There are several considerations to take into account when choosing a dining table.
Firstly, you need to think about what material you would like it to be made from. There are many options from solid natural timber, through veneered chipboard or MDF to synthetic surfaces such as melamine or foil laminate over particle board. The first of these is usually the most expensive and they decrease in cost along the list.
Nowadays, the most popular solid timbers used for furniture are oak and pine. In the past, mahogany and teak have been used extensively but they are currently out of favour.
Pine is a light-coloured timber which makes it look modern and it co-ordinates with modern fabrics and soft furnishings. Pine is a fast-growing softwood and is therefore cheaper than hardwoods such as oak so ideal for those on a tight budget who want to have solid timber furniture. Pine also has a quite attractive open grain and visible knots which give it lots of character.
Oak is probably the most popular hardwood at the moment and the current fashion is for it to have a very natural, unstained colour. It is harder than pine so therefore more resistant to dents and other wear. Temperate hardwoods like oak take at least 100 years to grow to maturity; this is one reason why they are more expensive. Oak has a much closer grain than pine due to this slow growth pattern.
People on a tight budget may http://www.mandurahcommunitymuseum.org/ consider having a thin veneer of natural wood on top of a cheaper inner core such as MDF (medium density fibreboard) or chipboard. They can look very attractive but one must take care not to chip the corners as the base material will show through. An even cheaper option is melamine or an inexpensive laminate over a particle board core. These can have grain patterns printed onto them to give a wood effect and are usually water-resistant. Melamine and other plastic laminates are made from oil which is a finite resource. Some people prefer to use natural, renewable materials like solid wood.
The next thing to consider is the style of the table. Many pine tables have turned legs and a rather rustic feel but this is by no means the only alternative for this material. These days, pine tables are also constructed in blocky, chunky styles to suit a more industrial style home. Oak tables come in various styles from the modern minimalist look to more traditional styles.