Select a dining table made of sturdy stuff. If you want a table to last through years of dinner party wear and tear choose a table made from a hardwood such as mahogany walnut maple oak and teak. Tables made from engineered or composite woods which include plywoods and MDF are durable and economical but are never as strong as a hardwood.
Color is cool but beware the trendy hue. Today's on‐trend shade is tomorrow's fashion fail so choose wisely. Classic colors such as the primaries (red yellow and blue) usually have staying power mainly because they are so unapologetically basic. Red is a very popular color especially in homes that have a subtle Asian theme as red is a color traditionally associated with celebration and this will work even if the home is minimalist and modern.
Swing‐arm sconce. A swing‐arm sconce designed to extend over the table (like the one shown here) is an unexpected alternative to the traditional chandelier and can work even for renters if you choose a plug‐in version. Because the bulb is exposed you'll need to use a lower‐watt filament bulb to create that lovely soft glow. But because one low‐watt bulb is not enough to light a room on its own it is necessary to supplement with additional lighting – try a second sconce or a pair of lamps atop a credenza.
Rice paper lantern and kids' art wall. Easy affordable rice paper pendant lights come in a wide range of sizes and create a lovely glow when lit. A wall with casually taped‐up children's artwork and simple white walls and chairs add up to a welcoming space where creativity can shine.
Different chairs same color. Sort of like the trend in bridesmaids' dresses to have the ladies pick their own dresses as long as they are in the same hue mixing and matching chair shapes is easy when you match the color. It does help to choose chairs in the same general style (modern traditional) to keep them feeling like a set.
Bench on one side chairs on the other. Putting a low bench on one side of the dining table in place of chairs is an easy way to break up a set typically costs less than buying individual chairs and is great for small spaces. Try an upholstered bench for comfort during leisurely meals or a wooden bench for a sleeker look.
Upholstered chairs at the ends. This is perhaps the most popular way to shake up a set and with good reason – it nearly always looks great. Choose matching side chairs for the long sides and put matching upholstered armchairs at the ends.
Black is always the new black. If you aren't expecting your table to suffer wear and tear choose the most sophisticated and elegant table you've always dreamed of owning. Black tables are notoriously tricky especially if they are veneered because the smallest scratch will show up. If you are the careful type however black is super cool and will always be so.