Mar 03, 2017 By Thomasville
If kitchens are the hearts of our homes, kitchen tables are at their very center. The table is where family and friends gather over and over through the day, for meals, homework, games, artwork, or just to hang out together. Kitchen tables have a big job to do, and it’s important to find exactly what your room and your family need. Here are five tips to make sure you end up with just the right one:
The size and shape of your table is dictated by the size and shape of your room. Measure inward from the fixed constraints—walls, counters, islands—and allow room for circulation. You can go as close as 36”, but 42-48” is better, especially in a high-traffic area like the kitchen. Expect kitchen tables to be at least 36” wide. That distance is enough to give you comfortable place settings on both sides and a little room in the center for serving dishes and condiments.
Now clear the space and try out virtual kitchen tables. Use a sheet, towels, newspaper, or masking tape to lay out prospective sizes and shapes. Each seating spot consumes about 24-30” of table length, and if you’re working with a rectangular table, allow an additional 12” at each end for seating at the head and foot of the table. To save space, consider using a bench for seating, which can be tucked completely under the table when not in use and give you more room to move. You can also shave corners—round and oval kitchen tables work better in small spaces.
How typical is “typical” use? Do you want a table that allows you lots of room for kitchen traffic on a daily basis, but can accommodate a crowd when it’s time to sit down? Kitchen tables with leaves offer lots of options, from quick pull-outs and drop leaves that make it realistic to expand the table at mealtimes, to added or pop-up leaves that let you host a special-occasion crowd.
When you’ve identified the size and shape you need, be sure to sit down at the kitchen tables you’re seriously considering. Most kitchen tables are about 30” high, and most kitchen and dining seating is at about 18”. You should have at least 12” of clearance between the top of the chair or bench and the lowest part of the table. Watch out for obstructions, such as a low apron or awkwardly placed trestles or legs. Make sure you account for any spots where a table leg blocks seating in figuring out how many people you can accommodate.
A special-occasion table in the dining room can afford to be nothing but pretty, perhaps with a veneer of exceptionally beautiful cherry that you protect under a tablecloth when it’s time to eat, but kitchen tables are hardworking pieces of furniture. Make sure you choose one that’s up to the task. Look for solid wood surfaces that can be sanded and refinished, hard wood with a grain that can absorb nicks and scratches and drops, and finishes that are super-tough or already distressed.
A lot of family time is spent around kitchen tables, and the right one will give you the perfect place to gather.