After my roommate moved out and took almost everything (save many candle stubs and decorative dish rags), I was left table-less. And since there's nothing more depressing than eating a microwaved dinner in bed, hunting down an appropriate kitchen table became my number one priority. The point of this sad tale is that for something as important as eating and entertaining, you need to find the right dining setup. ASAP.
You don't need a formal dining room (or a ton of room in general), just something that accommodates your average crowd and feels cohesive with the rest of your decor. And of course, it needs to be within your budget.
I've done a little digging on Apartment Therapy Marketplace to find the cream of the dining set crop, and unearthed some great options for every price range. So whether you're looking to serve tea for two or entertain your entire extended family, the right set is out there. Promise.
If you're working with a smaller space and limited budget, these tables and chairs should do the trick. You're completely justified in splurging on a few fancy dinners if your dining set comes in at under $400.
Between $750 and $900, these fully-fledged sets could hold their own in any dining room. Now you just have to pick your preferred style: traditional, Mid-century modern or bold and retro?