Picking a new dining table is a personal experience that must not be taken lightly. It is the centerpiece of a dining room where you can entertain guests and share meals with family and friends. It is the most utilized home furniture, so you have to be careful in buying one. Make sure it’s of the right size, shape, material, and style that suits your interior very well and fits your household’s dining needs.
Here are the different types of dining room tables to guide you before shopping for a dining table:
Dining Table Shapes
Since you must take note of the available space in your dining area, the first thing to consider when buying a dining table is its shape. You must first decide on what shape to pick and make sure it will fit your available space. Here are the common dining table shapes:
The rectangle is the most popular table shape. It’s the most functional shape of the table that allows versatility. It fits in most dining rooms, whether in an enclosed or open-concept dining area. Most rectangular dining tables can accommodate 6-12 people, depending on its length. Rectangles can be extended indefinitely (through an extendable piece or by simply placing another table next to it), so it’s a more practical choice. It’s also a more space-efficient option compared to most shapes.
Square is the simplest dining shape, and it best suits compact and narrow spaces, as long as at least one side is placed adjacent to the wall. It’s the common dining table shape of choice for small apartments and small condominium units wherein only one or two people live. But if you’re going to use all four sides of the square table, you will need a square space with a lot of space to accommodate all the chairs. Square tables are usually only practical when accommodating 4 people. Any square table that can fit more than that would take a lot of space, making a rectangular table a better option.
Like square tables, round dining tables are ideal and practical for small dining areas. It’s a great choice if you want to create a more elegant and intimate atmosphere to help diners feel cozier. Round dining tables that can seat 2-6 people are practical, but anything larger than that can be inconvenient and can occupy a lot of floor space.
Besides rectangle, the oval is also a popular choice. It provides a long surface like that of a dining table but provides the elegance of round corners like round tables. It’s a practical choice for narrow dining areas. Like a rectangular dining table, it’s easy to place, practical and does not consume a lot of floor space.
Freeform dining tables are great for those looking for a unique, artistic or eccentric dining table. This category consists of any tables that do not fit within the standard shapes. Examples of these include triangular tables, L-shaped tables and the like.
Dining Table Materials
After you have determined what shape to choose, pick a suitable material that fits your preferences, interior design styles, needs, and budget.
Ever since people knew wood can be chopped and made into a craft, wood has been used as a popular dining table choice. Natural wood is sturdy, charming and works with almost all interior design styles. Natural wood is a versatile material that never goes out of fashion.
Dining tables can be made of hardwood, softwood or composite wood. But it’s best to opt for hardwood such as oak, cherry, maple, mahogany, and walnut. Hardwoods are more durable and long-lasting compared to other types of wood. However, dining tables made of pure hardwood come with an expensive price. Softwood options for wood dining tables include pine, cedar, and fir. If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, choose composite wood products like plywood or MDF and cover it with wood veneer.
Wood can expand and contract, especially due to heat and moisture, depending on the type of finish (or lack of it). It’s best to place mats and other protective dining accessories to keep your wood dining table looking great for a long time. The good thing about wood is that when it shows signs of wear and tear, you can make it look new again by sanding or re-staining, or even painting if you want to inject a new color.
A slab of glass is a modern type of tabletop which either has a wooden, metal or graphite frame. Glass gives of a sleek, elegant and sophisticated look. It’s also great for small dining areas as the glass reflects and opens up the visual space. It is commonly used for modern interiors, providing a clean and airy vibe, which can make your dining chairs or area rugs more visible.
Glass tabletops have high resistance to moisture and heat, but it’s still best to add placemats and coasters especially if you’re placing extremely hot or cold foods and drinks. Glass is easy to clean – simply wipe anything that spills. However, glass can be prone to scratches. Any dust and dirt will also be easily visible. It’s best to go for tempered glass since it’s less prone to scratches and doesn’t shatter when it breaks.
Marble is a common material for kitchen countertops, but it’s also used for making tabletops for luxurious dining tables. It has an elegant, rich tone perfect for traditional, Old World, modern and even interior design styles. It’s a heavy type of tabletop, so it’s best to own a marble table if you’re living in a house you own.
Marble countertops are cool to the touch and easy to clean, but it’s porous so it can be scratched or stained. You need to seal it before using and reseal it after a few years to keep it looking good as new. You also need to place mats before placing hot or icy pots on the table top because it doesn’t adjust to temperature differences very well.
Metal dining tables are sturdy, cool to the touch and modern-looking. It looks suitable for industrial or contemporary interiors. It brings a tough, hard-edged look to any dining area. Common metals used as metal tabletops are zinc and stainless steel.
Because of its characteristics, a metal tabletop is easy to clean and needs less maintenance. However, it can also be scratched or dented once it receives a heavy impact (but why would you do that, right?).
Like marble, granite is a common countertop material, but it is also used to create tabletops. Granite is used as a tabletop material in contemporary, open plan surfaces or traditional-styled homes. It is usually custom-made to match the interior design scheme.
