Dining Table Shapes: Which One Is Right for You?

Family Gathering at a Rectangular Table
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How do you know which dining table shape is right for you? There's more to it than preferring one shape over the other. We're not saying your preference for one shape over another doesn't count, but there are a couple of other things to keep in mind too. Namely, the shape of your dining room or dining area and how large a group you usually seat around your dining table.

You will find that certain shapes lend themselves better to certain conditions. When you match the two, you create a flow that makes your space look and function better.

Rectangular Dining Tables

A rectangular dining table shape is perhaps the most common, and there's a reason for it. A rectangle is possibly the best shape of a dining room table because most dining rooms are also rectangular.

A rectangular dining table is also a good shape to seat more than four people, especially if it comes with an extra leaf for extending the length, should you need to seat additional guests.

Ideally, a table with this shape should be between 36” to 42” across. Narrower rectangles can work well in a narrow room. If the table is any narrower than 36”, you may find it difficult to fit place settings on both sides and also have enough room for food on the table. If you do prefer to have such a narrow table, you might want to consider placing the food on a sideboard, so guests can help themselves before sitting down.

Square Dining Tables

Square shaped rooms look best with a square dining table. Square dining tables are also a good solution if you don’t have a large group to seat most of the time. A square table that can be expanded with leaves is good for the times you do need to seat more guests. Two square tables can be grouped together to create a larger rectangular seating arrangement for special occasions.

A benefit to having square tables is that they provide intimacy and a satisfying solution to seating a small number of people. It can be off-putting to have large a rectangular table if there are only two or three people present for most of your meals—a larger table can make the space seem cold.

Round Dining Tables

The square table is not the only solution for a smaller or square-shaped room. A round dining table is another possibility, and it may well be the best shape for small gatherings: everyone can see everyone else, conversations are easier to carry on, and the setting feels cozier and more intimate.

Keep in mind that a roundtable is not ideal for larger gatherings. A large round table means that, while you can still see others, they seem far away, and you may have to shout across the table to be heard. Besides, most dining rooms aren't large enough to accommodate large round dining tables.

If you do prefer a roundtable over a rectangular one but you need to seat a larger number of people from time to time, consider getting a round table with an extension leaf. That way you can use your roundtable most of the time but extend it when you have company over.

Oval Dining Table

An oval dining table is very similar to a rectangular one in almost all its attributes. Visually, it seems to occupy less space than a rectangle because of the rounded corners.

Use an oval table when you have a narrower or smaller room, but still need to seat more people.