Dining in Style: Types of Modern Tables for Your Home


Deciding on a dining room table combines both personal preference and functional needs. Dining room tables see a lot of use. You entertain guests and eat family meals together around this piece of furniture. It gets more use than most other furniture in your home, so finalizing a decision is never something done lightly. Before you buy, consider the different materials, shapes and styles available today.

Table Top Materials

Before you get caught up in the shape of the table, think about what materials you prefer and they style you are going for. Many materials lend themselves naturally to one style or another. Some surfaces add extra usable counter space while other need a bit more care to prevent damage.

Wood – Wooden tables offer warmth and a homey feel, but they also tend to scratch more easily and need protection from heat. Setting a mug of hot liquid directly on the table could ruin the finish. A table pad or consistent use of trivets and coasters is a must with any wooden table. For a traditional design, go for finished wood pieces, but for rustic appeal, consider tables with unfinished wood as part of the design.

Glass – Clear tabletop surfaces help open up a room, and they are usually fairly easy to clean. Keep in mind that glass can shatter if you drop something, though, so you will want to make sure to protect the surface. Glass compliments modern designs, bringing an airy feel to your decor.

Metal – A great choice to match a contemporary design, metal tables are shiny, easy to clean and add an edge to your decor. Any industrial kitchen gains a hint of authenticity with the addition of a metal table.

Tile or Stone – Marble, granite or tile table tops give you more work surface and handle stove to table transfers easily. They add a touch of luxury and elegance to virtually any design. Many modern kitchens use marble countertops or tile backsplashes, so choosing a table to match, extends the decor into the dining area.

Choosing Shapes and Sizes

Once you know what type of materials you want, you can make some choices about the shape of your table. The shape will impact visual flow and appeal of your finished design.

Rectangle or Square

The sharp angles of a square or rectangular table work well in most spaces. Modern design sensibilities have created whimsical shapes and a variety of construction options. Table legs can be decorated or plain, matching in color or a contrast. For larger rooms, a rectangular table works well and provides lots of seating room. In smaller rooms, a square table often works well, though it can be nice to have the option to add leaves and turn a small square into a larger rectangular table.

Round or Oval

Often designed along the same lines as a square or rectangular table, these smoothly rounded surfaces get away from formal dinners. There is no designated head of the table and seating is more fluid. Pedestal table legs offer more legroom, and these can often fit into spaces that do not work as well with the sharp angles of a rectangle.


While the above shapes are the most common, you can also go for tables that are a little more unique. Triangular shapes, L formations, and other designs all work in individual spaces to tie rooms together.

When choosing your dining room table, be sure to look at the material you want for functionality and form, before you worry about the shape and size. After all, deciding on a material will help you narrow your choices before you spend hours paging through style books.

Tawanna Madden is an interior designer. She likes to share her insights on the web. You can find her posts on many design and decorating blog sites.