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How to Choose A Dining Table Set for Your Home: Part II

In Part I of “How to Choose a Dining Table Set for Your Home,” we began a conversation about how the dining furniture you select sets the stage for a host of memorable meals you share with family and friends.

With the holiday season in full swing, sharing a meal takes on an air of special importance. What and how you serve your family and friends becomes about more than good food. A beautiful meal, a beautiful table, is a continuation of family traditions, an expression of love in the present that becomes a collection of cherished memories for the future.

How you decorate your table—candles, flowers, and so forth—is an expression of your creativity. What your table is made from, as well as its shape and size, is actually the starting point for your decoration. And a clean table—free of fingerprints, stains, wax build-up, and scratches—is always a good beginning, even when you use a tablecloth.

Check with the furniture manufacturer to see what they recommend to clean their product. Then read the labels of any cleaning products carefully before you use them on your furniture. Choose a product that does NOT provide a “protective coating” for the table. Coatings build up over time and leave a residue that eventually has to be removed.

Here are some table tips for your tabletops about how to choose and care for the dining sets we carry at Walker Furniture.

Solid Wood

A solid wood table is timeless, warm and welcoming. The variety of grains, colors, and finishes lend color and uniqueness to the table. Many dining sets are made of selected Asian Hardwoods, the most common being the rubber wood tree found in the forests of Southeast Asia. Previously these trees were burned at the end of their latex-producing cycle, but our current emphasis on a sustainable environment paved the way for using mature trees that stopped producing sap for furniture. Other natural hardwoods used in furniture are pecan and oak.

Clean your wood table with a soft cloth and a solution of 1 – 2 tablespoons of white vinegar and a small amount of dish soap in a pail of warm water: Dip a soft, lint-free cloth into the solution, wring it out, and gently wipe the table. Rinse the cloth with clean water and wipe again. Dry the surface with a dry, soft cloth to prevent any moisture from soaking into the wood which can cause it to warp or crack.

Wood Veneer

Wood veneer furniture is composed of several thin layers of wood or material printed to look like wood that are glued together or to plywood in solid planks. Wood veneer can be an asset in our dry Las Vegas climate because the splitting or warping that sometimes occurs with wood furniture is reduced and the glue between layers provides additional strength and stability. Keep wood veneer furniture out of direct sun to prevent fading, and use coasters to prevent water damage.

To clean wood veneer, dampen a soft cloth with water, wring it out, wipe the table in the direction of the wood grain, then dry it with a dry cotton cloth. Remove tough dirt with 1 teaspoon mild soap flakes and 2 cups of warm water. Rinse the cloth thoroughly with clear water, wring it out, and wipe the veneer in the direction of the wood grain with the cloth to remove any soap residue. Dry with a clean, dry cloth.

Reclaimed Wood

Reclaimed wood is eco-friendly, provides character with it’s distinct, often weathered markings. It includes longleaf pine or heartwood, redwood, chestnut and American Oak. timbers from old barns, factories and warehouses, decking, wine barrels, and mine interiors. Because of its weathered appearance, durability and strength, it’s a favorite of green furniture manufacturers.

Basic everyday cleaning of reclaimed wood furniture requires a soft, lint-free cloth and clear water. Moisten the cloth lightly, wring out the excess moisture, and wipe the surface of your table. Keep a small brush on hand to clean crumbs that can accumulate between the boards or cracks in the wood.


Clear, frosted and tinted—is modern and elegant. It’s also a great choice for small rooms because it creates a feeling of space.

Mix a 50/50 ratio of distilled water (it doesn't have the minerals in tap water, so it won't leave streaky deposits) and distilled white vinegar (it’s non-toxic, antibacterial, and its acidic content is safe for skin, pets, children, plants, etc.) into a reusable spray bottle. Spritz and wipe the tabletop with a microfiber cloth or a handful of newspaper (Paper towels leave lint and streaks). Finish the job with a quick buff.

Stone and Stone-Look

Marble, quartz composite or cast stone such as cement—are durable “statement pieces.” They are also porous and absorb stains easily, and they can chip or crack. Tabletops are heavy so make sure yours is secure and stable on the table base. 

To keep natural stone looking its best, treat stains as soon as they happen. Apply enough water to the stain so it beads up on the surface of the stone and grout. This prevents the stone from absorbing dirt you loosen from the tabletop. Scrub vigorously with a pH Neutral Cleansing Detergent using scrub brushes, then rinse with clean water. Avoid letting dirty water run over clean, dry stone. Treat a deeply set stain with Muriatic Acid according to package directions. Muriatic acid bleaches whatever it touches, so keep it away from skin, eyes and hair.   

Do NOT use abrasive cleansers, metal scouring pads, chlorine bleach, ammonia-based cleaners, vinegar, and cleaners with lemon or orange oils. They will scratch, discolor, or make your stains worse.

Walker takes pride in knowing your family will create a lifetime of memories around a table you purchased from one of our stores. May these tips help your table last as long as your memories.

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