Find your ideal dining table shape
As the dining table itself is the focal feature of a dining room, it’s important to select one that not only suits the space but also your lifestyle. In smaller homes, the dining or kitchen table must cover a myriad of different uses, and with a range of shapes and sizes available, there’s no reason why you should ever have to sacrifice space for style.
If you’re furnishing a small dining room, an extendable dining table could be the answer, whereas a rectangular or round table may be a better option if you’ve got more space to play with.
We’ve drawn up our own guide to dining table shapes to figure out which one works best for your home.
This is the most popular dining table shape found in the home. When it comes to seating larger numbers of guests, it’s the best option: the long, narrow design lends itself to large-scale entertaining, with the hosts positioned at each end.
The simple, linear shape of a rectangular dining table easily fits into most rooms, allowing for ease of movement when walking around the table. In small dining rooms, a rectangular table can be pushed up against the wall when not in use, but if you’re really tight on space, opt for long dining benches instead of dining chairs (they can be neatly tucked under the table and are adept at squeezing on an extra person or two). Choose an upholstered bench with a comfortable seat and ornately carved legs for a formal setting, and a plain wooden one for a more relaxed, country-inspired dining room (you can add scatter cushions for extra comfort if required).
A round dining table is the most versatile of all the shapes as it works in any size or shape of dining room. The circular shape helps to create a sense of intimacy, encouraging the whole table to chat. This particular shape also makes clever use of the space available, and with no corners, it can seat the maximum number of guests possible. Look for a round table with a pedestal base – these offer the most leg room, so your guests won’t need to contend with awkwardly placed table legs.
A round dining table is best if you prefer informal dining. It immediately feels more casual than a rectangular dining table because there is no head of the table and will easily accommodate an uneven number of guests (but limit your table setting to 6 to 8 people at the most to maintain that feeling of intimacy). A round table in a hallway can serve as an occasional table or an extra dining table for versatile dining.
Many of our round and rectangular dining tables are also suitable for outdoor use. The next time you decide to update your dining room or think about dining table décor ideas, take a peek at our roundup of garden tables that also work indoors.
Square dining tables are the perfect shape for smaller homes where the table serves a multi-functional purpose, as they can be pushed neatly into the corner of the room. If there are just two or four people in your household, a square table is an obvious choice.
The geometric shape helps to create a sense of symmetry and balance in a square dining room. This contemporary, linear style is enhanced further using sleek modern materials such as glass and chrome, and by pairing the table with matching dining benches. Should you need a larger dining table, pushing two square tables together often works better than a rectangular one as the width of the table increases with the length, leaving you with plenty of space for serving platters or centrepieces.
If you’re deliberating between a rectangular and a square dining table, don’t overlook an oval-shaped table. An oval table combines the linear layout of a rectangular dining table with the intimacy and flexibility of a round table, resulting in a table that works anywhere. The rounded edges of the dining table incorporate curves into the space, helping to break up angular lines and soften the scheme.
The best dining tables for small spaces
If you need a space saving dining table, look no further than our versatile range of extendable dining tables, which can fit your entire family. Suited to special occasions and spontaneous dinner parties, our dining tables for small spaces seat lots of guests but are also perfect for everyday use.
For daily dining, an extendable table can be collapsed down to its smallest form, but additional leaves mean it can be extended by up to three times its size. Our most popular extendable dining table, the Petworth, can seat up to 18 people when fully extended for truly flexible entertaining. Another best-seller is our Charlotte Dining Table, which can either be a neat four-seater or a table of epic proportions, depending on how many leaves are added.
Once you’ve chosen a dining table to suit your space, here are a few tips to remember:
- Choose your chairs carefully
Consider how your chairs will function alongside the table. Measure the height of the chairs to make sure they will fit underneath the table, especially if you choose a dining chair with arms. For further inspiration, have a look at our guide to choosing a dining chair.
- Leave enough space
It’s important to leave enough room around the table (so guests can slide their chairs out easily) and also between each chair (to avoid clashing elbows!). There should be a distance of at least 80cm between the wall and the dining table and there should be approximately 30cm between each chair.