If you follow me on Pinterest, you may have noticed that I’m currently pinning dining tables. After 1.5 years in the house, I’m tired of not having dining furniture – heck, or any furniture – in the dining room. We’ve made do by lugging a ratty old $10 craigslist table upstairs and covering it with a tablecloth when we’ve had dinner guests, but in the last few weeks I’ve hit my breaking point. I want to get a real dining room table, and I want to be able to sit down at it for dinner regularly.
There’s two issues that have slowed our [sporadic] efforts to find a table: 1. The dining room is more of a walkway from the living room to the kitchen. 2. Ryan’s got long legs, and when he sits downand those legs fold up, they don’t fit under many dining tables with a lot of clearance – which isn’t comfy for him. So he’s requested that our table be one with a few extra inches of clearance.
The “Ryan’s long legs” issue is the primary reason why we haven’t been able to buy vintage mid-century dining table. Most of them have boards that frame the base, like the expandable Bjursta table at Ikea:
After checking out both vintage and Ikea tables in person, we’ve learned that the presence of that framing board below the table top usually brings the clearance from floor to table down to 22 or 23 inches. Ryan needs 24″ to be comfortable and not risk lifting the entire table with a move of his legs.
And now that we know this, I’m realizing that the majority of tables out there are constructed in exactly that way. . . so it’s really narrowed down our choices. As an aspiring ethical shopper, I’d hoped to buy used and not new – but it’s looking like I’ll have to buy new in order to get the table we want, in the time frame I want (1 month, tops).
After some online browsing, I’ve found only a few options. I love, love, love this super-expandable table from West Elm:
West Elm: Angled Leg Expandable Table. $509
The table may still have the height issue for Ryan. I’m going to call the store today and see if they’ll measure the clearance for me. But the dimensions appear to be a bit higher for overall table height, so I’m optimistic that it may squeeze in barely over the 24″ clearance line.
- Sleek modern lines. Angled legs add a bit of uniqueness.
- Compact: can be used as a 42″ square.
- Expandable: leaves extend the table to a whopping 90″ long, which could seat 10 guests comfortably. Can you say party?
- Like many of the pieces sold at West Elm, this table is made of engineered wood with veneers. Which means if it gets beat up over time, we won’t be able to refinish it easily.
But if that table height doesn’t work, I’m also drawn to this totally different style of table at CB2:
CB2: Blox Mango Dining Table. $499
As you can see from the photo, the super simple and blocky construction makes for more space under the table top. And with the total height coming in at 29.5″ , there’s definitely more than 24″ clearance for Ryan to comfortably pull up a chair.
- Constructed of solid Mango wood, which is sustainable and sturdy
- Simple lines
- Skinny enough to fit in the kitchen
- No expansion leaves, limiting us to seating for 6.
I’m not sure, though, that the Mango table’s 6-person limit is a huge deal. That’s the most we can squeeze into the current dining room.
But because this $500-ish purchase will be a fairly big commitment for us (since we’re used to thrifting and freecycling), I’d really like to choose a table that we can use for years to come, even in future abodes. There’s no guarantee that the Mango table would be small enough to use as a kitchen table for kids in a future home. But conversely, there’s no guarantee that the West Elm expandable table would be sturdy enough to stay pretty for use in that same future home’s formal dining room.
Decisions, decisions. So far I’ve looked at CB2, West Elm, World Market, Ikea. Any other suggestions? Ideas?