Help me find the perfect dining table
August 18, 2010 12:45 PM   Subscribe

The perfect dining table exists in my head. Does it in real life?

My requirements:

Standard height (ie not counter/bar)
Rectangular shape that becomes square with leaf
At least 54" square, 60" strongly preferred

Budget is not a huge concern, although less than $1500 is preferred. I'm looking for either a set, or just the table - can always buy chairs separately.
posted by meghosaurus to Shopping (13 answers total)
Wait -- just to be clear, you want rectangular that BECOMES square, and not the other way around? I think that's your issue.

Are you looking to do things other than dine on it, such as game?
posted by Madamina at 12:52 PM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

For fifteen hundred bucks you can certainly have a local cabinet maker create one for you. Make a few phone calls, easy-peasy.
posted by seanmpuckett at 12:59 PM on August 18, 2010

Would drop-leaf sides be acceptable or do you want a leaf that you keep under the bed/in the closet and dig out for Thanksgiving? (Or one of those cool hinged in the middle jobs that hides itself in the table when you aren't using it?)

Is there a particular style you want (Queen Anne, Arts and Crafts, Modern)?

Do you want black, but still showing wood grain, or do you want that laquered black that looks like it was carved out of slabs of pure darkness and then given a coat of wax?
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 1:01 PM on August 18, 2010

I occasionally build furniture on commission. Madamina is right that making a rectangle become square is likely to be the sticking point. It's not impossible, just unusual. How wide do you want it to be without the leaf?
posted by jon1270 at 1:03 PM on August 18, 2010

I needed a large (ten ft x 4 ft) farm table. I found a local craftsman on etsy...he is making it to my exact specifications, and doing four matching benches for $1000. I'm BEYOND thrilled. The top is 100+ yr old oak beams and the legs and apron are being stained a charcoal color. I get it next week!!!

Sorry, got excited bragging about my AWESOME short...try etsy!!
posted by pearlybob at 1:18 PM on August 18, 2010

By rectangle to square, do you mean something like this

or something like this ?
posted by KogeLiz at 1:23 PM on August 18, 2010

You guys are awesome. Yes, I want rectangular that becomes square - I see a lot of pub tables like this, but those are all counter height, which is just too high.

My reasoning behind this is that I have a relatively small dining room and only two people will use it regularly. However, we do like to entertain, and would love to have a more generous table when the occasion arises.

Because our dining area is square, we don't have a lot of room to go longer, like most leaves allow. But we can go wider. A square table with a removable or folding leaf that allowed the table to size down seems perfect, but I just can't seem to find one.

I'm not particular about woodgrain or style - I gravitate toward simple farm tables, but if the legs are ornately lathed, so be it. And custom ordering is definitely an option!
posted by meghosaurus at 1:30 PM on August 18, 2010

KogeLiz, I was thinking more like your second link - a butterfly leaf. Maybe the reason I keep seeing those in a counter height has something to do with having room to fold in?
posted by meghosaurus at 1:32 PM on August 18, 2010

could you buy the tall table with the leaf you like and have it modified?
posted by Sara Anne at 1:35 PM on August 18, 2010

Just something to think about - those butterfly leaves can be annoying because they bang against your knees when you are sitting at the table. We have a crappy faux-50s style laminate table with folding leaves like that and we could only comfortably sit at the ends. Even then, a swinging leaf could hit the side of your knee.
posted by misskaz at 1:50 PM on August 18, 2010

misskaz, I think you're thinking of drop leaves, which are different from the butterfly leaves referred to upthread.
posted by jon1270 at 3:29 PM on August 18, 2010

This is from JC Penney. It's not quite black but I'd keep checking their site because they get new stuff frequently. We have a table from Penneys with a butterfly leaf that measures 60" square when the leaf is open. It's a regular size table and I'm tall and don't hit my knees on the leaf but it does take up some room underneath the table. Shipping is not too expensive and it doesn't feel like cheap furniture either.
posted by shmurley at 6:08 PM on August 18, 2010

Would like to add to the "find a local furniture maker" chorus.

You'll be helping a local craftsperson keep his or her shop open, you'll be able to consult with an expert on design and materials, and you'll wind up with a one-of-a-kind piece of furniture, built to your specifications, with craftsmanship and attention to detail you can't get from volume builders.
posted by notyou at 6:22 PM on August 18, 2010

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