How to Choose a Dining Table: Buying Guide

How to Choose a Dining Table: Buying Guide

Selecting the right dining table for your home can greatly enhance the overall aesthetic and functionality of your dining area. With a wide variety of sizes, styles, shapes, materials, and seating options available, it's essential to consider several factors to ensure you make an informed decision. 

This article serves as a comprehensive buying guide, offering valuable insights and tips on how to choose the perfect dining table that suits your space, style preferences, and usage requirements.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Dining Table 

1. Size of the Dining Room

Considering the size of your dining room is important when selecting furniture for your lovely home. Take a moment to assess the dimensions of your dining room or the open kitchen area where your dining set will be placed. 

This will give you an idea of the ideal size and design to look for on your next shopping trip. It's generally recommended to have a gap of about three feet between the edge of your dining table and the wall or any other furniture. This allows ample space for comfortable movement of chairs and walking around the table.

2. Style of the Dining Room

When it comes to the style of your dining room, it's worth considering the overall aesthetic of your house. Whether your home has a traditional, contemporary, Scandinavian, or rustic theme, it's beneficial to choose a dining table that complements the existing ambiance. Luckily, there are numerous dining table designs available that can harmonise perfectly with your current interior decor.

  • Traditional country style: This style refers to dining tables that have a heavy farmhouse aesthetic. They often feature robust construction, with thick legs and a sturdy frame. The surfaces of these tables are typically made of exposed wood, showcasing the natural grains and textures.

  • Classic or period styles: Dining tables in classic or period styles are characterised by their distinctive elements that evoke a particular historical period or design era. These tables often have curved cabriole legs, which are elegantly shaped and add a touch of sophistication. They may also feature embellishments like carvings, intricate details, or decorative motifs. 

  • Modern and contemporary: Modern and contemporary dining tables are all about simplicity and clean looks. They have straight edges and a smooth, sleek appearance. You can find them made from different materials like wood, glass, or metal. These tables are designed to be practical and easy to use, perfect for homes with a modern and minimalist style.

    Extendable dining tables are also a big hit for smaller spaces, modern, and contemporary homes. They're super handy and versatile, giving you extra space when you need it without sacrificing any style or charm. Perfect for keeping things practical and looking good at the same time!

  • Industrial: Industrial-style dining tables blend the ruggedness of metal with the warmth of wood. These tables often have a combination of wood and metal elements in their construction. The tabletop may be made of wood, while the legs or frame feature metal components, such as iron or steel. Industrial-style dining tables are known for their sturdy and utilitarian aesthetic, inspired by factory or warehouse settings.

  • Scandinavian: When it comes to Scandinavian furniture, dining tables steal the show with their sleek and minimalistic designs. These beauties boast thin table tops and clean lines, exuding a sense of neatness and a light, airy vibe. What's more, their legs often feature an angled or splayed shape, adding a touch of elegance and visual interest. Scandinavian-style dining tables are all about simplicity, creating a lovely and welcoming atmosphere in dining areas.

Even if you're leaning towards an eclectic style, it's important for your dining table design to serve as a captivating centrepiece that is complemented with every element in the room.

3. The Shape of the Table

The size of your dining room plays a role in determining the right table shape. If you have a small space, a square table measuring 90 by 110 cm or a round table with a diameter of 90 by 120 cm would prevent the room from feeling cramped. Another option is a triangular-shaped table that can seat up to 6 people, depending on its placement and dimensions.

For more formal spaces, oval or round tables work well, with circular ones being particularly suitable for classic styles. If you have enough space for people to move around comfortably, a 180 cm long rectangular table can seat six people, while a 240 cm long rectangular table can comfortably accommodate eight people.

Before making a purchase, it’s important to conduct thorough research to understand the pros and cons of different dining table shapes, particularly when it comes to the debate of round vs rectangular dining tables

4. Type of Usage

Before you buy a dining table, think about how you use it. If your whole family regularly sits around the table, go for a medium to large-sized table made of durable materials. But if you don't use the table as often, you can consider more decorative options like a table top with a patterned veneer.

If you're living in a rented home, it's a good idea to choose a dining table that is lightweight and durable. Another option to consider is a drop leaf table, which allows you to extend the table top when needed. If you plan to use the table outdoors, plastic or rattan tables are excellent choices.

5. Type of Seating

The traditional way to pick dining chairs is to get a set that matches the table perfectly. However, these days, mixing and matching different chair styles has become more popular. You can get creative and experiment with chairs of different shapes and forms to add a unique touch to your dining room.

