5 designers weigh in on choosing the perfect dining table

Choosing the right dining table for your space can be tricky. That’s why we’ve reached out to the some of the most prestigious and acclaimed architects and interior designers in Australia, who weigh in on how to choose the perfect dining table for you, and how important the dining room is to the home.

If you’re anything like us, your dining tables have probably morphed into school rooms, craft corners or home offices during lockdown. Let’s reclaim them for what they’re truly designed for, coming together.

The happy ritual of coming together of an evening and sharing a meal, (whether virtual or in-person) is so important in times like these to strengthen our sense of community and togetherness. 

A beautiful dining table helps to inspire you to make time for these moments and really cherish the ritual of dining.

Especially when those dining tables are 100% Australian made, which support independent makers and experts in their craft. All of Koskela’s original design tables are made using carbon neutral materials which means they tread lightly on the earth.

By investing in quality craftsmanship and materials, you're investing in a life-long piece which can be passed down through generations. All Koskela dining tables come with a 7-year warranty and are part of our after-care program. Which means if you grow out of your table, we'll buy it back with credits for you to invest in a new Koskela piece. 

1. The Allen Key House by Studio Prineas, photographed by Chris Warnes

 

As a studio, our vision is to inspire a life well lived through architecture and design. The HB table was chosen together with our client for Allen Key House because of its unique design and generosity of scale — two integral characteristics to enhance the liveability, enjoyment and sense of togetherness in the dining area of any home.

Eva-Marie Prineas, Studio Prineas Principal

HB 6 person table

2. SRG House by Fox Johnston, photographed by Anson Smart 

Y-series table; Styling: Stanwix Studios; Builder: SQ Projects and Dotkom Carpentry.

What does the dining experience mean to you?

The dining experience is so important at the moment with our current hectic lives. Its when you stop, sit down and have a meal with your loved ones. Its about setting an atmosphere, and of course who you share your meal with.

What do you consider when specifying a dining table for one of your clients?

The first thing to consider is how many people will likely be dining here more so than not, is it for a couple or a family etc. I like the idea of 'cosiness' during the experience so there is no need for a large table if it's just the two of you.

A cosy banquet will do. I also think about conversation and how people communicate over the table, if its a 10 seater for example my preference would be a more rectangular shape then you can chat to the person across from you easier than if it was a large round table where the distance across from you would be too large for conversation. 

When I think about the dining experience I also think about the wholistic scene including seating and the lighting, pendants are excellent and can compliment a table design perfectly.

There is nothing like a comforting meal at the end of the day with your loved ones in a perfect dining setting, and with the right furniture and lighting this can very easily be accomplished.

3. Fraternal Twins by Carter Williamson, photographed by Katherine Lu

Brolga 6 person table; Client: Cathe Stack; Builder: SFN constructions.

Julie Niass, Associate of Interiors at Carter Williamson, shared insights on factoring in the dining experience in the design process and what to consider. 

"We see the dining experience as something which brings the whole household together, and the dining table is integral in facilitating that. It's important that the table is, inviting, comfortable, generous.

Our approach/consideration of the dining experience tends to depend on our clients/brief... for some it's important to have a connection to the other living spaces i.e. kitchen and living room, in a complete open plan space, while others prefer the dining room to be separate for a more intimate dining experience. When the project permits, we try and give the clients both."

Are there particular limitations that you need to consider? How do you combat these?

Spatial limitations are definitely the biggest one, particularly when working with existing rooms. It's important to consider how the table responses to the space both in its form i.e. does the room lend to a round table or rectangle table, as well as its size i.e. it's important to have something just right, something that doesn't feel too small in the space and equally not to tight. Materially as well I guess you could say there could be limitations, ensuring the material of the table fits in with the rest of the houses palette.

How important is the dining experience to you personally?

Very! Some of my fondest memories of both childhood and adulthood have been the laughs and conversations had around the dining room table.

 I grew up in a family of 7 around one very small round dining table, there was no TV allow while a meal was being served so it was all about the food and conversations.

4. Longueville home by Vanessa Wegner Architects, photographed by Katherine Lu

Mast's Willox table

We asked the founder of Vanessa Wegner Architects what she thought about the importance of the dining experience when designing spaces, this is what she had to say. 

"Yes we definitely consider the dining experience in our designs!

Currently most of the casual dining with families is done on the kitchen island bench - and we now always try to make provision for that with seating both sides of the island (if we have room).  The dining table then becomes a place for larger gatherings and times when you want to have a longer meal that might last a couple of hours.  

The dining table and chairs need to be comfortable and in a space that has a view but is cosy and out of the way of the main circulation space.  

Outdoor dining and indoor are different circumstances however, the two can be combined if space is limited.

The dining experience is super important to me.  I make sure we have a family dinner every night as it is then when you can discuss things with your kids and it keeps the family connection tighter.

 

The Japanese believe it is really important for children especially as it keeps them mentally and physically healthy (to be dining as a family).

I really think a dining table should be timber as it is warmer and enticing to stay and sit longer together as a group. It is also a contrast to most island benches which are mostly stone or a harder practical surface and therefore not as warm and not as enticing to sit around on a cold winters night!  

In summer in Sydney - dining tends to be more more outside and therefore an exterior dining table is important.  There should be a place for it in the design that is under cover or shaded for long lunches!

5. Personal home of Sophie Trippe-Smith, photographed by TDF

PBS 6 person table

Why did you pick this dining table for your home?

I had admired the table a long time in store, hoping one day I would have one in our own home. When we renovated it was a no brainer to add the table to suit our space. I love the rounded edges and the ability to customise your own colours really appealed. I adore colour, so choosing the pale oak and terracotta accents really brought the rest of the interiors to life.

What does the dining experience mean to you? 

The dining experience is full of love, family, food and flowers! Memories are created everyday at the table, it’s where we come together as a family and connect- no matter what happened. Where house meets “home”.

I love dressing up the table every week with an abundance of flowers so the dining area can also be one of beauty. In lockdown, however,  the dining table has many uses-  it’s a work/study table one end, then puzzles, games and food on the other end. We are lucky we have a long 10 seater table so we can really divide the feeling of the table in half when we need to.

 

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