How to Buy a Dining or Kitchen Table and Ones We Like for Under $1, 000 Reviews by Wirecutter, A


How to Buy a Dining or Kitchen Table … and Ones We Like for Under $1,000

The Cost Plus World Market Brown Wood Weston Mid Century Fixed Dining Table has been discontinued, so we’ve removed it from this guide.

We spent 40 hours researching what makes a good dining table—including interviewing a master furniture restorer, an interior designer, and four more industry experts—as well as reading dozens of articles and looking at hundreds of tables online (and 50 in stores). Our buyer’s guide will help you determine the right size, shape, and style of table for your space, and what the table’s material and construction can tell you about its longevity. We also recommend 16 tables that we think offer an exceptional combination of quality materials and construction, attractive design, and a good price.

Our picks include small tables for two to four people, apartment-friendly drop-leaf tables, expandable tables, and dining-room-worthy models made to seat up to 10. We focused on tables under $1,000 (and in many cases much less) to find affordable options for first-time homeowners, renters, families with destruction-prone kids, and anyone else who might not be ready to purchase their “forever” table. Of course, you can always spend more, but the pros we talked with agreed that for more than $1,000 you’re often paying for the brand name or pricier materials. Most of our picks are made of either solid wood or high-quality veneer, but we also feature tables made of marble, glass, and metal.

Regardless of whether you’re purchasing new or used, online or in a store, our goal is to help you bring home a table that will work for your lifestyle for many years to come.

Why you should trust us

I have covered home furnishings for more than 10 years as a lifestyle editor for magazines including Good Housekeeping, Woman’s Day, and InStyle. In that time, I’ve written many home-goods shopping articles and interviewed dozens of interior designers, product testers, and other industry experts. My goal is always to recommend the best values in furniture that people can afford.

I’ve also learned from my own dining-table purchase mistakes. Once, I bought a crazy-cheap table that was so rickety, I was scared to sit at it. Another time, I tried a teeny round table—but I had to sit sideways at it or my knees would hit the ornate pedestal. After that, I bought a table that technically fit in my space, but because it was chunky and dark, it looked enormous. You can avoid each of my mistakes if you know what to look for. These days, I have a table that’s comfortable and proportional to my dining area.

For this guide, I read dozens of articles, combed customer reviews, and interviewed furniture experts and interior designers, including Christophe Pourny, a master furniture restorer and author of The Furniture Bible: Everything You Need to Know to Identify, Restore & Care for Furniture; Lucy Harris, an interior designer and principal at Lucy Harris Studio; Jackie Hirschhaut, vice president of public relations and marketing for the American Home Furnishings Alliance; Max Dyer, a furniture-industry veteran and current vice president of casegoods (a category of hard furniture, such as tables, cabinets, and chairs) for La-Z-Boy; Thomas Russell, senior editor at industry newsletter Furniture Today; and Meredith Mahoney, founder and design director of Birch Lane.

How to choose the right dining table for your space and lifestyle

The best dining table for you will be the one that works for your budget, offers solid construction, fits your space, and has a style you’ll love for years. Even if you’re not thinking forever at this point, you can expect to have a table for at least five to 10 years. “Five years is not a long time,” said Pourny. “If it’s your first table, you may use it somewhere else after a few years, so you want it to be simple and sturdy and a style you’ll like for a while.” So a small, well-made table might find a place in your home for years to come.

Here are the factors you should consider before buying a table for your home.

The number-one rule: Your dining table has to fit in your dining area! But a dining table is a deceptively large piece of furniture, and you need to account for space around it, too.

To visualize how a bigger piece of furniture will look in your room, take the time to block out the length and width on the floor (such as with painter’s tape), and also the height of the table.

“In addition to the footprint of the table, you’ll want 3 feet of breathing room on all sides—and more is better!—to comfortably sit in a chair and move around the space,” said Harris. So whether your dining area is part of a multiuse space (such as a great room that you’re dividing into living and dining areas) or you have a separate dining room, start by measuring the length and width of the space you can dedicate to the dining table. Then subtract about 6 feet from those two measurements to get a target dining table length and width.

Next, think about how you’re going to use the table and how many people will typically sit at the table. “Figure that each place at the table needs 22 to 24 inches of table space and that larger scale chairs will require more,” said Dyer. These are the general dimensions you can expect:

As a longtime apartment dweller, I’ve found that the “visual weight” of a piece of furniture can really influence how big it feels in a room. It may technically fit, but it’ll seem huge if it’s a dark or bulky piece or if it’s too close to other furniture. To visualize how a bigger piece of furniture will look in your room, take the time to block out the length and width on the floor (such as with painter’s tape), and also the height of the table. I usually stand on my tape corners with a tape measure and then try to fill in that space with similar-size furniture (like a couple of chairs), after which I take a step back to see how it’ll feel. It also helps to have a friend stand there with the tape measure while you have a look. If your table won’t have a lot of room to breathe because of other furniture nearby, consider a table with a thinner frame or lighter-colored materials.

