Pod’s Guide to Dining Tables

Pod’s Guide to Dining Tables - Pod Furniture Ireland

The dining table is an important item to take into consideration when mapping the interior of any home – its where we entertain, eat, catch up with other members of the household, and so much more. As it is such a prominently used furniture item and serves so many functions, it is important that the dining table you decide on suits not only your tastes, but also your needs. At Pod, our dining tables are some of our most prized items – we carry a vast array of beautiful tables, many of them fully customisable so you can have the dining furniture of your dreams. Let’s discuss how you can pick the perfect dining table for you.

ethnicraft mikado dining table


Tables to Suit a Large Dining Area

As open-plan layouts continue to increase in popularity, your dining space may not even be confined to a singular room anymore. In a space like this, a dining table might not only serve its primary function – it may also serve as a transitional space, e.g., between a kitchen and family room.

Large dining areas are more likely to benefit from a rectangular dining table. This is because they are designed to seat many guests and provide a better space for entertaining – rectangular dining tables that are readily extendable are also easy to come by.

Oval dining tables may also serve well in a large dining space. The rounded corners of an oval table leave the implication that they take up less space than a rectangular table, as well as create a visually interesting look. Oval tables have the dual bonus of being as accommodating as a dining table while also creating a sense of casual intimacy. Extendable oval dining tables are also becoming increasingly common on the market.


Tables to Suit a Small Dining Area

Perhaps your dining space is confined to a part of your kitchen, or its simply a more casual and intimate space you’re looking to fill.

Round tables are a very versatile style of dining table that are ideal for small gatherings and tend to look great no matter the shape and style of the room. As there is no “head of the table”, round tables feel very informal and relaxed, and everyone is within conversing distance of one another. While round tables can come in large sizes, they are generally not as good for large dining areas as rectangular or oval tables as they have a tendency to feel a little too spaced out and people can feel very far away from one another.

Square shaped dining tables have a slight disadvantage against round tables in that they won’t suit a lot of room shapes – they are best suited to compact spaces that don’t have any round walls. However, unlike the round table, multiple square tables can be placed against one another to provide more seating space if necessary. Like a round table, square tables provide a great sense of intimacy and casual dining.

skovby small dining table

Contemporary vs. Traditional Designs

The style of your home will, naturally, influence the style of your dining area. Is your home a more traditional or more modern style?

There are of course going to be differences in the type of dining furniture that should match your space. Traditional dining tables have an advantage in that they are timeless, and often easier to style. They are usually quite large and bulky pieces of furniture, constructed of thick wooden panels and ornamental details such as engraving, scalloped edges and fluted legs. Traditional tables will always follow the standard format of four legs and a table top and will not be transformative in shape. Traditional dining sets are also always made of wood.

Modern dining sets can come in a vast array of shapes, sizes and colours. They can transform in a variety of ways – e.g., a coffee or console table can expand outwards to become a dining table. The slim outline of the modern dining set will only serve to enhance the other features of your dining space rather than detract from them. The ornamental features that can be found on a traditional table will not serve a modern dining table as they pay heavy focus to straight lines, flat surfaces and compact features.


Things to Consider Before Buying…

There are a number of things to take into consideration before committing to a singular dining table – perhaps more so factors than most pieces of furniture.

How many people do I want to fit around the table? – are you someone who hosts often? Do you have a large family? The amount of people who will be regularly sitting at the table is the most important factor to consider – even more so than style.

How much space do I have for the table? – bear in mind what we’ve said about shapes and sizing above! What shape table is going to suit the shape of your dining room best? Which shape will be the best fit amongst the rest of your furnishings, or for the primary purposes of the table? Always remember to leave at least 90 cm between the table and any walls (or other surfaces/furnishings) so that dining chairs can be pulled in and out without interruption.

