Are Rectangular Tables the Best Fit?

Rectangular tables are the more popular or “standard” table shape choice for most, but does this make it the right choice? We’ve previously looked over round and square tables. Today, we’ll be examining the pros and cons of rectangular tables. Our thought is if you’re given the information, you can then make the choice that will best work for your home and needs, especially if you’re building a custom table! Read on.

Black table rectangular tables with wood and fabric chairs.

Before we dive in to our discussion of rectangular tables there are a few important measurements to keep in mind. These dimensions will help ensure you allow ample space and flow throughout your room when designing your custom furniture piece. No matter your table shape, keep the following in mind:

  • Allow a minimum of 30-36 inches for wall and furniture clearance
  • High traffic areas, if possible allow 48-60 inches for clearance
  • Factor 24 inches per person to allow for elbow room

Why to Choose Rectangular Tables

There’s no question that rectangular tables are the most traditional design. They can go both formal or informal, with some design flexibility. When entertaining a large number of guests, rectangular tables are usually the best option because of their shape. For an example, with a pedestal base table, chairs can easily be added with no concern of maneuvering around table legs. Long, narrow room, long narrow table, their mirrored shape makes this a great fit. Another pro with rectangular tables is that they are the most functional when adding leaves. Their shape is flexible and conducive to easy additions. An even bigger bonus, depending on the size of the extensions, you can fit up to 4 more people. When taking seating into consideration, 42-48 inches adds more room for seating at the head of the table and allowsRectangular tables seating guide serving dishes to remain on the table. With more narrow tables it may become a necessity to place serving dishes elsewhere when not in use. Not all will have the room, but if you’re interested in fitting two people at the head of the table, 55-60 inches works well and not to mention a unique seating arrangement.

Why Not to Choose Rectangular Tables

There are only a few negatives to selecting a rectangular table. The first is reach. When compared to a round table where food, dishes, etc. is placed central to all guests, rectangular tables do not allow for this because of their stretched frame. Going along with that, segmented conversation is difficult to avoid. Guests can be spread far away from one end of the table to the other. As a result, people may find themselves occasionally shouting to converse. The final con is shape. If your room is rectangular, there are no worries. However, if your room shape varies greatly from a rectangle you may find it difficult to adequately fit the table to the space.


Rectangular tables with metal base and wood top.

Perhaps the reason why most build a custom rectangular table is because there are few cons to the shape. As a whole, they are a practical, flexible, and sturdy shape. Click if you’re curious what we have to say about round and square tables. Hopefully we’ve made the decision-making process that much easier!

To design your next custom table or inquire about our design process, check out our Table Options page to get an idea of what we offer or Contact Us directly.

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