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Buying Q&A: Dining Room Furniture?

Q.

How do you buy dining room furniture?

A.

“The best way is to go to a consignment store or auction,” says Sotheby’s-trained home shopping expert Jennifer Litwin, author of Best Furniture Buying Tips Ever, because you can find quality used tables for less money than new ones. Why? “When people move, they either don’t want to put a nice table on the truck, or they want a new table for a new space. So they’re desperate to physically remove it.” That’s where the consignment store pickups come in. When it comes to the type of wood you want, consider that “darker woods tend to be harder and more solid woods than lighter ones.” As for the finish, she suggests avoiding tables with a too-high luster. “It’s hard to clean and it’s hard to prevent heat burns and cold burns that go through the layers of high luster on a piece,” says Litwin. When it comes to dining room chairs, be prepared to shell out. “Typically chairs are more expensive than the table,” says Litwin. To save money, consider the eclectic look of unmatching chairs: Pull some modern plastic or Lucite chairs up to a wood table; or, buy used chairs and paint them in a bright high gloss color. If you like the matching look, buy the table and chair “suite,” which will get you a slightly better deal. “The best time of year to buy dining furniture is after Christmas,” says Litwin, “when people aren’t entertaining as much.”

-- Amy Spencer

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