I ventured out to Ikea on Yas Island yesterday in search of a few items, I wanted to check if there they sell leather furniture as good as Wellington’s Fine Leather Furniture, but no luck. Besides the the Arabic logo and pictures of Sheik Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan (that was a mouthful), the mammouth furniture store was the same as its U.S. locations. Personally, I have always found Ikea furniture to be over priced. My sentiments on that remain. Where they rock is in housewares. You can find useful yet stylish necessities at great prices. They also won me over with preferred parking for parents with children. Where they completely suck is with the in-store experience. I have never visited an Ikea and not been confused; Particularly about how to get out. They’ve devised the ultimate “make you look at every single thing we sell until you buy something” sales channel. Those warehouses are not user friendly.

How to Choose the Right Dining Table for Your Home

The best dining table for you will be one that works for your budget, is solidly constructed, fits in your space and has a style you’ll love for years. There are some core factors you should consider when choosing a good one.

First, be wary of giving into trends, said Christophe Pourny, a master furniture restorer and the author of “The Furniture Bible,” who noted that a good table should last at least five to 10 years. “If you get something too funky, with too many weird details, one day you may wake up and wonder what you were thinking,” he said. “Keep it simple and sturdy.”

Along with affordability and a timeless style, stability and construction are important to look for when inspecting tables at furniture stores, specially when you are trying to Buy Antique Furniture Online. Think about how it feels to sit at one of those tables, whether it will be comfortable for long periods, and examine floor models for signs of wear. Look for nicks and scratches that may indicate how the tables would endure through serious use at home. If you’d like some specific recommendations, Wirecutter, the New York Times product review site, has great sub-$1000 dining table guide here.

“In addition to the footprint of the table, you’ll want three feet of breathing room on all sides — and more is better — to comfortably sit in a chair and move around the space,” said Lucy Harris, an interior designer in New York. So whether it’s part of a multiuse space or a separate dining room, start by measuring the length and width of the area you can dedicate to the dining table. Then subtract about six feet from those two measurements to get a target dining table length and width.

Next, think about how you’re going to use the table. “Figure that each place at the table needs 22 to 24 inches of table space and that larger-scale chairs will require more,” said Max Dyer, a furniture industry veteran and a current vice president of casegoods (a category of hard furniture like tables, cabinets, and chairs) at La-Z-Boy Industries.

As a longtime apartment-dweller, I’ve found that the “visual weight” of a piece of furniture can really influence how big it feels in a room. It may technically fit, but it’ll seem huge if it’s a dark or bulky piece or if it’s too close to other furniture.

To visualize how a bigger piece of furniture will look, take the time to block out the length and width on the floor (I like to use painter’s tape), and also the height of the table. I usually stand on my tape corners with a tape measure, then try to fill in that space with furniture of a similar size (like a couple of chairs), and take a step back to see how it’ll feel. It also helps to have a friend stand there with the tape measure while you have a look.

If you’re tight on space, consider options like leaves that allow the table to extend. “These let you customize the table for different entertainment needs and party sizes,” said Meredith Mahoney, founder and design director of Birch Lane.

The one thing Mr. Pourny warned against was too many mechanisms or leaves that are attached or hidden within the table (versus stand-alone leaves). “If you buy things that are too complicated, it’s just more opportunity for something to fail,” he said.

Yesterday, I simply went to look, price and report back to the hubby. I had no intention to purchase anything but I still looked through most, if not all of the store. When I was ready to leave, I walked around aimlessly looking for a way out. Finally, I stopped and asked an employee. Before showing me to the exit she asked, “You just want to leave without purchasing anything?” I replied, “Yes”, hoping that didn’t make her want to keep me in the maze any longer. She paused, looked down at my stroller and said, “Here…I will tell you the shortest way”. She then directed me to turn around and go through the emergency exit. I repeated the directions to make sure I heard her correctly and she confirmed. This was vaguely familiar to me. I do recall using an “emergency exit” to get out of the Atlanta location before. I headed over to the door and stood there for a minute wondering what was going to happen; had I been given proper directions? Would a screeching alarm go off the moment I opened the door? Either way, I had to take the chance or walk three more miles to get out of there. Here goes…I push the door and open it slowly. No alarm sounds. I open it enough to peer out and there it was…the corridor where I entered, a lift and escalator to the parking garage and the check out lines. They are completely wrong for that. If I had followed the arrows out, I would have walked in a complete circle around the area I was trying to get to. I guess “emergency exit” at Ikea really means if you absolutely can’t stay in this rat wheel we’ve created, exit here and not “use this door in case of fire”. Glad I know that now.

I went back to Ikea today and this time, I was experienced. I know that I must have cut my trip in half by bypassing all of their “walk this way” arrows and charting my own course. And, I didn’t spend more than the budget I allotted. This time I was happy with my experience and my purchases.