A dining table is a deceptively large piece of furniture, and you need to account for space around it.

If you’re tight on space, consider options such as leaves that allow the table to expand. “These let you customize the table for different entertainment needs and party sizes,” said Mahoney. The one thing Pourny warned against was too many mechanisms or leaves that were attached or hidden within the table (versus stand-alone leaves). “If you buy things that are too complicated, it’s just more opportunity for something to fail,” he told us. The sturdiest expansion tables will be those where the leaves are solid, separate units that you place on the base once you’ve opened the table (versus a flip-up or butterfly style). If you plan to use your table very differently on weeknights versus weekends, expansion tables can be a great option.

And don’t forget about considerations for moving your dining table into your home in the first place. Scope out any area the table will have to travel through, including doorways, hallways, and hard turns into a room that will limit your maneuverability. “Measure everything first, and treat the delivery team who brings your furniture well!” said Dyer.

“The shape of the room gets first say, since some tables simply do not work in certain rooms,” Dyer told us. Tabletops come in two main shape families, square/rectangular or round/oval. Ideally, you want your table to fill your space proportionately, so if you have a rectangular room, try a rectangular or oval table; if your available space is more square, a square or round table will look better.

For a square room, look for a square or round table. Illustration: Michael Hession

For a rectangular room, look for a rectangular- or oval-shaped table. Illustration: Michael Hession

A round or square table can seem to float awkwardly in a rectangular room. Illustration: Michael Hession

A rectangular or oval-shaped table might look out of proportion in a square room. Illustration: Michael Hession

Square or rectangular tables are the most common, so you’ll find the most options in that category in terms of styles, sizes, and extensions. But a round or oval table can give you a little more space to move around, because it cuts off the corners but still offers a good surface area. “For tighter rectangular spaces, the oval might be the best option,” said Dyer. Harris added, “Round or oval tables can be great for parties and conversation because there’s no head of the table, too.” As for squeezing people in, you’re limited only by the perimeter of the table—but you can lose a little space for serving pieces once you have all your place settings at a round or oval table.

The base—usually legs, a pedestal, or a trestle—can have an effect on how many people you can fit at the table. “You just want to be sure the leg space isn’t being invaded by the supports,” said Hirschhaut. When you see a table in person, sit at it to see if your legs hit the table’s legs; also verify if you have enough space for your knees when you scoot in all the way, and if you can cross your legs underneath the table. The apron—the frame that holds the tabletop up—can cut down on your room to maneuver.

If you want to be more flexible in adding dinner guests, pay attention to the leg width and where the legs are placed. “In general, a table with thinner legs, or where the legs are at the corners, will make it easier to squeeze an extra chair in,” said Harris. And as Dyer noted, be aware: “A leg table is generally limited to how long it can be extended without bowing in the middle.” A very large-scale table might have two pedestals or a trestle base to support it, but a four-leg table that extends really far out could get unstable.

With a pedestal or trestle table, you have more flexibility to add more people to the table. “A center base is the best option to squeeze people in,” said Harris. Pourny told us he was wary of larger round pedestal-style tables because they could be a little less sturdy than a four-leg table. “You have to be able to lean on it and dine on it every day without it tipping over,” he said.

Trestle tables can give you flexibility along the sides of the table but can limit the space at the ends of the table. Dyer said, “The challenge with the trestle table is that there can be spots along the table where a chair is straddling the base.” This situation can be less comfortable and make pushing in chairs impossible. But Pourny told us he liked this style because it’s sturdy and rooted in antique furniture. Look closely at how much space a design has between the edge of the table and where the trestle supports are attached to make sure you have space for your knees.

“If you get something too funky, with too many weird details, one day you may wake up and wonder what you were thinking. Keep it simple and sturdy.” —Christophe Pourny, master furniture restorer

This is the fun part! You can find thousands of options, so first you want to narrow your selections. “Do you want formal elegance or casual comfort? Do you envision a cozy room or a grand one?” asked Hirschhaut. If you’re starting from scratch, browse through sites and make a Pinterest board to see what you’re attracted to.

That said, because a dining table is a big investment, you want to find something you’re going to like for a while. Pourny advised against getting anything too trendy. “If you get something too funky, with too many weird details, one day you may wake up and wonder what you were thinking,” he said. “Keep it simple and sturdy.”

He also said that in general he found that lighter woods (such as white oak or bleached woods), raw or natural finishes, and weathered materials done in cleaner lines tended to stand the test of time. Mid-century-style furniture has become more popular in the past 10 to 15 years and that popularity continues to grow.