What shape should I choose? – again, keep in mind what’s been discussed above! When it comes to shapes, it is important to keep how it will compliment everything else in the room in mind. Once again, this also ties back into the primary purposes of the table and how many people you would like to seat – oval and rectangular for hosting and larger numbers, round and square for smaller numbers and more casual dining.

Just for dining? – the purposes of your dining table are also going to impact the shape and size you must choose. If you’re someone who regularly hosts game nights a round table might be a more appropriate option. If you have small children, extra protection such as a glass or veneer top may be worth considering to protect from any scratches or stains. For people who like to host frequently, such as the cases of dinner parties, a rectangular dining table that is extendable would be most appropriate.

Formal vs. casual dining – the shape and style of your table should also reflect the atmosphere of your dining space. Dining areas that are confined to the kitchen, for example, are usually deemed as casual spaces. Outdoor dining spaces will usually be deemed as casual also – while closed off dining rooms will always give off a more exclusive vibe. A round dining table may look very out of place in a closed off dining room, whereas an oval dining table will not suit the more casual atmosphere of most kitchens. Think about the nature of mealtimes in your home before committing to a table.

Custom Furniture at Pod

Shopping at Pod Furniture gives you the added advantage of curating your piece of furniture to suit your own tastes. Our dining tables – from their tops to their legs and other details – are all fully customisable to your standard. Having a unique, bespoke piece in your home will allow you to truly embrace the space as your own. For more information on our bespoke furniture collection, call in store or contact us today.

Fill or Non-Fill – a fill table is essentially a furnishing that has a subtle design or engraving etched into the table top wood.

Table Tops and Thickness – the thickness of your tabletop is important to consider depending on what style you are aiming for, as well as what functions the table is going to serve. What is also worth considering is if you will need a glass or veneer protective top. At Pod, we offer a 4mm and 6 mm table top thickness.

Legs – the type of legs your table can have are entirely dependant on what kind of top you select (“A” shaped legs won’t look good with a round tabletop, for example). Some of the leg options we offer are H legs, X legs or trapeze legs.


Veneer vs. Solid Wood

Wood veneer and solid wood are both incredibly popular compositions for dining tables. It can be difficult to know which one to choose – or even what the real differences are!

Solid wood is exactly what the name would imply – one hundred percent solid wood. On the other hand, wood veneer furniture consists of a thin layer of wood attached to some sort of inner panel (usually fibreboard). While its common belief solid wood is better quality than veneers, this is not necessarily true and both materials have their own advantages and disadvantages.

Wood veneers will not suffer from the natural warping and splintering that can occur with solid wood products, and because they simply use a slice of wood rather than large planks it will be more affordable and environmentally friendly. This being said however, the thinner wood is more susceptible to damage due to its more fragile nature – especially if liquids are spilled on it. Unlike solid wood, these damages can be more difficult and more costly to repair. However, wood veneers are one of the easiest furniture materials to clean.

In opposition, solid wood is a material where any damage is easily repaired, and any marks or stains can be quickly fixed by sanding or oiling – though these marks or stains won’t show up anywhere near as easily on wood than they will on veneers. While wooden furniture is heavier and less environmentally friendly than furniture featuring veneers, it is also significantly more durable. Pieces that are of particularly high craftmanship can literally last generations.

Another large selling point concerning solid wood tables is their uniqueness. The pattern of bark on a tree serves almost as nature’s fingerprint – thus, no too grain patterns are alike, and this will hold up when it comes to the finished furniture product. Swirls, dark spots and grain lines will come in all shapes and sizes, varying from item to item, sure to bring an air of exclusivity to your home. However, the natural nature of solid wood means that it will react with other natural elements – it should be kept out of direct sunlight to reduce the risk of cracks and splinters.

#33 dining table

Why Choose Wood?

