The dining room is one of the most important areas within the home – it’s where we take the time to sit down, share food and spend quality time with loved ones.

Whether you’ve got an open plan kitchen-diner or a more traditional dining room, finding furniture that meets your needs doesn't have to be a daunting task.

We call on the expertise of Victoria Jackson, furniture buying director at department store Aldiss in Norfolk, to find out how to make the most of your dining room.

How do you pick out a dining room table?

Eastern Daily Press: The Coastal dining range features stylish cabinets and sideboards for extra storageThe Coastal dining range features stylish cabinets and sideboards for extra storage (Image: Aldiss)

“As the focal point of the room, the table should be your first consideration,” says Victoria. Before making a choice, think carefully about how you’re going to use the table, she advises. "If you’ve got a large family or entertain guests frequently, you may want to choose an extending table which can be used for special occasions like Christmas.”

Of course, the space you have available will also affect your choice. Aldiss offer a range of dining table sizes to suit different homes, from the impressive, two-metre table from the Heritage collection to the one-metre Norfolk Oak table.

“A lot of our tables have a butterfly extending function,” adds Victoria, “which can be useful when you need more table space and it can be easily folded away."

What style of dining room table should I choose?

Eastern Daily Press: The modern Lazzaro dining collection features a glass top table in white or grey with an extending featureThe modern Lazzaro dining collection features a glass top table in white or grey with an extending feature (Image: Aldiss)

While there are many different table top styles available – from high-gloss to luxurious marble – wood remains a favourite choice thanks to its timeless design and longevity. "Our Heritage collection has an elegant and traditional style, with its warm oak finish, substantial legs and rounded corners,” says Victoria. “If you want a more relaxed, simple look, the natural oak Coastal range has sleek, slimline legs and table tops, with a Scandi-style design that is very on-trend at the moment."

For a modern dining set, the Lazzaro collection features a glass table top which is available in light grey or white with an extending feature, perfect for dining rooms or open plan kitchens. "The Lazzaro dining set works particularly well with modern gloss kitchens," says Victoria. "It offers great value for money while making a style statement."

How do I choose dining room chairs?

Eastern Daily Press: The Heritage dining collection is available with cross-back chairs and a space-saving benchThe Heritage dining collection is available with cross-back chairs and a space-saving bench (Image: Aldiss)

When it comes to choosing dining room chairs, the main choices are ladder-back, cross-back, slatted-back and upholstered, which can be suited to both modern and traditional interiors. Benches are also popular as they take up less space and are more cost-effective than buying separate chairs if you’re on a budget.

As well as the style, practicality also plays a part when choosing chairs, Victoria explains. “A family with young children may want to avoid fabric dining chairs and instead opt for leather or faux leather seating which can be wiped clean. But even if you do choose fabric chairs, don't fret – you can protect your furniture against any accidents by protecting it with a Staingard warranty which is money well spent for that added reassurance.”

You can also mix and match different styles and fabrics to create an attractive, eclectic look, suggests Victoria. “With the Heritage dining set for example, you could choose to have two upholstered chairs at each end of the table and wooden chairs in between.

"For a splash of colour, the Lazzaro Irma and Elis dining chairs come in white, taupe, pumpkin yellow, olive, grey and black, with matching bar stools available for those of you with kitchen islands."

What can I put in my dining room beside a dining table set?

These days, dining rooms are much more than somewhere to sit down for formal meals – they're also a space to relax and entertain guests. Introducing occasional furniture alongside the dining table and chairs can help to add visual interest and create a multi-functional space.

“For an enclosed dining room or open plan kitchen-diner, a sideboard or display cabinet makes an interesting focal point,” suggests Victoria. “You can also accessorise with occasional furniture such as a coffee table, bookcase, lamp table or plant stand to match the dining table.

"Slim, shallow pieces, such as the Coastal oak sideboards and cabinets are great for adding storage without being too imposing. If you’ve got more space, the Heritage dining range includes a drinks cabinet, shoe cupboard and a larder unit with a pull-out chopping board and elegant mirror which is guaranteed to impress your dinner guests.”

To see the dining room furniture collections at Aldiss, visit their stores in Norwich or Fakenham. You can also browse or email