From singletons in city studios to big broods in the ‘burbs, households come in all different shapes and sizes, and so do their particular needs. While one man’s must-have is another man’s unnecessary indulgence, one man’s aspirational piece is another’s “what were they thinking?”, there are a few essentials no house can do without. And for us, the most important of all is the dining table.
Even if you don’t all eat together, or the capacity of your home changes on an almost-daily basis, the dining table is the hub of the home, just as useful for homework, after-school catch-ups and daily cuppas as for dinner-times, so it makes sense to pick a good one. Not just a good-quality buy that’ll last through the years, not to mention several messy meals, but one that fits your personality and lifestyle.
On our list of the best tables, design-lovers of all kinds will find something to make them feel right at home, from shabby-chic country kitchen style dining tables to retro mid-century looks. Families from big to small will find space-saving slimline tables and extendable diners for unexpected guests, plus huge pieces for sitting, supping and socialising.
Think about how many people you have to seat. If you regularly seat 6-8 people around your dining table, opting for an extending table is a good idea as it means it doesn't always have to take up a huge amount of space when you are not using it. If it is specifically an extending dining table you are after, we have a shortlist of the best extending dining tables for 2018 too. Before you start browsing, it's a good idea to make the decision as to whether you need a child-proof easy-clean construction or if you can do with a beautifully made investment piece (although the two aren’t always mutually exclusive), and then weave in your own distinct sense of style. Be careful to think about which seating options you are likely to opt for as some larger tables are best suited to being teamed with bench style seating as opposed to individual chairs.
With our top picks of the best dining tables around in 2018 rounded up below, you’ll be sure to find the perfect dining table to meet your needs.
1. John Lewis Calia 190-290cm Extending Dining Table
Solid, sturdy, and stunning — a must-buy for big families and style-conscious households
Best for: Big families | Material: | Seats: Up to 10 | Size: H76 x W190-290 x D95 cm | RRP: £899.00
John Lewis’ Calia has all the good looks of something you’d find in a recently renovated industrial-themed gastropub, and all the durability required by a family dining table, offering the best of both worlds in a big, busy household. Built from solid American oak and iron, it’s seriously sturdy and beautiful, with its distressed top showing a beautiful natural grain for a warm tactile feel that’s offset by the cool metal legs. And did we mention it’s extendable? An all-round winner for seating lots of hungry people.
2. Linea Empire 1.8m Dining Table
A outstanding statement table that makes for a bold design feature
Best for: Making a statement | Material: Solid marble | Seats: 6 | Size: H76 x W180 x D100 cm | RRP: £1,499
Certainly not for the shy, this solid marble dining table is a real statement piece for any modern kitchen. Its chocolate marble finish is rich, warm and luxurious, offsetting the risk of looking clinical, but the exaggerated dimensions and clean lines stop it looking fussy or over-the-top. Extremely hard-wearing and easy to clean, this is a great family option with a touch of luxury. Be careful which seating options you pick to team with this marble table as the centre post can create an intrusion for anyone with long legs.
3. John Lewis Luna Extending Dining Table
A designer look for a fraction of the price, and with ample seating, to boot
Best for: Extendable dining table | Material: HPL, solid acacia | Seats: 6-8 | Size: H75 x W170 x D100 cm | RRP: £499.00
For an Eames look on an IKEA budget, make this mid century modern dining table your go-to. Its splayed tapered legs look slim and elegant, as do its beveled edges and on-trend colour-blocking. Equally at home in a modern loft for high-end entertaining or in a bustling family kitchen for seating extras at short notice, this extending dining table is stylish and hard-wearing all at once, thanks to its solid acacia and easy-clean HPL construction.
4. Harbour Housewares 2 Person Space Saving Dining Table & Chairs Set
A compact modern table for compact modern living
Best for: Compact modern living | Material: Wood, metal | Seats: 2 | Size: L90 x W47 x H75.5 cm | RRP: £59.99
The pleasingly bold geometric lines of this table and chair set will make you feel like you’ve walked straight into a Mondrian painting. The top of the chairs sit flush with the table edge when tucked in, and the legs are perpendicular, giving them an incredibly compact footprint that’s perfect for a small multi-use space. For two, it’s perfect, but if you frequently entertain or need a bigger surface for lots of dishes, you might want to consider the Home of Style Sherington table.
5. John Lewis Regent Round 4-6 Seater Extending Dining Table
This solid-wood John Lewis table reigns supreme in the classic style stakes
Best for: Subtle shabby chic | Material: Solid FSC oak, beech | Seats: 6 | Size: H66 x Dia. 120-160 cm | RRP: £650.00
If you’re after an extending dining table for your fluctuating brood (more always seem to pop up when dinner’s on the way, don’t they?) but the modern stylings of the Luna table aren’t your thing, take a look at this classic table from John Lewis. With its FSC-certified oak top, curvy legs and classic colourway, it’s perfect for country kitchens and more traditional spaces, and it certainly doesn’t look like an extendable dining table. For low-key classic style with surprising functionality, this is a wonderful buy.