One of the best ways to encourage lingering after a meal is to provide comfortable furniture. Hard wooden chairs with no padding don't encourage people to sit for long periods of time, and you may find your family and friends eager to jump up from the table after a meal. If you choose soft furnishings or padding for wooden chairs, guests can sit back and relax without feeling uncomfortable. The table should be a comfortable height, with the edge not too low where it hits people's knees. Any larger pieces of furniture should match your colour scheme and feel warm and inviting and not too formal.
Another way to maximize space in a small dining room is to use a table with table leaves. Because you obviously can remove those leaves on an everyday basis, the table can be smaller. Then when you have company or you have more family members at home, you can put the leaves in, and you have room for everyone at the table.
Choosing something that looks great may be nice, but if it is too small or uncomfortable your family is going to hate it. Choosing a set that fits with your home design is a plus when it come to the look of the room. A rustic pine set would look good in an old world style home. If you have a more modern home you could go with something a little trendier.
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