When you take a minute to think about it, you’ll realize that your dining room table has a history. It could be the place where you celebrated your first child’s first birthday, where you opened your mail to find that you got the job, where your children like to sit and do their homework, or where your significant other said “I do” after you asked. Today, it may be the only place in the house where your family comes together to have a conversation and a meal, especially around the holidays.
Right after your bed, your dining table is arguably the most important furniture piece in the home, and it can hold more memories than any room in the house. Knowing this, it’s easy to see why people put so much energy in picking out a specific type of dining table. Whether you’re outfitting your first house with your very first table or if you’re remodeling your kitchen and need a new table to go with your new style, this is for you.
It’s essential that you know the most popular types of dining tables before you start shopping so you can get one that will last for decades. After all, you want it to be a gathering space to make memories, so you’ll need something functional, beautiful, and large enough to accommodate the whole family. We’re going to outline the 17 most popular dining table types with buying considerations below.
There are many types of dining tables available on the market in a huge range of shapes, sizes, and colors. This makes it easy to find one that is going to match your decor. Dining Table by www.trek.today / CC BY 2.0
Dining Table Material
Types of dining tables can use a large range of materials in the construction process. Every material gets picked to enhance the design style and unique characteristics of the type of dining table being made. The most common materials you’ll find include:
- Stone, such as marble or granite
But, what dining table material should you pick? The answer to this question depends on the design style, lifestyle, and your budget. Material also impacts how durable the table is, so it’s important to consider how much wear and tear you’ll put on your type of dining table though. After all, someone who has smaller kids will most likely use the table more than someone who goes out with friends several nights a week, adn you want a table that can keep pace with you so you can use it for decades.
1. Butterfly Leaf
This unique type of dining table self-stores the expansion pieces right in the table to keep them out of your way. The leaves fold so you can insert them under the closed table top. However, you do have to realize that this table will have a seam, just like you’d get with any other leaf. There will also be a seam in the center for folding. There is a lot of engineering involved in creating this type of dining table, so you have to care for this table properly and maintain it to keep it in good working condition. However, this table is very convenient, and you can choose from several styles, sizes, and shapes when you shop.
2. Double Pedestal Tables
When you have a larger type of dining table, having two pedestals is better than one. All of these tables open to accept the leaves using geared slides, and this makes them easy to expand. The balance that comes with this type of base lets you seat 12 or more people around it very easily without it wobbling. This table also tends to have a much more formal look in your dining room.
3. Drop Leaf
Very similar to a refectory type of dining table, the drop leaf table is the Early American version of the transitional table. When you drop the leaves on this table, you can use the table as a bookcase or sofa table. When you have both leaves on this table up, you get much more seating for guests.
A freeform type of dining table is one that you can’t fit in any standard shape category. Due to the nature of this table’s shape, it can easily fit in large, small, or unusual-shaped dining rooms. It’s very similar to an oval dining table, and it’s very aesthetic and stylish. Also, due to the unusual look, most freeform-style tables are unique because they’re custom-made. This type of table works to accentuate your dining room.
If you’re after a modern and stylish type of dining table, a glass tabletop can be a great fit. It gives you a level of subtlety that will work to open up the space of your dining room. Despite glass’s sophistication, the glass top makes it very easy to clean and maintain as you need to. You can also experiment with the frame with this tabletop. You can easily use natural stone, metal, or wood to help match your interior design style.
Also, make sure that you have tempered glass for the dining table top. This ensures that should the glass break, it won’t shatter into a million pieces. Tempered glass also doesn’t get negatively impacted by hotter temperatures. However, you do want to put down a placemat or tablecloth before putting any hot items on the table.
A glass table is very chic and simple, but it requires a lot of cleaning as the glass shows every fingerprint and smudge. Table With Glass Top by Jen Johnston / CC BY-ND 2.0
Marble is widely considered to be one of the types of dining tables that is easiest to clean. However, it also comes with a higher price tag, and this puts it into the luxury category. It’s cool to the touch, classy, and you get several colors to choose from. This allows you to pick out a color scheme that will match your kitchen.
They’re also extremely durable, and this ensures that they’ll last for years if you take care of them. It’s an eco-friendly option too because marble doesn’t need any industrial efforts when the companies make it. Marble cna dull and stain easily though. Also, you’ll have to seal and reseal it to keep it looking nice.
This is a more trendy type of dining table that has quickly become the first choice for a huge range of people. This specific dining table does very well if you have a contemporary or industrial home decor, and the metal top is very durable to ensure that it’ll last for years. You can also put a huge range of items on it in different weights without any damage.
