A warm bustling kitchen is often seen as the heart of the home, but we think the real magic happens at the dining table. There’s something about bums on seats and meals on plates that has a powerful impact on our wellbeing… People share stories, open up and connect. In France, Italy and even Canada, family meals are considered sacred. And yet, in many parts of the Western world, the precious time spend eating together at the table is rapidly disappearing.
So why aren’t we eating together anymore? In an increasingly time-starved world, parents are juggling after school activities and lengthy homework sessions with long hours at work or sitting in traffic congestion, while family members tend to come and go at different times of the day. People are eating alone at their desk at work and even guzzling toast and coffee in their cars as they desperately try to squeeze everything into their waking hours.
A place to reconnect & unwind
But the benefits of dining together are impressive. Studies show that family dinners are particularly valuable for children: they boost vocabulary, are a better predictor of high achievement scores for schoolkids than time spent in school, doing homework, playing sports or doing art, and children who eat family meals have a healthier diet and are less likely to be obese. Communal dining improves emotional wellbeing and increases resilience too; cyber-bullying victims bounce back more quickly and teens that eat with the family have more positive moods.
It’s certainly food for thought if you have children. But even if you don’t, there are plenty of other reasons your home benefits from a great dining table . After all, it’s the place for studies to be completed, to enjoy a coffee with the Sunday paper and the place for the chinking of glasses between good friends at dinner parties.
For couples, flatmates and families alike, the dining table is a place to reconnect at the end of a long, busy and often tiring day. In fact, Daring Greatly author Brené Brown says preparing and sharing meals are crucial components of connection and that the dinner table might be the most important piece of furniture you own. (If you aren’t familiar with Brené Brown watch her TED Talk.)
Make it part of your routine
It may seem as though the days of gathering around the dining table are long gone, but we think the benefits of committing to even just a few regular shared meals are well worth the juggling act required to make it happen. The dining table is key to mastering the art of hometime; it’s a space where people can feel relaxed and comfortable and leave their busy lives behind – even for just a few minutes each day.
Choosing a dining table
So how do you choose the perfect dinner table for your home? There are a few important things you should consider when thinking about dining tables.
Size does matter – a lot
The most important factor when choosing a dining table is the size. Aside from the footprint, allow at least three additional feet on all sides to comfortably sit in a chair and move around the space. Measure and mark out the space carefully before deciding on the final size.
Vessel dining table is perfect for larger gatherings. It's well designed for seating at each end allowing for ample seating around the whole table.
The shape of things to come
Your dining table shape should be dictated by the room as it will look best if it fills the space proportionately. That means, a square room suits a round or square table, while a rectangular or oval table is your best bet for a rectangular room. If you have guests over for dinner often, a round table is great for conversation as everybody can talk easily.
The Unity round dining table is ideal for creating an elegant communal dining feel.
Materials make the table
For a table that lasts, it’s best to consider its practical use. Solid wood is highly durable and can be refinished if it gets damaged. It expands and contracts with heat and humidity, so you’ll need to protect the tabletop with cloths and mats. Glass can chip, scratch or crack from heat and also shows every fingerprint, so it’s high-maintenance. Marble is eternally chic and fairly robust – as long as you take care to prevent it getting stains. Plastic and laminates are durable and usually stain resistant.
Base table comes in a range of finishes and is a good all-rounder that is durable and practical.
Quality and craftsmanship
If you’re on the hunt for a dining table that will last through many years of meals with friends and families, look for reputable brands that have an extensive history of using quality materials in combination with time-honoured craftsmanship.
Made of solid Oak the Muuto Split table features split and bent leg detail adds visual interest for a striking, yet highly functional design.
Check out our full dining table range here Or
If you need help choosing a dining table check out our guide to buying the perfect dining table
We’d love to help you create magic in your home with the perfect dining table. Talk to us for expert advice on creating a stylish new table for your home. Call us (09) 302 2651 to arrange free expert advice in-store with our design consultant service.