Here at Pod, we strongly believe a wooden composition is the best choice when it comes to dining tables. Wooden tables have great longevity, make for very versatile styling, and in the case of damaging can be easily rectified. Should a wooden table become stained or scratched, sanding is a convenient and effective quick-fix. Make sure to use very fine sandpaper in cases such as these for most effective results. Oiling is also a highly viable option for extra protection – we recommend following the instructions of your table manufacturer when looking for guidance on oiling. Wood also has the added bonus of not suffering from smaller wear and tear marks other materials are very prone to, such as fingerprints.


Wood Furniture Care Guide

Wood furniture might come as a highly recommended choice – but it will need proper care and maintenance if you would like to get the most out of your piece. Although the process of caring for a piece of high-quality wood furniture can sound a little overwhelming and intimidating at first, its actually easy and time-efficient once you know what to do.

Dusting – dusting is a task that must be done not only frequently, but to an efficient standard. Using a microfibre or soft, lint-free cloth, gently wipe in the direction of the grain to avoid scratching the surface. Stubborn dirt may be tackled with a damp cloth, though be mindful too much moisture can damage the grain. Dusting should be done at least once a week, though you may want to increase this if you live in a dusty area or have pets.

Moving furniture – wooden furniture should always be lifted instead of dragged when being moved. This will prevent damage to both the flooring and the furniture. Always lift from the bottom.

Clean using natural products – anything with harsh chemicals is a no-go when it comes to wood furniture. Mild soap or white vinegar solution are sufficient and won’t damage your material. Toothbrushes and cotton swabs can be used for hard-to-reach areas, while a clean, soft cloth will do for general use.

Waxing and polishing – waxing and polishing will keep your wood looking healthy and protect it from the elements. Always dust before waxing, and apply the wax with a clean, soft cloth. If you’re going to use polish, go with a product that’s silicone-free. Apply to a clean cloth and rub on the wood in circular motions before wiping off any excess with a new, dry cloth. Polishing should be done every couple of weeks – waxing, realistically, does not need to be done any more than once a year.

When it comes to damage – in the event your furnishing does get damaged, it should be dealt with immediately to prevent further harm. Light scratches can be dealt with by sanding, furniture polish or wax – larger scratches and chips will need wood filler. Spills should be dealt with immediately using a clean, dry cloth. In the event of tougher stains, use this method alongside a mild soap and white vinegar solution.

Coasters and placemats – prevention is the best cure! To avoid damages happening in the first place, coasters and placemats are your best bet. Plates and cutlery can’t scratch the table with a placemat there to protect it, while coasters will prevent water rings and stains from forming. Make sure your placemats and coasters are a soft material (such as felt) and are non-slip for best results. If you’re going to be placing an ornament like a vase or lamp on your wooden item, it is worth considering putting a large coaster underneath to prevent them too from causing any scratches.

Direct sunlight – as mentioned, as a natural material wood will react to the elements. Keeping your wooden furniture out of the line of direct sunlight is important to prevent it from fading or otherwise being damaged. UV protective spray may also be used. The particles in the wood will also expand and contract when it comes to sudden raises and drops in temperature, so keeping the item away from fireplaces and radiators is very important.

wood dining table

Extendable Tables

While extendable tables are traditionally rectangular in shape, extendable round tables are becoming increasingly popular furnishings on the market. Rectangular tables will simply be made longer by extending, whereas circular tables can easily be reshaped to oval with an extension.

Traditional extendable tables will simply have an under-hang which can be extended upwards and either locked into place or held up with a support. Butterfly extensions are becoming increasingly popular, however; this involves two separate under-hangs that can be extended upwards from the table in either direction. While this is highly practical and can look beautiful when extended, it should be kept in mind under regular circumstance this can make the table look very bulky.


Size Guide

Size (Diameter)

Oval and Rectangular Will Comfortably Sit

Round and Square Will Comfortably Sit

1.2 m

4 People

4 People

1.5 m

6 People

6 People

1.8 m

6 People

6 People

2.4 m

8 People

Not a typical size

3.0 m

10 People

Not a typical size



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