“If it’s good wood, in 10 years you can strip it and you’ll still have something to work with.” —Christophe Pourny

Solid wood is a classic material because it is durable and easy to repair. Pine, acacia, mango, and teak are less expensive woods that are becoming more popular now. Different woods have different hardnesses—pine is much softer than acacia, for example, which in turn is softer than walnut. “Solid wood is the most popular, though it’s often the most expensive,” said Hirschhaut. Manufacturers have been working to get the price of solid wood down—IKEA, for one, has an unfinished solid-pine table for just $70, but a larger-scale one from a different retailer can cost $1,000 or more.

“There’s been a move away from dark stains and back toward very natural materials and wood species that people recognize,” said Dyer. Predistressed pieces with rustic finishes can wear a bit better under abuse from little kids.

Wood expands and contracts with heat and humidity and can show scratches and wear, but is fairly easy to repair. “If it’s good wood, in 10 years you can strip it and you’ll still have something to work with,” said Pourny. Heat and moisture can damage the finish, so “be prepared to protect [the] tabletop with pads, cloths, mats or trivets,” added Hirschhaut.


“To avoid [lower-quality wood veneers], avoid cores made from MDF or particleboard and look out for phrases like ‘all wood,’ which can refer to anything derived from wood—like newspaper—or ‘engineered wood.’” —Max Dyer, vice president of casegoods, La-Z-Boy

Wood veneer is often a more economical alternative to solid wood. To create wood veneer, a manufacturer glues a very thin layer of solid wood (or material printed to look like wood) to a plywood or other wood core. Depending on the maker and the materials, wood-veneer pieces can be just as sturdy as solid wood—or quite flimsy. “Generally, veneer is used to achieve one of two objectives: a decorative patterned top (for better goods) or to appear as solid wood (to reduce costs by using a cheaper substrate beneath it),” said Dyer. “A well-made veneer will be a little thicker (1/36″ or greater) and will use multilayer, cross-banded plywood as the core that it is glued to.”

Harris told us that she found good wood veneer to be just as stable as solid wood. To identify good veneer, you should look for tables with clearly labeled core interiors, such as kiln-dried hardwood. “A lower quality veneer, however, will be very thin, poorly printed, and will be applied to multi-density fiberboard (MDF) or particle board,” said Dyer. Harris agreed that a veneer added to composite wood, which is made from fiberboard or other reconstituted wood-pulp-based materials, is less durable and susceptible to delaminating (in which the veneer detaches from the base). “To avoid these lower-quality products, avoid cores made from MDF or particleboard and look out for phrases like ‘all wood,’ which can refer to anything derived from wood—like newspaper—or ‘engineered wood,’ which can mean everything from wood composites to synthetic resins,” said Dyer. You can expect to pay under $500 for a less expensive veneer, but the higher-end ones go into the thousands.

Another way to spot cheaper veneers is to look underneath the table at the store. “If just the outside is finished, but the underneath looks like a different material, the manufacturer is cutting costs,” said Dyer. Also look along the table’s outside edges. “On a solid-wood table, or one with a good veneer, the wood grain will run all the same direction, instead of changing direction,” Dyer noted. Russell mentioned another concern: “Beware of products that seem too cheap, and make sure particleboard says it’s CARB compliant, which means it’s passed emissions tests.” And you can always ask the salesperson exactly what the table is made of—if they’re not sure, that’s a red flag, said Dyer. You can usually touch up a good wood veneer with a bit of stain or paint, but as with solid wood, try to avoid direct contact with heat and moisture.

Stone and stone-look
Stone tabletops can include marble, quartz composite, or cast stone (like cement). “There are both natural and man-made options in the stone category, but it is not a big category in dining tables,” Dyer told us. Stone is durable, but it can be porous and can absorb stains easily. “Depending on how it’s made, it can chip or crack,” said Hirschhaut, and once that happens, it can be tough or impossible to repair. Such tabletops can also be quite heavy. The price of stone can really vary, too: Cement-topped pieces can be under $500, but marble-topped ones run into the thousands.

Glass tabletops can be clear, frosted, or tinted. They’re relatively inexpensive and “can create a feeling of space and openness,” said Hirschhaut. Though glass isn’t susceptible to moisture, it can chip, scratch, or crack from heat. It also shows every fingerprint, making it a higher-maintenance material. A good glass tabletop can last decades if you’re not too clumsy, but will start to look bad in a few years if you’re prone to chipping the edges or dragging plates across the table. You can find larger-scaled glass-topped tables under $750.

Metal, including stainless steel, brass, zinc, and lacquered or painted versions of those, sees use more frequently for table bases than for tabletops. “Metal is durable and not easily damaged,” Hirschhaut told us. But because it’s higher shine, it shows every fingerprint and can require special cleaning tools, making it a higher-maintenance option. And Harris has found that painted metals can be hard to repair: “If you nick a high-gloss or lacquered table, it’s hard to touch it up. I’ve had to try to match nail polish to finishes to try to repair them.” Tables using metal can be less expensive than wood tables, though finding an all-metal dining table beyond utility tables is rare.

