What Dining Table Shape Should You Get?
All the dining tables in the world essentially boil down to four shapes: Square, Circle, Rectangle and Oval.
(Don’t quibble, we know geometrically a Square qualifies as a Rectangle.
Also, there are Triangles too but that’s a quirky discussion for another day.)
Like every other furnishing decision you’ll make, the perfect dining table shape for you is determined by only two key factors: aesthetics and functionality.
A E S T H E T I C
Have you ever wondered why some spaces feel intrinsically comfortable, and others leave you feeling somewhat… disconcerted? Enter: the design principle of visual balance. Done right, a visually-balanced space evokes that sense of “rightness”, which is key to achieving a soothing environment.
For a light write up on the principle of visual balance in design, click here.
In the mood for something meatier? Click here.
Now, whether your dining hall is open-planned or walled-off, it typically falls into one of two categories: square or rectangular. To maintain visual balance in your dining hall, there are many factors to consider but a good place to start is with the shape of your dining table.
Symmetry is one of the most straightforward ways to create balance (the concept itself is intrinsically balanced), so it’s generally best when the shape of your dining table mirrors the shape of your dining hall. If your dining hall is generally equilateral, then a similarly equilateral shape like a square or a circle will help maintain that balance in your space.
Overwhelming your space with only one type of shape is a surefire track to either feeling like you’re in Alice’s rabbit hole, or a schoolroom.
A dining table is typically one of the largest pieces of furniture in the room, and can be used as an effective counterpoint to the dominant type of shapes used in its space. So if you find yourself in an angular room with angular windows and square paintings, consider using a round-ish table. Alternatively, the dining table can also be used to emphasise your preferred shape-type (as in an oval table in a room with circular windows), just remember to complete the balance with sufficiently angular accessories.
F U N C T I O N A L
Real Talk: Most of us in the real world have real use-requirements of our furniture.
\With an item as central as the dining table, these use-requirements are especially rigorous, and need to fit into our lifestyles as seamlessly as possible, so as to serve the functions that they were created for. To determine whether you need corners on your table, here are three fundamental pros and cons to consider:
Tables without corners generally afford more flexibility in ad-hoc seating, as there are no awkward points where a person cannot be placed.
If you enjoy hosting and often have large groups of friends coming over, having opting for a table without corners is probably a better fit for your lifestyle as guests can easily pull up a chair to join the party.
If you enjoy the casual ease of bench seating, a table without corners will turn out to be less efficient as there will be edges that curve away, resulting in less usable space on the bench.
Some round tables are sold with matching curved benches and customised pieces can be commissioned, but such seating is often specialised and can’t be re-sold or repurposed if/ when you want a change.
As anyone who has attended a Chinese banquet can attest, above a certain size, the idea that a round table makes conversation across the table easier goes down the drain.
While round tables definitely encourage more eye-contact, lazy susans become a necessity for anyone that doesn’t want to spend dinner standing up to reach the food in the middle.
In contrast, a same-sized square table would also face the same problem of reaching food, but afford you two more conversation partners at closer proximity around the sides of the table.
In general we recommend a maximum diameter of 2m for equilateral tables.
Elongated tables usually make it difficult to connect with people at the end of the table, but make it much easier to talk with the people across and next to you. In our experience, for parties above 8 persons, an elongated table actually gives you more immediate conversation partners than an equilateral one.
Food is also generally easier to reach as elongated tables tend not to have as much dead space in the middle of the table that cannot be reached from your seat.
Need more personalised advice for your particular space? Make an appointment with our experienced advisors below: