Top tables: make life better

Top tables: make life better

A table is a key piece of furniture needed for a civilised life ...along with a bed and a chair. There's no shortage of good design in eco-friendly materials, but here are a few we particularly like across the price spectrum

By Noah Dugall
A fantastic table..the oak Branch table by Blu Dot, from £1,395 at Heal's

The Branch table (see above) from US brand Blu Dot has a slightly textured, limed solid oak top and tubular steel legs, so it's eminently recyclable. It is a fabulous table, according to editor Abby Trow, a proud owner, because 'it has a style but simplicity, it's substantial but looks unobtrusive, and it's only 84 cm wide so is perfect for a narrow kitchen. It's just great, we love it,' she says. Branch table from £1,395 at Heals.

Tables can seem dauntingly expensive, especially if you want a large one made from solid wood.  Whether the wood is reclaimed or not, a good table won't be cheap because wood is costly to produce and a lot of work goes into refining it. So don't think 'oh it's just four legs with a plank on top.'

Better perhaps to save up and then bask in the knowledge that the fine table you invest in is probably going to be the only one you never need to buy.

 

A brilliantly engineered extendable table, the ET355 from German eco-friendly brand Venjakob, from £3,000, at Vale Furnishers
Ercol's classic 1950s Plank table in elm and beech, updated with a black water-based lacquer. W152xD76xH72cms Prices from £885,www.ercol.com
Condo dining table by Halo Living is made from wood reclaimed from disused Chinese Junk boats. Steel frame, 3 sizes available. From £1,485. www.haloliving.co.uk
Moss extendable reclaimed wood table by Modish Living, from £915, www.modishliving.co.uk
Simple Shaker style Georg solid oak table by Skagerrak, £1,439 at Funktion Alley. Black lacquer finish available
Ercol's stained oak extendable Arbor table, L150-200cm, D90xH76cms, from £1495 www.ercol.com
Steuart Padwick's space-saving Double Cross dining table has painted plywood legs and an oak veneer top. From £740. www.steuartpadwick.co.uk
Double Cross now in orange. The table folds to become a console table. www.steuartpadwick.co.uk

Precision engineering

For modern tables with a sleek elegance and impressively discreet extension mechanisms, a brand to look out for is German maker Venjakob, which prides itself on its eco production. The ET355 table is a particularly fine piece, prices from £3,000 and definitely one to save up for if you like contemporary design. It comes in a variety of sizes, has a steel base plate and comes in solid woods or wood veneers. Vale Furnishers in Surrey are stockists as is the Stirling Furniture Company, based in Glasgow.

Classics

Obviously antique shops are a great place to look for dining tables if you want a traditional polished dark wood piece. For mid-century modern design, see Ercol or G-Plan. Ercol's Plank table, made in the UK from sustainably sourced beech and elm, was designed in the 1950s and is a timeless piece that comfortably seats six. It can look highly contemporary depending on the finish, such as the black stained version, which is available at Heal's or Pink Apple. Prices from £885. (Plank is W152xD76xH72cms).

Howe in London's Pimlico is run by antique dealer, furniture restorer and maker Christopher Howe, and he offers an excellent selection of solid wood tables, which are based on late Victorian up to mid-20th century designs. HOWE® is Christopher’s range of bespoke furniture and lighting handmade in England. Each piece is  carved and polished using traditional cabinet-making methods. Products are made to order and customers can specify the dimensions, woods and finishes they want.  

 

Oval Cross-Stretch English quarter-sawn oak table from HOWE® based on an 1890 design by Sir Ambrose Heal.
Draw leaf dining table in solid limed oak from HOWE®, £1,400. Extended length 152.4cm H76.2cm.

Reclaimed wood

Reclaimed wooden tables make use of wood that would otherwise have gone to waste, and that wood is sourced in the UK/EU and from Asia, where a lot of wood comes from disused boats.

Raft is a highly environmentally-aware furniture brand that uses FSC-certified reclaimed teak from Indonesia and its products are smart and contemporary.

For a more rustic, country kitchen look, Modish Living, Eat Sleep Live, Oka and Halo Living offer high quality reclaimed wooden tables. Modish Living's splendid Moss table is extendable up to 300cm, and has a W91xH78cms, so it could be the answer if you have large family get-togethers.  

Warrior reclaimed elm dining table by Oka. L200xD100XH75cm. www.okadirect.com
Megan reclaimed teak dining table with block legs, from £1,749. www/raftfurniture.co.uk
New from Jennifer Newman, the Tuck table has powered coated steel supports and a solid birch plywood laminate-covered top with laminate
Reclaimed teak Root glass topped table from www.raftfurniture.co.uk. £1,949
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Contemporary and colourful

UK designers Steuart Padwick and Jennifer Newman both offer brightly coloured, modern, eco-friendly dining tables. Padwick's Double Cross table comes with vibrant orange legs, while does Newman's new Tuck table comes in several colours including a jolly teal blue.  

The Double Cross table is a good product if you don't have much space, because when not in use as a dining table, it folds over to become a console table, taking up half the space. It's made in Latvia, and has painted plywod legs, while the table top is made from FSC-certified chipboard topped with an oak veneer. The Tuck table table meanwhile has powder-coated steel supports, and a solid birch ply top, which itself is covered with a laminate in the required colour. Various sizes are available.  

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