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Your Position: Home - Furniture - The Complete Guide to Dining Table Styles

The Complete Guide to Dining Table Styles

The dining table is one of the most important pieces of furniture in your home.

It’s the centerpiece of your dining room furniture and where you go to eat meals and catch up on each other’s lives. It’s a go-to place for art projects and doing homework. And it’s a large piece that plays a major role in the room’s look and feel — especially if it’s being used in a small space, as a kitchen table, or to make a living room multifunctional.

All that is to say that picking a dining table is an important choice worth thinking about carefully. There are many different table designs, table shapes, and even table bases to consider before you commit to buying the perfect piece for your dining space.

In this guide, we’ll go over 10 different popular styles of dining table so you can narrow down your search and pick the ideal table for your needs and design sensibility.

Let's dive in.

Meet the experts

Helping us out in this article will be three interior design and furniture experts:

  • Wilfredo Emanuel from WE Designs and HGTV's Table Wars
  • Edyta Haligowska, interior designer and owner of HE Space Design
  • Anna Franklin, interior designer and founder of Stone House Collective
  • Vanessa Emam, co-founder of V+R Designs

10 Popular Dining Table Styles

1. Extendable

The Transformer Table extendable dining table

Extendable dining tables are the king of convenience. You wouldn’t be able to tell by looking at them, but they’re made in a way that allows you to expand them on the occasions that you might require more dining area space on the tabletop. The best part of this style is its versatility. On the day-to-day, your table won’t take up too much space in the room but, when you need it, you can extend it and fit much more people in for a game night, dinner, or party.

Review: Transformer Table: A 6-in-1 Table for Every Home, and Every Family

“I would recommend at least one extendable table in the house,” says Halogwaska. Emanuel also notes it as a favorite, explaining “I love this style as you can adjust the size of the table to accommodate your number of guests. This is perfect for entertaining more people in a formal dining setting.”

“I love this style as you can adjust the size of the table to accommodate your number of guests."

Extendable dining tables tend to be rectangular or square tables. If you’re looking for an oval dining table that also offers flexibility, it could be worth looking at a drop-leaf table that has a tabletop with larger hinged leaves on either side to create more space.

Meet New convertible table v4.0.

2. Parsons

Festa Dining Table

Perfect for people with a more modern style, a Parsons dining table is characterized by its sleek, straight lines and 90-degree angles. A Parsons table is a square or rectangular dining table with legs that sit square and flush with the edges of the tabletop. Parsons can be made in any size and material but will always maintain its simple, clean look. Whether it's part of your modernist home, matching with other similarly contemporary pieces, or you use it as a no-frills base for more elaborate decor elements, the Parsons’ simple nature makes it timeless and versatile.

“This style is great as the structure allows more comfortable seating without guests bumping their legs on a center base."

Emanuel points out how functional the Parsons table can be too, explaining, “This style is great as the structure allows more comfortable seating without guests bumping their legs on a center base. It also looks very chic and versatile to any type of place setting/style.” Adds Franklin, “With its clean, simple lines, this style is easy to pair with other pieces and is a great addition if you are going for modern/contemporary look and feel in your home.”

Read more: Round vs Rectangular Dining Tables: How to Choose the Best for Your Space

3. Trestle

Ullin Solid Wood Trestle Dining Table

It may be a style that originated in the Middle Ages, but trestle dining tables are just as relevant today as they were centuries ago. A tabletop sitting upon two trestle supports, this type of table is sturdy and functional while also creating a timeless, classic look. “This style reflects an elegant and timeless classic. I think of Royalty dining at a table like this – indulging with decorative chalices and magnificent feasts,” explains Emanuel.

"The trestle table is great for families because of how high-quality they typically are, meaning they will last a long time.”

And practically speaking, Franklin points out, they’re also worthwhile: “The trestle table is great for families because of how high-quality they typically are, meaning they will last a long time.”

4. Mid-Century Modern

Hagen Dining Table

Originating in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, mid-century modern furniture is still incredibly popular day, with fans loving the natural tones and simple yet still aesthetically pleasing characteristics of the style. A mid-century modern dining table will usually be made of warm-toned wood with angled wooden peg legs, minimalist style and clean lines.

“Mid-century modern pieces can often be very versatile, and offer functionality while remaining timeless.”

