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Dining Tables

HOW TO PICK THE PERFECT VINTAGE DINING TABLE

When purchasing furniture, few pieces warrant the meticulous deliberation that dining tables do. In fact, with so many shapes (round, rectangular, oval) and bases (pedestal, trestle, Parsons) to choose from, decoding the correct dining table for your needs almost necessitates a flow chart—habitual entertainers heed right, once-a-year entertainers proceed to the left. Factor dining table construction materials into the equation (plus matters of style), and dining table shopping seems only the slightest bit easier than buying, say, a new car, a diamond, or a home. All jest aside, it can help for shoppers to have a strong sense of what dining table options are available. From pedestal dining tables to all-glass dining tables to farmhouse dining tables, discover the array of dining tables ideal for accentuating any dining space.

3 DINING TABLE BASES TO KNOW

Pedestal Dining Table

A pedestal dining table is a dining table that forgoes the traditional four legs in favor of a central support column or pillar. The support column can range from something simple like a cylinder to something elaborate and sculptural. Perhaps the best-known pedestal dining table is Eero Saarinen’s Tulip Table. The Tulip dining table, which comes in both round and oval options, features a tapered pedestal that flares out wider on the bottom to create a weighty saucer base. Saarinen was famously quoted as saying he designed the table to clean up the “slum of legs” that resided under most dining tables.

Trestle Dining Table

The trestle dining table is derived from the most humble of origins. During the Middle Ages, trestle tables were typically nothing more than a board laid overtop a pair of x-braced legs. Today, trestle dining tables have been reimagined as striking dining tables that can easily co-mingle with a wide variety of styles, ranging from shabby chic to contemporary and farmhouse chic. Trestle dining tables are almost universally rectangular and oversized, making them a foundational favorite for large, airy dining rooms in need of a grounding piece with gravitas.

Parsons Dining Table

Bearing the name of the iconic Parsons School of Design, the Parsons table features four T-square corners—or, said another way, four legs that are flush with the corners of the table’s top. According to legend, the French designer Jean-Michel Frank challenged Parsons students in the 1930s to cue up a simple table that could be outfitted in any material. With its modular form, the Parsons dining table passes the test tenfold. Those hunting for lacquer dining tables, burl wood dining tables, or even brass dining tables, would all be wise to tee up a search for Parsons dining tables. Parsons dining tables are also beautifully accentuated by out-of-the-box seating. Be it upholstered cantilever chairs or Verner Paton Vitra chairs, Parsons dining tables are a no-fail accomplice.

3 DINING TABLE STYLES TO KNOW

Glass Dining Tables

Whether you opt for an all-glass dining table or a dining table with a glass top and a hulking travertine base, there’s no denying the (polished) provocativeness of a glass table. Definitely not for the faint of heart, a glass dining table defies convention and puts dining chairs boldly on display, making them a magnificent partner for sculptural seats. Glass dining tables also present an opportunity to get experimental with rugs, since just like chairs, a glass top will make one readily visible from all angles. Those who covet the look of an all-glass dining table but can’t help but stress over sharp edges and shattering should consider a Lucite or acrylic dining table. So long as you hold out for high-quality acrylic, the look can be every bit a crystalline as glass.

Lacquer Dining Tables

Nothing nails a modernist mood like a lacquer dining table. Since lacquer is a material used to protectively seal metal or wood dining tables, a dining table constructed entirely of lacquer (or, resin, to be exact) is impressively durable. Color enthusiasts, especially, should take note of lacquer dining tables, since they’re among the few dining tables that can be cast in eye-catching colors without resorting to chippable products like paint. Lacquer dining tables come in a wide variety of styles, but modernist renderings are their unofficial sweet spots. Lacquered Parsons dining tables and round lacquered pedestal dining tables, for instance, are common finds.

Farmhouse Dining Tables

Casual, convivial, and beautifully milled, farmhouse dining tables are the epitome of elevated ease. Eschewing formality for a laid-back approach to dining, Farmhouse dining tables feature less-than-precious woods, like pine or acacia wood, expansive tabletops, and hefty bases. Trestle dining tables are a popular style for farmhouse dining tables, and it’s common to find the style adapted to the round dining table format. Farmhouse dining tables’ bulkier proportions demand chairs that don’t shy away from a larger format as well. Slipcovered chairs can make pleasing dinner mates, as do French provincial-style seats. Farmhouse dining tables are also notorious for being synced with benches rather than traditional dining chairs. If needed, don’t hesitate to employ a narrow farmhouse table to achieve the look without the space commitment.