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My idea of just giving everyone beanbags was ignored.
December 28, 2010 9:46 AM   Subscribe

What kind of table do I want and where can I get it? We've been unhappy with our dining table for some time now, it's too big (tall), it scratches easy, and seems to require near constant care because it's also serving as two people's work table. I'm looking for a small informal table that can work easily as a dining table and a work desk. Is there a name for the kind of table I want and where can I find it in the NYC area. Details follow.

Our current table is a second-hand pottery barn oval thing.

1: Apartment sized:

The ideal table will have leaves to expand but its height and size of the ornamentation is kept small and low to the ground. Should be able to seat 4 people comfortably.

2: Comes with chairs of equal height so we're not banging our needs or dragging on the ground (like we are now)

3. No metal or glass. We can stain wood.
3a Second hand or thrift store are totally fine by us.

4. Ease of care. This stable gets dinged if you look at it wrong - I think it has to do with it mostly soft wood composite (See Pottery Barn above).

5. I wouldn't mind a rustic appearance but SO is dead set against it, as I am against anything too froo or scrolly. Functional is nice, but we can't seem to agree on which end of the form vs. function to take so something in the middle would be ideal.

Does this table exist and where can we find it? Shopping online is fine but I'd really like to able to sit and the damn thing and see how it feels if I'm going to spend 6 hours a day in it.
posted by The Whelk to Shopping (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I own this Ikea table, in birch. Yes, it's Ikea, but the actual-all-wood construction has proven really sturdy. It folds up small which is nice for small-apartment dwellers, and then unfolds to seat four comfortably. It's stood up great to plenty of abuse and the center drawers put it in the "functional" camp in my eyes.

Granted, it doesn't come with chairs per se, but if you're making an Ikea trip anyway to try it out, shouldn't be hard to pick out a set that have the right height for you.
posted by Tomorrowful at 9:55 AM on December 28, 2010


A gateleg table could be nice, that Ikea example is one.

Or a nice fliptop the link is for example purposes, basically the top folds over and you rotate it to rest on the base.
posted by Max Power at 10:09 AM on December 28, 2010


A good solution to the "table gets dinged a lot" is to cover it with a clear vinyl tablecloth, which you can buy by the yard at some place like JoAnn fabric. And if you think it looks a little low-class for company, it is easy to remove.

(I have a long extendable Ikea table, and like it a lot. But it sounds too big for your needs. Crate and Barrel has some beautiful tables as well, but they're twice the money. )
posted by leahwrenn at 10:14 AM on December 28, 2010


Polyurethane?

My grandfather, bless him, polyurethaned the heck out of his kitchen table, which is now mine. I would never have dared, since it's now sort of a family heirloom, but it has made this table so useful! Neither hot drinks nor spills nor wax nor glue, paint or inks have been able to damage it. And it still looks good! I will never get another table that I can't get this kind of full use out of, no matter how pretty it is.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:24 AM on December 28, 2010


And it has a nifty built in leaf that folds out in the middle if you want it. It makes it heavy when you want to move it, but otherwise, it's SO nice not to have to store a leaf in the closet and dig it out when you need it.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:28 AM on December 28, 2010


I would look at the sets offered at World Market. We have a Verona set and like it a lot. It is a little large for your needs, but they have various sizes, one of which should suit your space. Better built than IKEA but still affordable.
posted by kindall at 10:51 AM on December 28, 2010


Oops. Too much Markdown lately.
posted by kindall at 10:52 AM on December 28, 2010


When I was in a NYC apartment, I used two saw horses and a piece of one inch plywood I covered in the stuff you put on bars that they have the do-dads or postcards or whatnot imbeded into. It adds about an 1/8th of an inch and is indestructible. When we had company over for a meal I used a table cloth. No one was the wiser. Home Depot for everything including the finishing product.
posted by AugustWest at 11:03 AM on December 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I really love my Ikea Leksvik dropleaf table, but they seem to have discontinued the model in the US. This model is the one I own, seated two well and four when expanded. It also worked as a work table when expanded too, but only for hobby crafts. Depending on what you are working on, you may need more space.

This pocket leaf table (also called hidden leaf) from CB2 may be the ticket. Sizes down to a two-seat but expands to four or six. It's similar to my parents' dining table, which I love because the leaves are built into the table so you don't have to store them elsewhere. Also nicer than a drop leaf since it won't get in the way of your knees. Reviews do mention it scratches so maybe use a tablecloth or polyurethane it.
posted by mlo at 12:03 PM on December 28, 2010


Purchasing something made out of a harder wood, such as maple, will also help...
posted by Glendale at 1:18 PM on December 28, 2010


Dunno what your budget is -- but maybe consider a custom solution? You'll wind up with exactly the piece of furniture that suits your needs, created by a professional with deep knowledge of design, material, and finish, and you'll help a local craftsperson keep making a go of it.

Can't offer any recommendations local to you, but a quick google got me: here, which looks promising.

Another MeFi regular -- jon1270 is an active woodworker, iirc. He may be a good resource for local recommendations, too.
posted by notyou at 3:25 PM on December 28, 2010


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