Design trend: Formal dining tables are back in fashion

The current fashion is for chairs that are in a different style to the table. This set is by Draenert.

It was a boundary-pushing year when it came to kitchen and dining room furniture in 2017: The dining table became a centrepiece once again, with long, narrow tables firmly back in fashion – and the trend is set to continue in 2018.

“Tables play a big role in how we communicate,” says trend scout Gabriela Kaiser. They are “a place for family and friends to get together”, as well as a place for eating, learning, playing and crafts, she says.

The elevation of the dining table to the centrepiece of family life has resulted in bigger and longer designs – up to 3.6m in length has become standard. But is this good news for all of us?

Not everyone has room for a large table. And even if you do have space, in the kitchen or in the dining room, it might not look good from an interior design perspective, explains Kaiser. The reason: A large, imposing piece of furniture needs space to set it off. “It’s like luxury furniture: it only looks so magnificent because it has a lot of space.”

Interior design consultant Katharina Semling agrees. “A table needs space to breathe, like a painting. There should be a lot of space around a big table.”

A large dining table works best if there is plenty of space around it, experts say.

It’s easy to work out how big a dining table you need. The Association for the German Furniture Industry recommends allowing 60cm by 40cm for each person at the table – so a family of four will need a table that is at least 120cm by 80cm.

Mixing materials and colours adds a contemporary touch to formal dining areas like this one. This dining set is by Hulsta.

Semling goes further and recommends a width of 70cm and a depth of 40cm per person. “This ensures enough distance between neighbours,” she says.

“In the middle of the table, a 15cm to 20cm wide strip is needed for plates, bowls and casserole dishes. So a total width of 90cm to 100cm is ideal for a dining table.” For a large dining table, she recommends a width of 100cm to 120cm.

The chairs also need to be taken into account. In order to be able to sit comfortably, you need a distance of 27cm to 31cm between the surface of the table and the chair.

You should also take into account the space required for standing up and pushing your chair back. The German Quality Assurance Association for Furniture proposes an additional 30cm.

Space around the table is also important to ensure it looks right in the room. Kaiser advises around 50cm, extra on each side, while Semling recommends at least 80cm.

A dining table also needs good companions. The current fashion is for chairs that are in a different style to the table. For example, the artisan character of a massive wooden table works well with white and metal, says Kaiser. – dpa

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