Choosing the Right Shape for Your Dining Room Table

by Marcus Pickett

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When choosing your dining room furniture, you should start with the dining room table. The first thing you'll need to consider is shape. Choosing the right shape for your dining room table is going to set you on the right path toward maximizing the room's space and creating the best atmosphere for your home. There are four main shapes: round, square, oval, and rectangular. Each shape has unique qualities and distinct advantages and disadvantages.

Specific considerations for these different shapes are discussed below, but also remember to consider what, if any, auxiliary uses you might have for dining room. Some homeowners use the dining room as their home office as well. Others may use it as a sitting room, either for reading or entertaining. Is it more important that your dining room provides a daily dining area for your family? Or do you need a more formal area for guests and parties?

Round Dining Room Tables
A round dining room table is the most space-efficient shape possible. It is also the least formal. You should consider choosing a round table if you have a smaller dining room. Realize, also, that a round dining room table doesn't create a "head of the table." This can be a plus for casual and family dining and for diffusing power relationships in stressful family or business settings. If you like to play cards or board games, a round table will allow everybody to reach the middle of the table.

Square Dining Room Tables
Similar to a round table, a square dining room table creates a bit more formal atmosphere but sacrifices the use of extra space in the room. A moderately-sized, square dining room best accommodates this shape. Not entirely casual, but not entirely formal either, couples who like to entertain their coupled friends may find this table ideal. Each couple can have their own side of the table and nobody has a privileged place. A square dining room table is another good table for games.

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Oval Dining Room Tables
An oval dining room table is more formal and works better in a larger or long, narrow dining room. A head of the table is created, making a natural setting for various holiday and family rituals such carving the turkey, saying grace, or making a toast. The rounded edges also allow for extra place settings if things get cramped. While not as space-efficient as the previous table, more people can sit at this elongated table without feeling isolated from the person across from them.

Rectangular Dining Room Tables
A rectangular dining room table is nearly the same as an oval dining room table. The corners create the most formal and least space-efficient of the four shapes. Still, if you have a large dining room, you may need to fill the space to make the room look right. If this is the case and you have no reason to choose a different shape, a rectangular dining room table is probably where you'll end up.

Table Extensions
Table extensions are pieces of the table top that can be removed or added to elongate your dining room table. They enable you to better fit your dining room table to the particular occasion and space and seating demands. While table extensions give you obvious advantages, shoddy construction or natural wear can create loose table ends that will reduce the quality of your dining and entertaining experience.

Marcus Pickett is a professional freelance writer for the home remodeling industry. He has published more than 600 articles on both regional and national topics within the home improvement industry.