Purchasing a new dining table is an extremely personal experience for many reasons. This furniture will be the centerpiece of a dining room where you entertain guests and share important meals with family.
The dining table will be both seen and utilized more than a lot of home furniture, so the choice is never made lightly.
We are here to help guide you toward the perfect table for your home by breaking down the shapes, materials, and styles available today.
Our featured dining table, is a modern minimalist design, blending natural wood and high tech glass, with foldable leaves at each end. Read on for explanations and examples of each of the important shapes you’ll come across when looking to make your dining table purchase.
After this major decision, move on to the build material you’ll want to select. Finally, we bring you a suite of styles to fit your lifestyle and home as perfectly as can be. FYI, go here for small dining tables.
Different Types of Dining Tables
In general terms, the overall shape of your table should be the first consideration. Once you’ve decided on a shape, the materials and style may follow. We have provided a pair of examples for each shape, to emphasize the wild variation within each category.
As the most popular table shape, rectangular tables comprise the most populated category. Being the most functional shape allows for a playfulness of style that spawns a wide variety of tables.
Our second example is a glossy, minimalist rectangular table.
The square dining table is the simplest design. Four legs, equidistant from each other. These are perfect for four diners and compact spaces.
Our second square table design features a glossy white surface and ultra-minimalist design, perfect for brightening any space.
Round tables allow for shifting seating options and often hold features such as hinged edges or a leaf, which turns it into an oval shape.
Our second round table is a striking all-wood example, with central lazy Susan built-in.
Our second oval table example is a modern minimalist design with a narrow, long body over wire frame legs.
The idea of freeform design is that there is no concrete definition. This category comprises any tables that do not fit within standard shapes. Our first example stands in a rotated L-shape, with a pair of standard legs supporting opposite a full slab.
Our second freeform example stands a rounded triangle shape in contemporary glass and metal construction, with lengthy sides for two diners each.
The tabletop is where you’ll interact most directly and often with your dining table. It is, of course, the most important element of any table’s construction. You can forego placing a tablecloth when you’re happy with its appearance.
While many designs are holistic, with the same material used throughout, some tables feature a different top material than the frame build, so we are focusing on this aspect for our material category.
Our example wood table is unique, with one side of the structure holding ample built-in shelving for decorative or utilitarian storage.
Glass tabletops bring an elegant, airy feeling to any dining room, opening up the visual space and providing a clean, modern surface to interact with. Our featured model stands on a graphite X-shaped frame.
The laminate tabletop is based on a multilayered construction, allowing for a sturdy, appealing, yet wear-resistant surface. Our example here is a white PVC laminated table with a chrome ring frame.
Metal tabletops bring a modern, hard-edged touch to any dining room. The material is stain-resistant, hardy, and cool to the touch and fits well with industrial or contemporary-styled home decor.
Marble is often seen in homes as a kitchen countertop, but can be found on certain luxurious dining table models. Imbuing any dining space with an elegant, rich tone, marble tabletops will present a heavy, textural surface that’s cool to the touch and easy to clean.
One of the more unique tabletop constructions involves the use of tile. Whether across the entire surface or used artfully in specific placements (usually framed in wood), tile can make for a textural, detailed surface to dine on.
Dining Table Styles
Style is the final element of important consideration when shopping for a new dining table. Here, you will choose the visual language of the new furniture for your dining area.
Traditional style is still the most common you’ll find when shopping for dining tables. With elegantly carved wood, detailed textures, and rich proportions, traditional dining tables are timeless in their appeal.
The modern style evokes a graceful mixture of utility and aesthetics that flourished beginning in the 20th century, with clean lines and sharp angles framing unfussy surfaces. This table brings a thin, airy element to any room.
The rustic style utilizes unpainted wood in more natural, hand-carved shapes for a simplistic, back-to-nature feel that is popular in cabins and cottages across the country. Our featured example has a rounded log-style frame beneath a soft-edged flat table top.
Industrial style is meant to convey the look and feel of factory machinery and tools, with naked metal and bold, strong wood shapes paired into a purposeful look. Our example table features a crossed I-beam frame and a natural hardwood tabletop.
Shaker furniture is defined by a direct focus on simplicity and utility, bereft of unnecessary embellishment. Our example table in natural wood tones features a solid rectangular construction, simple lines, and a matching set of dining room chairs.
Contemporary design can appear in a wide variety of looks, so long as they meaningfully present an “of the now,” up-to-date appearance.
Contemporary tables can be found in every type of material and every shape configuration. Our example features an all-white circular construction from the base up to the tabletop.
