Big Families: What Type of Kitchen Table/Chairs Do You Have and Where Did You Buy It?


#1

Hello. My fairly-insignficant-in-the-scheme-of-things problem is this: my family outgrew our kitchen table a few years ago and I’m having a hard time replacing it for a table that seats ten that will still fit in a kitchen breakfast nook. I need a table about 84-90" long, 36"-42" wide a trestle or double pedestal base is preferable, though ordinary legs are fine too. The only extensive collection of suitable tables that I’ve found are on-line, alledgedly made by the Amish, and are custom, that is, made to order. This link shows an example of the type of table I’m considering:

onlineamishfurniture.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=1631

In any case, has anyone had any experience with purchasing tables or kitchen chairs from an internet source? What about a sticks and bricks store? Can you recommend any particular brand or advise against a certain manufacturer? I believe that you get what you pay for, so I’m steering away from Target/Walmart products. But I don’t want to spend a small fortune either, so I’m also steering clear of upscale furniture stores.It seems that you cannot walk into a store and find really large tables unless they are of dining room scale, but even then, dining chairs that match the table are often really big too, so you can only seat eight at most dining tables anyway. Chairs that I’m looking at are bow back chairs, because the chair back isn’t formed by the rear set of legs. My children rock in their chairs (they aren’t supposed to but they do), so the chairs need to be hardwood and well-constructed. Also, my favorite unfinished wood furniture store (and the only one around) is closing, so unfinished isn’t an option. Plus, I don’t want to buy a project, that is, the task of finishing the table and chairs. My house is filled with half-finished projects and I don’t want any more. You know, if I didn’t care what my house looked like, I’d love to buy those cheap, plastic 5-wheel rolling office chairs (with pneumatic lift and springy backs) that come in a rainbow of colors. I could color code each child with a chair. And no more chair feet scraping the floor. But, that’s not going to happen…

The kitchen table needs to seat ten, four on each side and one on each end. As such the chairs need to be of a smaller scale, no wider than 18" each.

Thank you in advance for your replies.


#2

We had a table custom made. It cracked twice, molded once. We met with decorators, asked anywhere we saw large tables, got one off ebay that wasn’t as big as expected and in any case only lasted a couple of months with my wild gang. The we found one on Pottery Barn we liked. I could not find it on the web, but it is 105" long. Here is another from PB I liked:
ww1.potterybarn.com/cat/pip.cfm?src=shpcfurdintbl%7Crshop&pkey=cfurdintbl&gids=p5370
Shipping was no problem, in many cases faster than expected. Our table is great and much cheaper than ordering from a decorator.
One tip: we have traditional chairs but also ordered a bench that can easily seat 4 little kids, so it takes up less pace and seats more. No problem to have another family over.


#3

We bought table and 2 chairs from a custom made furniture store, its unique bc its square and when adding 2 sleeves it stays square, however our plan was to buy additional chairs when we could afford them, but we actually decided on benches (like church benches) later , which work really well with little ones.
Buying a table from the net wouldn’t be for me, bc I need to see it first.

Hope that helps :wink:


#4

Try an office supply store. Conference tables are great. Fairly sturdy, easy to care for, and decent amount of selection in sizes.

Also, not as pretty, but certainly very functional is the cafeteria style folding tables at Sam’s or Cosco. You can get a really long or round one for under $100.


#5

My dad got a table and chairs for us at an auction for a song.


#6

DD actually did get hers from an Amish workshop, as they live in NE Ohio, it has 3 additional leaves, two benches, 8 windsor chairs, and workshop is near enough they can always buy more chairs. It is natural finish oak. One chair broke and they replaced it for her. It has held up for 10 years under a lot of abuse, some stains, paint, burn marks from hot pans, but mainly in good shape for the abuse it takes. It is a dining table, craft table, homework center, brownie meeting location, chess club rendevous, stage, chemistry lab table, scrapbooking center, home office, PTA headquarters, and home pizza parlor.

My dad took an old pine table from his mother’s laundry room added a leaf, sanded it and finished it with several coats of linseed oil. It gets darker with age, it is always cleaned with murphy’s oil soap, and still looks great, my sister has it now, but it is going to nephew. We replaced the cane seats on the ladderback chairs about 20 years ago, they are still holding up good. This set is going on its 3rd generation of families with 6+ kids.


