Dining table for a messy, crafty family
April 20, 2019 1:10 PM   Subscribe

Guess what Metafilter, I'm still bad at shopping and I need your help. Dining table desires below:

Our family needs a new dining room table. (Our last table became unusable due to the stench of overly-perfumed shaving cream. There was also a lot of prior damage to it that we were going to live with for a few more years, but ... yeah, evil shaving cream stench of doom.) We're using our old apartment table now, but it's too small for our family of four. The last couple of days we pondered getting an Ikea table, but Ikea is so freakin' far away and neither parent wants to deal with building Ikea furniture. We don't really enjoy shopping and we really don't want to drag around our kids checking out all the choices at various stores. We don't want to deal with Craigslist, either.

Here's what we need :
- a SMOOTH top. The stinky table had a decorative groove around the edge, and it got filled in with oatmeal, playdough, paint, slime, boogers, etc. It was a pain to clean. We need to be able to easily wipe it clean. No grooves, texture, decorative bits, anything.
- Non-wobbly legs.
- ~70" long
- ~less than $700? Is that possible?
- hopefully no veneer? It's not that I care that much but my kids are so very flipping hard on things!
- We really, really don't want to build it ourselves.

We're just north of Seattle, so if you have a north King County or south SnoCo store recommendation, let me know! Or if there's a table you bought from a national retailer that you would strongly recommend for our situation, let me know!
posted by stowaway to Home & Garden (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Find a used restaurant table base that will stabilize a 48 inch round wooden top. Cut your round from veneered plywood, edge it if you want, but you dont have to. Varathane it to keep it from soaking up fluid if whatever. Or buy the round at a hardware or craft store. Then go to pier one, buy a 48 inch glass round. Go to tj max, get a couple of 70 inch round table cloths, or a 70 inch round lace one with a square one to cross it. Then enjoy your nice looking, impervious to anything, cheap dining table. The glass goes on top of the table cloths. If the whole thing costs more than $200 I would be surprised. The table I currently use, base was found on the curb in 1979. Top was cut to 48 inches in 1985, taken down from a round end booth table. Then the wood top was cut down to 36 inches to fit in the kitchen, the glass was purchased at a 1/2 off sale at Pier 1, for $36. I have three table cloths stored on it under the glass.
posted by Oyéah at 1:30 PM on April 20, 2019

Response by poster: I really appreciate Oyeah's reply, but I should have been clearer in my question: we don't want the table itself to be a project! Between work obligations and raising the kids, we do not have the bandwidth to make or assemble furniture ourselves. We want a table that can hold up to heavy family use - meals, arts & crafts, homework, adults' work ....
posted by stowaway at 1:38 PM on April 20, 2019

I think you will be hard press to find a table that checks all your boxes for under $700 unless you look at used items- which I think you could find something wonderful. One place to check out is the Habitat for Humanity Restore store. We have one in the Boston area, and they get beautiful pieces of solid furniture all the time.
posted by momochan at 2:06 PM on April 20, 2019 [3 favorites]

Your list of criteria narrows things down but you're not asking the impossible. You don't need to build something or search thrift stores if you don't want to. You probably don't even need to leave the house.

Just as an example: West Elm Modern Farmhouse. 72", no seams/grooves, solid wood, inoffensive style. $700. Or check out the rest of the range at West Elm, Crate and Barrel, CB2, etc. I found a bunch of options for you on those sites. What works best for you depends on your style, whether you want round or rectangular, whether you want an extendable table, etc., etc.
posted by caek at 2:39 PM on April 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

Go to estatesales.net and see if they have any good sales coming up that have something you would like. I also have crafty kids and we ruined our lovely beeswax-finished wooden farm table. I dgot a Formica table a couple of years ago for $125 and it has held up remarkably well.
posted by dawkins_7 at 3:19 PM on April 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

Although our West Elm couch is fine, I don't think their stuff is super sturdy. I may be wrong about this. Is there a habitat for humanity store near you?
posted by mecran01 at 3:28 PM on April 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

If by chance there are any Amish communities near, they often make simple furniture very inexpensively.
posted by jonathanhughes at 3:33 PM on April 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

I have the ikea ypperlig which has three panels like a giant picnic table but there were wood smooth versions. Ikea delivers AND assembles. The people will build it for you in like 15 minutes because they do the kits all the time. I had them assemble some bookshelves that were wobbly the last time I'd built them and their assembled versions were solid.

I love my wooden table. We use a runner down the middle so people don't dump stuff all over it but it's where we eat, study, create. It's starting to get a little bit battered at the edges from bumping and knives and it looks loved not gross. It's really easy to wipe down with whatever wood varnish they use. The groove is easy to get into with a knife or cloth if I need to clean something. My kid has played with unicorn slime, we've spilt chili and wax and lipstick on this, it still looks fine.

My sons assembled it and it took them under an hour, but I would highly recommend just adding the ikea assemble and delivery cost into their price tag and considering them as online orders. Only the solid wood tables!
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 6:12 PM on April 20, 2019

I'd recommend taking a look at Fred Meyer's furniture department (I have a table that's solid wood from them that's going on 18 years old, and just now needing a re-finish).

Or Target.

For the next level up in price, look at local places. This one is in Lacey, but they've got a table right at your price range. There's probably places like that up near you. If you have any of those 'unfinished' furniture places, their prices can be good. You can either add the stain, or they'll often do it for you.
posted by hydra77 at 6:32 PM on April 20, 2019

Seconding the idea of a glass table. Soooo Easy to clean.
posted by leslievictoria at 6:37 PM on April 20, 2019

I'd contact this store that sells unfinished furniture. It's nearly impossible for stores like that to keep updated inventory on a web site, so call them and see if they have what you want.

They probably have a price for finishing the table for you, and it will be solid wood and awesome.
posted by amtho at 7:32 PM on April 20, 2019

My refinished, unusual-size dining room table is almost always under a 1/4" sheet of polyethylene cut to fit exactly, which would be about $140 for a 70" table. Any craft work that won't damage fabric can be done on the polyethylene, we eat on a tablecloth over it, if we want to get fancy the polyethylene and the tablecloth come off.
posted by clew at 9:01 PM on April 20, 2019

We have a generic ikea pine table - nothing fancy and it could be any table. We got a glass piece cut to size from a local glass shop (our landlord suggested one and we just went with it). We got it with rounded edges, so no one would get hurt on corners. It wasn’t much over $100, it’s going strong after 5 years, and it wipes up like a dream. Highly recommend.
posted by telepanda at 9:11 PM on April 20, 2019 [2 favorites]

We have the Ikea Norden. We paid $299 for it about 16 years ago, it's currently $329 online. It's solid pine, opens up to 108" long, we've had 17 people crammed around it for Thanksgiving dinner. It's not expensive, so I'm not worried about it getting scratched or stained. It's solid wood, so I could theoretically refinish it. My daughters just finished their 6th grade archaeology projects yesterday, and there was enough room for both their poster boards, supplies, and they could both work on them at the same time without anything more than a token sniping at each other. I'd wager for $700 you could have someone pick it up, drive it to your house, assemble it, and take away the box.
posted by disconnect at 7:25 AM on April 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

Barn Furniture has one that's a bit out of your budget but maybe close enough. I have some of their bookcases and am pleased with them.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:57 PM on April 30, 2019

Response by poster: Still using our old nasty apartment table. It doesn't wobble, so that's something.
posted by stowaway at 4:49 PM on October 10, 2019

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