They say ‘a dog is for life, not just for Christmas’ and hot on the heels of Christmas come the sales, encouraging us to splash out on new furniture for our homes. A well-made, high quality item of furniture should last a lifetime and well beyond so it’s important to spend some time thinking about what is right for you.
If you live in an old country cottage then a modern designer dining table built of chrome and glass is probably not the right choice for you. There are important choices to factor in as to the style of your home and your existing furniture. Some materials, such as wood, look good in any surrounding and can really make a statement.
If you are going for a contemporary feel then clean lines and contrasting elements such as wood and metal can really fit the bill. If an old-fashioned look is more your thing then you might want to choose a traditional item such as a simple classic farmhouse table made from solid pine.
There are options out there to suit every budget, but deciding on spending that little bit extra can be well worth it in the long run and living with a piece of beautiful, well-made furniture makes that choice even more important.
Bespoke dining tables are a particularly good choice as they offer you something a little different that can be chosen to suit your style, budget and surroundings. A natural material like wood will improve with age if it’s looked after, but shouldn’t require a lot of maintenance.
There are plenty of choices, from soft woods like pine, to durable and sustainable hardwoods like oak. It is best to avoid tropical hardwoods like mahogany or teak as concerns over the environmental impact of logging in the rainforests continues to grow, but you can be sure that a traditional table made from a wood like oak will give your home a warm, rustic touch of style and most UK based furniture makers will only use wood from well-managed forests.
There is a reason that so many antiques are made from materials like oak. Strong, durable and timeless, it is a material that has been loved by craftsmen for centuries. If you choose wisely you may well be buying something that will be passed on to your children and become an antique of the future.
Making the right decision can sometimes mean that you have to think about your future needs as well as your current ones. How many people are there in your family and how often do you entertain?
If you have friends or family visiting at Christmas is there going to be enough space for everybody to sit around the table? There are many factors to consider beyond price and choice of materials and it is worth thinking about the bigger picture.
It’s easier to add a couple of extra chairs when you need them rather than trying to squeeze more people around a small table. Also factor in if the furniture comes ready assembled whether you will be able to fit through your door and in to the room where it will live!
Chloe Cotton is editor-in-chief at The Happiest Homes, a leading UK digital home magazine.