It’s important to think about your room’s style when you’re selecting solid wood dining furniture. Not everyone eats in the same place: some may reserve their dining room for formal occasions, eating in the kitchen on other days. Other people have a single room which doubles as both living and dining room, while still others always eat in their kitchens as their homes don’t have dining rooms in the first place.
Large, rustically-styled solid wood chairs and a big, solid pine or oak dining table match up well with a similarly traditional kitchen, especially if it’s on the large side. These chairs work equally well whether or not they’re accompanied by cushions. Kitchens decorated in other ways will be best suited by other dining furniture. For example, a pine-panelled room makes an ideal fit for pine chairs and table, with cushions tied onto the chairs.
More modern designs of kitchen, with plenty of chrome and black fittings, are likely to be better suited by more modern dining tables. These can still have a solid wood frame, but may be topped with black glass or a darker-shaded wood such as oak. This looks attractive with edging in a wood such as cherry or rosewood. Even in modern rooms, not everything needs to be shiny, bright and gleaming.
The Appeal of Traditional Woods
Just about any dining room can look good with traditional woods, although more unusual woods and veneers work best in more formal surroundings. To some, there is nothing more quintessentially British than a solid oak table, polished thoroughly – but furniture like this may not match well with modern dining rooms. It’s absolutely fine in a traditional room, especially if it’s accompanied by other oak furniture, such as sideboards and cupboards, since that creates a consistently traditional, rustic feel.
Formal dining rooms, however regularly or rarely they’re used, are excellent places to add faux-aged pine or genuine solid hardwood dining tables. This applies even if the rooms are only brought into use around Christmas or Easter, or whether they’re frequently pressed into service when neighbours are visiting.
Most people would agree that there is little that has greater beauty than an attractive dining table featuring a finish that is similar to light or dark aged oak – although care needs to be taken with the polishing, to allow it to develop a beautiful shine. Really skilled polishers can work wonders, making a work of art out of any surface, no matter what wood has been used. These tables should also have carved legs that give an impression of strength and solidity.
Reclaimed Wood Dining Furniture can be Beautiful
The best table tops of all, and indeed those which work best as flat surfaces for formal furniture in general, are those which make use of more unusual woods. Trunks with multiple branches, eye-catching grains and so on make excellent table tops full of whorls and swirls and interest. If you’re looking for a lighter finish, then the likes of beech, maple or ash type finishes should be on your shortlist. If you want something darker, consider dark oak, mahogany or walnut. Professional varnishing, polishing or waxing can really bring out their grains and make reclaimed timber look very similar to these woods
When you’re considering which solid wood furniture to buy, you should always keep in mind what will be a good fit with your preferred wood shade, as light and dark woods will have different needs. Also consider how you’d like them to be finished: French polishing suits formal tables that will feature tablecloths, since these will give the protection that glossy, highly varnished surfaces need to avoid being scratched.
Seasoning and Stability
It’s also a good idea to think about how stable your table will be. Most dining tables are solid and stable, but you can help things along by using carpentry joints rather than just fixings in its solid wood framework. Dovetail joints are particularly strong for wide-slatted areas such as drawers and the sides of free-standing units. For the frame itself, mortice and tenon joints will work best. Although some furniture does use screws or nails, these tend to age quickly.
Furniture that loses its ability to absorb moisture will crack and warp, which will quickly make it unstable; this is the reason for having to balance chair legs with folded paper or the like. To avoid this problem, always use properly seasoned wood. When you select your solid wood dining furniture, make sure that everything matches what you want to see. The key point is this: tables, chairs and other items need to look right against their surroundings.