Dining room table capacity refers to how many people can comfortably be seated at the table. As you can imagine, capacity varies considerably.
While you want to maximize seating capacity, you don’t want to end up with a cramped dining room where nobody has any space to get in and out of their seat.
18. 2 Person Dining Table
19. 4 People
20. 6 People
21. 8 People
22. 10+ People
Types of Dining Table Bases
24. Pedestal Base
25. Trestle Base
26. Cross-Legged Base
27. Sawhorse Base
Table Top Types
28. Slab Top
29. Drop Top (Framed-In Top)
Types of Table Legs
Below is an illustration showcasing three popular types of table legs. The other type is a straight leg – whether straight round or straight square.
=> Check out all 16 table/furniture leg options here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are common questions about dining room tables.
How long are typical dining room tables?
That really depends on what type of dining table you are referring to. There are three different standard shapes for dining room tables. Square tables are often used for smaller dining spaces. Rectangular tables are also very common.
And you’ll even see round and oval-shaped dining room tables. Square tables are usually designed to comfortably seat four people, although you will see them in larger sizes. Typically, they’ll measure between 36 inches and 44 inches on each side.
Rectangular tables are the most commonly used type of dining room table. They’ll usually seat four to six people but can be designed to be much bigger.
Typical lengths would be 48 inches for a table big enough for four people, 60 inches to seat six comfortably, and 78 inches long for seating eight.
Oval tables would measure very similarly to rectangle tables. Round dining room tables are measured by their diameter. A table for four people would be 36 to 44 inches in diameter.
Seating for six would measure up to 54 inches. And seating for eight would be an even larger diameter. With any of the different types, you would also want to measure the perimeter of the table, allowing about two feet of space for each seat.
How wide are typical dining room tables?
Again, it depends on the type. Obviously, a square dining room table would have the same length and width. Rectangle and oval tables are typically 36 to 40 inches wide. Round tables will account for their width in their diameter.
How tall are typical dining room tables?
Most dining room tables will be 28 to 30 inches tall, although there are other taller heights. Counter-height tables will measure 36 inches high, and bar-height dining room tables will be 42 inches tall.
Of course, you’d need chairs and stools with the appropriate height to accommodate taller tables.
What are all the materials that dining room tables are made from?
There are several different materials that are commonly used for dining room tables.
- Wood is probably the most common material used for dining room tables. You can choose from a variety of options, each with its own specific coloring and grain. A wood dining room table can last for many years.
- Glass tables are also popular. They are usually on a pedestal, which can be made of wood, marble, metal, or some other material. They can also be made entirely of glass, with the legs sometimes using mirrored panels.
Glass will create a striking dining room table but is very fragile.
- Metal dining room tables are gaining in popularity, especially for rooms with industrial decor. They’re also highly durable and very sturdy.
- Marble, granite, and onyx dining room tables would fall on the expensive side of the pricing spectrum. But each of their intricate details and originality will hold its value over the years.
- Synthetic and laminate tables are more cost-effective options. They are very durable and can mimic the look of other, more expensive materials.
Is dining table available on rent?
No doubt, getting a dining table calls for a huge amount of investment, but with the emerging rental startups, getting a dining table on rent has become easy.
You may get a dining table for temporary use on a rental basis (of course, for as much time as you like), without making a big hole in your pockets.
Can dining room tables be recycled?
It depends on what they’re made out of. Most wood dining room tables will have some varnish or stain and cannot be recycled, although the wood can sometimes be reused. Metal, glass, marble, granite, and onyx tables are all recyclable.
Newer synthetic and laminate tables can sometimes be recycled. Older ones may contain chemicals that cannot be safely melted and reused.
Do dining room tables have to match the buffet?
Traditionally, all of the dining room furniture would match. And while you can still have matching tables and buffets, you’ll commonly see dining rooms with a buffet that offsets the table. Sometimes, the buffet can even be the centerpiece of the dining room.
Can dining room tables be refinished?
Wood tables can be if the wood is still solid and in good condition. Glass and metal tables can sometimes be resurfaced if they become scratched. Marble, granite, and onyx tables can sometimes be repaired if they are dinged.
But synthetic and laminate tables cannot usually be brought back to life once they show signs of wear.
Can dining room tables be restained?
They can be. As long as the wood itself is still in good shape, it can be sanded, stripped of the old stain, and restained to almost any shade of color. It’s an ideal way to extend the life of an old wood table.
What is a dining room table leaf?
Some tables are able to lengthen, allowing more seating area. They will pull apart at the ends, opening the center of the table to provide a space where a leaf can be inserted to make it bigger.