If the kitchen is seen as the heart of the home, sitting right next to it is the dining table.

It’s a place to gather with friends and family to share meals, celebrate special moments, do homework and jigsaws – the dining table is one of the most important furniture selections that you will make for your home.

If chosen well, a dining table will age with you, even outlive you and therefore should not be bought on a whim. Here are the essentials to consider when investing in a dining table.

Size

The dining table needs to be chosen based on the size of the room it will sit in. Nothing makes a space look smaller than furniture that is too large for the space.

It’s a great idea to map out the table that you are considering on the floor with newspaper first. Make sure there is enough space to accommodate dining chairs when they are tucked in, but more importantly, when people are sitting at the table.

There should be enough breathing room for people to sit comfortably and get up and circulate without feeling like they are up against a wall. Allow a minimum of 100cm space between the table and walls or other furniture in the room.

Shape

Unless you have a large open plan space, the shape of the table will also be dictated by the room.

Rectangular tables are a classic that will suit most spaces. Think about how you like to entertain when considering the width of a rectangular dining table – if you like to share food in the centre of the table with platters for example, then a wider table makes more sense.

Round tables create intimacy, are great for conversation and a good choice for smaller spaces as they take up less space.

A square table can give you the best of both worlds, but they take up more space and remember the chairs will not be able to be pushed in all the way.

Material and style

The style of your home will narrow down the choices, but a hardwood table will not only stand the test of time but will age and patina beautifully over the years.

Marble and concrete suit contemporary and traditional spaces. They are durable as well as beautiful.

Glass is a great option for small spaces as it doesn’t overpower the space, but not so great for families with small children.