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The dining table is one of the most important pieces of furniture in your home. It’s the centerpiece of your dining room furniture and where you go to eat meals and catch up on each other’s lives. It’s a go-to place for art projects and doing homework. And it’s a large piece that plays a major role in the room’s look and feel — especially if it’s being used in a small space, as a kitchen table, or to make a living room multifunctional.
All that is to say that picking a dining table is an important choice worth thinking about carefully. There are many different table designs, table shapes, and even table bases to consider before you commit to buying the perfect piece for your dining space.
In this guide, we’ll go over nine different popular styles of dining table so you can narrow down your search and pick the ideal table for your needs and design sensibility.
Let's dive in.
Meet the experts
Helping us out in this article will be three interior design and furniture experts:
Wilfredo Emanuel from WE Designs and HGTV's Table Wars
Extendable dining tables are the king of convenience. You wouldn’t be able to tell by looking at them, but they’re made in a way that allows you to expand them on the occasions that you might require more dining area space on the tabletop. The best part of this style is its versatility. On the day-to-day, your table won’t take up too much space in the room but, when you need it, you can extend it and fit much more people in for a game night, dinner, or party.
“I would recommend at least one extendable table in the house,” says Halogwaska. Emanuel also notes it as a favorite, explaining “I love this style as you can adjust the size of the table to accommodate your number of guests. This is perfect for entertaining more people in a formal dining setting.”
“I love this style as you can adjust the size of the table to accommodate your number of guests."
Extendable dining tables tend to be rectangular or square tables. If you’re looking for an oval dining table that also offers flexibility, it could be worth looking at a drop-leaf table that has a tabletop with larger hinged leaves on either side to create more space.
Perfect for people with a more modern style, a Parsons dining table is characterized by its sleek, straight lines and 90-degree angles. A Parsons table is a square or rectangular dining table with legs that sit square and flush with the edges of the tabletop. Parsons can be made in any size and material but will always maintain its simple, clean look. Whether it's part of your modernist home, matching with other similarly contemporary pieces, or you use it as a no-frills base for more elaborate decor elements, the Parsons’ simple nature makes it timeless and versatile.
“This style is great as the structure allows more comfortable seating without guests bumping their legs on a center base."
Emanuel points out how functional the Parsons table can be too, explaining, “This style is great as the structure allows more comfortable seating without guests bumping their legs on a center base. It also looks very chic and versatile to any type of place setting/style.” Adds Franklin, “With its clean, simple lines, this style is easy to pair with other pieces and is a great addition if you are going for modern/contemporary look and feel in your home.”
It may be a style that originated in the Middle Ages, but trestle dining tables are just as relevant today as they were centuries ago. A tabletop sitting upon two trestle supports, this type of table is sturdy and functional while also creating a timeless, classic look. “This style reflects an elegant and timeless classic. I think of Royalty dining at a table like this – indulging with decorative chalices and magnificent feasts,” explains Emanuel.
"The trestle table is great for families because of how high-quality they typically are, meaning they will last a long time.”
And practically speaking, Franklin points out, they’re also worthwhile: “The trestle table is great for families because of how high-quality they typically are, meaning they will last a long time.”
4. Mid-Century Modern
Originating in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, mid-century modern furniture is still incredibly popular day, with fans loving the natural tones and simple yet still aesthetically pleasing characteristics of the style. A mid-century modern dining table will usually be made of warm-toned wood with angled wooden peg legs, minimalist style and clean lines.
“Mid-century modern pieces can often be very versatile, and offer functionality while remaining timeless.”
Haligowska explains the timeless appeal, saying, “It can bring a sense of nature to the room. It's simple and straight or carved organic. It's light and does not overpower the room so it gives you the opportunity to balance with a large-scale chandelier or artwork.” Adds Franklin, “Mid-century modern pieces can often be very versatile, and offer functionality while remaining timeless.”
The bottom line? This is a safe style to bet on for continuing to be in fashion and perfect for dinner parties even decades after you buy your table.
If you want to create a warm, welcoming, family feel in your dining room, the farmhouse style might be the perfect choice for you. It’s rustic, cozy, and a touch vintage-y, working perfectly with farmhouse or modern farmhouse design styles. It’s a great way to bring some of the cozy nature of the outdoors into any home. Plus, this style of table is often made of solid wood or natural wood, so they’re quite sturdy, making them perfect if you’re planning to use yours heavily.
