The dining room is where many families spend a good amount of their time together. So, it makes sense to invest in making that space as functional and enjoyable to be in as you can. With so many dining room styles, trends, and ideas to consider, make sure to spend some quality time researching the table features you like and which styles will work best for your family’s dining needs.
Choosing a Dining Table Size and Shape
When selecting a table for your dining room, a good starting point is to measure your space so that you know how large a table to buy. Allow at least 36″ (but ideally more than 40″) of space between the table and any nearby walls or furniture so that diners can comfortably navigate their way to their seats, even if some chairs are already pulled out.
Once you know the space measurements, consider the shape of your room and potential number of diners to help you determine what table shape works best. Here’s a look at the most common dining table shapes:
How Tall is a Dining Table?
Table height options can vary, but the standard dining table height is between 28 and 30 inches. The standard counter-height dining table is between 34 and 39 inches.
You can also look into an adjustable-height dining table that can move up or down based on your needs. For example, some smaller dining tables can convert into coffee tables. Other tables adjust from standard to counter heights so you can use them with stools or bar chairs.
Dining Table Seating Options
A key consideration in choosing a dining room table is the number of people you plan to seat there. You don’t want to overcrowd the table with people touching elbows, so plan to allow about two feet of space for each person at the table. Some dining table sets come with four, six, or eight chairs included, depending on the size of your table. Other dining tables may include benches instead of chairs, which can create a more rustic feeling or a breakfast nook style. If your table doesn’t include chairs, check out our dining chair buying guide.
Dining Table Styles
There are many different design styles to choose from, whether you’re looking to lounge in casual comfort or enjoy a formal ambience. Take time to browse the many dining table options available to decide what’s right for your dining room. You’ll want to choose a table style that complements the overall style and décor of your home. Common table styles to consider include:
Marked by rich, dark woods, intricate details, and luxe fabrics, the traditional décor style can catch a bit of a reputation for being fussy, dated, or over-decorated. While the style does draw inspiration from antique trends and furnishings, it’s easy to keep this look feeling fresh and inspired — in sprawling Colonial estates and urban studio lofts alike.
Style in simplicity is a modernist’s mantra. In the mid-twentieth century, clean silhouettes coupled with new materials outlined a new approach to architectural design and modern home decor. Chromed steel, clear glass, acrylic, and molded plywood joined forces with traditional materials like leather and hardwoods to create new and interesting furnishings that continue to inspire and charm today.
Combine the comforts of traditional furniture with sleek elements of modern and contemporary design and voila! – transitional style that is sophisticated, clean, and serene. Its simple color palette and emphasis on texture creates a look that is not only timeless and adaptable, but appealing to both masculine and feminine tastes.
Inspired by the open floor plans and bare bones of factories and warehouses, industrial style celebrates raw elements of metal, wood, brick and concrete. However, despite its edgy, urban appeal, industrial style furniture is incredibly malleable. With the right color palette and addition of subtle accents, it’s easy to incorporate a touch of modern, mid-century, or even boho-chic style.
Craftsman or mission style embraces the artistic value of hand-crafted furniture and decor. While today’s mission-style furniture isn’t always crafted by hand in an artisan’s workshop, traditional woodworking techniques and clean, sturdy designs carry on the craftsman tradition for a look that’s cozy, inviting, and practical.
Farmhouse style celebrates the rustic, romantic styles of days past. Distressed wood, country-chic textiles, and the combination of antique staples with modern conveniences are the keys to creating your own idyllic escape. Farmhouse décor starts with oversized, practical furniture, then balances out the look with delicate accents and bright, clean colors.
With its natural elements and neutral colors, rustic décor brings a sense of steady, organic warmth to a home. Southwestern pieces fit right in with the aesthetic, adding hints of color while maintaining the rugged feel. Both styles make for unfussy, easy-to-enjoy spaces, and is as simple as adding a few key pieces to a room.
The breezy tranquility of a seaside vacation home can be achieved in your space with coastal design. Inspired by the relaxed sophistication of coastal living, this beachy style relies heavily on maritime motifs. Nautical accents and light, weathered wood are commonly seen in coastal-inspired furniture, typically complemented by shades of white and blue.
You don’t have to be rich or famous to fill your home with chic and elegant glam furniture. Whether you want a touch of sparkle, glistening metallics, or mirrored details, glam décor creates a luxe feel that makes a huge impact. It’s easy to bring this opulent style into your space with a show stopper such as a dining table with shiny metal legs.
Regardless of where you live, global décor allows you to bring your favorite corners of the world into your very own home. Whether you’re a well-seasoned or amateur traveler, take note of what inspires you and translate it into the global narrative of your décor. Global style is commonly influenced by Asian, Moroccan, and African aesthetics. However, colors, patterns, and textures found anywhere can help you create a dreamy global home.
Mid-century style takes us back to a time when new materials such as plastic, stainless steel, and Lucite were incorporated into furniture pieces, and new techniques were enthusiastically employed such as steaming and bending wood. The mid-century style puts function over frills, but novelty abounds with fun geometric shapes, tapered furniture legs, organic curves, and soothing, clean lines.
Beachy, island-inspired design isn’t exclusive to vacation rentals or tropical resorts. With bold, natural colors and the right mix of materials and motifs, you can infuse your own home with a tropical style that keeps you running on island time. Neutral-hued materials like wicker, rattan, and jute are the unmistakable hallmarks of tropical furniture, complemented by colorful plants, accents, and textiles.
Common Dining Table Materials
The material of your dining table can really impact the look and feel of your dining space. For example, cherry is a richly colored wood that can create a more formal setting, whereas hickory offers a more rustic feeling but can be expensive because of its density. Glass is a beautiful choice but may not be right for families with small children. Spend some time doing a little extra research on choosing the best wood for your dining table top. Here are a few of our most popular dining table materials:
- Wood tables: Durable and family-friendly, wood offers many finishes and features to fit your style.
- Glass tables: Chic and airy, glass is ideal for creating the illusion of space in a small dining room.
- Metal tables: Long lasting metal tables can range from industrial style to retro with a pop of color.
- Laminate tables: Often a budget-friendly choice, laminate is also lighter than its real wood counterparts.
- Stone tables: Whether real or faux, stone offers the classic looks of marble or granite to complement your decor.
Popular Dining Table Features
Before you make a final decision on a dining table, check to see if it has any added features that may come in handy:
If you want the option to create a larger table for the occasional party, consider a folding leaf, which hinges and folds down on the side of a table. Or look for a butterfly leaf feature, which typically inserts into the center of a table and remains hidden underneath when it’s not in use.
Some tables have shelving or drawers built into the base, which can provide a stylish area to store tablecloths, napkins, place mats, and other dining accessories. Tables with storage are helpful for kitchens short on drawer space or a dining room without a buffet or china cabinet.
These tables are creatively designed to easily collapse and fold down for convenient storage. Folding tables provide a great option for saving space, and some models expand to provide a larger table when you need it. You may also appreciate a drop-leaf feature that allows the table to fold flat for storage against a wall.
Ready to choose? Selecting the right dining table can take time, but you’ll enjoy your new purchase for years to come. Your dining room should be an inviting place that welcomes family and friends to enjoy the space. It’s a room that you visit several times a day, so make it a pleasant, comfortable place to be by making sure to choose a dining table that gives everyone enough room, has comfortable seating, and a style that brings your dining room to life.