Plastic and laminates
Man-made materials, either molded into a shape or glued onto plywood or another core, are an inexpensive option. “They can last a long time, but aren’t considered the nicest-quality material,” noted Harris. These materials tend to resist staining and require little upkeep, but often appear cheap.


A good dining table is sturdy and well-made, with a finish that withstands heavy use while suffering little obvious wear. “The material is a major part of good construction, but a table is only as good as the joinery,” said Dyer. Joinery is the industry term for the places where the base and tabletop fit together—the more solid this fit is, the longer the table will last. “Wood is a great material because it holds a screw, as well as old-fashion joints like tongue and groove, dovetailing, mortise and tenon or pegged tenons,” Dyer mentioned.

At a store, you can look underneath the floor sample: Wood joined directly with wood is very strong, whereas too many attachments and hooks can weaken the construction. In general, the simpler, the better. “Look at the connection points where the legs meet the tabletops and at the corners—if the pieces are starting to separate, you see gaps at the corners, or it’s wobbly when you move it, it’s not well-constructed,” cautioned Harris. “A good table should have some heft to it, you don’t want the legs to be wobbly,” said Russell. And beware of really inexpensive tables: They could be held together with just staples and glue, which isn’t very sturdy.

On the surface, look for tables with a “smooth top,” suggested Mahoney, and avoid ones with deep grooves or “crumb catchers” (Russell’s phrase) in between boards or in a distressed finish that might make them harder to clean. That includes spaces where you might separate the table to expand it. In general, the more moving parts—whether they’re intersections joined with screws or expansion mechanisms for leaves—the more opportunities for the table to malfunction. “The best leaves are the ones where you pull out the table and set the leaves right on it,” said Pourny. “Too many mechanisms—push this, spring that—can get tricky.”

How we picked

To decide which dining tables to recommend, we scoured the websites of furniture retailers including Amazon, Arhaus, Article, Ashley Furniture, Birch Lane, Blu Dot, CB2, Cost Plus World Market, Crate and Barrel, Design Within Reach, Ethan Allen, IKEA, JCPenney, Joybird, Macy’s, Pier 1, Pottery Barn, Raymour & Flanigan, Restoration Hardware, Room & Board, Target, Wayfair, West Elm, and Z Gallerie. We looked for their best sellers and their highest-rated dining tables (which are not always the same thing).

We analyzed each table based on the following criteria:

  • Good-quality materials: At the advice of our pros we looked for solid-wood tables (which you can refinish if they suffer damage) over wood veneers. But we also looked for highly rated tables with glass or stone tops. (For more on materials, see our buying guide.)
  • Timeless style: We looked for tables that most people could expect to still like a decade from now. Pourny told us that lighter woods with raw or natural finishes, as well as weathered materials done in cleaner lines, tended to stand the test of time.
  • High customer reviews: Because we couldn’t test the tables side by side—and we weren’t able to see some of them in person at all—we looked closely at customer reviews to glean what people who had purchased these tables liked and disliked, how well the tables might wear over time, and what the buying experience was like. We gave preference to tables that had a lot of customer reviews and an overall rating of four-plus stars out of five. We do recommend a few tables in this guide that didn’t have online customer reviews, but we looked at those in person.

When we could, we inspected tables at showrooms, including those of CB2, Cost Plus World Market, Crate and Barrel, IKEA, Raymour & Flanigan, Pier 1, and West Elm. We assessed the following attributes:

  • Looks: We judged the tables for their overall appearance in comparison with how they looked online. Many seemed bigger and darker than they did online—something to consider if you’re decorating a smaller space.
  • Stability and construction: We tried to shake, lift, and move the tables around to feel how well-constructed they were. (All of the tables within our sub-$1,000 budget were held together with hardware, versus the traditional tongue-and-groove wood construction you might find in models at higher prices.)
  • Comfort: We sat at each available table in person to gauge its comfort. We wanted to make sure that crossing our legs underneath each table was easy. We found that the smaller the apron (the framing that connects the tabletop to the legs), the more clearance we had to cross our legs and to slide away from the table easily.
  • Signs of wear: We looked for nicks and scratches on the surfaces of the floor-model tables as an indication of how the tables would perform under serious use in the home. In general, almost all of the tables had some damage to their tabletops and to the bottoms of their legs (where a chair would typically hit the side of the table). We found few tables with no damage at all. We noticed more damage when retailers displayed other products on the tabletops and where there was more foot traffic (such as at West Elm).

