A dining table is one of the most important furniture purchases you’ll make for your home. Beyond the obvious practical use as the gathering spot for meals, the dining table forms the focal point of your dining room so it should look good and reflect your style. Importantly, it should also be built to endure the stresses of everyday life. As a substantial purchase, when it comes to choosing the right dining table for your home and lifestyle, it can be a daunting task. Understanding the difference between timber and marble is a good place to start.
Marble is a gorgeous natural stone. It’s quarried from the earth in mountainous regions such as Calcutta in India and Carrara in Italy. As a naturally occurring material, it can vary enormously in appearance with different textures, veins and colours. Once quarried, it’s cut into slabs and polished to be used in many applications, including the building and furniture industry. Often used for the tops of dining tables, coffee tables, kitchen counters and bathroom vanities, no two slabs of marble are ever exactly the same, which is part of its natural beauty and why it’s so highly desired. Learn more about marble.
- Marble is associated with luxury and adds an instant air of sophistication to any room.
- As a stone that formed over millions of years, marble is extremely durable and a very sturdy choice in furniture design.
- This beautiful stone matches any interior style or décor.
- Marble is always a showstopper and will impress your guests at dinner parties.
- As with any stone, marble requires some maintenance, including regular resealing.
- As stone is porous, spills should be cleaned up immediately before liquid has a chance to seep in.
- Marble must be protected again hot items and sharp knifes that could scorch or scratch the surface.
- Stone is very heavy.
Wood used by furnituremakers is sourced from a variety of locations, from pine forests and salvaged-wood lumber yards to the retired trees from mango plantations. As a natural material, each plank of timber has unique knots, grains and imperfections that form the character of your furniture. Timber is also eco-friendly and fully biodegradable. As hardwood is much more malleable than metal and stone, it’s extremely versatile and able to be cut and carved into different shapes and styles, including live edge, parquetry and turned-post legs. As an added bonus, timber is recyclable. In fact, reclaimed timber is stronger than fresh lumber (and very beautiful!). Learn more about eco-friendly eucalyptus timber.
- Timber offers an effortlessly natural and relaxed look in the home and is available in a wide variety of colours, textures and finishes.
- Timber is absolutely timeless. Scratches and blemishes mellow into the design detail and become a part of its charm.
- Timber tables are more easily transportable and moveable than stone.
- Wood can be easily recycled into reclaimed timber pieces, which reduces deforestation.
- Some timber can warp, so spills should be wiped up immediately.
- Wooden furniture can dent, scratch and scorch easily so it should be protected with tablecloths, coasters and pot mats.
- Timber furniture requires regular application of a natural-based furniture polish or it may dry out over time.
- Some cheaper wooden tables are laminated timber (such as plywood and MDF), which aren’t as durable as solid timber or stone.
HOW TO CARE FOR MARBLE FURNITURE
- For everyday cleaning, use warm soapy water and a non-abrasive cloth to clean the surface, then wipe dry with a clean, dry, soft cloth.
- Because natural stone is porous (marble in particular), clean up excess water and spills immediately using a blotting action (rather than wiping). If water is left on the surface for a long period of time, it will mark the finish.
- If watermarks have appeared on the surface, you can try to remove them by using a hairdryer on a low heat while using a circular motion to dry the stone out.
- To give extra protection against hot cups, plates, etc. and accidental spillages, it is always best to use table runners, placemats and coasters.
- Avoid using or spilling products that are oil or petroleum-based, acidic or caustic, e.g. vinegar, citrus, sodas, chlorine, nail polish remover, etc.
- Don’t use Windex or similar cleaners on stone surfaces.
- Avoid cutting with knives directly on top of stone surfaces as it will damage both your knife and your stone top.
- Water-based waterproofing sealer will need to be re‑applied over time. To test whether your top needs to be resealed, just place a few drops of water on the top; if it soaks in within 30–60 seconds, then your top will need to be resealed. If it doesn’t, then no sealing is required.
- When moving stone-top tables, always have someone to assist you and lift from both ends. Never drag the table as it can stress and weaken the frame or even snap legs.
HOW TO CARE FOR TIMBER FURNITURE
- Wipe surfaces clean with a damp cloth and dry with a clean cloth. Avoid leaving wood surfaces wet as this may warp the timber.
- Dust surfaces weekly using a soft cloth or duster.
- Timber needs to be nourished to retain its beautiful appearance, so regular applications of a natural‑based furniture polish is recommended – every 3–6 months is ideal to help maintain the appearance of the timber for longer. Do not use silicone-based products or other abrasive cleaners.
- Greying and discolouration are signs that the timber is drying out.
- Invest in tablecloths, table runners and coasters that will protect the surface of your dining or coffee tables from scratches or marks.
- Avoid exposing timber surfaces to extreme heat conditions, moisture and light, as this can cause the wood to swell, shrink or start to show signs of cracking.
- Avoid placing timber furniture in direct sunlight, as it can cause fading. However, if unavoidable move furniture surfaces around regularly to allow for even colouring.
- Care can vary between timbers.