Design experts on how to choose the best dining table shape for the way you want your home to feel


A rectangular dining table is arguably the most popular shape for a number of reasons. It's a perennial dining table trend simply because many rooms are a rectangular shape, so the silhouette fits perfectly into the space.

Pros of a rectangular dining table:

'Rectangles are ideal for large families and frequent entertainers as they can seat large numbers of people and be easily expanded for even larger parties, either with multiple internal leaves or even by adding a table to the end. Rectangles mimic the shape of most dining rooms and rugs, which allows for ample seating in a space. They can work beautifully in more narrow rooms as well.'

Cons of a rectangular dining table:

'Very long rectangular tables can be hard to create connections and conversation across the entirety,' says Mindy. 'They tend to constrain conversation to the people most adjacent. Also, when you have a smaller party or family dinner, they can feel a little under-utilized, overly formal, or lonely at one end.'


Working with a bijou area? Square tables are a good option for small spaces and square rooms.

Pros of a square dining table:

'Square tables are great in square rooms and work nicely for smaller crowds,' says Mindy Kelson. 'They are a little more intimate than rectangular tables because one is never too far from another guest with even sides all around.  And square dining tables can become rectangular when extended to accommodate more people, but the space must allow for it. Square tables can be nice as seating on one side of an open space.'

Cons of a square dining table:

'Square tables don't work as well for huge parties or in large formal rectangular rooms,' says Mindy, adding: 'What's more, square dining tables are not as open feeling or easy to slide around in a space as a round table because of the corners.'


Round dining tables work brilliantly in square rooms, and are also a great choice for open-plan living, where curves soften the look while making it easy to manoeuvre around. And you can squeeze up to fit more people around a smaller surface area.

Pros of a round dining tables:

'Round tables are the easiest shape for conversation and clear views across the whole table, as there are no 90-degree corners or direction changes for seating to overcome,' explains Mindy. 'They are great for casual, cozy family dinners and more formal gatherings, as they feel intimate in either case.  There is no hierarchy of seating or heads of the table.'

Cons of round dining tables:

'It is harder to accommodate a larger group at a round table,' says Mindy. 'Scaling up to truly larger round tables is not always as practical unless your dining room is quite big, and then it becomes hard to hear across the table. Even when expanded with a rectangular leaf, round tables are still best for small to medium dining groups (a pro if that's your preference!).'


If you’re deliberating between a rectangular and a square dining table,  consider the option of an oval-shaped design.

Pros of oval dining tables:

'An oval table combines the linear layout of a rectangular dining table with the intimacy and flexibility of a round table, resulting in a design that works almost anywhere,' says Sue Jones, co-founder of OKA. 'The rounded edges of this style dining table incorporate curves into a space, helping to break up angular lines and soften a geometric scheme.' Its elongated shape usually makes it more suited to medium to large-sized rooms, with round or square tables working better for smaller spaces.

Cons of oval tables:

As an oval table has curved edges, it loses a little of the seating space and table top surface area that a rectangular dining table can offer.


Want to make a design-led statement? An irregular-shaped dining table is just the ticket for a talking-point piece. It also happens to be a rising interior design trend.

Pros of irregular dining tables:

'Irregularly shaped tables are most likely the work of an artist or craftsperson,' says Mindy. 'Go with this if you are looking to create a striking statement and the table itself is a piece of art and the craftsmanship is worthy of the inconvenience it might pose for seating. 'This type of table might be best in a very open space where it can be viewed from many angles and appreciated.'

Cons of irregular dining tables:

Irregular-shaped dining tables can be difficult to repurpose if your tastes change or you are moving house and it doesn't fit the new room. Mindy comments: 'Well-made dining tables are typically a purchase that should last for decades and can be passed on indefinitely, upcycled, and resold. So, be sure that the irregular shape is one that can last in interest, beauty, and use rather than a trend that is difficult to find a second life for.'

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