I am kitchen table hunting this week. The client wants a cool and clean look with a touch of industrial. The kitchen is white and grey, and the adjacent family room is a mix of dark and light greys. Here’s what I’ve rounded up:

Kitchen tables

1.) Brownstone, 2) Huston & Company, 3) Wright Table, 4) Brownstone, and 5) Mr. Brown

Your kitchen table probably sees a lot of action, so you need to put some thought into your next purchase. I like to recommend clients choose the highest quality they can afford, and then find other ways to economize. Separating out the cost of the design, the price really boils down to the the durability and clean-ability of the materials and the finish. Here are my thoughts on the most widely used table top materials:

GLASS is easy to clean, and you can tell when it’s spotless, but you also can’t hide when it’s dirty. Glass chips fairly easily, so consider your tolerance for imperfection. I love this Vanguard (below) glass topped table – the awesome silver painted wood base could go industrial or super glam. Like a lot of glass tables, this top is not attached to the base, and that can make for a tippy top. It’s important to go no larger on the top than the manufacturer’s recommendation, and to not skimp on the thickness of the glass (3/8″ or 1/2″ depending on size).

Vanguard

STONE (like marble or granite) is durable, but can also be expensive, heavy, and chip on the edges. Just like stone counters, you may need to seal the table top periodically, and if you choose marble, you’ll have to consider the staining potential. This Edward Ferrell + Lewis Mittman (below) table is a great mix of metal and marble.

Ef LM table

WOOD is a great choice if you stick with solid wood (formal dining tables with veneer tops are okay, if they are good quality and you use a tablecloth). Walk away from the inexpensive tables with wood veneer tops, which use a thin sheet of nicely finished wood over cheaper materials. The finish will wear off quickly and there’s no way to fix the damage. I also like to start with a top with a lightly distressed finish in order to avoid living in fear of that first bit of damage. Check finish options too – a bar top finish makes wood impervious to wet stains and wax finishes are also protective, but need to be maintained.

CONCRETE is so cool and there are many options for edge details, colors, and adding interesting textures and designs. Downside is the price on custom pieces, but it’s durable and you get extra points for the funky factor. This fabulous James DeWulf concrete topped table (below) would be the talk of your whole neighborhood.

James de Wulf dining table

METAL tops add a lot of personality and they are fairly easy to clean, but they are noisy when you bang down plates and serving pieces, so they may not the best choice with young kids. Bausman (below) makes this great zinc topped table.

Bausman 7986

QUARTZ, like stone, can be pricey and heavy, but it’s durable and available in lots of colors.

And I can’t ignore VINTAGE tables (or vintage bases with new tops). Old tables have already lived through a lot, so they have already proved their durability (or at least you can see how they will wear). Do watch out for those pesky veneers. This 1970s Etsy beauty has an inset black glass top on a gorgeous rattan base.

Etsy rattan dining table

What kind of table do you have?