Also, this type of dining table is easy to maintain while being practical because all you have to do is wipe it clean using a cloth to remove all of the stains and dirt. With this metal tabletop, you can also be very flexible with the color you choose to match your dining room. It’s also suitable for a range of interior decor types.
8. Modern and Contemporary
Modern and contemporary types of dining tables are some of the latest styles in the market. You can make this type of dining table with dozens of materials and shapes. The modern style is unique because you won’t need to match it with the color of your dining room. Instead, you’re encouraged to mix textures, colors, and rustic unstained wood. Benches have also started to become a part of the contemporary style.
Instead of using chairs along the sides of your square or rectangular shaped tables, you use a bench instead. These benches can help you save space, and you can fit more people on benches instead of on chairs. The benches also give your space a farmhouse vibe that is a blend of stylish and classic.
An oval-shaped type of dining table is a great fit for narrow and long rooms. It can easily accommodate a lot of people like you’d get around a more traditional rectangular table, but you also get the sleek rounded edges. Unlike other shape category types, you can fit them into a larger room or smaller spaces with ease. It also allows you to be more flexible with your chair choice. This is arguably the most stylish out of all of the shape categories. They also give you a large amount of legroom.
The rectangular type of dining table is the most popular type available. It’s also a great choice for fitting into a bigger family room, and you can extend it indefinitely. They work best when you put them in narrow and long rooms. If you have a larger family or accommodate guests frequently, this is the dining table type you need. Due to the corners, this table can seat several people. It also gives you space to roam around the table.
They’re more functional and practical. Unlike the other dining table shapes, you can change the position of this type of dining table. For example you can easily push it up against the wall without making it less functional. They’re also extremely versatile, and you have more creative freedom. Instead of having to use just chairs with it, you can add benches to add more style to your room.
For small dining spaces and families, a round type of dining table is a great fit. This style of dining table encourages a very tight-knit ambiance because everyone sits close together. They’re great for social gatherings because they give your dining room a more cozy and friendly feel. They stimulate better conversation and take up less floor space than other types of dining tables because it’s easy for everyone to see everyone else. You also have enough leg space for every person.
This is a solid choice for homes with kids. They don’t have any sharp edges on them, so they won’t cause injuries by accidentally bumping into them. They’re also great for game nights because of the unifying central area.
Rounded tables are extremely popular because they’re great for smaller rooms or areas without taking up a huge amount of space. Tables are set by purpletwinkie / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
If you love the country style, this type of dining table will fit right in. It gives you a very natural or farmhouse feel, and it usually features an unpainted wood in a brown and bland natural form that lends a natural and simple look. You can also make this dining table out of barn door materials to give it a very weathered and aged look. This is a very solid table style that is reliable because it features thicker pieces of natural, strong wood that allows the table to stay in your family for decades. They’re very popular in cottages and cabins.
13. Single Pedestal
This type of dining table stands on a single leg, and you can choose from a range of sizes and shapes. It’s easy to push the chairs in flush to this table, but the center leg can impede your leg room. This is a great design for small tables, round tables, or pub tables in your breakfast nook. For the dining room, this type of dining table works best when you use it to seat fewer than eight people. If you try to expand it out further, it’s prone to tippoing if someone leads on an end.
Square types of dining tables aren’t suited for smaller dining rooms, tight spaces, or narrow rooms. They don’t take up a huge amount of floor space, and it’s one of the most simple shapes available. They work well for a family of four to six, and every will sit a roughly equal distance from the other to make your conversations more laid-back while ensuring that you can hear everyone.
If you’re after a timeless and classic style with your type of dining table, a traditional dining table is a great way to go. It’s usually made out of wood and it’s a very versatile design. When you start shopping, this is one of the most common types you’ll find. It typically features exquisitely carved wood with rich proportions and textures.
Since this is made out of wood, it’s a very sturdy option with a basic and simple design. It lets you be flexible when it comes to color because you can paint it virtually any color you need to match your room’s design, rustic accessories, or muted shades.
The first type of dining table specifically made for eating on were trestle tables. These tables add stability and strength to your dining surface and allow you to add a few design elements that you can’t get with different types. It has expansion parts with geared slides that allow the table top to slide apart while keeping the trestle intact and stable.
The final type of dining table on the list is a wooden one. This table is very nice because it never goes out of style, and it simply evolves as tastes and decors change to fit in seamlessly with your room. You can pick out square, rectangular, or round wooden tables, and you can pick a wood shade that matches your decor while enhancing your dining room’s look.