Granite is durable, resistant to heat and bacteria, and easy to clean. It’s a bit porous, so it also needs sealing and resealing to keep it looking great. Because it’s also heavy, it’s not recommended for people who will eventually move out and want to bring their table with them.
Quarts give off a sleek and modern touch for your dining table. Like marble and granite, quartz is elegant-looking and adds a sense of sophistication to your dining area.
However, quartz is a bit more durable than the two materials, since it’s a non-porous stone. It doesn’t need sealing, but it can be chipped, dented and scratched over time. Also, it’s a heavy material for a tabletop, so a base must be very durable and weighty itself.
A laminate tabletop uses a multi-layered construction that allows a sturdy and wear-resistant surface. Layers of materials that make up laminate include PVC, high-impact melamine and wood grain finish. Laminate tables are suitable for interiors with more modern décor.
Laminate is a cheaper and non-rotting option for those who like the look of wood but doesn’t want to commit to its maintenance. The wood grain finish allows it to imitate the look of real wood. This material is also easy to clean, but you still have to make sure that it won’t come in direct contact with too hot pots.
One of the more unusual and unique tabletop construction involves using tiles. It looks great for most design styles, especially those that welcome patterns and variations of colors on a surface. It makes a textural surface to dine on.
Tiles can be placed across the entire surface of the table, or used artfully in specific placements and framed in wood. It makes a durable tabletop that is easy to wipe in, but the spaces between the tiles, like on floors and bathroom walls, can gather up dirt and grime as time goes by.
Plastic is the least expensive choice for a table material. It’s lightweight, easy to move, easy to clean and water resistant. It comes in a variety of colors, styles, and design. Due to the non-formality of its look, it only suits modern and contemporary styles.
Plastic requires less maintenance, but you have to be careful when putting hot pots in this type of table. You need coasters and trivets before placing anything that contains hot food or drinks to prevent the table from getting damaged. This material also lacks the elegance and charm of real wood (or even laminate), glass or stone. It’s also only recommended as an outdoor dining table or as a temporary table.
Dining Table Styles
Not all dining tables are the same. Their designs are uniquely created to suit different interior styles, such as:
The traditional style is the most common style you can find, especially wooden dining tables. It features a classic and timeless style that looks elegant and regal. It features elegantly carved wood that is either light or dark-colored, detailed textures, and engraved details. Traditional-style tables are great for traditional, classic, vintage and other similar design styles of the olden days.
Modern dining tables utilize clean lines and sharp angles, mixing utility with simplicity. It features sharp angles with unfussy surfaces. The designs are basic, smooth and simple, with either soft or hard lines. This type of table looks great for any modern or minimalistic interiors.
Contemporary design is the prevailing style that incorporates updated ideas. Tables of contemporary style can appear in a wide variety of looks, as long as it represents the style of the now. Usually, these tables give off a modern feel with unexpected features and design elements. It features lines that make a statement.
The rustic style invokes the feeling of being close to nature. A rustic dining table usually characterizes an unpainted wood tabletop with hand-carved shapes. It is commonly adapted by cottages, cabins or any home that embraces the rustic style for their interior.
The industrial style imitates the look and feels of factory tools and machinery, with h3 wood shapes and naked metal. Industrial dining tables are usually large and heavy, featuring a wooden tabletop with metal legs or supports.
Shaker furniture is created for function and simplicity. Shaker tables don’t have unnecessary details or fancy inlays. They are simple and timeless and are mostly made of natural wood with a solid rectangular construction, simple lines and a matching set of dining chairs. They are often handmade using maple, cherry, pine or cedar.
Farmhouse style has a less formal feel to it and an added rustic charm. Farmhouse tables often have a rectangular tabletop with distressed wood, giving an aged wood look. Legs of farmhouse tables are cross-legged and have bench seating on two sides.
Dining Table Bases
Dining tables have different bases and here are the most common types:
One of the simplest types of dining table bases, 4-legged tables have four supporting legs, with one supporting each corner. This type of base is common for square and rectangular dining tables. However, for rectangular tables, the longer it is, the more it needs extra support besides the four legs. There are 4-leg trestle hybrid tables featuring trestle legs on either side, support beams that connect the four legs, and cross beams that connect the two legs on the shorter side of the table.
23. Pedestal Base
Dining tables with pedestal base have tabletops supported by a single column. That column may spread out into three to four feet near the ground. It most often supports circular, square and oval-shaped tabletops. This type of base provides more leg room underneath the table. Some feature leaf inserts to extend the length of the tabletop.
24. Trestle Base
A trestle dining table consist of a tabletop supported by two to three trestle supports which are often made of two or four legs connected by a horizontal board. Trestle bases often support wooden tabletops.
25. Cross-Legged Base
A table with a cross-legged base features an x-shaped support placed under either sides of the tabletop, sometimes with one placed also in the middle. This type of base is mostly used for rectangular tables.
26. Sawhorse Base
The sawhorse table is traditionally common in work tables. It features a beam with four legs to support a board or tabletop. A pair of sawhorses supports the tabletop, forming a scaffold. These types of table bases can be found in industrial and complementary styles of dining tables.
Dining Table Capacity