If you want to create a warm, welcoming, family feel in your dining room, the farmhouse style might be the perfect choice for you.
Says Franklin, “Farmhouse dining tables are typically made of exposed wood, featuring large table legs and a reclaimed wood tabletop. Sealed in a way that the rustic-looking wood is the main feature, they can also incorporate industrial elements such as exposed hardware. A real wood farmhouse table will withstand the test of time, and will wear beautifully over time, adding to the beauty and natural rustic nature of wood with each year that passes.”
Close your eyes and picture a dining room table. Got it? Okay, what you saw in your mind’s eye is probably a traditional dining table, and its high-quality timeless elegance makes it a great choice to consider. Made with sturdy wood, carved legs, and a darker finish, the traditional dining table can easily slot into a number of different design aesthetics. Traditional often means rectangular or square dining table and you can lean into the traditional vibe by pairing it with matching dining chairs or go more quirky with mismatched chairs and unique place settings.
“This style is nice because it is something that everyone knows and is most comfortable with.”
Explains Haligowska, “Traditional tables are quality, timeless, elegant furniture with beautiful elaborate decorating detail made out of wood. Traditional tables do not need to be used for formal dining or even used in fully design traditional homes. It’s the balance between new and old that creates interest and character in the room.” Notes Emanuel, “This style is nice because it is something that everyone knows and is most comfortable with.”
Round dining tables come in a variety of styles, but they each have a few advantages in common that are worth noting. First of all, they’re perfect for smaller spaces, as they tend to take up less room. And, as Emanuel notes, “A round table is nice in that everyone seated can easily see everyone else at the table. It also creates a sense of equality and camaraderie – as there’s no formal ‘head’ of the table.” That’s why it’s such a good option for creating a more casual and inviting atmosphere.
Do you find yourself attracted to the look of exposed materials, reclaimed wood, iron, brick, and concrete? If so, then an industrial-style dining table is perfect for you. Rather than trying to create the illusion of perfection and finished polish, industrial tables let you see their workings upfront. They create a bold statement that is visually daring, interesting, and more contemporary style than other styles in this article.
As Haligowska says, “It can be unexpected in residential space. The industrial table is designed for manual work. It's durably made out of wood or metal. However, it can be more than a workbench.” Indeed, there’s no table that will stand up to the test of kids and craft projects better than an industrial one, which tends to look better and better with age.
The pedestal table is made from a tabletop sitting on top of a single sturdy pedestal base in the middle. Because they’re often round or over dining tables, they’re great at making room for lots of people. And stylistically, they offer a streamlined, symmetrical look that can make your room look really put-together. You can also get double pedestal tables, which as the name suggests, feature two pedestal bases rather than one.
Haligowska is a huge fan, explaining “It’s my favorite. It gives you an illusion that its top flows in the room and at the same time grounded, there are no legs. The pedestal can create the drama of whichever style you like, it can be bold. Since it’s not so specific to style it’s easy to pick chairs. You can make it more formal with upholstered chairs or more casual without.”
Popular Dining Table Materials
Before you run and make your dining table purchase, we want to take a moment to discuss table materials, which are an important consideration to keep in mind when choosing your table. Here’s what you should know about each of the most popular dining table materials.
Wood - Wood is one of the most popular materials for dining tables. A wood dining table is sturdy and goes with nearly every interior design style. You can choose different finishes to match your stylistic preferences, with a nearly endless number of options.
Stone (e.g. marble or granite) - They may be much more expensive than other dining room table options, but tables made of a stone like marble or granite are able to offer a luxe look that no other material can.
Metal - Metal tables lend themselves perfectly to certain design styles such as industrial and modern farmhouse. They’re also strong, sturdy, and can withstand a lot of use.
Glass - Glass-top tables may be more fragile than other options but they also tend to be more affordable and lightweight. They can also be a key part of a modern design look.
Ash is the founder of Living Cozy. He's been featured by publishers like MyDomaine, Realtor, Real Homes, The Spruce, Homes and Gardens, and more. As a writer his work has appeared in publications like FastCompany, TNW, and Entrepreneur.