The dining room table is an important piece of furniture in a home. It’s the place where the whole family gathers together to share a meal. It’s where we usually entertain and serve guests. It’s where we hold special parties, celebrations, holidays and other occasions. Dining tables come in different shapes, materials, and styles, so there’s a lot to choose from.
Generally, the shape of the dining table is the first consideration when buying one, since you’re going to consider what goes with your dining room space. Once the shape and size are already decided, the materials and style may follow.
The most popular dining table shape, rectangular tables are preferred for its functionality and versatility. Typical dining tables can cater for 6-12 people, depending on length. Since rectangles can be extended indefinitely, it’s a more practical shape of choice.
Square is a simple shape for a dining table, and it best suits compact spaces or long and narrow rooms. It is typically seen in small and simple or modern-style houses. Small sizes that seat 4-6 people are advised to create an intimate atmosphere. Any square table that needs to accommodate more than that would take a lot of space, and opting for a rectangular table will be a better solution.
Round tables, like square ones, are ideal for small dining room areas. It’s the best choice if you want to create a more elegant and intimate atmosphere in the dining area, as the round shape helps diners feel cozier, and everyone can see everyone else as people converse with each other. Large round tables can be inconvenient and can occupy a lot of floor space.
The oval dining table provides a lengthier surface like that of a rectangular table but provides the elegance of round corners found in round tables. It’s a good table of choice for narrow dining rooms.
Freeform dining tables have unusual shapes and are typically custom-made. This type includes any tables that do not fit within the standard shapes. “Usual” freeform design tables are triangular, and these are a good idea for small or unusually-shaped rooms.
The construction of dining tables relies on different materials. A table may be made of one material only, or it may have a design that uses different materials for the frame or legs and the tabletop. Here are some of the materials which most dining tables are made of:
Wood is the most popular choice for a dining table. Natural wood never goes out of fashion, and it works with any design style and interior decorating schemes. Solid wood adds warmth and brings a timeless appeal. Hardwood varieties like oak, birch, mahogany, walnut, maple, ash, and cherry are more stable, durable and expensive than their softwood and composite wood counterparts. Softwood options for a table include pine, cedar, fir, spruce, and larch. Hardwood and softwood have a lot of options for finishes, like staining and painting.
Some people choose reclaimed wood for its charm and history, especially those who have rustic interiors. This type of wood is often sourced from barns, old industrial buildings, and factories. Meanwhile, those who look for a cheaper alternative to solid wood opt for composite wood products like MDF, plywood, particle board or chipboard, which can be covered with wood veneer.
Wood expands and contracts, and can be damaged by heat and moisture depending on the finish (or lack of it), so it needs careful use and maintenance. The surface can be scratched easily, and they can be visible especially on stained wood. However, the good thing about wood is it can be sanded and re-stained.
Glass table tops are very practical. Plus, they are elegant and brings a sleek and modern look to a dining room. Its frame can be made of wood, metal or stone, depending on your taste or your existing interior décor. It’s perfect for those who need their room to appear more spacious. Also, a beautiful area rug and stylish chairs would be more appreciated with this type of table, since it will be visible. Glass tables are perfect for modern, high-tech, minimalist and Mediterranean style of home decors.
Glass have high resistance to heat and moisture. If anything spills, it can be easily wiped down. The best option to go for is tempered glass because it is less prone to scratches, and when it breaks, it doesn’t shatter.
Metal tabletops are sturdy, durable and are cool to touch. It’s also easy to clean and needs less maintenance. It brings a modern and edgy look to a dining room, so it best suits industrial and contemporary styled homes.
Marble is typical for kitchen countertops, but it’s a luxury for dining tables because of its elegant, rich tone. For those who want a heavy, durable, textural surface that is easy to clean, a marble dining table is perfect. It suits interiors with traditional, modern and even contemporary styles.
However, since marble is a soft stone, it is porous, so it can be stained or scratched. It needs to be sealed and resealed to maintain its good appearance. Avoid placing very hot or icy pots and containers directly on the marble top because it doesn’t adjust to extreme temperature differences very well.
Granite is another material common in kitchen countertops but unusual for a dining table. This option is seen in traditionally styled homes or in contemporary open plan spaces. Typically, granite tables are custom-made to match the overall interior design scheme.
Granite is durable, resistant to bacteria and heat, and is also easy to clean. Like marble, it is porous, so it needs sealing and resealing to maintain its look. Also, it is expensive and too heavy to move, so it must only be considered if you are living in a house you would most likely live in for your lifetime.
Quartz is a non-porous stone that is highly durable. It provides a sleek and modern touch to your dining area. Unlike marble and granite, quartz does not require sealing, but it can be scratched or chipped. Also, it’s a bit heavy for a tabletop and needs a suitable, durable base to support the weight well.
Laminate is a multilayered construction material that can include PVC, melamine with some wood grain finish to imitate the look of real wood. Some laminate tables may come in plain colors like black or white. It best suits interiors with more modern décor. This material is sturdy, durable and wear-resistant. It’s a cheaper option for those who want to achieve the look of wood in their dining areas.
Plastic is the least expensive of all these options, making it the most affordable choice for anyone on a budget. It’s lightweight, comfortable, easy to clean, water-resistant and comes in a variety of colors and styles. However, it lacks the elegance and charm of real wood, glass or stone, and cannot offer the same durability and lifespan.
When choosing a table, you should keep in mind the existing décor style in your home. Make sure it properly suits your home so it won’t look out of place. Here are the common styles for dining tables available in the market:
A classic and timeless style, traditional tables look regal and elegant. It usually has rich proportions, detailed textures and elegantly carved or engraved details.
Modern style utilizes clean lines and sharp angles. When it comes to round tables, modern varieties are simple and unadorned. Modern tables bring an airy, unfussy element to any space.
The rustic style of dining tables uses unpainted wood in its natural form to bring a simple, natural feel. It is popular for cabins, cottages or for homes that embrace a rustic touch to their décor.
Contemporary dining tables appear in different shapes, looks and designs. These tables bring that “of the now” vibe and appearance.
Industrial dining tables look tough and bring the look and feel of factory interiors and machinery. It is often made of metal and wood paired with a purposeful look.