Because choosing a dining table is so specific to the amount of space you have, your plans for using the table, and your taste, we’re recommending a few tables in the most common categories. We didn’t do side-by-side testing for this guide (we do hope to for a future update), but we did sit at many of these tables in stores or showrooms. For those we couldn’t look at in person, we relied on customer reviews and the advice our experts gave on materials and design. Based on our research, we think these tables will hold up well over time and are some of the best you’ll find for under $1,000.

Dining/kitchen tables for two to four people

These tables comfortably seat two to four people, maybe six if you’re good friends. They have a small footprint, so they’ll work in a tiny dining space or as a kitchen table.

CB2 Brace Dining Table

CB2 Brace Dining Table

A solid wood-and-glass table for four

This lacquered-oak–and–glass table creates a light visual impact that’s ideal for small spaces. The solid-wood base should wear well, and so should the glass if you’re careful.

Buying Options

Why it’s great: Other round tables I saw looked traditional and old-fashioned, but this one has an industrial-modern feel due to its glass tabletop, angular base, and combination of metal and light wood. The see-through top and light-wood legs create a lighter visual impact than an all-wood table does. It comfortably seats only four people at most, because it has legs rather than a pedestal base, but the thin legs are well-spaced, so you may be able to add one more seat.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: In person, I found the Brace a little wobbly. As with any glass top, you should be careful not to drag things across the surface or nick the edges, so use placemats and beware of pairing it with a chair with arms. CB2 doesn’t offer a warranty.

Article Seno Round Dining Table

Article Seno Round Dining Table

The best affordable hardwood table

This solid-walnut table should resist dings and scratches better than softer-wood tables, and the understated mid-century styling will complement a range of interiors.

Buying Options

Why it’s great: We didn’t inspect the Seno Round Dining Table in person (Article doesn’t have showrooms), but this model is one of the few hardwood tables that we found for under $700. Because it’s walnut, we think the Seno round table will look nicer for longer than comparable tables made of soft woods or wood veneer. With its thin, splayed legs, the Seno round table has on-trend mid-century styling that isn’t too exaggerated. Other mid-century-style tables we looked at were either quite bulky, out of our price range, or made of wood veneer.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: We don’t know how this table will wear over the long run, because we didn’t see it in person, and we didn’t find user reviews for it or other Article dining tables. We still feel comfortable recommending the Seno, though, based on the durability of walnut and because we’ve seen that Houzz readers are generally happy with the ship time and customer service for Article furniture. We also had a good experience testing the company’s Ceni sofa.

IKEA Jokkmokk Table and 4 Chairs

IKEA Jokkmokk Table and 4 Chairs

Cheapest wood table and chairs

This is the best budget option we’ve found for a solid-wood table and four chairs. It’s a good set for a first apartment. Just keep in mind that the soft pine dents and scratches easily.

Buying Options

Why it’s great: This is one of the cheapest, best-reviewed finished solid-wood tables we could find (IKEA does have cheaper wood tables, but they are unfinished). The soft pine wood will dent and scratch more easily than hardwoods, but it can tolerate stripping and refinishing (unlike a wood veneer). Many of the very inexpensive tables we saw were made of metal or plastic and had more modern styling, so they looked like cheap restaurant tables. This model’s traditional styling and medium-neutral stain gave it a more quality, expensive look. At the store, I found this table small but sturdy, easy enough to move around for apartment living. If you upgrade to a larger space, you could use it as a desk later. Plus, the package includes the chairs!

Flaws but not dealbreakers: The table is quite small, a bit cozy for four. The floor sample I looked at had a few nicks, including indentations that seemed to be from someone writing too hard with a pen (a problem that is typical of a softer wood like pine). Because of the high cost for shipping, you may want to purchase this table in person. It has no warranty.

Coaster Country Butcher Block Oak and White Finish Wood Dining Table

Coaster Country Butcher Block Oak and White Finish Wood Dining Table

Best cheap wood table

This is the best solid-wood table we’ve found (that also comes with free shipping) for around $100. Purchasers say it’s sturdy and reasonably durable. Modern chairs would help tone down the country look.

Buying Options

*At the time of publishing, the price was $160.

Why it’s great: We didn’t see this Coaster butcher-block-style table in person, but it is one of Amazon’s best sellers and has high customer reviews. Many purchasers say it’s sturdy and an overall good value. It’s one of the cheapest solid-wood tables we’ve found, and the price includes delivery (through Amazon Prime), making it a good alternative if you want an inexpensive wood table and don’t live near an IKEA store (or have a car to get there). The oak tabletop should be more durable than the pine IKEA uses on its solid-wood tables (although it will still dent and scratch easily). The small scale works for an apartment, as a kitchen table, or even as a desk or craft table. The narrow, widely spaced legs offer maximum seating capacity. You could tone down the country-kitchen look by using more modern chairs (or, down the line, painting the table in fun colors). It also comes in an unpainted version.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: We did not test this table in person. But some user commenters complain that the tabletop scratches easily, and that it’s a tight fit for more than two people. Note that unlike the IKEA Jokkmokk table, this model’s price does not include the chairs.

