Round dining tables, Square dining tables, Rectangular or Oval dining tables:
Each has its own particular character. The size and shape of your dining table, relative to the size and shape of the dining room is very important. The relative forms must work together harmoniously to create the desired feeling: What feeling you go for is up to you – it might be grand and expansive, or intimate and cozy, you might be looking for a soft organic feeling, or clean rectilinear modernity. Remember also that your dining room must leave your diners room to pull out their chairs around the table – so you will need a margin of at least three, preferably four foot on all sides. This is the minimum – but you will need to leave more if you want that grand spacious feel.
The look that you create will set the tone for every meal that you have at that table, so choose carefully. The shape of the table also makes a very real difference to the overall experience.
When seated around a long thin rectangular table – you effectively divide the dining group into smaller units – permitting those seated opposite one another to converse easily, but limiting the flow of conversation throughout the group as a whole. Given that the vista of each diner is restricted by the close proximity of the diner across from them, table decor etc… they are effectively blinkered, encouraged to focus on the food and closest companions. Note also that this format allows very little space for large dishes, or decorative table displays, forcing the host to present the food either plated or in very small serving dishes.
When seated at a round table, the diner’s each occupy a wedge shaped section of the table… facing in towards one another. Assuming that the number of diners relative to the size of the table is balanced, this is physically comfortable, well suited to the cultivation of a communal atmosphere and convivial interactions throughout the group. It leaves a fair amount of space for large serving dishes, and even for a little bit of table decorations perhaps.
My personal favorite dining table shape though, is the square dining table… or for added versatility a large square dining table that extends to form a huge rectangular dining table. Square dining tables definitely occupy more space in the room, so may only be appropriate for larger dining rooms, but they have all the advantages of a round dining table but with more space in the center for serving dishes and decorative table displays. The only drawback is that when the table is at full capacity, those seated in the corners may find themselves bumping knees or perhaps playing footsie with one another.