The Ultimate Guide to Types of Tables for the Home

Whether you’re just moving in or ready to give your home a makeover, our guide will give you pointers on tables that are fitting for every room, nook and hallway.
Workshop APD designed this bar area of a Manhattan triplex apartment, complete with a Dirk Van Der Kooij Melting Pot table.
A Dirk van der Kooij Melting Pot table provides an expressive counterpoint to the minimalist decor in the bar area of a Manhattan triplex designed by Workshop APD. Photo by Read McKendree

Tables might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you consider ways to revamp your home. But the right table can serve as an elegant centerpiece in your dining room, a supportive wingman for your reading chair or the perfect solution to filling the blank space behind your sofa.

And perhaps because they are intrinsically utilitarian, tables achieve a fusion of form and function found in few other pieces of furniture.

To help you decide which types of tables resonate with your interior design tastes, we’ll take you on a curated tour of the most notable ones — from timeless antiques to mid-century modern marvels, with plenty of eye-catching designs along the way.

Dining Tables

An Eero Saarinen Tulip table with a white pedestal base and marbled-black top, flanked on both sides by brown chairs with metal legs.
This Eero Saarinen Tulip table in black quartzite is an iconic example of the pedestal design.

Historical charm or contemporary chic? A dining table should integrate seamlessly into the overall design to become a harmonious centerpiece of your dining space.

Round Dining Tables

Round dining tables offer a more intimate feel for families and dinner guests. They come with a variety of bases, the most popular being the pedestal. Eero Saarinen‘s Tulip table is an iconic example of the pedestal design, with a round top that tapers smoothly into the central column of the base.

For a contemporary home, the Paperclip dining table by Lella and Massimo Vignelli could be an attractive choice. It features clean lines and a cleverly streamlined design that uses a few simple shapes to make a three-dimensional form.

Square Dining Tables

Aldo Tura goatskin dining table, 1970s
Aldo Tura’s parchment dining table, 1970s, is a testament to his innovative and visionary designs.

Square dining tables, which adapt easily to any dining room style, are a contemporary favorite. Smaller ones are fantastic for compact rooms, where they can both act as the focal point and provide a cozy dining experience. Large square dining tables make stylish statements in bigger spaces. 

The visionary Italian designer Aldo Tura was known for his diverse body of work and his eclectic use of materials, as in this light green parchment table with a top of lacquered goatskin balanced on an Art Deco–style base.

Rectangular Dining Tables

Milo Baughman for Directional Parsons dining table
The Milo Baughman for Directional Parsons dining table, 1970s, pairs the natural curls of burlwood with a clean-lined silhouette.

Rectangular dining tables have been around for millennia, from those used by the Greeks and Romans to centuries-old French monastery tables to modern glass-top options and beyond. The versatility of the rectangular design allows endless opportunities for personalization — and plenty of elbow room for holiday feasts or for unexpected guests.

Perfect in elongated rooms, rectangular tables — like Milo Baughman‘s burlwood Parsons dining table — serve as gathering places, with ample surface area for dishes and decor. Pair the clean lines of a Parsons with antique dining room chairs for added interest in your dining room.

Foldable and Extendable Dining Tables

A wooden Haywood Wakefield wishbone dining table with six curved legs against a white backdrop.
This Heywood Wakefield wishbone dining table, 1970s, with its distinctive curved legs and leaf inserts, is a notable piece of mid-century modern design.

Folding dining tables are suited to smaller areas, providing a locus for extra seating without sacrificing style. Expand their wings to accommodate dinner party guests, and tuck them away when not in use to save space. With intuitive mechanisms and seamless integration, modern extendable dining tables strike an effortlessly elegant balance between functionality and aesthetics.

A notable design is the Heywood Wakefield wishbone dining table. A mid-century modern dining table on a distinctive wishbone-shaped base, it comes in round and rectangular shapes, equipped with two drop leaves to bring maximum flexibility and distinctive style to any dining area.

Coffee Tables

A coffee table can promote conversation, adding an inviting touch to your living room, or it can cede the spotlight to your other pieces.

Round Coffee Tables

A Warren Platner coffee table with a spherical base made of steel rods that flare out at the top to support a glass tabletop.
Warren Platner’s iconic 1960s coffee table for Knoll is a triumph of innovation, seamlessly merging steel craftsmanship and design brilliance.

With its smooth shape, a round coffee table blends flawlessly with a variety of interior design themes, from traditional to eclectic. Cylindrical tables add a cosmopolitan pop to flashy living room decor, while sculptural handmade coffee tables impart an artisanal feel to minimalist or farmhouse-style spaces.

Influential American architect and interior designer Warren Platner made a significant impact on mid-century modern design with pieces like his round coffee tables, produced by Knoll, which are highly sought after by collectors of furniture from that era.

