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How to choose the perfect dining table for your space

How to choose the perfect dining table for your space

Ahead of the bank holiday weekend, when many of you will be gathering with family and friends for a springtime meal, we thought it the perfect opportunity to celebrate the important but often overlooked dining table. It’s the understated centrepiece of every home, where families and friends come together to share meals and make memories. Finding the perfect size and style of table for your space isn’t always straightforward. Before making this important investment, we asked our founder, Nix, to share her top tips with us

NiX by nicola harding dining table wood oval pill


Bigger is sometimes better

“When it comes to selecting a dining table, I would advise getting one as big as your space allows,” explains Nix. “And that’s because one always seems to want more rather than less tablespace. In addition, a table is one of the few things that feels smaller in a room than it looks on plan. This is because, unlike a sofa, which appears like a solid block that covers the floor, a table is visually light, it sort of floats in the space.” 

We would suggest allowing a minimum of 70cm space between the table edge and the wall or other furniture, or up to 90cm for a more spacious feel.

Nicola harding jacobean manor dining table


Versatility is key

If you’re in a smaller house or an apartment where the dining area is blended into the kitchen or living area, a small round table is a great solution. Ideal for intimate gatherings, our 120-cm-diameter Gather dining table comfortably seats 4-6 but can be used throughout the house. “I like to include them in the corner of a drawing room as much as in a kitchen or as a centre table in a hall or entrance,” says Nix of the versatile design. “They also work well as side tables in larger rooms styled with an oversized table lamp, a plant and a pile of coffee table books. A design like this gives you the flexibility to also use it to lay up a lunch.”

NiX by Nicola Harding round wooden dining table kitchen gather round tea breakfast room

At Nicola Harding & Co, our team is always looking for ways in which we can encourage people to move through a house and use different parts in different ways at different times. Placing a smaller round table like Gather in a kitchen not only creates a space large enough for you to eat with the whole family but also functions as a place where you can pull up a comfortable chair for an impromptu spot of work at a laptop or enjoy a morning coffee with the papers.

Similarly, a rectangular or pill-shaped table can be placed behind a sofa and used as a console or a desk and then pulled out and used as a dining table on occasion. “I love using tablecloths, I think it's a wonderful way to be able to quickly ring the changes; to create a sense of occasion or add a splash of colour or pattern to a space. People always feel special and that they're being treated by you if you dress your table.”

NiX by Nicola harding tablecloths dining table tablescaping


Invest in solid wood

A good dining table will live in your home for a lifetime. If you invest in a well-made wooden design it will age gracefully, proudly wearing the knocks and scrapes it gains over the years. Our NiX dining tables are all made from solid wood in a natural oiled or clear lacquered finish that offers a little more protection. “Personally, I like dining tables to be as natural as possible,” explains Nix, “so I would lean towards using the oiled finish that will gain a beautiful patina over time. However, if you're someone who really doesn't like marks or worries about scratches and stains, then having a slightly more robust lacquer finish might be the right thing for you.”

Nicola Harding jacobean manor house dining table pendant light


Maximise space

It may sound obvious, but think about how you will sit at the table and take note of the positioning of the table legs and structure. If the legs are in an awkward place or if there is a bulky structure at either end that is going to knock people’s knees when seated, it’s going to limit the number of people you can comfortably fit around it. To maximise seating space, look for a table that has legs that are set a good distance away from the edges of the top. Sculptural oval shapes or tables with rounded ends, like our Tuck In Oval table, are particularly good for squeezing in extra chairs and if space is tight, it ensures people can get in and out easily without catching their clothing on corners. Bench seating is also a great option for small spaces. Pushed up against a wall, our Front Row upholstered bench allows you to squeeze in as much bottom space as possible and has a removable loose cover so you can throw it in the washing machine.

Nix by nicola harding tuck in dining table breakfast
Nicola Harding & Co

About Nicola Harding & Co.

Nicola Harding & Co is a London-based interior design studio that creates places, not spaces. Rich in atmosphere, our interiors are refined and reassuringly familiar, reflecting and serving the people that use them.

About Nicola Harding & Co