Rectangles and ovals are tradition, but square and round tables are becoming the new standard for dining rooms and eat-in kitchens

Unless you live in a spacious home equipped with a formal dining area, smaller tables are the latest trendy eating option, and are quickly turning the busiest room in the house into a quaint conversation area.

Large, rectangular tables that used to fill a room are being substituted for less predictable choices. Small bistro tables, high bar tables, squares and ovals are becoming the norm in design.
Frank Fontana, an interior designer, attributes some of the shift to technology. “Technology has totally changed the family dynamic. Families are now chatting via e-mail and text messages. The whole 12-person dinner party has now been downsized to two or three. People are swapping out their over-sized dining tables for smaller more realistic choices.”

Busy lifestyles are also causing fewer folks to make dinner a formal affair. “Homeowners are always on the go. Their homes are being divided into multi-use spaces. Islands are being used for food preparation, socializing and catching up at the end of the day.”

Like technology, square footage has also played a leading roll. “As the cost of living increases, square footage is being decreased. Condos and apartments are taking the place of homes.” Frank adds. “Ultimately, one great room has assumed the role of a multi-functional space.” As a result, fewer homes come equipped with a formal dining space, which has made smaller, shapelier tables a must-have for smaller spaces.

For Jeff Radomski, an independent furniture designer, it’s all about making functional and appealing tables that add visual detail to smaller spaces. “I currently have a client that requested a square table. With her smaller space she needs something that she can use for a dinner party but small enough that it can be tucked into the corner. Squares are perfect for that. Renters also prefer smaller tables. They are versatile for moving and storage,” he says.

Whether your home is 6,000 or 600 square feet, your dining table choice should fit appropriately with the scale and shape of the room. Tables should allow at least two to three feet on either side for foot traffic, and enough room to accommodate chairs. Unlike large tables, smaller tables like bistro or bar-height tables can be positioned against the wall for more floor space, and pulled out to allow more seating.

Circle tables encourage conversation with guests and are more intimate, while squares pushed up against the wall can become an office by day, table by night.

Whether you need round and regal or something more appropriate for the modern multi-tasker, start by browsing on your local furniture stores, and then assess your space, pick the perfect shape and start shopping.

Pick the right one and table just might be the topic of your next dinner party.

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