At Milola this year, we have seen an unprecedented demand for round dining tables and oval dining tables. In this article we will explore why these tables have become so popular, take a look back at some beautiful and iconic examples of this furniture from the past, as well as look at examples of popular tables being sold today and review the features of each, to better understand why they can work so well at the centre of your home.
So, pull up a chair as we dive into the world of round dining tables!
Why choose a round or oval table design?
There are many sleek and contemporary designs of round and oval dining table allowing them to fit effortlessly into any dining room space. They offer an elegant as well as sociable solution, removing the sometimes unpopular entertaining situation when you are that one person marooned at the kids end of the table.
Instead, a round dining table allows everyone to have equal dialogue and involvement in any sociable gathering.
Smaller round dining tables can also be ideal for creating a sense of intimacy and togetherness. They can offer more dining space and a more comfortable seating solution for 4 diners, compared to their square counterpart, whilst only stealing a few more inches of space.
Round dining table designs also work really well in open plan living spaces, losing that hard corner when needing to transition from one space to another. Round tables are easy to navigate without worry about banging your hips on those corners. With an extendable round table, you still have all the flexibility to increase the size to accommodate large family or social gatherings, in addition to the convenience of the smaller table for everyday situations.
Examples of classic round table designs:
Hans Olsen dining set for Frem Røjle
One design that has seen several iterations over the years is demonstrated here in the Hans Olsen dining set for Frem Røjle. We love how this style incorporates the chair back seamlessly into the table, so they appear to disappear when not in use. We love this version so much we have in our own home a British designed version by Charles McIntosh from the 60s, which has a butterfly extension to accommodate larger groups.
Lotus Table by Drylund
Another design of extendable round table from the 60s period, which is beautiful in it's approach is the Lotus or Flip Flap dining table by Drylund. Instead of the more common butterfly or leaf extension, the mechanics of this are a little different. The extension parts slide out then flip over from underneath to increase the capacity from a cosier 4 persons to a grand 8 seater table. This table was sometimes paired with steel legs, and we see in modern design both are still popular today. All in all, this is an exquisite table, featuring vibrant wood grain detail that we love to see in all of our wooden tables.
Tulip Table by Eero Saarinen
Another firm favourite of ours is the Tulip Table, invented by renowned Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen in 1957, creating a perfect marriage of style and functionality. Firstly, this table and design is simply stunning and is one of our top choices when it comes to a neutral design that will be at home in any contemporary living space. Secondly, this pedestal style of leg featuring one central support makes it practical for hosting groups and enabling lots of legroom and adaptable seating. Equally flexible is the ability to be able to get pedestal tables with round tops as well as oval, making them suitable for dining as well as side and coffee tables.
What materials would you recommend for a round dining table?
As we have seen from the previous classics, round dining tables, similarly to traditional rectangular tables, can come in a multitude of shapes and sizes. With the modernisation of manufacturing techniques, combined with traditional craftsmanship there is minimal compromise when it comes to look or functionality.
Wood is always a popular choice and deeply rooted in Scandinavian design, common woods being Ash, Oak and Rosewood, normally the former being a little less expensive and the latter the most. All offer a classic and warm feel, which in a minimalist space can be a welcoming contrast. Some people choose to match the chairs with the same wood and a contrasting fabric detail, whereas others like to choose dining chairs with black metal or stainless steel legs and fabric upholstery to really contrast the two.
Traditionalists can often venture for a marble dining table top, which brings elegance and luxury into any environment. Although, it is worth pointing out that as a natural material it is also porous so needs to be maintained and is less impervious to food and drink spillages. Sealing and maintenance is therefore important for these tables. That said, it is still very popular and is a beautiful material to work with and can facilitate large sizes like 3m x 1.2m as highlighted in this custom piece made for one of our customers:
For those who love marble but maybe still have young children, thus want a practical option as well as elegant, then ceramic dining table tops can be a great choice, offering a lot of the aesthetic appeal as well as being more resistant. At Milola, we are also able to customise not only the colour and type of stone but also the shape of top to suit your exact requirements, meaning it's a really versatile material.
As ceramic is to marble, wood veneer is a similarly popular alternative to real wood. It offers a broad choice of finishes whilst being impervious to spills, therefore maintaining a beautiful and elegant look to your dining room.
What type of legs and bases work best with round tables?
Typically wooden round dining tables come with either wooden or metal legs, some of our collection like the Sydney Round Dining Table beautifully incorporate the two materials together - wooden shaped boomerang legs with metal detailing. Stone round dining tables tend to come with a metal base or legs, or alternatively the same stone can be used for the legs as the top. The weight of the stone top means any base needs to be structurally strong to carry the weight.
If wooden legs are matched with a wood round dining table top then often the same wood and finish is used on the base, one example of this is on the Amelia table by Kristensen Kirstensen. Although sometimes a contrast stain for the legs as shown on the Monogram table by Kristensen Kirstensen can also offer a nice contrast.
If metal is used for the base then this can either be finished with a matching or contrasting colour to the top. A strong contrast can offer beautiful detail and feature. e.g. black legs with a white ceramic top.
Can you have extendable round or oval dining tables?
Extendable dining tables is not a feature limited to rectangular tables, many round and oval dining tables come with this option, although typically this is a feature you need to request up front when you choose your table, versus add it later on.
The typical mechanism is the round dining table top is in two halves, which pull apart to allow space for a leaf, or in some cases several leaves to extend the table. Many of our round tables allow 4 extension leaves of 50cm each to be added to the table, increasing the length by a huge 200cm! One such example is the Amelia from Kristensen Kristensen. Unlike rectangular tables, round tables with leaf extensions are usually unable to store the leaf within, so additional storage does need to be available.
That said, there are some round table designs that have mastered an extension that can be stored in the table, for example the butterfly extension, which has an extension in the middle that folds in on itself. Another option for packing down round dining tables is the leaf table top, where one or both sides can be folded down, useful when you want the table stored against the wall, or only to use one half - making it ideal for apartments or smaller living spaces.
What dimensions are round and oval dining tables available in?
The short answer, within reason, is any - in fact 90% of requests we receive are for custom lengths and bespoke dining tables. Most round dining tables come in sizes from 100cm to 160cm as standard, which for most consumers, especially when you add in extensions, is ample for their needs. That said, we work with some amazing craftspeople who are always up for a challenge, so if you have a request outside of these dimensions do get contact us!
Standard sizes of round tables are:
Standard sizes of oval tables are:
180/200/220/240/260/280/300 (L)cm x 115-120cm in width
In many ways the popular styles and designs of today are not a huge departure from those 50 or 60 years ago, with these techniques and shapes still hugely influential in modern day design. One step forward today is probably the ability to embrace the beauty and design cues and make choices to make it more personal to you and your space, so if you want to maintain a purist Scandinavian look you can, or if you want to add some other influences to your design, this is also an option.
How can Milola help you find the perfect dining table?
We recommend you think about your personal circumstances and needs to make sure you get not only a beautiful looking table, but one that performs well for you. Consider what it will be used for on a daily basis; perhaps as a desk when you work from home, a creative place to play for the kids or hosting friends and family? All these factors can inform the type of table, as well as the finish we would recommend you choose.
At Milola, we have range of different tables with examples of the material swatches at our showroom in Blonay, so if you have any questions or want to see the different options before you purchase, then call or come and visit us (by appointment).