FAQ's: Farmhouse Tables

Choosing a farmhouse table for your home can feel as momentous and personal as picking out a piece of art or even your wedding outfit. Aside from the creative choices involved, such as picking paint or stain colors, there are some basic practical considerations for everyday functionality.

1. What size farmhouse table do I need?

The ideal dining table size for you depends upon the number of people you seat most days, as well as the size of your room or dining area.

This chart shows recommended table sizes based upon number of people for both round tables and rectangular tables with a width of 36”- 42”.

# of people Seats comfortably Workable size
4 4′ rect / 48″ round  42″ round
6 6′ rect / 60″ round 5′ rect / 54″ round
8 8′ rect / 72″ round 7′ rect / 66″ round
10 10′ rect 9′ rect




If you entertain often, company board extensions are available for most of our farmhouse tables. They slide into the ends of the table to maintain the look of the long planks used in traditional farmhouse tables and to avoid a split in the center. A pair of extensions increases the size of your dining table by 3 feet – space for four more guests.

Adequate clearance?

Allow a clearance of 36”around your table for walking and pulling out chairs (the minimum without feeling too tight is 27”). Make sure that your dining chairs or benches will fit comfortably around your new table, allowing 2-6” between chairs. If you have a banquette, also consider either a trestle or pedestal base for your table to avoid interference with a table leg.

For additional information, please see our Dining Table Seating Guide.

2. What kind of wood should I choose for the top of my farmhouse table?

Selecting a type of wood for your farmhouse table involves striking a balance between appearance, durability and cost.


For a farmhouse table with individual character, reclaimed wood such as pine and oak is a popular choice. Other woods, such as maple or new pine, will give your table a classic farmhouse look without rustic details like distressing.

Wood with beautiful graining, such as oak, should be shown off with a stained or waxed finish. If you prefer your table painted, choose a wood with fewer knots (like poplar or maple) for no show-through.


If you are concerned with keeping the everyday wear of your table to a minimum, consider the hardness of the wood you choose.  Softer woods, such as new pine or poplar, can be more susceptible to dings.

Here is a rough guide to the hardness of different woods by density:

New Pine                      Poplar     Old Pine                                Maple                                     Oak

Soft —————————- Medium ———————————- Hard

 350  400  450  500  550  600  650  700  750  800  850  900  950 1000 1200 1250 1300



For farmhouse tables, the harder the wood, the higher the cost. Pine and poplar are the least expensive woods while oak costs considerably more. Reclaimed (old) wood tables, which are more durable than those made from new pine, are also less expensive than hardwood tables.

Based upon our 17 years of experience designing custom farmhouse tables, the most popular wood choices remain pine, old (reclaimed) pine and maple.


3. What is the most durable finish for the top of my farmhouse table?

A clear top coat over either a stained or painted finish is the most durable surface for a farmhouse table top. Remember that any major surface damage to this finish may require professional repair – or just leave the marks to increase the character of the table top.

Whatever finish you choose for your farmhouse table, we recommend using place mats, coasters and hot pads to keep it free of water rings or burn marks.


4. How do I care for my farmhouse table?

The top of your farmhouse table is easy to maintain – clean with a damp sponge and dry with a clean, soft cloth. DO NOT USE CLEANERS OR SOLVENTS (Pledge, 409, nail polish removers, etc).

For small dings or scratches on painted surfaces, touch up paint (not stain) is available from us. A stain from your local hardware store in a similar color to your table finish can fix minor dings or scratches on stained tables, but major repairs or refinishing should be left to a professional.

Only apply wax touch-ups (we can provide brand information) if you have a table with a waxed finish and want to freshen the look periodically. Do not sand before applying wax, then let dry and then buff off with clean, dry, soft cloth.


Brought to you by Cottage Home – specializing in cottage furniture & farmhouse tables

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