7 Things You Need To Know Before Buying a Farmhouse Table

Farmhouse table? Don't mind if we do.

Farmhouse Table
Photo: Andreas von Einsiedel / Getty Images

It's easy to love a farmhouse table. These tables add substance and style to any dining room design and are also exceptional places to make memories with family and friends. The classic furniture style still has a lot of variety, so you must consider the design, form, and function before investing in this essential dining room or kitchen staple. The best option for you and your decor depends on your choice of everything from the legs, apron, and even the wood itself. Here are a few things to remember when deciding if a farmhouse table is right for you.

They Are Often Leafless

Farmhouse tables range in size, but sometimes your preferred choice is only available in one option. Many do not come with leaves to widen or narrow their seating capacity. That's why it's imperative to evaluate your space and your needs. How big is the dining room? How many people will need a seat at the table daily? You should consider other options if your table does not accommodate your family comfortably, plus the occasional guests. Leaves are table inserts, usually down the center, which can compromise your beautiful farmhouse table. Along with leaves, a second extension option is a company board extension. It's called a company board since you add it to the side of the table—usually when entertaining "company."

They're Heavy

Farmhouse tables aren't for the faint of heart. They're notoriously large and heavy. With that heft comes history and presence, which profoundly impacts a design scheme. However, if you're hoping to swap tables between rooms and make changes often, the farmhouse table may not be for you. Once placed, it's not always easily moved.

Choose the Right Wood

One of the essential features is selecting the correct wood for your farmhouse table. Not only does the selection of wood influence the overall cost, but it will also impact the overall design of your room. Stains, glosses, and finishes prepare the wood for commercial purposes, but starting with the best wood type for your home is the best way to ensure it matches your expectations. Reclaimed wood is an excellent option to achieve the farmhouse look—plus, it is often less expensive than mahogany or solid oak.

Dining Room with Lots of Windows
Everybody wants a "farmhouse" table these days, and for good reason. The whole family can gather around, and still have room for all the extra sides. Barnwood completes the rustic and well-worn look. Laurey W. Glenn

Choose the Right Price

It's also a heavy investment. Farmhouse tables can be costly depending on the type of wood and table construction. Treating your table before using it is recommended, especially for eating. One adjustment includes filling in the natural holes created in the wood grain. The occasional hole for decorative purposes is fine, but larger or more frequent holes create opportunities for food to be stuck and destroy your table.

Choose the Right Size

The farmhouse table size depends on how much room exists in your home. Since this is a significant financial investment, you want to guarantee that the table you choose will fit its intended space. Also, it is customary to leave one to two feet of space per person in the width of the table and at least three feet between the table's edge and a wall. Depending on your choice of chair size and desired comfort levels, these sizes may change.

Focus on the Legs

If you want flair with your farmhouse table, you'll need to look at the legs. While the tops of the tables are often similar—large blocks of varying shades, types, and conditions of wood—you can add style at the base. The shape of the table's base or legs can make the piece look more old-fashioned, sophisticated, or modern, depending on the style.

Focus on the table's leg to achieve your desired look. Much of the tabletop is the same for every farmhouse table, but the detail is in the legs. Thin or tapered legs are considered more modern, while turned legs (or legs with think ribbing accompanied by minor ribbing) reinforce the farmhouse, vintage, or refurbished look. Finally, a traditional American woodworking style uses trestle legs with vertical posts linked with one long horizontal wood plank.

Mind the Apron

The apron is the overhanging portion of the tabletop, which will influence your choice of chair height. If you have taller family members or want to leave more room for your legs to move under the table, a shorter apron might be more appropriate. The apron and leg height will need to coordinate so your table is the desired height.

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