#7

Way back when, my mom found a table at an antique store. She refinished it and bought chairs 2 at a time until we had enough. My dad made 2 extra leaves, so when all 4 leaves are in, it’s long!

The table is now in my dining room and brings back lots of memories! —KCT


#8

It depends on how big your corner that you’re putting it in is, but I like the bench style seats. We had to have one custom made for our family due to the lack of size availability. I know your pain. We now have a kitchen table that seats 8, maybe ten in a pinch. Five can sit on the benches that kinda wrap around the wall in a corner. Then 3 or 5 more can sit in chairs around the outside of the table. The cool part is that the benches open up for storage. You can buy these at many stores, but they usually don’t come big enough, so we had a friend who is a carpenter build one. It only cost about $300 for materials (bench and table). He told us that if he were charging us, it would be about $1100, plus the cost of a few chairs that are easy to match to most tables.

The only experience I have with the amish furniture is that it’s expensive. For that reason, I’ve never bought any! :smiley: This is gonna sound funny, but in the travel trailer industry, the amish built ones are considered much better. I checked out hundreds in my quest for my tt. The amish built ones most definately seemed to be of much higher craftsmanship. I don’t know what the heck that has to do with furniture, other than that it correlates to their reputation for quality work. If you can afford it, and it works for your family, I would say it’s worth a shot.


#9

Thank you for these replies, they are extremely helpful in thinking through this process.

I’ve searched long and hard on the internet and I always come back to the "Amish’ tables because I’m looking for a natural maple finish (so the wood is very light, a finish that matches my kitchen cabinets) and the predominate look I find on-line is country oak with a medium to dark stain, very beautiful, but a little too dark for the look of my kitchen.

But here’s my question. If the Amish people, as a part of their religious beliefs, eschew technology in every day life, how is it that “Amish” carpenters are building these tables? Certainly for $1200 the tables are created using electric power tools. Are there different degrees of “Amishness?” I’m beginning to wonder if furniture constructed by true Amish carpenters is handmade using 18th century tools and very expensive as a result. And that this Amish furniture industry is a ploy to trade on the belief that if it’s crafted by Amish people the furniture is of top quality materials and workmanship. I do believe that the furniture is custom made out of hardwood, which is why it takes up to 16 weeks to receive the order and it is expensive compared to imported goods.

Can anyone speak to this issue, that is whether the Amish furniture industry is really drawing from true Amish carpenters? Moreover, has anyone bought furniture on-line and what is your experience? Thanks again!


#10

[quote=Cupofkindness]But here’s my question. If the Amish people, as a part of their religious beliefs, eschew technology in every day life, how is it that “Amish” carpenters are building these tables? Certainly for $1200 the tables are created using electric power tools. Are there different degrees of “Amishness?” I’m beginning to wonder if furniture constructed by true Amish carpenters is handmade using 18th century tools and very expensive as a result. And that this Amish furniture industry is a ploy to trade on the belief that if it’s crafted by Amish people the furniture is of top quality materials and workmanship. I do believe that the furniture is custom made out of hardwood, which is why it takes up to 16 weeks to receive the order and it is expensive compared to imported goods.

Can anyone speak to this issue, that is whether the Amish furniture industry is really drawing from true Amish carpenters? Moreover, has anyone bought furniture on-line and what is your experience? Thanks again!
[/quote]

Good question. Not to mention running an electronic Internet site! I can’t quite picture Amish women sitting behind a computer keyboard! :smiley:


#11

[quote=Cupofkindness]Thank you for these replies, they are extremely helpful in thinking through this process.

I’ve searched long and hard on the internet and I always come back to the "Amish’ tables because I’m looking for a natural maple finish (so the wood is very light, a finish that matches my kitchen cabinets) and the predominate look I find on-line is country oak with a medium to dark stain, very beautiful, but a little too dark for the look of my kitchen.

