Round vs. Rectangular Dining Table: Key Considerations

Round vs. Rectangular Dining Table: Key Considerations

There’s nothing like coming home and sitting down at a dining table you love. Whether alone with your thoughts or sharing the space with friends and family, the perfect dining table can help set the mood and give you a sense of place. 

There are various factors to consider when choosing a dining table that fits your style and dining space, and one of the most important is the table shape. Your table’s shape will define your dining area, create a vibe, and dictate how you host guests.  

While dining tables come in many shapes and sizes, the two most common table shapes are rectangular and round. Let’s review each option, how it could work in your space, and how you can make it your own. Learn more about choosing between a round vs square dining table.

Round Dining Tables

There’s something so cozy about a round table. Its shape promotes a sense of intimacy and togetherness.1 Conversations between friends and family flow more easily because you can see each other. And since there’s no “head” of the table, a round dining table can create a sense of equality amongst the group.2 Puzzles, card games, and small-group board games fit easily and make gameplay more fun because of the close space.  Explore different seating options for round dining tables.

Another nice aspect of round tables is their leg options. Round tabletops can sit on a pedestal-type base to allow for more legroom and easy movement in, out, and around the table.3

Speaking of space, round tables can be more versatile than their square or rectangular counterparts if your dining space is oddly shaped or small. Void of sharp angles, round tables won’t impede walkways or back guests into an awkward corner. And because they are perfectly symmetrical, they compliment perfectly square rooms.4

From a stylistic perspective, round tables can add a certain softness to a space because they’re, well, round. They can also command attention and draw the eye, especially with the right decor and light fixtures. 

Pros of Round Dining Tables

A round table may be a good choice for your space if:

  • Your space is limited 
  • Your dining room is a perfect square 
  • You prefer a more intimate setting
  • You rarely host, and if you do, you only host a handful of people

Ready to find your new favorite round dining table? Shop our collection now.

When a Round Dining Table Isn’t the Right Fit for Your Space

If you’re trying to fill a very large gathering space, you may want to opt for a rectangular or oval dining table over a perfectly round one. 

Here at James+James, we carry all shapes and sizes of dining tables for you to find your room’s perfect match.

Dining table

Rectangular Dining Tables

Rectangular dining tables are some of the most common (and popular) options for a simple reason: traditional dining rooms tend to be rectangular.5 Because of their more formal nature, a rectangular table works well in a separate dining room or as a statement piece in an open floor plan.1

The best part of the rectangular table is its size and capacity for large groups. Rectangular tables can go up in size lengthwise without widening, so you’ll always maintain that preferred 36-inch width, so you can seat up to 12 people while still having space for a tablescape and serving platters.7

Though more formal, a rectangular table can be dressed up or down to fit your aesthetic. A farmhouse table with bench seating on either side gives a home a casual, rustic vibe, whereas a dark wood table with upholstered dining chairs can be more traditional or chic.8 Learn how to mix and match dining room chairs.

Pros of Rectangular Dining Tables

A rectangular table could be the right choice for you if:

  • You have a traditional dining room, either transitional or separate
  • You have an open floor plan
  • You host regularly or have a large family
  • You use your table for other activities, such as a workstation or for homework

Is the rectangular dining table shape speaking to you? Find yours now.

When a Rectangular Dining Table Isn’t the Right Fit for Your Space

While we love a rectangular dining table for its ability to host all of our nearest and dearest for the holidays, it isn’t designed for intimate conversations. As the table gets longer, you end up further away from each other and can only converse with the people on either side of you. 

And while beloved by many, rectangular dining tables don’t work as well in small spaces. 

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Table Shape

There are a few significant factors to consider when choosing between a round or rectangular table: 

  • Space and size – Your table should allow between 22 and 24 inches per diner to accommodate plates and chairs, and they should allow at least 36 inches of space on all sides between the table and the nearest wall, walkway, or doorway to allow for easy access.4
  • Seating capacity – How many people will sit at your table? A round table could be a better choice if you prefer to eat alone, with your partner, or with a few close friends. A rectangular table is perfect for big families or people who throw dinner parties regularly.  
  • Functionality – How do you use your dining table? Is it strictly for eating, or do you use it for crafts, homework, games, and paperwork? In this case, you’ll need a table size and shape that can be multi-functional. 
  • Style and aesthetics – Though both round and rectangular tables can fit into almost any aesthetic, they each offer a different feel. Round tables feel more homey and relaxed. Rectangular tables tend to feel a bit more elegant. 

Mixing and Matching Table Shapes

Can’t decide between round and rectangle tables? It is possible to mix and match table shapes in one home. 

If you have an eat-in kitchen, you may use a tall, rectangular table that doubles as an island with bar seating in addition to a corner breakfast nook with a small, round table.

Another way to combine two different table shapes is if your home has a defined floor plan and plenty of space. For example, a rectangular table goes well in a formal dining area, whereas a round table is better for casual eating. If the dining room is transitional—it’s open between the living room and the kitchen—you could add a more intimate dining area with a round table on either side.

Dining table

Find the Best Table Shape for Your Space at James+James

Finding the right table shape for your home comes down to the size of your space, how many people sit with you, and the aesthetic you’re aiming for. With so many choices and creative ways to optimize space, the most important part is that your table is durable, timeless, and fits your lifestyle. 

At James+James, we pride ourselves on the craftsmanship and longevity of our custom wood tables. No matter the shape or size, we work hard to create a piece you’ll love for years and years. Start shopping for your new dining table with us today.


  1. Homes and Gardens. Round vs Rectangular Dining Tables—Which One Is Best for You?
  2. Foter. Everything You Need to Know About Dining Table Shapes.
  3. Angi. Choosing Between a Round and Rectangular Dining Table. 
  4. The Spruce. Dining Table Shapes. 
  5. The Spruce. Standard Dining Table Measurements.
  6. Martha Stewart. How to Add a Cozy Breakfast Nook to Your Kitchen Without Renovating It. 
  7. Homenish. How to Decorate a Round Table.
  8. House Beautiful. The Beginner’s Guide to Creating a Picture-Perfect Tablescape. 
  9. The Spruce. How to Choose the Right Rug for Your Dining Room. 

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