It amazes me how much my preferences have changed over the years. Not only do I now like olives and spicy food, which were untouchables a few years ago, but I also find fun in simple, everyday pleasures.

This past weekend, I got to partake in what has become one of my favorite pastimes: furniture shopping. My husband Scott and I have been slowly phasing out what we originally purchased as “temporary” furniture pieces, in hopes of replacing them with more durable items.


A new dining table is high on the list. The one we are using now is about two years past its expiration date, and it is a perfect time for us to try and find just the right one. While shopping, I found that we were leaving the furniture showrooms with more questions than we came in with. If you’re also in search of a new dining table, consider these things first:

• Size. When measuring the area for your new dining table, remember to consider extra space to pull chairs out. In doing so, make sure there is adequate space to not only pull a chair out, but also to walk around it. If you want to add other items, like a buffet table or other storage, factor that space in, too. Write down the dimensions, and bring them with you when you shop.

• Shape. A circle or rectangle will offer you different things. A round table will take up less space and allow you to sit more informally and talk more casually than a table with 90-degree angles. However, a square or rectangular shape also will allow for the most efficient use of space, giving you room to seat more guests. If you entertain only occasionally, consider a table with a leaf extension.

• Cleaning. Many of the tables we found were beautiful, but also many had crevices, spaces between tiles or raised edges. Think about how you’ll use your table. Will you use a tablecloth? If so, the surface may not matter. If you prefer a more organic, tablecloth-free surface, a table that allows crumbs to gather in the crevices may not be worth the beauty it provides.

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