Expandable tables for four-plus people

The tables in this section comfortably seat four to six people when closed, with optional extensions and leaves to accommodate six to 14 people.

West Elm Box Frame Expandable Dining Table

West Elm Box Frame Expandable Dining Table

A clean-lined expanding table

This expanding table is more minimalist than others we looked at, and we like that the leaf stores separately (fewer mechanisms to break). It seats six at its smallest, eight with the leaf.

Buying Options

Why it’s great: The West Elm Box Frame Expandable Dining Table has cleaner lines and more modern styling than other expansion tables we considered. It easily seats six without the leaf and eight with the leaf, and the narrow legs help maximize the space for chairs. Because the leaf stores separately, this table has fewer mechanisms to fail over time, a concern with extension tables. The solid mango-wood top is a little stronger than pine but will dent more easily than oak.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: Though the floor sample we saw had some scratches, it was in better shape than many others on the West Elm floor, particularly those made of wood veneer. The finish on the leaf didn’t match up exactly to that of the rest of the tabletop, so be sure to inspect both the tabletop and the leaf carefully before accepting the table.

Crate and Barrel Flip Small Vamelie Dining Table

Crate and Barrel Flip Small Vamelie Dining Table

A wider expanding table

This table opens like a book, creating a wider (but shorter) dining surface that will seat up to six. It’s a good choice if you like to entertain but are tight on space.

Buying Options

Why it’s great: The clever Crate and Barrel Flip Small Vamelie Dining Table opens like a book and rotates to expand into a wider tabletop, eliminating the need for leaf storage. At 45 inches wide when closed, this model is the smallest expansion table of our recommendations, but unlike the options in our space-saving tables section, it works well and looks good both open and closed. The washed-gray and white combo is a nice update on a farmhouse look for more traditional spaces, but you could update it with more-modern chairs. You’ll find a storage area for placemats under the tabletop, too.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: The model I looked at had some wear along the edges where you lift the tabletop to expand it. The top is made of wood veneer, which you can’t really refinish (barring painting), so you’re pretty much stuck with any dents or scratches. Because the leaves are stored as part of the table, the design does create an opportunity for the table to fail, but I noticed only three hinges, so it seemed less complicated than other self-storing extension tables I saw. Crate and Barrel offers a shorter return policy than other vendors, and no warranty.

IKEA Stornäs Extendable Table

IKEA Stornäs Extendable Table

A solid-wood expandable table

For an all-wood table that will seat six to eight people, we don’t think you’ll beat the price on the Stornäs. The pine will likely get dinged up, but as with our other solid-wood picks, you can eventually refinish it.

Buying Options

*At the time of publishing, the price was $400.

Why it’s great: At roughly $400 currently, the IKEA Stornäs Extendable Table is one of the best values we’ve found for a solid-wood table that seats up to eight. It expands to a little over 115 inches—nearly 10 feet!—making it the second largest of our recommended expanding tables. In the store, it felt solid and sturdy compared with many of the smaller tables on the floor (it weighs more than double the similar-looking Jokkmokk). This medium-tone pine table is simple and would go with many different kinds of decor. The leaves are stand-alone pieces that stow inside the frame, so this table has fewer parts that can break.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: It’s not the most stylish table ever; I found the legs a little chunky for my taste, and they limit the space for chairs (especially when you expand the table). On the floor model I saw, the stain on the leaves did not match that of the rest of the table. Because it’s made of pine, it will ding more quickly than tables made of harder wood, but you can strip and refinish it. No warranty and the high price of shipping make buying it at the store a much better deal.

Dining tables for six to eight-plus people

If you have a dedicated dining space, fill it with a great-looking table. These large-scale tables (ranging from 54 to 92 inches long) seat six to eight comfortably, and you can seat more if you’re willing to squeeze.

CB2 Paradigm 54″ Dining Table

CB2 Paradigm 54″ Dining Table

Classically styled marble and brass table

This model looks more timeless than other marble tables we considered, and the top will resist temperature changes and possibly chip less than wood, but it can also stain more.

Buying Options

Why it’s great: The 54-inch CB2 Paradigm Dining Table combines two big home-decor trends, marble and brass. Though this model is the most trend-forward table among our recommendations, its simple shape makes it less likely to look dated after a decade of use. The surface is a thin (about ⅓-inch) piece of Carrara marble glued to an aluminum core to create a ¾-inch-thick slab. Other marble-look tables I saw (at Crate and Barrel, for example) had very visible scratches, dramatic veining that made them look fake, or too many trendy details to the point where they would go out of style quickly. The thin, widely spaced legs give you plenty of perimeter to add chairs. Because of the shallow apron, I found it comfortable to sit at. It also comes in an 80-inch version. Marble is more resistant to temperature changes and chips and scratches than wood, but can be susceptible to staining.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: The surface of the floor model I looked at had lots of little scratches, but they were visible only when I got very close. Marble will stain more easily than wood or glass. CB2 offers no warranty and a small return window.

