The shape of your new table will ultimately contribute to the ambiance and emotion that the room emits, so you need to make sure you devote plenty of time and consideration to choosing the best shape for the table’s intended room. The most popular shapes for dining tables are:
The right table for you will be one that fits in your space and has a style that you will enjoy for a good amount of time. Regardless of the type, design, size, or style of your dining room, the table is always the focal point. For this reason, it’s vital that you get it right.
Measuring the Room for a Table
Before you start looking at tables, you’ll need to measure the dimensions of the room in which yours will be placed. One of the worst results you can have is when there is too little or too much space once you finally have the new table in the room!
The general rule of thumb is to leave about four feet of space (3½ feet at a minimum) between the table and any walls, counters, or doors nearby. This is to make sure that anyone seated at the table has plenty of room to get in and out of their chairs with ease.
Round tables are often the best choice for people who have a smaller amount of available space, such as those living in small houses or apartments. Round tables can fit into tight spots, and they also have the advantage of being able to support an intimate dining experience where everyone is facing each other.
What adds to the “friendliness” of round tables is that there is no head of the table, and everyone can see each other as they converse. With no sharp corners, circular tables are also very child-friendly.
One main drawback of circular tables is that they are usually not suitable for oversized families or large gatherings. There are, however, some round tables that come with extensions that lengthen the table to an oblong shape and provide more table space. However, if the dining room is already very small, extensions are not often a usable option.
Square is the least common shape for tables, although this shape offers a bit of extra room at the corners compared to round tables. They can be too large for small spaces for that same reason.
A square table that is too large for a room can make the space look and feel overly “rigid” or “boxy” with its four identical sides and corners. This is especially true because most rooms are rectangular or square.
When a square table is perfectly sized with a room, it lends symmetry to the space. As with round tables, a square table gives everyone an equal seating arrangement that is ideal for intimate conversation.
Square tables can also lend clean lines and crisp edges to a room that may be more circular and otherwise too “flowy.” Keep in mind, however, that if more than two people are dining at a time, there may be a lack of comfortable dining space if an overly small table is purchased.
Rectangular dining tables are the most popular choice when it comes to shape, perhaps because the shape of most dining rooms is also rectangular. Rectangular tables can provide ample table space without taking up too much room.
The linear shape of these tables makes them excellent for allowing for traffic flow in the room while still providing plenty of seating space for at least two people. Twelve or more people can be seated at some large, rectangular tables. In addition, the rectangular table is perfect for the central serving platter set-up.
If you have a formal space that you will use just for dining, rectangular tables allow you to go as large as the room will let you. In large rooms, choosing an oversized table can make an impact, and it will surely become the room's focal point.