Choice can be confusing! When it comes to buying new dining tables & chairs, there’s a wealth of options to peruse; different styles, shapes, materials and even multi-uses to consider. So, it’s no wonder it can sometimes be off-putting to begin the task at hand, especially if you’re unsure exactly what you’re after. This is why we’ve assembled this handy buyer’s guide to help in your quest for a new dining furniture set. Let’s get to it.

Before beginning make sure to consider its use and your current home decor

Before even beginning the search we see huge value in setting out some core criteria, this will help refine your hunt from the get-go. This may well evolve throughout the process, that’s pretty common. The key thing to focus on is to really envisage how the furniture will plug into your space. Below are some of the key things to factor into your decisions at this early stage.

Considering its use.

  • Will the set be for dining only? Will it occupy the kitchen instead of/or overlap with a dining room? Will it suit your home situation and all users of the table set? Having a clear vision of how the dining set will be used will help shape your idea of which material and style will work for your prospective dining tables & chairs. For example, busy young families may want to pick a material that isn’t so easily marked and is easier to clean, keeping those grubby children’s finger marks to a minimum. (We’ll get to material choice a little later). Whereas young professionals may want to consider how the table will operate as a part-time work-from-home station but also easily convert to hosting in numbers. This may play into your considerations of shape – rectangle vs round or extending vs non-extending, whilst also the height of tabletop may also be a factor. (We’ll touch on shape considerations in a moment).

Matching and planning home decor.

  • When it comes to picking out dining tables & chairs, it’s important to consider the style of your potential set against what interior design you already have in place. Use the images on the web listing that place the table within a setting, in your mind then try to place that same dining furniture into your setup. Do the colours combine nicely or complement each other? More importantly – are the styles compatible? If you’re starting afresh with a redecoration project or moving into a new home you will have more wiggle room for which set will work best with the home decor – if it’s the first piece of the puzzle beware that it may set the tone of the room/home decor, so plan accordingly.

The Modern Light Oak Extending Dining Table Set (2m)

Shapes & Sizes To Consider

Dining Tables

Why Choose Rectangle?

Simply put, rectangle dining tables are the most classic of all. They dominate the other available options and for good reason. This means there’s a wealth of styles to choose from. The shape tends to give more surface space for diners, whilst it’s also the most common shape for extending dining tables, which always wins in the hospitality stakes!

This type of dining furniture set certainly offers the most versatility, with two size options often available in one style. You’ll find just that through InsideOut Living, where a healthy array of rectangle options ranging in sizes and styles can be found. Popular rectangle models include industrial style furniture and Modern Farmhouse decor.

Why Choose Round?

Valencia Smokey Oak Round Dining Table with white table runner, vase and black crockery on topThere are a few factors that lead people to opt for a round table – sociable dining is high amongst them. The symmetrical design puts every diner in plain view of each other helping drive dinner conversation nicely. So, there won’t be any down-table cliques forming! Secondly, round dining table & chair combinations can make more sense spatially.

If your home is a cosier size it might be wise to implement a round table into that unoccupied corner. Lastly, the interior design aspect is a consideration – many round tables nowadays tend to be sleek and modern in style so they will suit contemporary settings perfectly. Such as the tasteful Matte Oak Round Dining Table.

Why Choose Oval?

Barcelona Oval Dining TableOval dining tables, as you might imagine, offer the best of both worlds from rectangle and round. You get the sociable curved edges plus the space to enjoy your meals. The shape is often favoured, like the round, if space is at a premium as it can slot into irregular shaped rooms with more ease.

Oval tables also tend to squeeze in more diners vs round tables. However, there’s not a lot of difference in round vs oval, so it boils down to more of a style preference for the buyer. We love the Barcelona Oval Table, with sleek lines and an enduring oak finish.

Dining Chairs

Why Choose An Open-Backed Chair?
A classic will always remain a classic! Open-backed dining chairs, therefore, tend to offer the most options, a timeless design that not only allows ease of use but that also just look great! Having a hollowed-out back means they can be more lightweight and mobile. Plus, as they’re such a mainstay, there’s thankfully plenty of choices ranging from super traditional to sleek-modern seats, or even interior design-savvy options. The size differences between them tend to be small so it really comes down to a stylistic preference. When making your choice, be sure to pair carefully with the table you choose and think about which colour and material complement it best. We think the neutrality of the Atlantic Dining Chair will suit many dining tables, which is why you’ll find many dining tables & chairs are placed together through InsideOut Living as recommended pairings. There are even pre-determined dining sets that benefit from a 10% saving versus if they were to be ordered individually. Some sets are also customisable in regards to seating, get in touch with our customer care team to find out about this.

close up of white and grey dining chair next to matching table

Fabric Dining Chair Dark Grey Gaudi Close Up on pale stone floor








Why Choose a Closed Backed Chair?
Again, this comes down to a style preference really, they tend to be a little more modern in style and can offer more support. For these reasons, the closed-back chair may well best suit your dining furniture set and general home decor if overtly contemporary in feel. It’s certainly something to carefully consider when choosing dining tables & chairs. Another plus point is that with backed chairs there’re many different materials to choose from such as leathers (faux and real), fabrics and wicker. The comfort levels may also be slightly higher with these types of seats as they offer greater back cushioning. We think the Gaudi Dining Chair is a fabulous fabric choice, available in two colours and it even swivels for easy use!


Selecting a Material

Materials For Dining Tables & Chairs

In this section, we’re going to place the tables and chairs together for a look at which materials may best suit your needs and style. With plenty to choose from we’re going to explore a handful of the most popular options only.