Wooden tables come in a large range of sizes, colors, and polishes to create a very attractive look that goes with a huge range of decors. IMG_0060 by Derek Curry / CC BY-SA 2.0
One of the biggest advantages of this type of dining table is that it’s very sturdy and durable. The durability ensures that it’ll outlast a huge range of other tables, and you can easily modify it to your desired taste without a huge amount of effort. You can repaint it or stain it a new color to update the look.
Popular Dining Table Styles
The different types of dining tables come in different styles, and this style can impact the overall feel and look of your dining room. It can work as a statement piece in your dining room, or it can match the existing furniture pieces in your home to tie your rooms together. A few of the most popular dining table styles are:
Arts & Crafts
This was the main style of the craftsman movement, and it was heavily influenced by artist William Morris. The goal of this style was to recapture the fine craftsmanship you could find in pre-industrial guilds. It has a very utilitarian, simple design to it.
Contemporary types of dining tables encompass furniture that is popular today. Modern-style furniture looks very clean with uncomplicated, simple lines. The appearance tends to lean toward a fresh look.
Farmhouse style is a nice blend of function and form. It has hardworking furniture pieces with age-worn and warm materials. You’ll create a rustic look of a much simpler time.
Provincial style, or French Country, draws inspiration from the styles that were popular throughout French provinces in the 17th and 18th centuries. The style has an overarching farmhouse style.
Mission-style furniture has simplicity at the core, and it represents construction integrity and truth to the materials it uses. It usually has exposed joints with the wood’s natural characteristics showcased.
Queen Anne-types of dining tables came about during William III of England’s reign. These tables are grand and ornate, and they always have cabriole legs, drake or pad feet, bat-wing-shaped drawer pulls, and fiddle-backed chairs.
Embodying the Shaker’s values of pride, plainness, and practicality, this style has decoration right in the table’s structure. You’ll get nicely tapered legs, clean lines, and very minimalist designs.
This style is deeply rooted in European sensibilities. It has a lot of classic styling and symmetry to it, and this helps create an orderly, calm decor. You’ll typically get darker finished hardwood with nicely curved lines.
The style of your dining table can influence how the rest of the room feels, so you want something that matches your decor. Dining Table 9 by Daniel Spils / CC BY 2.0
Dining Table Anatomy
You should know the different parts of the dining table so you know what to get help fixing if something wears down or needs replacement. We’ve listed the main parts of the dining table below for you.
Apron or Skirt
Also called the skirting or skirt, this is the framing under your table top, and you’ll find it on every type of dining table. If your table self-stores the leaves like the butterfly leaf, the apron will hide the engineering that houses the leaves.
The edge of your table is exactly what it sounds like. The edge will vary with each type of dining table. When you pick it out, you should consider who is going to use it. A subtle beveled edge or straight Mission edge is very popular. However, more ornate types of dining tables benefit from more decorative edges like ogee, chamfer, or thumbnail. Rounded edges are nice for homes with children running around. Roundover or round edges are easy to clean, not sharp, and they don’t tempt your kids to play around in the table’s grooves.
The standard height for your dining table is 30 inches. Gathering and pub tables are around 42 and 36 inches respectively. These measurements are also called counter height at 36 inches and bar height at 42 inches. They’re very novel and trendy, and they fit in breakfast nooks, kitchens, and game rooms.
When you get the chance to pick out your table legs, stability and strength have already been factored in. The table leg should match the style of your kitchen or dining table to help it complement the other pieces in the space. Some common dining table legs include turned legs that are great for farmhouse-style tables, along with tapered, cabriole, and reeded legs.
Determining Dining Room Table Shape & Size
Table shapes vary, and your space, tastes, and needs will all help determine if you should go with a square, rectangle, or oval one. When you measure your room for the size of the table or shape, you also want to include the space for the chair to clear. You’ll want to have a buffer zone around the table to allow you to pull chairs out and have traffic flow around the table.
Once you pick out the style and shape of the dining room table you want, it’s important to consider how many guests you’ll have over. Due to grain matching, alignment, and finish integrity, you want to order all of the expansion leaves you think that you’ll need when you order the table. You want to have enough space for all of your guests. You should have a minimum of 27-inches of space per guest. For the holidays, you can get away with 24-inches per person.
The table’s width will determine how many people you can seat on the ends, the number of leaves the table will self-storage, and how much room you have for center service. Table width can also have an impact on the price as well as how large each leaf is.
We’ve outlined 17 types of dining tables that you can consider for your kitchen. You can look through them all and decide which one will fit your space the best. Take your kitchen style and size into account when you pick out the table, and you’ll get something that you can use for generations.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.