Haligowska explains the timeless appeal, saying, “It can bring a sense of nature to the room. It's simple and straight or carved organic. It's light and does not overpower the room so it gives you the opportunity to balance with a large-scale chandelier or artwork.” Mid-century modern dining tables can often be very versatile, and offer functionality while remaining timeless.

The bottom line? This is a safe style to bet on for continuing to be in fashion and perfect for dinner parties even decades after you buy your table.

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5. Farmhouse

Miles Dining Table

If you want to create a warm, welcoming, family feel in your dining room, the farmhouse style might be the perfect choice for you. It’s rustic, cozy, and a touch vintage-y, working perfectly with farmhouse or modern farmhouse design styles. It’s a great way to bring some of the cozy nature of the outdoors into any home. Plus, this style of table is often made of solid wood or natural wood, so they’re quite sturdy, making them perfect if you’re planning to use yours heavily.

If you want to create a warm, welcoming, family feel in your dining room, the farmhouse style might be the perfect choice for you.

Says Franklin, “Farmhouse dining tables are typically made of exposed wood, featuring large table legs and a reclaimed wood tabletop. Sealed in a way that the rustic-looking wood is the main feature, they can also incorporate industrial elements such as exposed hardware. A real wood farmhouse table will withstand the test of time, and will wear beautifully over time, adding to the beauty and natural rustic nature of wood with each year that passes.”

6. Traditional

Basque Honey Dining Table

Close your eyes and picture a dining room table. Got it? Okay, what you saw in your mind’s eye is probably a traditional dining table, and its high-quality timeless elegance makes it a great choice to consider. Made with sturdy wood, carved legs, and a darker finish, the traditional dining table can easily slot into a number of different design aesthetics. Traditional often means rectangular or square dining table and you can lean into the traditional vibe by pairing it with matching dining chairs or go more quirky with mismatched chairs and unique place settings.

“This style is nice because it is something that everyone knows and is most comfortable with.”

Explains Haligowska, “Traditional tables are quality, timeless, elegant furniture with beautiful elaborate decorating detail made out of wood. Traditional tables do not need to be used for formal dining or even used in fully design traditional homes. It’s the balance between new and old that creates interest and character in the room.” Notes Emanuel, “This style is nice because it is something that everyone knows and is most comfortable with.”

7. Round

Floyd Round Dining Table

Round dining tables come in a variety of styles, but they each have a few advantages in common that are worth noting. First of all, they’re perfect for smaller spaces, as they tend to take up less room. And, as Emanuel notes, “A round table is nice in that everyone seated can easily see everyone else at the table. It also creates a sense of equality and camaraderie – as there’s no formal ‘head’ of the table.” That’s why it’s such a good option for creating a more casual and inviting atmosphere.

8. Industrial

Polanco Acacia Dining Table

Do you find yourself attracted to the look of exposed materials, reclaimed wood, iron, brick, and concrete? If so, then an industrial-style dining table is perfect for you. Rather than trying to create the illusion of perfection and finished polish, industrial tables let you see their workings upfront. They create a bold statement that is visually daring, interesting, and more contemporary style than other styles in this article.

As Haligowska says, “It can be unexpected in residential space. The industrial table is designed for manual work. It's durably made out of wood or metal. However, it can be more than a workbench.” Indeed, there’s no table that will stand up to the test of kids and craft projects better than an industrial one, which tends to look better and better with age.

9. Pedestal

Tynan Dining Table

Inspired by the mid-century modern Tulip Table, the pedestal table is made from a tabletop sitting on top of a single sturdy pedestal base in the middle. Because they’re often round or over dining tables, they’re great at making room for lots of people. And stylistically, they offer a streamlined, symmetrical look that can make your room look really put-together. You can also get double pedestal tables, which as the name suggests, feature two pedestal bases rather than one.

Haligowska is a huge fan, explaining “It’s my favorite. It gives you an illusion that its top flows in the room and at the same time grounded, there are no legs. The pedestal can create the drama of whichever style you like, it can be bold. Since it’s not so specific to style it’s easy to pick chairs. You can make it more formal with upholstered chairs or more casual without.” If you want to add to a pedestal table, you can style it with a few accessories like a bowl or vase.