Reclaimed Timber – Pine

Reclaimed wood, also known as repurposed timber, is a huge interior design obsession in recent decades, and for good reason. Basically it’s recovered wood from old constructions and industries and it frequently makes up both popular modern farmhouse decor and industrial style decor. There are many benefits to using dining tables & chairs made from this sustainable material, ranging from a stronger altogether harder wood to the integral aesthetic charm and unique character it offers. Read more about the virtues of this popular material in our recent blog article that delves into this versatile and much-loved method of furniture production. 

close up of modern farmhouse dining table tabletop with 3 x green plants and 5 x chairs tucked under tableIn terms of InsideOut Living’s selection, there are great rustic options in the chunky-charming pine finishes of the ever-popular Modern Farmhouse range, whilst there’re sumptuous bright white bases to relish with the White & Grey range. Both are made from reclaimed pine, a material that’s specifically hard-wearing and deftly finished to bring out the best unique qualities from the wood’s grain. The chairs paired with both are also produced from the same timber and offer comfort and durability as well as a classic open-backed style. These dining furniture ranges work splendidly for families, people on the go, and everything in-between as the darker complexion of their surfaces tend to absorb minor staining and, for the most part, are easy to wipe clean and maintain. The durability also means guaranteed years of use. Be wary that harsher chemicals and oils will be harder to take off these surfaces, however.

If industrial style furniture that’s made from reclaimed materials is going to better fit the bill the Urban range is well worth consideration. There are darker tones and stylish metallics to appreciate with the Urban dining tables & chairs, which have been paired nicely with the Gaudi chair. We think this range especially will suit an interior design-conscious modern home.

Oak Dining Furniture Sets

Oak is a renowned classic material for indoor furniture. In particular, the most prized type is undoubtedly solid oak. The hardness, integral quality and clean visual appeal of solid oak are just some features that attract people to this material. Longevity of use is another one. Solid oak has a great level of durability, is timeless in appearance and is known for fantastic weight-bearing qualities. Maintenance of oak dining tables & chairs is also an easy to accomplish task, as generally a dust and wipe down is all that’s required – be sensitive to the exact finish of the item in question, however, seek further advice on finishes such as shellac or waxed oak. 

InsideOut Living has a gorgeous collection of oak dining tables and dining chairs to peruse, front and centre of which is the Kitsilano range and the Valencia range, both crafted from solid oak. 

The intriguing Kitsilano collection combines hints of Nordic style and classic grace. Available in two shades and with a 1.7 metre or 2.2 metre table, both of which are capable of extending. As part of the sets they’re paired with, the rubberwood horseshoe back design Brunswick chair, a delightfully classic feeling seat available in 4 different shades, mix and match within sets just be sure to coordinate this with our helpful customer care team. 

Valencia Light Oak Dining Table Side Profile with dinnerware up on topThe Valencia range combines a metallic splayed frame and plays up a sleek interior design informed visual appeal, available in a 1.7 metre version or in an impressively lengthy 2.4 metres. This table is paired with the closed backed Dali and Gaudi chairs, there’s no forgetting this dining furniture set and its striking stature. We especially see new homes and style-conscious decorators benefitting from the clean lines and simplicity of both the Kitsilano and Valencia ranges. 

Other oak options include the Matte Oak and Modern Light Oak collections, this time with an oak veneer topped table. These bright and breezy collections owe much to Scandinavian influences. A characteristic chevron oak veneer top on the Modern Light Oak range helps these really stand out from the crowd. Available in a 1.6 metre or 2 metre table, the bench included goes especially well with this table. Whereas with the stylish Matte Oak range there are round table options to fawn over also.

Best of the rest, Mixed wood, Mindy, Acacia and Mahogany.

Mixed wood hybrid designs for dining table & chairs are becoming more popular and it’s easy to see why. The combination of different timbers leads itself nicely to creative styles and aesthetics, so we thought we’d include some of our favourite mixed wood options below for you to see for yourself.

The Atlantic Extending dining table and chairs in a Victorian style dining room settingThe Atlantic range represents a lovely mahogany frame and oak-top mix but with traditional tendencies at heart, with two colours to choose from. Mahogany is a fantastic traditional and culturally rich wood that performs well over time but does require some care. Read our recent blog article on how to maintain Mahogany for more insight on this. The Colonial range doesn’t stray too far from another classic recipe but integrates a mindy wood finish. Mindy wood is softer but offers a lovely tactile finish, factor this in if you’re looking to be hard-wearing on the table. The Loft Table integrates an acacia wood top onto a brushed nickel frame, acacia wood is another exotic rich wood, a little softer but with plenty of intriguing appeal. 

For mixed wood seating as a rule of thumb;  for a dining table that displays more traditional looks pair with open-backed dining chairs, for modern you can go both ways but closed backed adds that nuance of the ‘contemporary’ to the equation. Whichever material you choose for your dining tables & chairs, be sure to read around the internet a little more to ensure it’s one hundred percent the best choice for you and your space.


Find Your Perfect Dining Furniture & Flourish

So, now with the materials examined, different shapes explored and all styles leafed through you’re all set to make some decisions for what’s best going to work for you! Please read the above guide as a rough exploration and not a hard rulebook. We hope you were able to glean a tip or two from our dining furniture set buyers guide and will be able to bag a beautiful new piece for your home.

We’ve summarised this guide into a download easy-read format, click here.



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