It may seem like a stretch, but buying a dining table can be a life-changing experience. Your dining room table is where memories will be made around eating food, playing games, and working. This is quite the investment to make.
When buying a dining table you can expect to pay anywhere from $150 to $4,000. This wide range is dependent on a number of factors, including size, material, craftsmanship, and style. However, there is a great choice for every price range.
This can seem to be a lot of information to process, especially when you want to ensure you are making the right choice. Read on to learn what affects dining table prices, what to expect in your budget, and how to make sure you pick the right table.
What to Know Before Buying a Dining Table
Buying the right dining table is more than spending the most money on the best quality. Your needs will also play a factor in your choice of a dining table.
Some factors that need to be considered before you begin your search are:
- The size and shape of your room
- How many people you will need to seat
- The demands of your lifestyle
Any one of these things can affect the end price of your dining room table, but they all function on a scale.
The Size and Shape of Your Room
The most common table shapes are rectangular, square, oval, and circular. Each fits best in a room similar to their size and shape, but there are some ways to work around this.
A square room cannot easily accommodate a rectangular table because of the lengthier side. Because a round table has a uniform size, it can be a close second choice for square rooms.
The same can be said regarding a rectangular room. Square can work, but it actually might not be big enough for the room. Using an oval table can give more seating space.
Make sure you also know the dimensions of the room and the floor space you will have available. You should also consider how much room additional furniture will take up, and how much room you need to navigate the room comfortably. The usual recommendation is at least three feet of clearance on the sides of the table.
Small Space Considerations
If you have a small dining area or live in an apartment, a dining room table can take up a decent amount of space. Make sure you map out the area it will take up, both floor space and height-wise.
Tables with removable parts or leaves that fold down can offer you flexibility when it comes to setting up a dining room.
Seating Your Family and Guests
While most small tables 48 inches and under can accommodate a family of four, you should also consider any guests you may have. Some people simply use a plastic foldaway table in cases like this, but you can easily accommodate a larger crowd without sacrificing aesthetics.
Round tables have more room for seating than ones with edges, so a circular table that routinely seats a family of four can easily seat six or more. They are also more likely to have pedestal legs, which give you and your guest much more legroom.
Tables with pedestal legs also accommodate expansion leaf pieces better. These are a great way to have more room when you need it without sacrificing the everyday aesthetic of your table. Just make sure your room can accommodate the table when it is fully expanded.
The dining table you select will need to meet the demands of your lifestyle. It will be a focal point of many parts of your life, from mealtimes to game nights. If it fails to meet your needs the table could easily become a burden you ache to replace.
Some things that you should consider are:
- Is there a good chance the table may be damaged (e.g., by kids)?
- Will I need to move the table often?
- Will I be able to care for it adequately?
If you have small children or rowdy pets, you may want to consider a used table until the situation is more stable. Buying a table for your dining room is a sizable investment, but it is okay to put it off until your children have better learned to respect furniture.
If you are currently renting or intend to move soon or often, you should consider how difficult it might be to move the table. Tables with stone tops tend to be heavier and easier to break when moving. Tables with weak joinery can also be damaged in transit.
The last thing to consider is whether you will take the time to provide the proper upkeep for the tables. While it is a small task, we often lead busy lives that do not easily accommodate minor routine changes.
Wood and stone tops need special treatment to stay in their best form, and they could be easily damaged otherwise. If you need something that can handle a quick wipe down you should look for nonporous options or laminate.
While they are additional costs, using a glass top or a tablecloth can also cut down on cleaning demands.
Factors that Determine Dining Table Price
When you are shopping for a dining table you quickly realize that there are plenty of variables to consider, and they all affect how much a dining table is going to cost.
In order to get a better idea of how much the dining table is going to cost, you need to understand how things like size, material, craftsmanship, and style can affect that.
This is an easy subject to start with because it just makes sense. The larger a table is, the more it is going to cost.
This actually does not mean much when you are shopping for a normal dining table, but once you start to go over 48 inches, the price can change drastically. The same goes for tables that have extension leaf pieces.
This is because larger dining tables require more materials and work, driving up the price. Tables that have leaf extensions can cost even more because of the added complexity of the table.
Regardless of the material, they are made out of, tables serve the same basic function. What the material does determine is how long your dining room table will be able to serve that function.
The most common table materials are:
- Composite wood
If you have the money to, it is better to go in and invest in a table made from high-quality material. While the cheaper may appear to function perfectly fine, you will soon run into problems like wobbly legs from cheap joinings or a tabletop that scratches and dents easily.
This is your cheapest option when buying a table for your dining room, and it is one of the most readily available. A good example of a store that relies heavily on composite wood is Ikea.
Composite wood is made by combining lumbar material with things like adhesive, plastic, and straw to strengthen them. While this does not have the same durability as a table that is solid wood, it can get by for quite some time.
Tables that are made using composite wood are also typically sealed using laminate, paint, or veneer. This makes it an attractive choice for those who want to invest in something that does not require much upkeep.
The manufacturing process can be demanding energy-wise, and the sealing material is usually more toxic, so if these are things that matter to you definitely do your research.
