Thursday, February 9, 2012

What Table Shape Is Right For My Space?

What shape table do you need to buy? If you are new at buying furniture, more specifically a dining table, you may have asked yourself this question after looking into your empty dining space.  There are no real hard rules for this answer, yet there are guidelines that can be followed and information you might not have thought of to make it easier to decide. 

By answering these a few simple questions before you go out shopping will help you find the perfect shape for your room?

A round table in a square room is perfect!
What shape and size is your room? Will the table be your nightly eating spot, mainly for company, or both? And how many people do you need to seat?  Also keep in mind that with any table shape you should have about 24" width per person. And for ease of movement, at least 36" from chair back to wall is ideal. 

If your room is rectangular, a rectangular table may be the best use of space. A 36"x72" table can seat 6 to 8. It's good if it's at least 36" wide to fit two place settings plus platters and centerpieces in between. If the rectangular table is narrow than that, a sideboard or buffet is a great help to hold serving plates.
The oval table is easy to get around and beautiful in a long narrow room.

Another alternative: If you want the benefits of a rectangle but like curves to soften the space visually, consider an oval. Its rounded edges make it appear to take up less space. An excellent way to get an oval, and give yourself flexibility, is to choose a round table with an extension leaf that makes into an oval.  I grew up with an oval dining table; it was always so easy to fit 2 or 3 more guests around the soft curves at the end of the table.

If your room is square, a square table with leaves that expand it to a rectangle for entertaining is a smart option and always a plus if you don't like eating at a large table when it's "just the two of you." However, it is beautiful to see a  round table in a square room; the way it softens straight lines and creates a cozy spot to linger. With no "head of the table," it also has a less formal and unrestricted feel. With round tables I prefer a pedestal base instead of legs.  Without legs to get in the way, it's easier to fit in another person when needed (as like the oval) and if you have elderly people in the family it is easier for them to negotiate with a wheelchair or walker. And babies in high chairs can be placed anywhere around the perimeter.
Divide the room visually by adding a rug under the table.

If your home has an open-plan layout, a rectangular table can help visually divide a space, while a round table might be better at preserving the open feeling and letting traffic flow a bit more freely. Either shape, of course, will work especially well as a room divider when accompanied by a rug beneath and a hanging light (or multiple lights if the table is long) overhead, thus creating a stronger, more cohesive focal point in the space.