Why You May Need a Round Dining Table

My friends, the dining room is getting smaller and smaller. A recent study by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) asked single-family builders how they distribute the finished floor space in their typical new homes. In an average new build, the dining room accounts for about 7% of the total square footage of the home. That’s not much more than what is allocated for the master bathroom (6%)!

dining-room-2

via House Beautiful

 

True, builders know that we don’t often eat in “formal” dining rooms anymore, so the square footage is more needed in the kitchen or family room. These new smaller dining rooms are typically square or nearly square, similar to the 1960-1970s ranch home neighborhoods that are prevalent across America. But, guess what? Most dining tables available in retail stores are rectangular – a shape that is best for a rectangular room! Of course, a nice long rectangular table can seat many guests, especially when there are leaves in the table that can be added when extra length is required. But what good is a long table if it’s too small for the small square dining room?

miles-redd-2

Miles Redd via House Beautiful

 

When you’re deciding what size table to use in your dining room, there’s more to consider than just how many people you want to be able to seat. Although we’d all love to seat twelve people at the dining room, if you don’t have enough room to circumnavigate the table, it’s just not gonna work.

If you have a square dining room, your best choice in terms of both form and function may be a round dining table. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy to find a round dining table compared to a rectangular dining table.  A round dining table is easier to find in 48 inch diameter (or smaller) size, but these only accommodate four to six people. If you’re like me, you want to accommodate at least eight for a dinner party.  A 60 inch diameter round dining table will get you seating for six to eight comfortably, but again, there are fewer options in that size.

 

ballard-table

Ballard Designs

Go ahead and eliminate a round dining table option that has legs around the perimeter of the table – these legs will eat into your chair space and make it difficult to squeeze in as many guests. You want to avoid your guests bumping their own legs on the legs of the table! Be sure to look for a pedestal table, which means it has a broader support is in the middle of the table, rather than smaller, multiple legs around the perimeter of the table.

If your dining room is small, the best thing you can do is to get narrow, upholstered parsons chairs. They tuck nicely under the table, and you can have them custom covered in any number of beautiful fabrics. They’re super-comfortable, and the fabric on the chairs really adds a lot to the dining room that may be lacking in pattern anyway. If you leave off the arms, you will have plenty of room for six to eight chairs. I find that conversation is much more lively around a round table, because you can all see each other easily!

round dining table in square dining room

The Decorologist

For my client’s new home, we chose skirted parsons chairs in a custom fabric to complement the lovely curtains we had made for the room. The 60 inch round dining table from Restoration Hardware is set for six, but will accommodate two more chairs. I made sure the chair fabric worked in the nearby living room, so that the dining chairs could be used for extra seating for large gatherings in the other room, as well.

round dining table

The Decorologist

If you’re lucky, you may be able to accommodate a narrow buffet or credenza on the back wall facing the entry of the dining room. This will provide some nice storage for dishes and serving pieces. You can place lamps on either end of the credenza and art in the middle of them as a focal point – or a mirror to reflect the light fixture.

o'more showhouse dining room

Lila Pryor Frank Interiors from the 2016 O’More Showhouse

 

Keep in mind: if you decide on a smaller round dining table with a leaf, most end up becoming ovals rather than a larger round. I prefer to get the largest table the room will allow and just leave it that way all the time so I don’t have to drag out leaves and extra chairs for parties.

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13 thoughts on “Why You May Need a Round Dining Table

  1. Janice says:

    I think it’s sad that the dining room is getting smaller. There’s so much to be shared, learned and enjoyed at a dining table. Mine seats 12 and is used frequently.

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      I know what you mean, Janice. I have an old home, so the dining room is as large as the living room – maybe larger! But when it’s only used twice a year by most people, you can see why builders have shifted their square foot allocation . . .

  2. Anne says:

    Any good stores(I’m in Ohio) that have affordable 4-6 seater round tables? Thanks for the article we have been debating about what type of table to get. We have an eat in kitchen and our rectangle table is breaking down!

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      Anne,
      48 inch diameter tables are not too difficult to find – it’s the 60 inch (6-8 seater) that’s difficult! Here’s some ideas beyond local furniture stores: Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, Crate & Barrel, Ballard Designs, West Elm, CB2, One Kings Lane, EBTH. I hope that helps!

  3. Kathleen says:

    Hi Kristie, I also live in an old, historic home and have a large dining room. I agree the round table works well in the smaller space! Do you happen to know the source for the chandelier in the Lila Pryor Frank dining room? I love it!

  4. Amy, Home Glow Design says:

    Very true! The dining room in our antique house is 13′ square — and you have to pass through it to get from the kitchen to the stairs and the bedrooms above! I didn’t want to be walking around table corners or be blocking doorways, so we definitely needed a round table. 60″ works well for us — we have squeezed 9 on it. Kids sit in the kitchen on holidays, just like we did when I was growing up. Didn’t bother with a table with leaves because, frankly, there wasn’t room to make the table bigger anyway.

    If you look a while, you can definitely find 60″ round tables from makers like Baker and Henredon from the ’50s-’70s — usually reproductions — in upscale consignment stores.

  5. Jacquie says:

    Hi Kristie, When I read your post, I immediately recalled the Jupe table. My friend just bought one and it is the coolest round table ever! It is round and has fold away leaves that allows the table expand in wedge shapes making it a larger round rather than an oval. It is sooo cool to watch. Here is the You Tube link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmynHLiZrIs.
    This may be a solution for some of your clients and readers.

  6. Amanda | The Interior Maven says:

    I totally agree with this! We have a round table in our small square-ish eating area off the living area. I have tried so hard to steer clients toward round tables also when there are a lot of right-angles in the home to give it more interest. So I LOVE this post about round dining tables!!! I love dining rooms and we use ours at least weekly.

  7. Wyndi says:

    Perfect timing! We just moved into a new house that has a small dining room that’s a bit of an octagon. It’s 12′ across and 9′ deep. I’ve been thinking round is the way to go but can’t figure out what size. I need to be able to seat 6 regularly but would like to expand to 10. Would a 60′ be too larger for my space?

  8. Kim says:

    I so agree with your article. We downsized 6 years ago and one of the things we love about our condo is that it has a big rectangular space to fit our table . We are again considering a move and it has been very discouraging because of the size of the dining rooms! It is difficult to find especially in newer condos these days! –some do not have even have a dining room area! Some just have bar stools at an island!

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