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Get The Look: Six Ways To Rock A Round Dining Table

Open floorplan kitchens had such a huge impact on the design world that for a good long while there, traditional family-style kitchen tables didn’t just fall out of popularity, they disappeared from a lot of homes. After all, with island seating for quick casual meals and a full dining table to entertain, small four-to-six seat tables became a little redundant. But I’ve found that people miss having a separate spot to sit and eat dinner as a family – and that was before we all started spending a lot more time eating at home. So if you’re thinking of switching back but aren’t sure where to start – or how to make the look work with your existing layout – we’ve got six stylish examples of how to set up a round dining table, and one simple recipe for success!

Chic Seating (In A Little Less Space Than You Think You Need)

If the space you have isn't big enough for a full dining table, the best solution is to cut some corners - literally (by Jonathan Adler)
If the space you have isn’t big enough for a full dining table, the best solution is to cut some corners – literally (by Jonathan Adler)

One of the biggest problems with adding a kitchen table to a big open kitchen is, ironically, that there might not be much room for one. After all, a big greatroom has to encompass not just your kitchen and dining room, but also your living areas. Most are designed with just that in mind, which might not leave much space left over to add a smaller table. But this dining nook by Jonathan Adler is a great example of how a round table can actually be a solution to the problem all on its own. Choosing a round rather than a square table opens up the extra space you need to fit a set of four chairs. Even if all you have is a too-small-looking corner, a round table can give you the extra wiggle room you need to sit comfortably.

Get the Look: Table, chairs, bar cart, pendant, art, vase.

Keep It Looking Lean With Thin Legs And Lots Of White Space

Choosing lean furniture that you can look through will help keep a tight dining area from feeling overcrowded (by Jessica Koltun)
Choosing lean furniture that you can look through will help keep a tight dining area from feeling overcrowded (by Jessica Koltun)

More worried about your space looking crowded and cluttered rather than actually not having enough space for a table? Choosing petite pieces can only go so far to help you squeeze all your furniture in. But picking a table and chairs with lean legs and lots of clear surfaces or open space will keep a tight corner from feeling overcrowded. Wishbone or other bent wood chairs are a good choice for this (though if you’re feeling daring, you could also opt for clear acrylic). The final looks is very relaxed and homey, without being uncomfortably cozy.

Get the Look: Table, chairs, pendant, art, vase.

Scale Down Your Too-Big Dining Table

Round dining tables are a great alternative for people who only entertain occasionally, and want to be able to use their formal dining table more often (by M. Lahr Homes)
Round dining tables are a great alternative for people who only entertain occasionally, but want to be able to use their formal dining table more often (by M. Lahr Homes)

Of course, round dining tables don’t have to be an add-on, or even just for family use. While lots of people are looking to supplement their existing seating, many are also looking to downsize too-big and little-used formal dining tables. Now, I’ll say up front: round tables can seat a good number of people, but loose quite a bit of surface space in the process. That means dishes, drinks, and serving platters can feel a little crowded. So if you regularly entertain big groups, a round dining table might not serve you well. That said, if you want a table your family can use regularly that can flex up to fit more people, this is a great way to do it. Bonus: round tables double beautifully as card or game tables – perfect for entertaining a smaller group.

Get the Look: Table, chairs, pendant, vase, lantern.

A Formal Look Without A Formal Footprint

The size and shape of your dining table aren't what determines its style - it's how you accessorize (by Haven Design and Construction)
The size and shape of your dining table aren’t what determines its style – it’s how you accessorize (by Haven Design and Construction)

Traditionally, kitchen tables are the casual, informal alternative to special-occasion dining rooms. But that, too, doesn’t have to be the case. If you want a round dining table to occupy that formal role, you just need to follow the same furnishing rules you would otherwise. Rather than a humble wood table and chairs, choose something ornamental. Large round dining tables with decorative bases will instantly elevate the whole set. Upholstered dining chairs also have a much more sophisticated, formal feel than all-wood alternatives. Top that with an ornamental chandelier (traditional or modern looks will do equally well), and your “simple” setup is every bit as elegant as any twelve-seat dining table, but better sized to your family’s needs.

Get The Look: Table, chairs, pendant, art, vase.

Dress Up Or Dress Down: A Round Dining Table For Any Style

A round dining table can fit a space of just about any size or style if you're smart about your accessories (by Chango & Co.)
A round dining table can fit a space of just about any size or style if you’re smart about your accessories (by Chango & Co.)

Round dining tables are less common than rectangular ones, but come in a whole lot of different sizes, shapes, colors, and styles. That means that no matter how much or little space you have, how formal or casual you want your dining set to be, or how many people you need to seat, you can probably get a table to fit your needs. Keep in mind, though, that the final look and feel of your space has less to do with the look of the table itself and everything to do with how you accessorize it. The style of the lighting fixture and dining chairs and even your color scheme will help dress your look up or make it more relaxed and inviting. As a rule of thumb, light colors and natural materials feel more casual, while bold, dark colors, rich fabric, and metallic finishes feel more formal.

Get The Look: Table, chairs, pendant, art, vase.

TL;DR: What Are The Must-Haves For Accessorizing A Round Dining Table?

There are just a few simple pieces you need to build a stow-shopping dining room around a round dining table (by Mimi Wilson)
There are just a few simple pieces you need to build a stow-shopping dining room around a round dining table (by Mimi Wilson)
  • The Table: Start with a round table in a diameter that fits your space. Decorative base optional but encouraged. The thinner the better for a smaller space.
  • The Chairs: Add 4-6 chairs (an odd number is okay for a family of 5!). Upholstery will give you a more formal feel, while bare wood chairs are a little homier.
  • A Lighting Fixture: A chandelier or pendant centered over a round dining table is both functional and decorative. Splurge on a fixture you really like and it will help bring your space together.
  • A Rug: Area rugs aren’t a must-have, but can be a nice touch. I prefer round rugs slightly larger than your dining set to protect the floor and set your dining area apart from the rest of your room.
  • A Centerpiece: Set a vase or decorative bowl, dish, or plant in the middle of the table. It will take up valuable surface space, but is a nice finishing touch.
  • Some Artwork: The artwork you choose also does a lot to set the tone of your dining room. This is skippable if you have more windows than wall space, but is great for supplementing (or contrasting) the style of your furniture for a little added personality.

Get the Look: Table, chairs, pendant, art, vase, rug.

Rectangular dining tables have become an unfortunate default of kitchen, great room, and dining room design. But there are other options out there. If you’re ready for a change – whether you want to pare down your dining table, add a kitchen table, or anything else – a round dining table might be just the fix you need.