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From Home Furnishing Business

Soup's One

As today’s world gets busier and busier, families are finding their way back to the dinner table to reconnect at the end of the day and share experiences over a warm meal.

The trend toward dining at home could mean a boost to sales of both casual and formal dining suites.

The top-selling trends on the next few pages show there’s a slight leaning toward the casual genre, but that’s not to say everything selling revolves around the relaxed cottage looks. Instead, there’s a trend toward a somewhat relaxed air in the formal shapes and designs, and contemporary styles are leading the pack. Good news for retailers with a strong selection of contemporary dining looks.

According to the latest Home Furnishings Business survey of consumers who have shopped for dining furniture in the last 18 months, 46.8 percent of consumers shopping for casual dining and 60 percent of those shopping for formal dining cited contemporary as their genre of choice. Traditional styles were seated in second place for both consumer groups—27.7 percent of the casual dining consumers, and 20 percent of those shopping for formal dining.

Nearly 84 percent of surveyed consumers said they dine most frequently in a casual dining area. Of that segment, 61.7 percent said they have an area in the kitchen for table and chairs, and another 36.2 percent said they have an area outside their kitchen designed for casual dining.

For the consumers’ most recent shopping experience, 75.8 percent were shopping for casual dining furniture while the remaining 24.2 percent were in the market for formal dining.

Today’s dining table—formal or casual—remains a hub of activities in addition to eating. Top at the list is sitting around the table and talking. More than 29 percent of surveyed consumers said the table is the place for reconnecting. Other activities include watching television (18.5 percent), paying bills (15.3 percent), doing homework (14.6 percent), working on hobbies (14.6 percent), and catching up on work brought home from the office (7.6 percent).


A Casual Affair

Of those consumers shopping for casual dining styles, 48.8 percent bought a table and 40 percent also bought chairs within the last 18 months. As noted, contemporary looks reigned with the consumers with 46.8 percent opted for contemporary styles in their casual dining, while 27.7 percent opted for a traditional look. The remaining purchases were sprinkled among European country, rustic country, mission and cottage styles.

According to dining suppliers who submitted their top-selling dining groups, the industry offerings are inline with consumer trends and tastes. Consumers are still the prowl for casual, more livable dining options with little to no high gloss finishes for their casual dining areas. More than 54 percent say they prefer a medium gloss and 40 percent prefer a flat, dry finish, which has definitely been a popular introduction at recent furniture Markets.

Drilling down into wood species, cherry remains at the top of the list with more than 31 percent citing it as their preference. Mahogany (25.7 percent) and oak (20 percent) followed in second and third.

When it comes to pricing, consumers vary on their price expectations in the casual dining category. Nearly half—46.8 percent—say they’d expect to pay $599 or less for a table and four chairs. Another 27.7 percent said they’d pay between $600 and $999 for a five-piece set, and a fourth (25.5 percent) said they would pay $1,000 or more for a group.


Black Tie Formal

When looking at the formal dining segment, consumers 81 percent of the consumers who purchased the category bought a table and chairs.

Not a surprise, pricing expectations for formal dining were above those of casual dining. Slightly more than 46 percent of surveyed consumers said they would pay between $1,500 and $3,999 for a table and six side chairs. On the lower end, 40 percent said they would expect to pay less than $1,500 for a seven-piece suite. At the high end, 6.7 percent would expect to pay more than $12,000 for a table and six chairs, and another 6.7 percent would pay between $4,000 and $11,999 for the group.

Style preferences for formal dining room furniture were distinctly contemporary with 60 percent reporting their dining room fell into that style category. An even 20 percent—the second largest group—said their dining rooms were traditional in style. European country, rustic country and transitional each garnered 6.7 percent from the surveyed consumers.

The dry, flat finishes that have become so prominent of late are gaining momentum with consumers. More than 45 percent (45.5 percent) of consumers prefer a flat or low gloss finish for their formal dining table. Medium gloss and high gloss were each preferred by 27.3 percent of surveyed consumers.

Mahogany and oak are the two preferred wood species for formal dining with 36.4 percent selecting mahogany as their top choice, and 36.4 percent opting for oak. Another 27.3 percent said they’d prefer a cherry formal dining group.


