Dining rooms are an integral part of home life. It’s the spot for crafts and homework, for tears and cheers. Memories are made over meals, stories are shared. And of course there's holiday feasts and delightful parties. 

Choosing the right table is more than just looks. It's about how you spend your time there. 

Read on as we go over the shape, size, and material that works best for you.  

How to Choose a Dining Room Table Shape

• Rectangle
• Square
• Round

Measure Your Space: How to Choose the Perfect Dining Room Table Size

Pick Your Vibe: Dining Room Table Materials

• Wood
• Glass
• Metal

How to Choose a Dining Room Table Shape

How to Choose a Dining Room Table Shape

Eaton Dining Table

One of the most pivotal parts of buying a table is choosing the right shape. Square rooms, small rooms, intimate gatherings and large parties all factor in when picking a table.


narrow rectangular dining table

Because most dining rooms are rectangular, you'll find that a very common table shape is, well, a rectangle.

This shape is the most ideal if you host larger gatherings. Because of its more narrow stature, it can accommodate several chairs.

While this shape is great for entertaining, keep in mind that this tends to be a bigger table especially when you factor in the additional space chairs take up. However, an excellent solution is to use a long bench in lieu of chairs. These tuck nicely under the table, allowing for more room. 

For a unique look, the Brennan Dining Table offers that in spades! Brass-finished legs beneath a top of black oak creates an immediate atmosphere.  Organic in its natural graining giving each piece a singular look. This table will definitely wow your guests!


compact dining table

Visually speaking, a square table complements a square room best. It also complements a more intimate dining experience, ideally four people so you can seat them at equal distances. That doesn’t mean you can’t seat more. With the addition of an extra leaf, 2 to 4 more chairs can easily be added. 

The Kimball Dining Table by Four Hands is our go to for simple elegance. With its natural teak wood finish this table gives off warmth, inviting after school discussions and late night conversations. 


big round table

When shopping for a smaller space, round tables are an excellent consideration. This table type looks great in any shape room while giving off an inviting vibe. The benefit of a round table is that everyone can easily see each other which allows conversation to flow effortlessly.

We love the look of the Cintra Dining Table. With its farmhouse feel and architectural base, this is a great option for day-to-day use as well as entertaining.

Measure Your Space: How to Choose the Perfect Dining Room Table Size

Besides shape, dining room table size is a necessary factor.  Ideally, you want your table to be about 36” wide to accommodate food and place settings. Anything larger than 48” and conversation becomes hard to hear and items difficult to pass.

The recommended distance between dining room chairs to avoid bumping elbows is usually 24”. This allows each person to eat comfortably, especially if you're a lefty!

Something that often gets overlooked is the distance from the dining room table to the wall. 24” between wall and table is a comfortable amount to allow your diners to get in and out of their seats easily. If people are going to be walking behind the table, 38-48” is needed to move about comfortably.

A good rule of thumb to remember is a 4’ long table will seat four, a 5-6’ table seats six, 8’ seats eight and 10-11’ seats up to twelve.

Pick Your Vibe: Dining Room Table Materials

With the basics established, you’re now free to contemplate which material suits you best.


wood dining room tables

Wood is the most commonly used material for tables. It's study shape and firm build make it an excellent choice for families and those wanting a more traditional look.

Choose a wood that is long lasting such as mahogany, cherry, walnut, oak or maple. These woods stand the test of time. Take advantage of its durability by sanding and refurbishing your tabletop throughout the years to extend longevity.


glass dining room tables

A glass top table offers a more modern approach to the dining room. Because it's see-through, it allows light to filter through the dining room table, providing a more open and airy look perfect for darker rooms.

Many glass tables in today's market are made with tempered safety glass which means the glass resists scratches and heat and won’t shatter if knocked.

Although this type of table tends to reveal dust and fingerprints, cleaning is as simple as a spray and a wipe.


metal dining room tables

Metal dining room tabletops are a bold choice but an elegant one. Perfect for those wanting an industrial feel to their space, this table lends a cool and modern touch to your dining room. Sturdy and usually requiring no maintenance, this material doesn't scratch or knick easily.

Need some more inspiration for a fall dining room table? Check out our other fall dining guide here.

Just as sitting around the dining table is a personal experience, so is shopping for one.

Keep in mind the moments you want to see there. Envision the evening meals, holiday festivities and those everyday moments in between. With that in mind and all we've offered above, our hope is that shopping for your next table becomes an enjoyable experience. And if you find yourself wanting  additional help, our decor experts and interior designers are always on hand.