Like most things, the price of wood is dependent on supply and demand. This means that slow-growing hardwood will have a lower supply. This wood is also in high demand because of its quality, so that can drive the price up quite a bit.
Some examples of the most expensive (and sought after) wood are:
Softwood like pine grows much faster, and it can meet demand more easily. You can expect to pay less for it, but you should know that it is easier to damage.
You can expect to pay more money for a table with a glass top because of the extra material and durability.
When you purchase a glass top table you are also buying extra stability for your dining table. The glass protects the wood underneath from things like water damage and scratches.
Glass also tends to be easier to clean than wood. Spending the extra money can save you plenty of time and effort.
If you are looking for a table that functions as a conversation piece then you might want to look into stone.
Stone tops like marble can have a classic, timeless feel. More intricate pieces feature intentionally laid stone that creates beautiful mosaics.
Stone pieces can require more cleaning and care than glass and even wood tops, and without that, they can stain and even break.
There is a big difference between tables that are mass-produced and tables that are handcrafted, but that does not mean one is necessarily better than the other. It just means that each method of production can meet needs in different ways.
These tables are an effective way for companies to cut costs, and the savings are passed on to the consumer. They are usually manufactured overseas where labor costs are cheaper.
These are not always bad tables, but there is plenty of room for error when your primary goal is quantity instead of quality.
Hand-crafted tables have the benefit of expert workmanship but expect to pay for it. Craftsmen will put in the hours, tools, and material necessary to create quality dining tables that might even last you generations.
Unlike a dining table coming from mass production, handcrafted tables are heavily inspected. Because the table goes through a person’s hands instead of a conveyor belt, there is less room for flaws or weakness.
These artisans usually have little or no overhead costs that eat up their income, so the money you spend goes straight to high-quality labor and material.
This one can actually be hit or miss. The effect that a table’s style will have on pricing depends more on where you purchase the dining table from.
Some examples of things that fit into the “style” category are:
You can typically expect to pay more for trendy designs or colors than you would for more generic, timeless tables. This is another case of supply and demand, and that is evident when you see the same table selling for a fraction of the price after the trend is gone.
Things that will undoubtedly drive up the cost are the details involved in the table and its brand. Unless they are gaudy or outdated, the more work that goes into a table means the more they will charge for labor. Brands can also capitalize on their reputation.
The terms “vintage” and “antique” can be rather ambiguous. Most items are considered antique if they have lasted more than 100 years. Vintage items have a shorter time span of 20 years.
While they fulfill an aesthetic need, an item’s antiquity does not guarantee its quality. If you are actively seeking outdated furniture, make sure you learn a bit about what has proven its worth from that time.
Spending Less on a Dining Table
If you are shopping for a dining table but have a budget that is almost nonexistent you still have plenty of options to get a good quality table.
Your first consideration should be buying a dining table that is used. You can find these through online marketplaces, used furniture stores, or even vintage or antique stores.
Used tables have shown their worth. While the table you buy will most likely require some degree of repair or restoration, you will already have a good idea of how well it holds up to time and use.
While scratches and damaged finish are to be expected from a used table, some things you need to look out for when buying a used table are:
- Instability such as loose joints
- Excessive wear
- Veneer that is split or chipped
You can always purchase a new table, but unless you have at least $1,000 to spend you will be better off investing in a tried and true table.
Buying a Table When your Budget is $4,000
This is a luxury budget for buying a new dining table, and the market is yours for the taking. This budget gives you plenty of breathing room to search for the perfect table for your dining room.
With a budget of $4,000, you should absolutely pay a visit to a furniture design store or a local artisan. The great thing about having the extra cash to spend is you can customize a table to fit your space and your needs. This means no time wasted trying to find one that ticks all your boxes.
The biggest issues you need to look out for in these tables with weak finish and joinery. You can usually search reviews online to see if there are any complaints in these areas, but you can also test them out on any display pieces.
Buying a Dining Table When Money is No Issue
If you have the luxury of buying a dining table without needing to look at the price tag then the sky is the limit. If you have thousands to spend you can even look into hiring a designer to work alongside you, cultivating a cohesive look for your entire dining room area.
Antique tables that are in excellent condition can cost you anywhere from $5,000 to hundreds of thousands of dollars. These are typically from well-known makers like Kittinger or Biggs, and the manufacturer will have marked them in some way so you can properly distinguish them. In lieu of a brand, they may include unique design details.
Brands like Boca do Lobo and Koket can offer some breathtaking designs, but many of these designers are available “to the trade only.” Regardless, you can be sure to get a piece of high quality and heirloom ability.
There are plenty of factors to consider when buying a dining table, but you can make things much easier on yourself by having a detailed idea of what you need and what your dining space can best accommodate. This will help you figure out what you need to look at when shopping for a dining table.
Your price will always be a product of the table’s material, how it was crafted, and its style. If you are in the market for luxury, there are plenty of options to fit your needs, from vintage to designer. No matter what, make sure you take enough time to be completely sold on your purchase. Buying a dining table is something that will affect your everyday life, so it is worth the extra time and scrutinization.