There are many fundamental reasons for buying a kitchen table set but the number one priority needs to be durability. Most families spend a lot of together time in the kitchen cooking, eating, and drinking and you need to sure that any furniture you add to this room can stand up to constant usage. The potentials for drips, spills and disasters are not “maybe, but when“. It is going to happen. It is just about impossible to predict how much you and your family will spill but unfortunately this is a room made for cooking, eating and drinking and with that there will be accidents.
Product material plays a big part in choosing your kitchen set. Try to find a material that looks good in your space as well as one that can be cleaned on a continuous basis. Wood, metal and glass are excellent for achieving longevity in this application because they can take constant cleaning, typically without causing harm to the product. Obviously there are countless finishes available but if you want something to last it needs to be tough enough not to wear out from daily cleaning. If you decide to add fabric to the seat, back, or both areas try to select a fabric that is long-lasting and washable. Many of today’s fibres can be scrubbed regularly without wearing out in a short period of time. Give much consideration to the colour of the fabric. If you use a light colour it could potentially show dirt and wear far faster than dark tones. If you have your heart set on a white clean look then understand what you are getting yourself into; which may be disappointment when that first spill of red wine splashes out. Many fabric manufacturers say that their fabrics are washable but to be certain, get a swatch from the store and try it out at home. Pour red wine all over the sample and try to wash it out. See if it is possible. It is better to try it out on a little swatch of fabric than having to find out three months later that the company didn’t give you the straight goods and now you have a stain that cannot be removed.
The same rules apply to kitchen chairs as dining room chairs. You must find your fit. Can you place your feet flat on the floor when you are sitting down? Is the depth of the seat pan appropriate for your body? Check the back height to be sure that it fits you in a comfortable position. Are you leaning back too far to eat a meal comfortably? Is the seat pan wide enough to support guests of ample proportions? If the chairs have arms, can you fit comfortably between them? Can the arm chairs slide under the table top? Can you fit your feet under the chair while in a seated position? The most important question to ask yourself is, “are these chairs comfortable enough to be used every day of the year”?
Check the construction of the table and chairs. Be sure that all the joinery is glued and screwed wherever possible. Have they used front-to-back or side-to-side rails on the underside of the chair for extra support? Are they sturdy and ready for 365 days a year of service? As always, they should be solid and rigid with no wiggling because if they are wiggly, keep shopping. The table top and base need to hit the same level of quality. Are the connections strong and well made? Can this table stand up to daily use? If it is a leaf or extension table be sure to open and close it repeatedly in the store to make certain it is easy to use, and that the hardware and mechanism is solid. Is the leaf or extension easy to put into place and easy to remove when required?
The simplest way to see the construction methods of most manufacturers is to flip the table or chairs over and look at the underside of the unit. See if they have added gussets into the corners with ridges so the product can stay square and rigid. See how they have connected the table top to the base. The other simple way is to sit on it. Any table that will be supporting 50 to 100 lbs of drinks, food, and people leaning on it, should be strong enough for you to sit on top of. Of course with chairs the best way to try them out is to sit on them in the store as well. Do the “lean back on two legs” test. While leaning back on two legs, wiggle around in your seat to see if there is any play or if the unit remains solid. Use your common sense as to how much stress you put on the product during this testing, and if the sales rep comes rushing over to stop you, then perhaps that is a good indicator about the quality of the piece.
There are so many styles, shapes, colours, and materials available from so many manufacturers today that you need not worry that you won’t find something you like, because you will. It may not be on your first try; from the first store you shop in; but with the vast selection available, you will end up with a kitchen set to meet all of your criteria.
With so many options available, it is well worth your time to research online to see what is out there to fit your look, comfort, and budget. Even if you see an amazing set that may be over your budget, download the picture anyway and take it with you shopping. You would be surprised how quickly a sales rep can help you find a similar set in your price range just from looking at a picture. They can often source other manufacturers that they carry for a less costly set, while still achieving the same look and style.