I took this pic of the Boston Public Garden yesterday while strolling through with my dear friend, Linda Holt!
Linda is a fabulous interior designer and photographer, too. Please check out her Instagram and follow her!
Her videos are fantastic, and she gives a ton of wonderful tips on both decorating and photography.
And, now, a letter from a Cherry Chairfield who’s struggling to find cool casual dining tables, plus chairs and stools. Let’s read what she has to say.
After living in our home for five years, my DH has finally given me the go-ahead for us to renovate the kitchen and family room area.
Can I tell you how excited I am?
On top of it, we’re working with a kitchen designer I adore.
By the way, your posts about how to work with a designer and what we need to do to prepare were beneficial. I especially loved the Decorator from Hell and the one about how not to get fired by your designer.
And, that kitchen you did virtually a year or two ago? When I showed it to my husband and told him that’s what I wanted, was when he looked up from his laptop and said. “Oh, I like that, hun. If that’s what you have in mind, then let’s get someone in here to give us a quote.”
That was six months ago, and they are going to start the reno in June.
Everything has been selected for the kitchen, and I love it all.
But, here’s where I’m struggling.
We have three kids under the age of eight. So, yes, there will be an island, and I will have ample room for three counter stools. In addition, there’s a fairly good-sized eating area.
And, here’s where I’m stumped.
I need a good, sturdy dining table that can withstand the abuse by my children. Did I mention that I gave birth to three Tazmanian Devils?
Laurel, I have at least 15 more years of child-rearing. But… I want a stylish kitchen.
And, God forbid, I don’t want a matched “set.”
I also don’t want something hopelessly dated, like in that “granny” post you did. That was pretty funny, though.
Plus, I’m not too big on the clunky, faux rustic transitional furniture look.
So, I need a cool casual dining table for the eating area. We could do rectangular or round. But, it needs to sit 6-8, if possible.
I also need the three counter stools and 6-8 dining chairs.
I know that you don’t give individual advice, but could you maybe do a roundup post of some cool casual dining tables, chairs, and stools that all work together? Pretty please?
when you if you do, please remember that it needs to be PRACTICAL.
I don’t want to spend the next 15 years screaming at my kids and having a nervous breakdown at every meal.
Thank you, “Cherry.” Yes, Cherry is a made-up reader. Originally, this post was going to be about chair and stool combos. Then, I got the brilliant idea to add tables.
My poor laptop is having hot flashes. haha
That is when I know I’m in trouble. It means I have 75 tabs open. I’m not exaggerating. And I’m not going to be finished until Monday afternoon, at this rate.
So, this is going to be a two-parter. Today, I’m going to focus on some stylish, classic, and charming casual dining tables you could use in a kitchen or a more casual dining room.
However, there is still a range from super rustic in a cool antique way, all the way to a table which could be used in a more formal dining area, but it’s not so formal it couldn’t go in an elegant kitchen.
But, before I begin, I have a bit of bad news for Cherry.
It’s about her boys.
I couldn’t wait for my two hellions to grow up and get out of my hair. And, somehow, the years flew by and, I managed not to kill them. (accidentally, of course) But one day, just like that. They were gone. And then, of course, I immediately wanted them back.
But, here’s the thing I didn’t realize until recently.
Grown men are really just little boys, only with bigger bodies.
That’s the only difference.
Oh, you think it’s funny?
The other day, I was doing some dusting when I noticed my makeshift dining table above.
Yes, this one.
Oh, I knew who was responsible for this.
But, what I forgot until a little later was that he was doing a crossword puzzle, and his pen bled through the paper. Actually, it looks like there was tracing paper underneath his crossword. haha.
It could’ve easily been me who did something like this. The only difference is, I probably would’ve noticed and taken care of it.
Okay, I’ve found a bunch of fantastic tables. Here’s what I’m going to do. First, I’m going to lump them together in categories with mini widgets. There will be a very brief explanation of each grouping.
Then, there will be a big widget with short descriptions of the casual dining tables.
Some of the tables are new, some are only a few years old, and many are 100 or more years old. Please click on any image for more information.
