“I drink to the general joy o’ the whole table,” said Macbeth. Of course, a nice bottle of wine always helps at a dinner party, but a stylish and comfortable table is also important. Here’s a group of Expat Living readers who are very happy with their dining table purchases. We hope you enjoy their recommendations.
Gah Wing Tsui, Singaporean
We wanted to replace our old six-seat dining table with a larger one. My husband had seen suar wood tables on his travels; giant slabs of wood cut lengthwise from a single trunk – nothing pieced together, no laminate, very organic and beautiful. When we saw this table, we fell in love. It’s striking and it fits 10 people comfortably. I also love that the underside hasn’t been entirely smoothed out. This particular piece of wood was cut from near the outer edge of the tree, and portions of the rough, uneven texture of the tree trunk are preserved.
We have several pieces from Arthur Zaaro, and we keep going back. Aaron Foeste and Allison Rogiani make beautiful furniture, and they’ll customise each piece if you want. They are statement pieces but don’t look out of place in the home. Aaron will talk to you at length about how he crafts each piece; he knows where his materials are sourced from and how to care for them, and you get the sense just from chatting with him that he is passionate about his craftsmanship. He doesn’t want just to sell you a piece; he wants you to really love it and to understand how each one is created.
Keep an open mind when shopping around. And make sure your purchase fits in your elevator! The Arthur Zaaro team had warned us that ours wouldn’t fit, but they were kind enough to offer to bring it up to our apartment.
5 Eunos Avenue 8A, 2/F Henry Design Centre
Rod Mayes, Australian
I bought this rectangular extension table from Ethnicraft. I chose it because I loved the look of the teak and the simplicity of the design. I was also taken by the extension method, which is very elegant. When it extends, the legs move into the corners. No one has to sit in a seat with a leg in the way! The finish is beautiful, too.
The staff member I dealt with, Qinpei, was extremely helpful and explained the features of the table and the teak. The installation team also ran through the operation of the table, and the delivery and installation were extremely professionally handled.
If you’re purchasing a new dining table, do your homework. Be willing to go a little out of your way. I actually spotted this piece of furniture on the internet before arriving in Singapore.
Carla Randall, British
Our dining table is a solid wood, rectangular eight-seater in a natural stain. We’ve lived in Singapore for almost seven years, but we never had room for a large indoor table before. When we moved last August, buying the perfect table was a top priority. I grew up in an Italian family so sitting around the table for hours at mealtimes was part of daily life. I wanted a table that would be conducive to recreating this type of lifestyle in Singapore.
When I saw this table in Gallery 278 I fell in love with it immediately. I liked the unusual shape and the different levels of thickness of the wood. I wanted something a bit different; the rectangular base adds to the uniqueness of the table. The matching chairs come in a woven material, and their contrast to the wood also appealed to me.
Joseph at Gallery 278 was incredibly helpful and his product knowledge was superb. He really couldn’t do enough for us. We were so impressed, we ended up buying all our bedroom furniture from him too.
If you’re looking for a table, check with the retailer if the wood has been treated in some way to make it water and scratch-resistant. We have two young children, so that aspect was pretty crucial for us. Also, the dining chairs need to be comfortable so that guests and family can relax and enjoy themselves around the table.
278 River Valley Road
Glenn Dittrich, American-Dutch
Our dining room table, bought at Journey East, is made of reclaimed teak. We loved its detail and rustic style and feel that the teak adds to the room’s chic yet casual atmosphere. This is important, because we wanted a space where we could enjoy a long meal, or a glass of wine and a cheeseboard, along with good conversation.
The table has straight lines and a modern classic look, but the natural grain gives it variation . The quality of the construction is excellent, so it can be passed down to the next generation.
Journey East gave us the flexibility to add our own touches and customise it to our needs. The table originally combined smooth with rough-textured surfaces, but we wanted a completely rough finish. The sales consultants were friendly, knowledgeable and professional, and went the extra mile to make sure it was delivered exactly as we had requested.
Take your time and make sure you know what your goal is for the room where your table will sit. Aside from choosing a table that looks great, find chairs that are extremely comfortable but also fit in with the style you’ve chosen.
315 Outram Road
#03-02, Tan Boon Liat Building
Gema Blasco, Spanish
The table is inspired by the original design of the Tulip table by famous Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen. It’s part of a set called the Pedestal Collection, designed in the mid-1950s. Saarinen wanted to clean clutter from the home, so he replaced the classic legs of chairs and tables with a single pedestal.
The table is oval and accommodates six people. It’s black and made from contrasting warm and cool materials: a wooden base and a marble top. The shape creates a feeling of movement and space, and the colour gives depth to the white background.
We discovered this style of table a long time ago and it has always been part of our furniture wherever we have lived. We’ve also used it in our offices in different shapes, sizes and colours. When we arrived in Singapore six months ago, we found our table once again at Lush, a stylish indoor furniture shop where we bought most of our furniture. John, the retailer, helped us find and choose everything we needed. In addition to the table, he advised us on chairs, a sofa, lamps and other furniture. Lush has a huge range and provides a fast delivery service.
The dining table is one of the few places where families still gather together. And, believe it or not, it’s around the table where big decisions are often made. So, spending time choosing a table you love goes towards creating special family moments.
73 Upper Paya Lebar Road
#03-01 Centro Bianco
Kirsty Kasturi, Australian
Our two-metre rectangular teak table has a natural finish and the timber was sustainably harvested. We also purchased a matching bench for one side of it, which has been a great space-saving idea.
We wanted a rustic material to blend in with the more modern furniture we brought with us to Singapore. We also wanted something that did not contribute to deforestation.
