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Round or Rectangular Dining Table - Which Shape is Best For You?

Round or Rectangular Dining Table - Which Shape is Best For You?

The furniture you choose is so important when you’re giving your dining room a new look. As you’d imagine, often one of the main considerations is what type of dining table to choose – round or rectangular? After all, it’s the centrepiece of many occasions at home and really catches the eye, so you want to get it right.

Both dining table shapes have their advantages and can have an impact on your space. If you’re struggling to make a decision it can be helpful to know what some of the main points you should think about are. Read on for our advice on choosing the right dining table shape for you.

Room Space

Both round and rectangular dining tables come in a variety of sizes and it’s essential to choose one that’s the right size for your dining room. This means that space is one of the first things to think about when you’re picking a new table. Adam Brown, the owner here at The Painted Furniture Company, advises "A round shape will tend to be wider than a rectangular table...whereas a standard rectangular table is around 90cm.” That means that if your dining room is narrow or lacking in space, a rectangular table is likely to be more suitable. If you have a lot of space to work with and want a good amount of table surface space, round tables may be worth considering.

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Although round tables are often the wider option, they do have advantages if you’re using them in a smaller space. For compact dining rooms where any type of table will be a tight fit, round tables might be more comfortable because you can move around them without the risk of bumping into sharp edges. In general, rectangular tables are a more appropriate choice for long and narrow rooms, whereas round tables are ideal for larger spaces as well as square rooms. Adam says "I always advise customers to avoid buying a dining table that may be too large for their space. Not only will it look terrible, but you will be forever bumping into it and getting frustrated.”

Number of People

It’s not only the size of your dining room that affects the size of the dining table you need – the capacity you require is also important. The number of people who regularly sit together at the table affects the amount of space you need. Round tables are typically better for smaller groups of people whereas a rectangular table gives you more space to sit extra people. It can get tougher if you only have to fit in extra people once in a while – in this instance round tables can be easier to fit extra people around because there are no table legs getting in the way.

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If the number of people using the table can vary wildly but you want to follow Adam’s advice and avoid buying a table that’s too large, one option is to choose an extendable table. Typically these are square or rectangular tables that you can extend into a larger rectangular design, allowing you to seat additional people with ease. If you do opt for an extending table, Adam advises “always be wary of an extending table with a small extension leaf. Unless extending the table gives you the chance to seat more people what's the point?"


Another point to consider is how much leg room you need. Bigger groups and groups made up of mainly adults are likely to need more legroom than smaller households or family groups that include children. Dining tables come with a variety of different leg designs that offer different possibilities. Despite this, round tables are often ideal if you’re looking for maximum leg room. They’re usually built on one central leg that doesn’t get in the way of diners. This is especially useful if you have to fit an extra person around the table unexpectedly. Adding an extra seat to a rectangular table can sometimes make seating uncomfortable.

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If you’d prefer a rectangular design but you have concerns about having enough leg room, an extendable table could again be an appropriate solution. You can also consider different types of leg designs to ensure that everyone at the table is comfortable. Cross-leg designs allow more space at the corners and each end of the table, giving everyone some additional leg room.


Another factor that’s important to consider is appearance. You want your dining room table to be a great focal point for your dining room and to fit cohesively into your décor. It’s also important that you appreciate the look of your table. If you feel strongly that you prefer one type of table over the other, focus on that and look for designs that meet your need for space.

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If you aren’t sure about what you want, you can think about the effect that each type of table has on a space and what sort of feel you want to achieve. A rectangular table can feel grand and more formal. They often work well if your dining room is completely separate from your kitchen. Alternatively, round tables can be a great centrepiece for a room and really draw the space together. If your dining room is very design-conscious, a round table might suit you as a striking centrepiece. The colours and materials you opt for can also enhance this effect.

Choosing the right shape for you

Your dining table really makes a statement so it’s important to choose wisely. There is a vast range of dining table options available and it might seem difficult to decide what’s best for your space. It doesn’t have to be a challenge – if you think carefully about the type of things you use your dining table for, who uses it, where you’re putting it, and what sort of effect you want your dining room to create, you’ll be able to decide which shape of dining table is the ideal fit for your home and your needs.

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