The first grouping of casual dining tables is round tables with pedestals or birdcage bases.
The second grouping of casual dining tables is round and oval tables with four legs.
The third grouping of casual dining tables is gateleg and bamboo-based tables.
The fourth grouping of casual dining tables is mostly straight-leg trestle tables.
The fifth grouping of casual dining tables is turned-leg trestle tables.
The sixth grouping of casual dining tables is straight-leg farm tables.
The seventh grouping of casual dining tables is straight-leg tables, a little more formal.
The eighth grouping of casual dining tables is turned leg farmhouse tables.
And the final grouping of casual dining tables are turned leg farmhouse tables but a bit more refined.
Below is the big widget with descriptions. Yes, some of these tables are not in the little widgets. And there are several tables not in the big widget. Please click on any image for more information.
Okay, which of these casual dining tables are your favorites?
I will take several of these tables and create numerous chair and stool pairings to go with them.
How does that sound?
It’s funny, but there are two posts that aren’t that old but already obsolete.
One is 12 classic dining tables you’ll love.
Plus, there’s a companion post which is table and dining chair pairings.
I will try to update those two posts as well.
please pin to Pinterest for reference
In the meantime, if you desire to get a Mother’s Day Gift or flowers online, this is the time to do it. So, please check out the main HOT SALES page. There’s a fun surprise on there.
And, also the Outdoor Furnishings and Gift Page where you’ll find Mother’s Day Gifts and Flowers.
Also, there’s always the decorating book list.
But, one of the best gifts might be one of my rockin’ interior design guides.
I’ve loved that Ave Home table since I first laid eyes on it. To Lisaa who asked how to treat/protect the raw wood, I believe Ave Home has instructions on that.
Gabby Home makes a couple of oval tables that can seat at least eight. One is called “Roderick” and one is called “Rosemary” – same table with different finishes. If it were me, I’d put the Roderick top with the Rosemary base.
Thanks for that info, Lorri.
Great first part of the post.
Although single & childless at the time, I bought a “dining table” that I thought would be practical for the current apartment and future ones – hoping that someday I would have a lovely house and this table would become the eat-in kitchen table. It did – 20 years later. Unfortunately, we moved out of that house only 7 months after purchase when my husband was transferred. However, the table has endured over 35 years and counting. The main part of the table is a 54-inch square. There are four (4) leaves which can be raised independently of each other to form an oval or circular table up to 60 inches in diameter. AND the top has a “bar-top” finish with 9 layers. I can set very warm casseroles and plates on it without worry. There are no visible scratches on it. AND it fits wherever I live. For large (8-10) dinner groups, I just move the table into the living room and lift all the leaves. Just lovely. No one would guess the age or the number of moves!
I am with you, Laurel, missing my rambunctious three sons the minute they left the house. The table I got was a Jupe round table, known as a “puzzle table”. It usually sits 6, but with about 30 seconds of moving the top, it easily sits 10. Now, I can host my sons, wives, and grandkids easily–then send them all home!
Looking at the photos–and I thought, what a pleasant dining room, relaxed and pretty where one could imagine a happy family gathering.
Your “makeshift” white table in your lovely dining room has grown on me and I wondered why–then I noticed that its fluted edge mirrored the woodwork around the windows and I think that’s why I like it there.
The reaction to the crossword endeavor by your loved one evidences a life lived in the real world and an appreciation of the journey. It’s a subtle, dear reminder, I would keep it.
Yeah, I’m keeping it as is. It reminds me of my darling son and it’s proof he was here.
This is one of many days where I regret the gorgeous large gate leg table I passed up for less than $200 at a flea market. What a foolish decision!
About 15 years ago my daughter and her husband bought an old mahogany library table from the Library when the University of Richmond was remodeling. The hole where the green glass shade reading lamp was mounted was plugged and it made a fantastic oversized kitchen table with charm.
@Marianne Kobyluch….I was going to recommend Canadel too. I’ve had a table, chairs and barstools from this company for probably 15 years. Thomasville stores used to carry them. When I moved and needed an additional bar stool, I found a local furniture company who sells the brand. I was able to duplicate the exact piece. Excellent quality. The pieces still look great and they are heavily used.
