Buying a table and chairs used to be a lot simpler. You picked the one you liked, in your price range. The table was a standard height (28 to 30 inches) from the floor, and that was that.
But there's nothing "standard" about table height these days, as I discovered when I started looking at them at this month.
We hadn't planned on replacing our beat-up old kitchen table and chairs for a few more years.
But a holiday candle fiasco had left a charred indentation the size of a dinner plate in the middle of the wooden tabletop. I just wanted something simple and inexpensive that didn't look like it had been through the Great Chicago Fire.
That's when I started to get confused. You can still buy standard-height tables, but they tend to be fancy and expensive, suitable for formal dining rooms. The casual, cheaper sets, suitable for kitchens and family rooms, now come in "counter height" (about 36 inches) or pub- or bar-height (about 40 or 42 inches).
Pub-height was out of the question. I hate those tables in bars and restaurants. I always feel like I'm perched on stilts and in danger of tumbling off (especially after a glass of wine or two).
But counter-height? Maybe. I found a couple of nice-looking, inexpensive models. Back at home, I hauled out a tape measure and extended it 6 inches up from the burned tabletop. It looked and felt kind of high, but maybe that's just because we're used to the old size.
Counter-height tables are great for tall people, I read. None of us are tall, except for our 19-year-old son who's 6-foot-2. But he's a college student, and doesn't eat at home much these days, so it didn't make sense to choose a table based on his measurements. Then there's my 85-year-old mother, who's 5-foot-4 and has a bad hip? She doesn't live with us either, but she visits a lot, and I didn't want to buy something that would be uncomfortable for her.
Too tall? Too short? Or just right? I was starting to feel like Goldilocks
Counter-height tables are trendier than the old squatty ones, I read. I don't really care whether my kitchen table is cool and fashion-forward. But I do plan to keep it a long, long time, and things that become trendy have a tendency to become un-trendy.
So help me out here -- do you think taller tables are just a fad, or here to stay because they fit the way we live? What height is your kitchen table? And how do you like it?