may look magnificent in store, but after a few pasta meals or raucous dinner parties it might not have quite the same glamour factor. Stone can also be extremely heavy, which could be an issue if you like to switch things around, and your floors will need to stand up to the strain. Stainless steel is durable and hygienic, but unforgiving with finger marks.
Whichever material you choose, ensure it’s coated with a hardwearing finish, particularly if the table will double as a surface for kids’ homework or craft. “We make tables with veneer and solid timber tops and are always asked the difference in durability,” says Wilhelmina. “It’s the same, because we use a 2-pac finish that will last the life of the table.”Space savers
The key to dressing small spaces is to choose simple designs with slim profiles that won’t crowd the room – Zuster’s ‘Willow’ table is just 90cm wide, ideal for a narrow room. You could also try a glass table or clear plastic chairs to create the illusion of more space.
Round tables work well in corners as they take up far less room than angular styles. Alternatively, Corinne suggests, “Try a small square table with two lovely chairs at each end to create an intimate dining experience.”Big issues
Dining tables are the perfect tools to delineate large areas. Position one parallel to your kitchen benchtop to mark where the entertaining area begins, or use it to divide an open-plan space into casual and formal areas.For entertaining, think about the way conversation tends to flow at a large table. The person at the end is often left out, so having room for two chairs will prevent that. “A 120cm width will allow two chairs at both ends,” says Wilhelmina. Round tables facilitate easy conversation, but select one with an unobtrusive pedestal base – oversized table legs may eat up precious chair space.
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