CB2 Silverado Chrome 80″ Rectangular Dining Table

Dining Table”>CB2 Silverado Chrome 80″ Rectangular Dining Table

A good table for light visual impact

Less expensive and more modern-looking than similar-size glass tables, the Silverado is a good option if you want a large table that will bring an airy feel to a room.

Buying Options

Why it’s great: Glass-topped tables tend to look either ornate and old-fashioned or too office-industrial, but the simple style of the 80-inch CB2 Silverado Chrome Rectangular Dining Table will blend with a wide range of interiors. This table is inexpensive for its size, and less expensive than comparably sized glass-top tables from other retailers (and many other dining tables from CB2). Because the glass is see-through and the legs are reflective, the table won’t look as big in a room as a solid-wood table would. The table also comes in a 72-inch version and with brass legs for a slightly different look. The base is well-placed for using the full perimeter of the table, and because this model has no table apron, it’s good for people with longer legs.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: The surface of the floor model I saw was quite scratched. Use placemats with this table and avoid chairs with arms, which can chip the sides. And be aware that though glass cleans easily, it will show any spill or fingerprint. CB2 offers no warranty and a limited return policy.

Pier 1 Bradding Collection Natural Stonewash 84″ Dining Table

Pier 1 Bradding Collection Natural Stonewash 84″ Dining Table

An antique-inspired pedestal table

The double pedestals on this table make it easier to seat guests (up to eight) than legs at the corners. Although the top is veneer, the table we saw showed no chipping or scratches.

Buying Options

Why it’s great: We like Pier 1’s Bradding Collection Natural Stonewash 84″ Dining Table for its traditional styling and light, gray-tone natural finish, which give it a more casual, antique, or beachy feel. The lighter finish and thinner base also give it a lighter visual weight than other comparably sized, darker tables. It looks very similar to a table from Restoration Hardware that’s four times the price. Because two smaller-scale pedestals—rather than four legs—hold up the tabletop, you can use the full perimeter of the table to squeeze in more chairs. It also comes in extension and drop-leaf styles. The floor model we saw was covered in merchandise and positioned right by the front door, but it didn’t have a scratch, which made us think it had a high-quality veneer. But because we couldn’t find any customer reviews for this table, we don’t have much of a sense of how well it wears over time.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: I found the floor model a little wobbly when I shook it, but it had not been fully assembled. Because it’s veneer, you won’t be able to refinish the table, but you could repaint it if it chips over time. Pier 1 offers no warranty, so we suggest you check the table out in person in a store before ordering it.

IKEA Möckelby Table

IKEA Möckelby Table

Best big table

At just over 92 inches, this sturdy table is a good option for a large dining area. It’s cheaper than similar-size options and has cleaner lines than most rustic farmhouse tables.

Buying Options

*At the time of publishing, the price was $700.

Why it’s great: In true IKEA fashion, you get a lot of table for your buck with the Möckelby. It’s the biggest, best-looking table we could find under $1,000. With a lighter, distressed finish and picnic-table-style construction, this table has a casual, rustic look, but because it has clean lines and slightly splayed legs, it’s more versatile style-wise than other farmhouse-inspired tables. I found the Möckelby very comfortable due to a shallow apron and widely placed legs, and the center bar was a surprisingly good footrest. This table is not expensive considering that it is the largest one in this group, and it felt hefty and solid in the store. Although this model is a veneer table, we haven’t read any customer complaints about it chipping.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: The floor model I looked at was in good shape, but I worried that the seam down the middle of the table could be a crumb catcher. Even though the pros we interviewed said they recommended against wood veneers mounted over particleboard (because they are less durable over time), this model gives you about as much table as you can get in our price range, and the buyer reviews we saw were very positive. IKEA doesn’t offer a warranty, however, and given the high cost of shipping, you may be better off buying your table in the store if you can.

Space-saving tables

If you really don’t have space for a dining table but want to entertain occasionally, the drop-leaf tables in this section get quite small, so you can tuck yours against a wall or between other pieces of furniture when you’re not entertaining.

Crate and Barrel Origami Drop Leaf Rectangular Dining Table

Crate and Barrel Origami Drop Leaf Rectangular Dining Table

Best console-meets-dining table

This is the nicest-looking and most functional drop-leaf table we’ve found. It works well as a console when closed and seats up to six when open.

