The Sustainable Series Part 3. Dining Tables
The Dining Table, it’s certainly one of the most frequently used pieces of furniture in our home and for many it is an investment piece that you will want to buy once and choose well. It can serve as a center piece for an open planned living and kitchen space or often double as a kitchen bench in a more compact setting. Either way, the longevity of your table will be determined by the quality, usage, composition and environmental factors like direct sunlight etc.
When considering what fits with the concept of sustainable interiors, we look to factors such as longevity and combine them with material composition and manufacturing processes when making a decision. Therefore to simplify it and assist with your decision making let’s explore the main kinds of tables you will be looking at.
TIMBER. A well built, solid timber table adds such warmth to a space and is incredibly versatile in its ability to combine and work with multiple colour schemes and genres which is handy for room updates down the track. Combined with the fact that they are often easy to care for and able to be repaired if necessary ensures that most will fit the concept of sustainability.
Look for tables that are made from sustainable timber or even better, recycled timber. Some of my favourite Australian manufacturers and suppliers include South Coast Custom Furniture, located in Nowra NSW. Their attention to detail and craftsmanship is stunning and you get a real feel for their pride in their work.
Closer to home for me in Victoria is Bombora Custom Furniture who specialise in showcasing stunning Australian timber like Messmate, Blackburn and Wormy Chestnut. Their philosophy is to create timeless pieces that will last a lifetime.
STONE. Stone has that luxurious feel to it, however it must be noted that even with sealing it every 5 years, there is the potential for cracks and chips to occur. Stonethica is a natural stone product comprised of recycled marble and other stones via an environmentally friendly recycling and waste product system and could be a fantastic sustainable option for a stone table top where the finished result is the same as smooth and polished marble. My 2 favorite colors in the grey tones are
GLASS. Glass is visually very light which can be useful in small spaces, however it will show fingerprints, scratches and chips. A tempered glass will not shatter and can handle heat well and could be a good option, especially if teamed with a recycled timber base. The other plus side is that at the end of its useful life is that glass can be recycled so that’s always a sustainable plus. Yard Furniture hand craft their tables in Melbourne using locally sourced, 100% recycled Australian Hardwoods. They are finished in a natural and eco-friendly Hardwax Oil and can be customisable up to 1800mm in diameter
RECYCLED PLASTIC AND POLYCARBONATE. This material is light weight and can be suitable for use both inside and out, although it does have the ability to scratch. If used as an outdoor dining space it’s benefits include being resistant to termites, rot, water and sun damage. It’s not often viewed as a classy interior option, but it is an option…
Things to consider when looking to purchase your next dining table:
Size. To dine comfortably, it is suggested that people have 60-70 cm of tabletop for themselves with 70cm around them to pull chairs out, so take this into consideration when looking at the length and width of your table.
Legs. A pedestal base, especially for a smaller, circular table is a great way to enhance foot room beneath. Having legs spaced as wide as possible will allow more room for chairs as well.
Visual Space. In a large open plan space, the table can certainly be placed as a centrepiece. A pendant light placed above can highlight a specific dining area and aid in creating an intimate atmosphere regardless of room size. You can go ‘chunkier’. However in a smaller, sectioned off area it is useful to be mindful of slimming down the thickness of tops and legs so that it is less imposing.