Buying a quality, hand-crafted dining table is a bit like a relationship. You will hopefully be together for many years, if not a lifetime, and you will spend a great deal of time together creating shared memories.
Your kids will grow up using the table to do their homework on, meals will be shared along with stories of the day, issues and difficulties will be solved around it, and, when the time comes, it will leave your home and pass to the next generation.
Why not take the time, then, to choose the right dining table for your space and your life? Let's take a look at some of the things you should consider when choosing your ideal Amish table.
The very first thing to think about is how big your table should be. There are many factors that could influence this, for example: How big is your immediate family and do you plan to have more kids? Think about what you and the children will use it for – will they do homework there or do they have work areas in their bedrooms?
Do you have a tendency to entertain regularly, or is it once every four years when it's your turn to host Thanksgiving dinner for the whole family? A smaller table with the option to extend could be the answer for you if you're infrequent hosts.
And, of course, how big is the room – haul out that measuring tape and make sure before you choose a table so big it gets in everyone's way. There's nothing quite as annoying as a bulky piece of furniture that breaks the flow of a living space. You want to be able to easily walk past it without having to shuffle or squeeze through.
In our comprehensive size guide, we take you through the specifics of choosing a size according to how many people you want to seat and how much room you have.
It's a question of style
The style of Amish table you choose is very important. It should reflect your tastes and personalities and also take practicalities into consideration. Just remember, this is a table you will have for many years, so matching it to your current decor might not be the best idea – especially if you enjoy redecorating regularly.
If you have a tendency to regular decor changes, rather choose a simple, classic style that you can work with and around.
However, if you have chosen a specific style for your home and plan to stick with it for the next twenty or thirty years, go right ahead and find a table that blends in with that style.
Take a look at our guide to dining table styles to work out which might suit you best.
Into the wood
Because each Amish table is custom-made for you, one of the most enjoyable parts of buying one is choosing the wood. Wood has personality, style and life and making a good decision will mean you have a table that really suits you.
There are a few specific factors to consider with wood:
Tone or color – Do you prefer a lighter, brighter wood, or a darker, more antique look? Maybe a good red-colored wood is more your speed.
Grain – Wood gets so much of its character and personality from its grain. The lines in the wood tell a story, and the way light will reflect off your table on a late afternoon will all depend on the grain. Practically speaking, the tightness or openness of the grain determines how the stain will absorb.
Density or hardness – You want a table that's going to last a long, long time, so choosing a durable hardwood makes sense. At Amish Tables, all our tables are made with hardwoods. That said, each of these woods has unique attributes that make them special.
Take a look at our breakdown of the various different woods we use, which goes into detail about each one's color, grain, density, durability and overall look.
Once you have chosen the size, style and wood that suit you best, it's time to think about what finishes to use on your Amish table. This is the last touch that's going to set the look of the wood, highlight or downplay color and stamp your personality onto this unique hand-made creation.
First of all, choose a stain or paint color. Here you can darken or complement the wood's natural color, go for a matt or more glossy look, cover or part-cover the table in paint. Choosing the stain or paint color depends on whether you want to highlight the table or blend it with your other furniture, what kinds of tones your other furniture has, whether you want to be more formal, traditional or modern... Our guide to stains and paints helps you choose.
Once you've chosen a stain or paint, it's time to decide what kind of final finishes you want. It's mot just as simple as taking a paint brush and slapping on an even coat! Whatever kind of look you're trying to achieve with your table, there is a stain or paint application technique that brings that out. Burnishing, distressing, glazes, even carefully applied saw marks can all add a unique look to your table, making it so much more than just another factory-made assembly-line table. Take a look at the finishes on offer at Amish Tables for inspiration.