Best Dining Room Sets

Updated October 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

43 Models Considered
10 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
527 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Shopping guide for best dining room sets

Last Updated October 2019

We all need to eat, so we all need a dining room set. The kind of dining room set you need depends on your circumstances, present and future.

Before you buy the furniture you’ll be using to share meals, you need to survey your home to determine some basic parameters. Maybe your home has a formal dining room or a large kitchen with a dining area. Maybe you have a great room in which there isn’t a defined space for a table, just an open area between the kitchen and living room. Your home’s architecture will dictate where you can put your new dining room set — and how large it can be.

In this shopping guide, we explore all the possibilities as you prepare to shop for a dining room set. We discuss table size, materials, special features (like expandability, which is very important if you entertain) and more. Read on to get a good handle on what your main considerations should be, and feel free to check out the dining sets we’re endorsing as the best.

Counter-height tables can be placed flush against the wall to maximize space in small areas.

Key considerations

Size

The footprint of your new table and chairs should be one of the first things you think about. A 15-foot dining table isn’t going to be practical in most homes. The basic rule of thumb is to allow 36 inches between the edge of the table and the wall or other furniture against the wall. If people need to walk comfortably behind guests seated at the table, expand that area to somewhere between 54 and 60 inches.

To determine what your space can accommodate, measure the size of your dining room or dining area. Subtract the appropriate numbers from those measurements. Whatever is left over is the largest size dining table you could comfortably fit.

Location

Dining table sets for the kitchen are generally smaller than sets meant for an actual dining room or great room. Kitchen sets are often constructed of metal/glass rather than wood, although wooden ones are readily available. Dinette sets that have only two chairs or stools are intended for use in a breakfast nook in the kitchen.

Dining table sets for a formal dining room are a bit larger. You’ll likely want a table that can seat four or six people (or more) for a formal dining room. Bear in mind that “formal” doesn’t necessarily mean “fancy.” It simply refers to a room that’s set aside for the sole purpose of dining.

A great room is an open-ended area where you may choose to locate your dining table and chairs. Depending on how large the area is and how it is laid out, you could fit a 15-foot table in it with room for twelve or more people and still have room to spare.

Shape

Round or octagonal tables require more space than square and rectangular ones. For this reason, dining rooms in houses tend to be rectangular. Unless you have a specific need for a round or octagonal table, stick with a square or rectangular one, as it will make more efficient use of your space.

EXPERT TIP

A recommended width-to-length ratio for dining tables is 1.618. According to this formula, a table that is five feet wide would be over eight feet long.


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Features

Once you’ve decided what size table you’re going to need and where it will be located, it’s time to take a closer look at the actual dining sets themselves.

Number of places

How many places are there at the table? A manufacturer may claim that a table has room for six, but if the table legs are badly placed or the table is too narrow or short, putting six people at it may be cramped and uncomfortable. Keep this in mind as you shop.

Bear in mind that you also need room at the center of the table for food - unless you serve every meal buffet-style and the food is located somewhere else. If the platters and bowls of food in the middle of the table crowd out the people eating there, it doesn’t matter how many places the manufacturer claims it has. It’s just not comfortable.

Measure the length (or width) of the table from the inside of one table leg to the next. You need to allow about 24 inches of room for each place at the table, so divide the above result by 24. That’s how many places the table actually has.

Materials

Hardwoods such as cherry, mahogany, maple, oak, and walnut are commonly used for dining room sets. Hardwoods are durable and aesthetically pleasing. They are heavy, but they don’t suffer from the warping problems that are common to softwoods.

Metal dining tables with glass tops are admired for their modern look and feel. Glass is easy to clean and doesn’t stain. Fingerprints and dust are easily visible on it, though, requiring you to clean it more often than you would a hardwood table.

Laminate table tops are frequently used on kitchen tables. Durability and ease of maintenance make a laminate table top a good choice for people with young children.

Color

Hardwood tables are rarely painted. Instead, they are sanded, stained, and sealed. This brings out the natural color and beauty of the wood. The color can be anything from light oak to dark mahogany. If softwood tables are painted, they are usually painted black or white, though you may find a smattering of softwood tables with other colors.

Metal tables are frequently powder-coated black. Others are chrome-plated to a mirror shine. Brown and tan shades are also popular.

