Round Or Rectangular Dining Table: What Shape's Best?

Round Or Rectangular Dining Table: What Shape's Best?

When you’re choosing a new dining table, you will have to choose between round and rectangular. Picking the right shape for your space ensures that your new table looks fantastic in your room and works for your needs. Round and rectangle tables have different advantages, so read on to make sure you pick the best one for you!

1. Space

The first thing to consider when choosing a round or rectangle dining table is the space you have available. Different shapes suit different sized spaces. Therefore this has to impact your choice of table.

Space Saving

If you have a small house or dining room, bear in mind that round tables take up less space. They have a smaller surface area than their rectangular counterparts so will fit into tighter spaces much more easily. If you’re space conscious, it can be a better choice to go for a circular table that won’t make your room feel crowded or your guests feel claustrophobic!

Quick tip: When choosing table size for your room, remember to factor in space for chairs!

Against the Wall

While round dining tables take up less space as a whole, they don’t fit against walls as easily as rectangle shapes. This can be a positive look, as it breaks down the lines in your space to make the design feel softer, but it doesn’t work for every room.

Being able to fit your table against a wall can be more beneficial for the set-up of your kitchen or dining room and might help you to use your space more effectively. This does depend on your existing furniture and the way you’ve arranged your room.

When choosing between round and rectangular, think about where your dining table is going to fit and how much space you have available.

Image: https://www.houseofoak.co.uk/simply-oak-77cm-x-77cm-solid-oak-table.html

2. Appearance

Appearance is a high priority for anyone looking for a new item of furniture, especially something as central to home life as a dining table. It’s essential that your table looks great in your space as it’s usually the focal point of a dining room.

Round Tables

Round tables have a way of drawing the eye and pulling in the surrounding elements. The circular design can help the table look more anchored in the room and often can look like more of a centrepiece — although this is frequently more heavily impacted by other factors like positioning and colour.

Rectangular Tables

Rectangle tables, on the other hand, can have more of an air of grandeur than round tables do. This means they work very well in formal settings or in dining rooms — rather than dining-kitchens.

There’s no fast rule when it comes to which table looks better, round or rectangle. It often comes down to personal preference and the way the rest of your room is set up.

3. Capacity

Capacity, for some people, is going to be the decider between round or rectangle tables. The size of your household, or how many people you usually have over for dinner, could well determine what shape table you need.

Bigger Capacity

Round tables are limited in how big they can be, while rectangle tables have a much larger capacity. They can go from 4 people to as many as 14 or more! The shape of the table means you have the freedom to choose a size that caters to the number of places you need.

Extending Tables

While round tables are most commonly available for up to four people, there are often options to choose an extending round table. This can be a great idea if you’re space conscious but sometimes have guests over and need extra capacity.

A round table helps to create a more intimate feel when you have a small number of people, while the option to extend it enables you to still seat more when you want to.

You can also get extending rectangle tables if you want the option for large numbers without having a big table in the way all the time.

Image: https://www.houseofoak.co.uk/bordeaux-oak-grand-extending-table.html

4. Social Elements

Rectangle vs circle tables affect how sociable your dining table and experience feels.


Round tables better facilitate conversation as everyone has equal ability to speak to anyone else. Rectangle tables sometimes present difficulties with this as the shape can separate people from each other, especially in bigger groups.

Board Games

If you’re a tabletop gamer, or just enjoy playing board games with the family, a round table might suit you better. Everyone has equal access to the board and there’s no one who can’t reach, which creates a better playing experience.


Round tables also feel more informal. There’s no head of the table so it gives a feeling of greater equality and improves the dining experience. The days of King Arthur might be over, but round tables are still helpful if you want to create a less formal feel!

Uneven Numbers

Rectangle tables are designed for symmetry and look best when there’s an even number of places on each side. Round tables, on the other hand, are more flexible when it comes to uneven numbers. You can easily remove a place on a round table without drawing attention to the missing spot. They’re ideal for uneven numbers, or if a guest can’t make it!

‘The Bad Seat’

Everyone has experienced sitting in ‘the bad seat’ at a table. It’s the place in which you can’t speak to many people, can’t reach the food or feel isolated from the group conversation. This tends to happen more with rectangle tables than round so circular tables can be a better choice if you want to avoid this!

Image: https://www.houseofoak.co.uk/deluxe-oak-round-extending-dining-table.html

5. Leg Room

Circular tables usually have one singular leg in the centre of the table, rather than four legs. This gives more leg room when you’re sitting around the table. It’s also easier to squeeze an extra seat in at Christmas, or other special occasions, without someone having to negotiate sitting around the leg!

However, this isn’t always the case. There are increasingly different leg design options with rectangular tables that allow for more room and comfort. Cross legs, for example, can work well.


6. Benches

While round table require individual seats, rectangular dining tables give the extra choice of benches. Benches might not be ideal for every situation — Grandma might need extra back support — but on the whole they’re worth considering as they have a number of benefits over chairs. They can also add a more contemporary twist to a family home.

Firstly, benches are usually more space efficient. While chairs can be tucked under the table, a portion of the chair will always be left out. On the other hand, a bench can be tucked in so it’s entirely out of the way.

Secondly, benches can be incredibly handy if you have children that often invite friends over. It’s easy to squeeze extra people onto a bench — especially children — without having to relocate spare chairs from other rooms in the house.

7. Child Safe

Rectangle tables can present more of a hazard to kids. Whether it’s toddlers learning to walk or energetic children charging around, round tables don’t have the sharp corners that otherwise pose a risk.

It’s not just children that bump against table corners either — most adults know the feeling of a bruised hip or thigh from walking into the edge of a table!

When it comes to round or rectangular dining tables, the best shape for you is going to depend on the space you have available, the size of your family and, ultimately, your personal preference.

If you’re looking for a quality wood table, explore the dining table range at House of Oak.