Buying Options

Why it’s great: Often, I find drop-leaf tables to be kind of goofy-looking—they seem fine when they’re open but look terrible when they’re closed, or vice versa. Crate and Barrel’s Origami Drop Leaf Rectangular Dining Table, however, truly looks like a console table when it’s closed, looks fine with one leaf up (say, if you were having dinner with one other person), and looks good totally open. On the floor model, opening and closing the leaves was easy. The style is clean and versatile, and because the top is made of solid acacia wood, a newly popular wood that is much more durable than pine or mango wood, it will stand up to wear and tear better than a wood veneer will (and can tolerate refinishing, too). This table also receives high marks from purchasers: At this writing, across nearly 90 reviews on the Crate and Barrel site, it gets an overall rating of 4.7 out of five stars.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: The floor model we looked at had some dings along the edges and was not as sturdy as the stationary tables we saw at the store. Because the leaves and legs are mobile, it has more potential trouble spots over the long term where hardware could break or joints could come loose. This table has no warranty, and Crate and Barrel offers a limited return policy.

Target 40″ Threshold Square Drop Leaf Rustic Dining Table

Target 40″ Threshold Square Drop Leaf Rustic Dining Table

A cheaper console table

This model has a similar design to the Crate and Barrel Origami table, but it’s about a quarter of the price. It’s not as long, and the rubberwood top may scratch more, but overall we think it’s a good value.

Buying Options

Why it’s great: If you like Crate and Barrel’s Origami table but it’s out of your budget, the 40-inch Threshold Square Drop Leaf Rustic Dining Table, a scaled-down version from Target, is a good pick. It’s 20 inches shorter in length but just as wide, for about one-fourth of the price. It folds down as a console or to tuck away in a dining area; when open, it comfortably accommodates four people. The top is made of rubberwood, a softer wood (similar to pine) that will damage more easily than the Origami table’s acacia wood, but you can strip and refinish it if it suffers damage over time. Currently it has an overall score of more than four stars (out of five) across 142 customer reviews on Target’s site.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: We did not see this table in person, but we did read some user comments stating the table was hard to assemble, that the surface can be rough, and that the feet are wider than the tabletop when the leaves are down.

IKEA Gamleby Gateleg Table

IKEA Gamleby Gateleg Table

Sturdy gateleg table

This model is one of the least expensive folding tables we’ve found that can seat up to six (if you squeeze). It looks nicer than other gateleg tables, it’s made of solid wood, and we found it very stable.

Buying Options

Why it’s great: I found that many storage-oriented gateleg tables looked bad, but this table was quite cute both open and closed. At about $250 currently, it’s very inexpensive for a table that can fit up to six. Closed, it comfortably seats two and could tuck against a kitchen wall to free up floor space. The floor model I looked at felt stable when open. The tabletop and frame are solid pine, a softer wood that will dent more quickly than others, but you can sand and refinish it to address damage. The gray painted base gives it an updated country look. A small drawer under the tabletop makes a good spot to store linens. You can also get matching chairs.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: The table is fairly narrow (just over 30 inches wide), so it feels smaller when open than our other drop-leaf picks. The floor model I saw had some nicks on the surface. Because of the mechanisms to expand the table, it has more areas where it might fail in the future. Shipping starts at $50, so you’ll likely want to purchase this table in an IKEA store if you can. It has no warranty.

Cost Plus World Market Round Weathered Gray Wood Jozy Drop Leaf Table

Cost Plus World Market Round Weathered Gray Wood Jozy Drop Leaf Table

A good drop-leaf round table

This model is one of the few affordable folding round tables we found that look good both open and closed. Made of solid acacia, it folds to a mere 18 inches wide and seats four with the leaves open.

Buying Options

*At the time of publishing, the price was $250.

Why it’s great: Unlike some other round folding tables I looked at, Cost Plus World Market’s Round Weathered Gray Wood Jozy Drop Leaf Table looks good both open and closed. It’s less expensive than similar-size wood tables I saw (it’s made of solid acacia). The floor model felt sturdy when fully expanded. It has a good leg-to-top ratio, and the style makes it look like an antique versus a new purchase. With a diameter of 36 inches when open, this table straddles the middle ground between a classic 30-inch-diameter bistro-style table and a standard round (42-plus inches), and it folds down to 18 inches wide (a good size for a side table). With this table fully expanded, two would be comfortable and four would be very cozy.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: The floor model I saw was a little nicked, but not as badly as some of the pine tables I saw at IKEA, and this table could tolerate refinishing because it’s solid wood. If you’re looking for a really small round table, this isn’t it; the table looks bigger in person than it does online, more like a café table than a side table.

[FULL] 41. What Would Noah Kagan Do? – Noah Kagan Podcast Interview

  • Jordan Thibodeau: Thanks David. Excellent podcast.