But here’s my question. If the Amish people, as a part of their religious beliefs, eschew technology in every day life, how is it that “Amish” carpenters are building these tables? Certainly for $1200 the tables are created using electric power tools. Are there different degrees of “Amishness?” I’m beginning to wonder if furniture constructed by true Amish carpenters is handmade using 18th century tools and very expensive as a result. And that this Amish furniture industry is a ploy to trade on the belief that if it’s crafted by Amish people the furniture is of top quality materials and workmanship. I do believe that the furniture is custom made out of hardwood, which is why it takes up to 16 weeks to receive the order and it is expensive compared to imported goods.

Can anyone speak to this issue, that is whether the Amish furniture industry is really drawing from true Amish carpenters? Moreover, has anyone bought furniture on-line and what is your experience? Thanks again!
[/quote]

This may sound funny, but I have a dining set made by mennonites. I compared it to the ones that were Amish made, and this one was of a much higher quality. It is a natural finish oak. Like you, I would have preferred maple, but I bought this one based only on the quality.

Of course, at the time, I lived in Maryland not far from the Pennsylvania border and I had a lot of choices with regards to Amish and mennonite furniture.

Oh, and my husband used to do a lot of business in Pennsylvania, and he said that a lot of the more progressive Amish do have electricity in their barns, just not in their homes. That was just something some of his PA dealers told him (evidently there is a market for electric guitars among the Amish youth).


#12

What do you consider a big family? We are a family of 5 and use a solid mission table and chairs, dark cinnamon stain, six padded chairs, we bought a custom fit glass top to protect the wood. He only have to lift it every few weeks to clean underneath. As a homeschool family, we eat 3 meals plus snacks there every day, without the easy clean glass top, the wood would be destroyed by now. It is a close tie between formal and informal. My “plan” is to use it as a kitchen table when we finally have our dream home. I will match with mission style cabinetry, same color! By then we will need a new, more formal set for a formal dining room.


#13

Thanks again for all the replies… I laughed when I read the one about Amish teens and electric guitars!

Peace: I need to seat 10, so my table should be at least 84" long.


#14

My table and chairs came from charity:) I needed them badly, and could not afford a new set. For those of you
who cannot afford a table and chairs l, and you have a growing family, ask around the church. My sisterwas
kind enough to bring me a table and chairs from a
lady in her church. I wrote her a letter of thanks, and I really
appreciate the generosity of the lady, and my sister bringing them to me:)


#15

We don’t have a big family (just me and hubby and now a baby on the way) but we wanted a big enough table to be able to have family/guests over for dinner. We found this one at IKEA…I love it! It seats 6 comfortably, 8 pretty well, and 10 with the extension leaf. But we can’t use the extension leaf because our room isn’t big enough, lol. It is solid wood and a nice light color. You can also get the matching benches for seating but I prefer chairs.

ikea.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?topcategoryId=15564&catalogId=10103&storeId=3&productId=13149&langId=-15&parentCats=155641622515801

click on “enlarge image” to see the table

(the price is in canadian dollars)
Malia


#16

Oooooh! IKEA… I never thought about IKEA! I’m going to there website right now! Thank you, FW!


#17

If money is not a major issue but quality is check out…Pompanoosuc MIlls (www.pompy.com)
we have most of our house furnished with their stuff (dining room & bedroom and living room)…stands up very well with two cats and two kids!!!


#18

[quote=Cupofkindness]Oooooh! IKEA… I never thought about IKEA! I’m going to there website right now! Thank you, FW!
[/quote]

I always think of IKEA, lol.

Their good stuff is really good, and their bad stuff is really bad though, lol. It’s just a matter of finding the good stuff. This table is great…very sturdy and well made and, I think, reasonably priced for the size and quality.


Malia


#19

When we got started we bought a name brand. But it is new made and expensive. And it doesn’t keep its value. So, since then we have preferred to buy at auctions - get really good deals when people are disbursing their stuff. Or at garage sales. Like automobiles, furniture loses value fast. Second-hand furniture is second-hand furniture. Cheaper is better.

The only exception would be a semi-antique piece or two that might retain or increase in value.


#20

We obtained a pedestal table with a large roung top (seats 6 normally) at St.Vincent dePaul for $75. It is a solid oak pedestal with a with a laminate covered oak top.

I garbage picked the 4 Italianate chairs. They are also oak, leather uphostered, and caned on the sides.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.