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    What to Look for in Quality Dining Room Furniture

  • I think that shopping for dining room furniture is one of the easier decisions when choosing pieces for you home. There aren't too many factors to consider... but I guess if you really wanted to make an argument it could be hard, but only if you make it!
  • Look at the design (veneer) in the wood. Decide how much detail you want. Usually for a casual look you are going to want some thing simple. For formal you are going to maybe want something with a little more detail in it.
  • If you are purchasing the standard table that expands they are going to come with at least one leaf that is on average 12" wide, with 6 chairs think about purchasing at least 8 for when you put those leafs in. Most tables with leafs will fit 8 people.
  • Plus having extra chairs is nice because manufacturers don't keep the producing the same styles forever. Buy the pieces you want with the original purchase because the style may no longer be there in a couple years.
  • Most dining sets come with other matching products so look for Servers, Small and Large China Cabinets, Curios, Bars & Bar Stools, Wine Cabinet, Pub Table, etc.
  • Formal dining tables usually have at least 2 kind of tables to choose from. A Rectangle or Round Pedestal Table and/or Rectangle or Round Leg Table.
  • Consider a large area rug for your dining area. Most people will have wood or stone/tile floors and the rug helps define the space. Especially with a wood table and a wood floor it helps break up the space.
  • Remember the decor on the table. Linens, china, floral arrangements, candle holders, silver, iron, glass, pottery... anything goes. But don't overload - less is better.
  • Most retailers will also offer a table pad that is vinyl on the top (made to color match your wood) and felt on the bottom. Not for everyone, but just a a thought when you need a big table for that random school art project or when you lay out all of your holiday decor; it protects the table.

    Wood Veneers

  • The quality of veneers have come a long way over the years.
  • What is a veneer you ask? Well it is basically thin slice of the most attractive parts of the wood that are then cut to pattern, hand laid and glued onto its wood base.
  • If you are looking for a dining set with those intriguing burls, curls, and starburst grains the only way you are going to get it is with veneers.
  • You want to make sure it is being attached to a hard wood frame. Quality furniture should always have hardwood frames.
  • When you are looking at the floor model view the veneer from an angle to see if there is any splitting at the seams. Feel the surface too, you will be able to tell if it is lifting.
  • Most common fancy face veneers: Oak, Walnut, Maple, Cherry, Mahogany, Pecan, Ash, Burls (all different kids - walnut, ash, maple, myrtle, etc.)

    The Basics: What you Should Know

  • Dovetail joinery (Sliding, Thorough, or Half/Full Blind Dovetails) - Resists pulling apart and gives the drawer strength.
  • Corner Blocks - adds strength and support.
  • Dust Panels between drawers - this prevents dust and wood shavings from getting into the drawers under it.
  • Felt Lined Silver Tray - This protects your silverware and other utensils. Sometimes there is also a anti-tarnish cloth in the drawer.
  • Sanded Interior Drawers - this prevents it from snagging your clothing, splinters, etc. Also make sure the bottom of the drawer is a sturdy wood not some flimsy particle board.
  • Drawer Guides - I have always been told that wood on wood guides are the best because over time the wood oils itself. Metal on metal is good too, though it can bend. Ball-Bering metal guides are also very good. I would try and stay away from Wood and Metal mixes - the metal will shave the wood down over time.
  • Solid Wood Framework - Woods such as Cherry, Birch, Mahogany, Pecan, Oak, and Alder are just a few.
  • Touch Panel Lighting - Comes in handy instead of searching for the light switch. Most will also have dimmers on them for mood settings.
  • Plate Grooves - So you can stand up your china plates in the back of the China Cabinet.

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