If you're looking to buy a chess board, there are a few things to consider. Firstly, if you're buying the board and pieces separately, make sure the size of the pieces matches the boxes on the board. Ideally, the king's base should occupy 75% of a square on the chessboard. If you buy them together, you won't have to worry about this.
For club players, a wooden chess set is often the preferred choice. Make sure it meets tournament rules and looks durable. The Mark of Westminster produces some very fine sets for tournament and club players. Alternatively, novelty games can make great gifts for those interested in chess.
You can find sets that intersect with their other interests, although they may not be as durable as more traditional-looking options. More attractive materials such as wooden and marble chess boards are usually more expensive and less durable. Wooden boards are susceptible to scratches, while marble can be easily chipped. Plastic chess sets are cheaper and more durable than traditional sets, but they don't look as authentic and are mass-produced.
When choosing a chess set, think about your priorities. If you're looking for something to take to tournaments or travel with, a classic board is probably best. If you're looking for something to add to an existing decoration or theme, you can choose a game that relates to that decoration or theme. In terms of sizing guidelines, relationships in terms of same or contrasting wood colors are described on the Chess Piece & Checkerboard Sizing Guidelines page.
Plastic and wood are more commonly used for chess pieces nowadays, while plastic, wood and cardboard are used for boards. This process produces a beautiful chess piece that is shiny but not too bright, but still has details and precision.