Modern elegance

This piece combines the elegance of a glass table top with the modernity of black metal frame and black leather seating. It’s easy to assemble and looks great with just about any décor. However, it’s a bit too small to serve as the main eating location for larger households.

Expandability

If a table can be expanded, it will normally have a separate leaf that has to be added to the middle of the table. The leaf will need to be kept in a nearby storage space where it is easily accessible when needed. Occasionally, a table will have a butterfly leaf in it. This type of extra table space folds in on itself and doesn’t require a separate storage area.

Extra chairs

Expandable dining room tables will need extra chairs when the table is expanded. If you’re buying extra chairs to go with your dining room set, you’ll need a place to put those chairs when the table isn’t expanded. Some people opt to keep them in the dining room, perhaps in the corners of the room or along the wall. Others prefer to store the extra chairs in another location, such as a closet or basement.

Height

Most dining room tables stretch 29 to 32 inches from the top of the table to the floor. Counter-height tables, sometimes known as bar tables, are taller at about 36 inches high. These tables come with stools instead of regular chairs. The stools may or may not have backs, and some of the seats are mounted on swivels.

A U-shaped table, often used by the ancient Romans, is called a triclinium table.

Dining room set prices

Inexpensive: On the inexpensive side, you’ll find dining room sets that cost $100 to $200. Many of these choices include metal/glass tables for two or four people that you might see in a breakfast nook. Counter-height tables with stools are also found in this price range.

Mid-range: The medium price range for dining tables runs from $200 to around $500. This is where you’ll find most dining room tables for four to six people. Softwood painted tables and metal tables with glass or laminate tops dominate this category. It is unusual for these sets to include extra chairs. The average length of these tables is approximately 51 to 52 inches.

Expensive: High-end dining room sets typically run over $500, with many topping $1,500. Expansion leaves are common, as are multiple extra chairs. Carved decorative scrollwork and inlays can be found in this price range. Mahogany and teak are often used in the construction of expensive dining tables. Matching end chairs with arms are frequently available. Table length begins at 60 inches without a leaf.

DID YOU KNOW?

The number of pieces in a dining room set always includes the table as one of the pieces. This is why dining room sets are odd-numbered.

Tips

  • When cleaning a hardwood table, avoid the use of standard kitchen cleaner. Don’t use furniture wax, either, as the wax layers would gradually build up. If the manufacturer provides specific cleaning instructions, use those. If not, it’s generally recommend that you mix one to two teaspoons of vinegar with warm water and a small amount of detergent. Wet the cloth, and wipe the table. Use another soft cloth with clean water to wipe off the soap/vinegar solution.
  • If your table has a leaf, put it on the table at least once a month for cleaning along with the rest of the table. This will help the coloration continue to match.
  • Once a year, turn all the chairs upside-down and tighten any screws that have worked themselves loose. This is especially likely to happen if you have children or if the chairs are frequently used.

Sturdy and lightweight

Sleek and lightweight, this dining table with four chairs is made of black steel and tempered glass for a modern look. The steel tube construction provides plenty of strength while still keeping the weight down. Small enough to fit in an apartment, it is sturdy enough to provide years of dining pleasure.

Other products we considered

The Autumn Lane Six-Piece Dining Set from Better Homes and Gardens has an oak table top and chair seats with black legs and chair backs in the early American colonial style. It ships in four boxes and weighs 175 pounds when assembled. A side bench is included.

Another dining room set that caught our eye is the Zinus Juliet Espresso Wood Dining Table with Two Benches. It’s a smaller table that only weighs 56 pounds and is easy to assemble — perfect for a couple or a single person living in tight quarters. Alternatively, it could be used as a separate table for children.

Counter-height tables are also called bar tables or tavern tables.

FAQ

Q. I was looking at a dining room set that advertises a skirt. What is a skirt?
A.
In this case, the skirt is a band of wood underneath the table top. It adds support and strength to it.

Q. What is the average weight of a dining room table?
A.
The average dining room table weighs 180 to 250 pounds, but larger tables weigh more. A weight of 400 pounds is not uncommon.

Q. How much legroom should there be from the chair to the bottom of the table?
A.
Six inches is best, but four and a half inches is acceptable.

The team that worked on this review
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    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Enid
    Enid
    Editor
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor
  • Michael
    Michael
    Writer
  • Stacey
    Stacey
    Writer
  • Steph
    Steph
    Web Producer

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