There are some great looking tables in Laurel’s widgets!
Regarding raw, or unfinished, wood, such as the cedar one seen in the Ave Home widget, what do you recommend using to protect the wood if one likes the raw wood look and does not want to change the appearance of it? Thanks Laurel.
I would have to research that. It’s a great question.
When my two (boisterous) boys were young I bought a 200 yr old French chestnut table. Because it doesn’t have a formal polished finish, a quick wax with steel wool every few months restores its stunning patina. In between times it just gets wiped with a damp cloth. Definitely easy care and still looks great 15 years on. Knocks, dents and scratches are unnoticeable – just add to the stories it could tell.
How beautiful the Boston public gardens are, and how wonderful that you have a kindred spirit to share them with you.
My favorite table is the Chairish blue early 20th century Swedish dining table – on sale for $950.00! But I happen to adore Swedish/Gustavian style.
Stickley makes a traditional casual dining table with extensions on each end that seats six to eight. It is extremely well built and could withstand years of abuse while retaining its character.
Canadel tables are sustainable, well made and you design your own. As a fellow designer, I have specified this company for years. The finish will withstand anything little children can do, except nail polish didn’t work that well. Ha!
Good morning, Laurel.
Thank you for this informative piece on dining tables. Showing examples of each one was quite interesting. What I would love to see addressed, perhaps in a future column, is dining tables that are small and/or serve as other furniture. I’d love to see examples you like that suit one, two or even four people. I really like your makeshift dining table, which looks as if it could serve two purposes: living room without food and dining room with food. That’s the sort of item I need as I got rid of the dining section of the (formerly carpeted, yikes!) living room and don’t yet know where I can set up something for meals within a den area where I don’t want a dining table either. But your table is a superb example of combining both.
Thanks again for the enlightening parts on the types of tables. Have a great day!
Laurel–Your blog is the highlight of my Sunday–You provide amazing advice in the most entertaining style. As an add-on to this post, I’d love to see how you would pick a storage piece (sideboard/buffet/cabinet) which coordinates but doesn’t match.
Thank you for inspiring me!
If you want extra sturdy and durable and easy to dust base, I just got the Bordeaux round pedestal base from Frontgate…..it is so sturdy, built like a rock (6 grand kids, for 4 kids & spouses) and we can dress it up or dress it down. 60″ round with a beautifully made 20″ leaf that can be added so it becomes a 60×80 inch oval. I waited for 20% off and free shipping
Hello Laurel, You are an amateur as concerns open tabs. The other day when I looked, I had over 650 open tabs in one browser, and about 100 in my other one. I have spend the last few days closing tabs, although each one requires a little bit of work–saving information, pictures and the like.
As regards the tables, like Michelle I was able to get one free from a friend who was moving–a nice rectangular granite one. If someone is going to get a dining table with a good wooden top, I would recommend getting a set of fitted table pads–they are not that expensive.
That really made me lol, Jim.
Free works for me!
I just recently used a wonderful table from CB2 for a family dining table. The Sierra marble table is a modern take on a trestle table. It’s very well priced too. Warning though – everything should be in place before you have it delivered because it takes 6 men to move it!
I’m a big fan of yours and look forward to all of your posts!
I had a table for over 30 years. We ate all of our meals there. And every scratch & ding was a fond memory.
The first scratch was the hardest when it happened. But after that christening I relaxed. What I wouldn’t give to be able to go back in time & relive those family meals.
Very recognizable :)…. we ‘scored’ a very nice, very large and very expensive dining table for free from a lady who didn’t have room for it in her new house.
I am VERY HAPPY it already had a few scratches and heat marks! Otherwise I would have been frantic about damages every mealtime. As it is, we are careful to use thick placemats all over. But I just had to let go of the idea that a family dining table can be pristine during its whole life span.
Thanks for the inspiration, Laurel – maybe I will come back to this post when the kids have left home ;)!!
…and the price of their toys😉
Laurel, post by Farrow and Ball colors in real rooms