10. Scandinavian

Lily Dining Table

Scandinavian dining tables tend to be simplistic and use organic and natural materials. They also lean towards a more minimalist style. “A Scandinavian dining table is light and airy in design and rather slim in profile. It’s sleek-looking and has minimalist details, but it’s also functional and design-forward," says interior designer Vanessa Emam.

Many Scandinavian dining tables borrow elements like long tapered legs from mid-century modern design. Scandi style also encompasses a range of shapes, so rectangular, oval, and round tables all fall under the umbrella of Scandinavian design.

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Popular Dining Table Materials

Before you run and make your dining table purchase, we want to take a moment to discuss table materials, which are an important consideration to keep in mind when choosing your table. Here’s what you should know about each of the most popular dining table materials.

  • Wood - Wood is one of the most popular materials for dining tables. A wood dining table is sturdy and goes with nearly every interior design style. You can choose different finishes to match your stylistic preferences, with a nearly endless number of options.
  • Stone (e.g. marble or granite) - They may be much more expensive than other dining room table options, but tables made of a stone like marble or granite are able to offer a luxe look that no other material can.  
  • Metal - Metal tables lend themselves perfectly to certain design styles such as industrial and modern farmhouse. They’re also strong, sturdy, and can withstand a lot of use.
  • Glass - Glass-top tables may be more fragile than other options but they also tend to be more affordable and lightweight. They can also be a key part of a modern design look.

Written by

Ash Read

Ash is the founder of Living Cozy. He's been featured by publishers like MyDomaine, Realtor, Real Homes, Architectural Digest, The Spruce, Homes and Gardens, and more. As a writer his work has appeared in publications like FastCompany, TNW, and Entrepreneur.

How do you know which dining table shape is right for you? There is more to it than preferring one shape over the other. Not that your preference for one shape over another does not matter, but there are a couple of other things to keep in mind.

The two main factors that should determine the shape of your dining room table should be the shape and size of your dining room or dining area and the number of people you usually seat around your dining table. You will find that certain shapes lend themselves better to certain conditions. When you match the two, you create a flow that makes your space look and function better.

Rectangular Dining Tables

A rectangular dining table shape is perhaps the most common, and there is a pretty good reason for it. Most dining rooms are also rectangular. A rectangular dining table is also a good shape to seat more than four people, especially if it comes with an extra leaf for extending the length, should you need to seat additional guests.

Ideally, a rectangular table should be between 36 inches to 42 inches wide. Narrower rectangles can work well in a narrow room, but if the table is any narrower than 36 inches, you may find it difficult to fit place settings on both sides and enough room for food on the table. If you do prefer to have a narrow table, you might want to consider placing the food on a sideboard or buffet table, so guests can help themselves before sitting down.

The Spruce / Jason Donnelly

Square Dining Tables

Square-shaped rooms look best with a square dining table. Square dining tables are also a good solution if you do not have a large group to seat most of the time. A square table that can be expanded with leaves is good for those times you will need to seat more guests. Two square tables can even be grouped together to create a larger rectangular seating arrangement for special occasions.

A benefit to having square tables is that they provide intimacy and a satisfying solution to seating a small number of people. It can be off-putting to have large a rectangular table if there are only two or three people present for most of your meals—a larger table can make the space seem cold.

The Spruce / Jason Donnelly

Round Dining Tables

The square table is not the only solution for a smaller or square-shaped room. A round dining table is another possibility, and it is one of the best shapes for small gatherings since everyone can see everyone else, conversations are easier to carry on, and the setting feels cozier and more intimate.

Keep in mind that a round table is not ideal for larger gatherings. A large round table means that, while you can still see others, they seem far away, and you may have to shout across the table to be heard. Besides, most dining rooms are not large enough to accommodate large round dining tables.

If you do prefer a round table over a rectangular one and you think you may need to seat a larger number of people from time to time, consider getting a round table with an extension leaf. That way, you can use your round table most of the time but extend it when you have company over.

The Spruce / Jason Donnelly

Oval Dining Table

An oval dining table is very similar to a rectangular one in almost all its attributes. Visually, it seems to occupy less space than a rectangle because of the rounded corners, but this also means that it has less surface area. You might want to consider an oval table if you have a narrower or smaller room and might occasionally need to seat more people.

The Spruce / Christopher Lee Foto

The Complete Guide to Dining Table Styles

Dining Table Shapes: Which One Is Right for You?

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