We’re on our fifth or sixth dining room table since we moved into the new house.
Fortunately, we haven’t actually purchased any of these tables, or we’d no longer have a living room. We’d just have one huge space filled with mismatched dining room tables. We could host some major banquets, though.
The problem is, we keep seeing tables we like, and we say “Well, that’s settled,” but then we keep looking.
First we saw a perfectly suitable light wood dining set at Raymour and Flanigan for around $2,500. Then we saw a high-gloss, double pedestal, two-toned table at Ethan Allen. Then we saw a mid-century, burled olive wood antique table. Most recently, we fell in love with a custom-built, ultra-modern wood and steel table that we saw online and that sells for around $11,000. We loved this table very much even though we had yet to see it in person. Barbara was all set to go do so, even though the closest place she could see it in person was Baltimore.
There are just so many factors to take into consideration when buying a dining room table. There’s quality of course, although, the older we get, the less important is the ability of an object to last for many years. The idea of “heirloom quality” is kind of a moving target; it basically means “something that will last until you die.” When you’re old, a bar of soap can be heirloom quality.
It’s nice to think about owning a really well-made piece of furniture that we can pass down to our daughter. But really, what are the chances that she’s going to like anything we have to pass down to her? In fact, what are the chances that we’ll even like something we buy now in 10 years? We bought our current dining room table almost 30 years ago during our “gray period,” when everything we owned was monochromatic except for splashes of color here and there like the girl in the red dress in Schindler’s List. It has literally been decades since we liked this table, and yet we’ve moved with it twice, and we’ve just never gotten around to replacing it, primarily because it has refused to fall apart so that we’d have to replace it.
Do we really want something that well made?
On the other hand, we don’t want disposable furniture of the type hawked on TV by the tiny bearded guy and his shrill girlfriend. While a 10-piece dining room set made of “solid wood” for $799 sounds like a good deal, I’d be afraid to put anything as heavy as a Thanksgiving turkey on it. Yet, if we buy something really expensive, we’d be loath to put anything on it for fear of ruining the finish.
We can’t even decide what size table we want! There are many more choices if you’re looking for a fixed table rather than an extendable one, but Barbara wants to be able to seat 10-12 people comfortably, so the table would have to be at least 108 inches long. My feeling is that 360 days of the year, we only have to seat 2-4 people comfortably, and we don’t want one of those situations when we’re calling to each other from opposite ends of a massive table. Especially since we don’t have household help to serve us.
And don’t get me started on style. We agree we don’t want anything old-fashioned and overly-ornate, and so we can immediately disregard any table that has gargoyles carved into the base. Beyond that, though, pretty much anything goes. We’re starting to come to our senses, however, and we’re eliminating the real high-end stuff.
So today we’re going to see our next table. Barbara has already seen it and liked it, so we may actually purchase it, so we can get started going through the same ordeal picking a chandelier to go over it.
The best thing about this table is that it’s not overly expensive. So we might be able to afford to put food on it.
See you soon.