Chang at Mountain Teak helped us decide on the configuration of the table with our other furniture. She gave us good artistic advice, and was willing to help us rearrange her shop to try different combinations to help make the decision. I didn’t feel pressured into a sale, as some places make you feel; gentle advice was given when asked for.
If you’re buying a dining table, remember that newer apartments are generally small in Singapore. Think about skirting boards and access to doors and windows, which can limit the space even more. Also, allow enough space for the chairs: they take more room than you think.
315 Outram Road
#07-02 Tan Boon Liat Building
Sandeep and Sansrati Desai, Singaporean/Indian
We bought our dining table at Origin Asia. It’s made of teak and is extendable, and it’s longer and broader than standard tables. We needed a table that could serve multiple purposes – from eating to art-and-craft activities for the kids. We also have family members who visit, so we wanted a table that could be easily extended. And since we have young kids, we didn’t want sharp edges or a glass top.
We researched a lot of places before finally deciding to have the table custom-made. At Origin Asia, we saw several models and also experimented with different extending mechanisms before making our selection. We were also given several options for chairs.
Dining tables can last for a long time, so take time to research what you want and invest in pieces that can adapt to changes in your life.
372/372A River Valley Road
Veron Lee, Singaporean
Our Gilbert dining table is an oval-shaped eight-seater with a white marble tabletop and a burnished wood edge. The table legs are burnished steel welded onto structural crossbars.
We chose this table as it complemented our apartment’s contemporary classic interior design concept – the white marble tabletop matched the living room wall. We also looked for practicality and functionality and this table is easy to maintain. We were drawn to its unconventional design.
We bought the table at Pure Interior. Jestine provided excellent customer service and was very accommodating and friendly. She goes the distance to exceed expectations and she made sure the table was polished to our satisfaction.
When considering a new dining table, ensure the size of the table does not overpower the room. It’s better to look for quality and select something you like, so that table will last you longer. Don’t settle for a table you do not like as much just because it is more economical.
2 Alexandra Road
#01-01 Delta House
Megan Barnett, British
Our “Executive Chairman of the Board” dining table accommodates eight to ten people; the self-stored leaves pop into place when the table is opened. Most tables open vertically for added length, but ours opens horizontally for extra width. At one metre wide, this piece has some decidedly European influences in its size and proportions.
I was first drawn to the natural grey-washed finish. The style worked perfectly for the space, plus I loved that the table opened sideways to create more room for dinner guests.
Together with Anthony at Taylor B, I tried out several table and chair combinations. We came up with the suede grey quilted chairs and I decided to inject some more drama by adding oversized wing chairs at each end; all the chairs have silver nail heads which help tie together the whole look.
I have found some of my most interesting pieces at Taylor B. They have an ever-changing inventory, so every time I go, I can find something else to add to my collection.
Scale might very well be the single most important factor to consider when shopping for a dining table, especially if you’re furnishing a smaller space. Keep it simple! Opt for quality materials and a simple design and chances are your table will never look dated.
43 Keppel Road
Geraldine Gitel, French
Our rectangular dining table is 180 x 90cm – the perfect size to hold; six people comfortably. The tabletop is made of light golden wood; the metal legs are painted light grey and join up in a sophisticated cross on the floor.
The table is from The Shophouse, and it had something special that I couldn’t find in other contemporary furniture shops. I thought it was uncluttered, and contemporary without being too clinical. I liked the mix of wood and metal. The table has also been nicely treated to protect against stains; we have a young daughter, so we need very resistant furniture.
The creative team at The Shophouse was extremely helpful; I would highly recommend them. They pay attention to you and your needs. Understanding that a dining table is an important part of the home, they ask a lot of questions about your existing furniture, colours, wall fittings and so on.
Pick a design that you like, but also think of practicality: what impact will such a big piece of furniture have in your house? Tables tend to look small in shops, but they can actually look much bigger in the limited space you have at home.
315 Outram Road
#07-03 Tan Boon Liat Building
John Lim Yeow Teck, Singaporean
I bought a 1.5m-diameter round dining table made of solid suar (rain tree) wood, with a glass top to protect the tabletop. The table can accommodate 10 standard chairs, allowing for a big family gathering.
I selected this particular table because of its beautiful, contrasting-grain tabletop. Also, I was attracted by the design of the leg, made from the natural root of a mature teak tree.
I spent about two hours at The Vivant Tree while the salesperson explained the various designs of their dining sets. The shop offers a wide range of furniture products made of natural wood. Each piece has its own unique design and character.
Before you buy furniture, understand the functionality and design you want. Then work out a budget. Relax and enjoy the process of shopping according to your plan, without being too influenced by salespeople who sometimes present furniture pieces to you on the basis of their own interests, not yours.
The Vivant Tree
28B Hillview Terrace
Beatriz Atton, Mexican
Our 2.20m x 1m dining table is made out of an old railway track, supported by a polished stainless steel frame and covered with a glass top. We chose it because we loved the combination of old wood and polished stainless steel. Because we’re expats, we also chose a style that would fit any other house we might move to in the future.
Window to the Past (WTP) is my favourite furniture shop in town; it carries a very wide range of tasteful, stylish furniture. The staff are very attentive and they listen. In this case, they perfectly understood our needs. This table was a very good choice for us; we love it! WTP also has an excellent and professional delivery team that takes very good care of your merchandise and installs it perfectly.
If you’re looking for a dining table, remember it’s going to be the centrepiece of the room, so work out how many people you could seat in the space to decide the size and shape of the table. You’ll need about 60cm per person. There are many shapes, materials and colours, so you need to find the right balance between the form, the size and the materials.
Choose a table that catches your eye. It doesn’t have to be a fancy or formal piece; it should be inviting and make you feel comfortable.
Window to the Past
3 Kung Chong Road
Want more home inspiration? See our home decor section!