You can even mix and match seating options by combining a dining bench with different chairs. Remember, it's important to consider your own preferences and how you use your dining area when making these choices.

6. Choose the Right Table Materials for Your Style

Picking the perfect material for your dining table can be quite a challenge. You need to think about the price, how easy it is to take care of, and of course, your own personal style. If you don't find a table that ticks all these boxes, you might end up regretting your purchase later on. Let's take a look at the most popular materials and what you should keep in mind for each one:

  • Wood: Solid wood is a timeless choice because it's strong and can be easily fixed. If you're on a budget, you can consider pine, acacia, or teak as they are popular and less expensive options. Although solid wood is the most popular, it's often the priciest. Keep in mind that wood can expand and contract with temperature and humidity changes and may develop scratches and signs of wear, but it's relatively simple to repair.

  • Veneer/Wood-Look: If you're looking for a more affordable option, wood veneer is worth considering. It involves a thin layer of real wood (or printed material that looks like wood) being glued onto a plywood or another wooden base. To ensure good quality veneer, check for tables with clearly marked core interiors, such as kiln-dried hardwood. A helpful tip to identify cheaper veneers is to take a peek underneath the table while you're in the store.

  • Stone and Stone-Look: Stone tabletops come in different types such as marble, sintered stone, or cast stone (like cement). Stone is strong and long-lasting, but it can absorb stains easily because it has tiny holes in its surface. Depending on how it's made, it can get chipped or cracked, and unfortunately, it can be difficult or even impossible to fix once that happens. It's also important to note that stone tabletops tend to be quite heavy.

  • Glass: Glass tabletops are available in clear, frosted, or tinted versions. They are relatively affordable and give a sense of openness and spaciousness to a room. While glass is not affected by moisture, it can get chipped, scratched, or cracked if exposed to heat.

    Additionally, glass shows every fingerprint, so you'll need to wipe it clean frequently. A good-quality glass tabletop can last for many years if you handle it with care and avoid accidentally chipping the edges or scratching the surface. However, if you're prone to such accidents, it might not maintain its attractive appearance for long. 

  • Metal: Metal is a popular choice for table bases, including stainless steel, brass, zinc, and painted versions. It's a strong and durable material that can withstand a lot of wear and tear.

    However, it does have a shiny surface that shows fingerprints easily, so you may need special cleaning tools. If the metal is painted, it can be difficult to fix if it gets damaged. Metal tables are usually less expensive than wooden ones, although you don't often see dining tables made entirely of metal, except for utility tables.

  • Plastic and Laminates: If you're looking for an affordable option, plastic and laminates are worth considering. These materials are either moulded into a specific shape or glued onto plywood or another base. While they may not be considered the highest quality, they can still last a long time. The good thing is that they resist stains well and require minimal maintenance. However, some people perceive them as being on the cheaper side.


1. How do I determine the ideal size of a dining table for my space?

To determine the ideal size of a dining table for your space, start by measuring the area where you plan to place it. Consider the number of people you want to accommodate and their seating needs. Leave enough room for people to comfortably move around the table, typically around 90cm to 120cm of space between the table and walls or other furniture.

If you want more detailed guidance, you can check out our Dining Table Size Guide for Malaysians

2. What are the different dining table styles available?

There are various dining table styles available. Some popular ones include minimalist styles like Scandinavian design, which focuses on simplicity and clean lines. Modern styles often feature sleek and contemporary designs, with options like extendable tables that can be adjusted to accommodate different numbers of guests.

3. Which table shape is suitable for smaller dining rooms?

For smaller dining rooms, round or oval tables are often suitable. These shapes help save space by eliminating sharp corners and allow for better traffic flow. They can also create a more intimate and cosy dining atmosphere.

4. How should I choose the seating options for my dining table?

When choosing seating options for your dining table, consider both comfort and style. Chairs with cushioned seats provide more comfort, while those with armrests can offer additional support. Make sure the height of the chairs matches the table's height for a comfortable dining experience. You may also consider benches, which can save space and accommodate more people.


Choosing the right dining table is really important to make your dining area cosy and practical. Think about the size, material, style, and how well it fits your space and personal preferences. 

Set a budget and check out different options to find a table that's long-lasting and looks great too. By taking your time and considering all these factors, you can make dining a special experience for you and your guests.

Now that you have a better understanding on how to choose a dining table, check out our collection of modern dining tables in Malaysia and find the perfect one for your space!

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