Want More?

A more in-depth report on the dining category is available for purchase via e-mail to or by calling (404) 961-3734.



Trisha’s Table from Klaussner Furniture

Part of the Trisha Yearwood Home collection, the trestle table extends from 82 inches to 102 inches to seat eight comfortably. Comfort is key and the relaxed coffee finish features heavy distressing and burnishing to simulate years of use. Suggested retail for table and 4 chairs, $1,499.

Charleston Regency’s East Battery Buffet by Stanley

The East Battery buffet captures the essential informal elegance of the Charleston Regency collection. Its scale, silhouette and utility is modern while the astragal and bracelet patterned moldings and carvings portray European influence. Customers favor a contrasting English walnut top in a clear matte finish over a lightly striated gray paint base. Suggested retail is $4,107.

Somerton Dwelling’s Counter-Height Novara

Sleek, contemporary lines shine in walnut veneers and Zebrano borders in a charcoal finish. The Massimo small-scale table features a curved triangle shaped top with bowed sides. Suggested retail for table and four chairs is $999. Counter-height bench, $259.

Palisade from Hooker Furniture

A transitional collection edging toward contemporary, according to Pat Watson, vice president of merchandising. The group is crafted of figured sycamore and figured walnut veneers. “The contemporary/transitional styling paired with the sophistication and natural, organic beauty of the figured veneers has created a metropolitan vibe that is resonating at retail. Suggested retail for a rectangular table with two arm chairs and six side chairs is $4,999.

Bennett by 200North

The solid-top contemporary dining table screams today. Dealers appreciate something adventurous from an American manufacturer, said Charles Curry, sales manager. The table’s legs seem to change, depending on the angle from which they’re viewed. Available in soft maple, cherry, hard maple, bamboo and walnut. Pictured in cherry with a suggested retail of $2,559.   

Valencia Wine Cabinet from A.R.T. Furniture

Mirrors, metal and wood combine for a stunning mixed media on the wine cabinet. In addition to the mixed media, the cabinet offers a wealth of function. “It’s a perfect blend of romantic, continental inspired design with functionality that suits the wine lover’s lifestyle,” said Adam Tilly, vice president of merchandising. “It’s the kind of item that displays well in pairs.” Suggested retail is $1,999.

Elouise by Four Hands

A high-backed chair with subtle wings adds elegance to the head of any table. Elouise offers versatility and the ability to complement a variety of room styles. Soft upholstery is accented by shallow tufting, antiqued brass nailheads, and weathered wood legs.

Suggested retail is $650.

Thatcher from Legacy Classic

The combination of style and quality give the collection a leg up with consumers. The scale of the suite works in both casual or larger dining settings. The table extends to 96 inches, allowing seating for up to eight. Suggested retail is $2,399 for table, four side chairs and two arm chairs.


McGregor from Standard Furniture

Farmhouse turnings and a midnight brown finish top off the casual styling this dining suite. The group offers an abundance of options, including a 90-inch rectangle leg table, a counter-height table, wine storage sideboard, and more. Upholstered dining chairs feature a neutral linen-like fabric and nickel nail-head trim.

Suggested retail $749, for rectangle table and four side chairs.


Simply Amish’s Loft

Versatility gives the table an advantage. It’s a sofa table. It’s a dining table.  Available in eight woods, the Loft leg sofa/dining table features a 12-inch wide stationary butterfly leaf that extends to a 54-inch x 30-inch dining table. Charles Curry says “Customers love the functionality, and dealers enjoy surprising their customers at how easy this table converts back and forth.”  Shown in cherry, suggested retail is $2,028.


Cottage by Cresent Fine Furniture

Casual, cottage-inspired and crafted in Appalachian poplar that features uneven planking and a rustic, distressed texture. Available with two table options—a 54-inch round with an 18-inch leaf and a 78-inch table with a 22-inch self-storing leaf—the collection features bead board accents on the buffet for a classic feel.


Proximity by Universal Furniture

Detailed inlays on the table top draw consumers to the Proximity table. Combined with the casual feel of natural linen upholstered chairs trimmed with gimp welt and tack trim provide a relaxed vibe consumers crave. Suggested retail is $899-$999.


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