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Buying guide: Kitchen tables

Dress the hub of your home with a table that's the perfect marriage of form and function.

The perfect kitchen table is equal parts work space and social spot. Today’s kitchen is very much the hub of the home, and the right table provides a spot for friends to chat, lovers to enjoy a Sunday morning latte and newspaper, families to hang out together during the evening homework-and-meal-prep rush.

Locating the perfect table for your home is about balancing space considerations with design preferences and usage patterns. In plain English? Ask yourself these key 5 questions, and you’ll be on your way to the perfect match.

1 How will the table be used?
Some tables get minimal use: they’re there for a fast morning coffee before you buy breakfast on the road and later eat dinner in another room.

Others get high traffic: kids do their homework after school, mom uses it as a second office, the home chef uses it to set out his mis en scène, and casual meals are eaten there on a regular basis.

A light-duty table in a smaller household can be smaller, and, if space-saving is a concern, wall-mounted models that drop-down or collapse are worth considering. Glass or less expensive laminate surfaces will suffice for wear. At the higher end, marble is a nice option.

Heavy-use tables generally should be more generous in dimension, and if cooking equipment will be used on it, sturdy of build. Solid wood may be the best choice in terms of functionality and long-term wear.

2 How much space do I have to spare?
If your kitchen feels “cozy” on the best of days, you may want to think of ways to accommodate your seating. If you already have an island, you may not even need a freestanding kitchen table. Adding a bar extension or peninsula may be a savvier approach, as might the aforementioned collapsible models.

If your kitchen feels spacious to you, you can afford to be more creative, basing your kitchen-table desires on your actual seating and aesthetic preferences. A window niche is ideal for a built-in breakfast booth, if you’re willing to hire a pro for installation.

Image courtesy of Pottery Barn

This article is featured on Home decor buying guides
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