Square Coffee Tables

Two black square coffee tables sit side-by-side, each painted with leafy green trees and white cranes.
A pair of black-lacquer coffee tables from Hong Kong, adorned with stunning, hand-painted depictions of birds and nature

With their clean lines and pleasing, balanced proportions, square coffee tables go beautifully with modern decor and geometric square or sectional sofas. For a hit of the unexpected, pair a square coffee table with seating in eccentric shapes, like an Eero Aarnio Ball chair or an asymmetrical sofa.

Whether you’re a minimalist devotee or pray at the altar of maximalism, this pair of square chinoiserie coffee tables would look gorgeous in your living room. The vibrant colors and ornate details of chinoiserie pieces add rich texture to many interior design styles.

Rectangular Coffee Tables

An Yves Klein coffee table with metal legs and loose pink pigment powder inside a clear square tabletop sits on a concrete floor.
A newly manufactured Yves Klein coffee table designed by the famed artist in the 1960s

Versatile and classic, rectangular coffee tables accord with a wide range of seating arrangements. Asymmetrical versions, like those by Isamu Noguchi, or ones with surprising splashes of color, like Yves Klein’s creations, are ideal for multifunctional living spaces, which call for practicality as well as beauty. And their ample surface area affords enough space for your favorite coffee-table books.

Ottoman Coffee Tables

A selection of brightly-colored coffee table books sit atop a square ottoman covered in tan and black checkered upholstery.
The versatile Forsyth checkerboard ottoman adds natural texture to a space, whether as a coffee table, ottoman or extra seating.

Ottoman coffee tables add interest with their upholstered details — and they double as comfy places to prop your feet or extra seating options during cocktail parties. Ottomans with glass, wood or metal tops offer sturdy surfaces for drinks and decorative items. Larger poufs with soft tops add an undeniably luxurious élan.

The Forsyth checkerboard ottoman is handcrafted from the company’s recognizable wool-and-jute checkerboard rugs. Its flat top and generous size make it a queen of versatility in the living room.

Console Tables

Generally tall and shallow, console tables add style and practicality to otherwise empty areas like foyers, hallways or the back of a couch.

Demi-Lune Console Tables

An ornate Louis XV–style demi-lune console table with a white marble top and ornate black legs stands against a blank white wall.
The half-moon shape of this Louis XV–style console’s marble top enables it to fit neatly against a wall.

French demi-lune ( half-moon) consoles are semi-circular tables with graceful curves and ornate filigree that can lend an old-world charm to your home. They are a striking choice for transitional spaces that could use a bit of character.

Half-moon consoles are often French provincial in design, like this wall-mounted Louis XV–style example from the 20th century, whose black lacquer, curved rococo legs harmonize gracefully with its Carrara marble top.

Rectangular Console Tables

 A Globo console table by Jonathan Adler with a white tabletop, brass legs, and light blue globes adorning the front.
Jonathan Adler’s Globo console is a compact yet impactful piece featuring a glossy white lacquer cabinet, a sinuous brass frame and striking blue, solid-acrylic cabochons.

Pleasing to the eye and functional to boot, rectangular console tables often come in pairs and sometimes contain drawers or shelves for storage — an elegant way to keep small spaces clutter-free. Their elongated shape makes them ideal focal points in your entryway or behind a sofa, offering a stylish platform for decor or lamps or a place to put a catchall tray by the front door for your wallet, keys and lip balm.

If you’re hunting for a head-turning design, you need look no further than the Globo console table by Jonathan Adler. Its glamorous silhouette nods to the opulence of Hollywood Regency, with an ultra-modern twist.


A creamy white Weave credenza designed by Lukas Dahlén features three tiers of woven wood beneath a flat tabletop.
The Weave credenza by Lukas Dahlén blends Scandinavian design with traditional weaving techniques.

From the Italian word for sideboard or buffet, credenzas are usually longer than other console tables and have more storage compartments. Historically, they were placed in dining rooms to display and store valuable tableware and other decorative items. Antique and vintage credenzas are highly sought-after, elevating a space with their fine craftsmanship and distinctive character.

Created for the Swedish studio Ringvide by Lukas Dahlén, who was inspired by traditional weaving techniques, the Weave credenza features a minimalist yet expressive design.

Side Tables

Available in many stunning designs, side tables enliven your living space while providing handy surfaces to hold your daily essentials.

End Tables

A set of black Misaya end tables with legs in inky designs that mimic the look of calligraphy.
Misaya’s calligraphic end tables incorporate the fluidity of ink paintings into their design.

Placed beside sofas and chairs, end tables can tie a room together visually and functionally. Victorian end tables inlaid with materials like brass and leather are stunning. But decorators with more contemporary tastes might prefer mid-century modern versions, which add alluring angles to a decor.

These calligraphic end tables by Misaya are a sensory delight that captures the essence of Chinese ink paintings in three dimensions.

Nesting Tables

 A set of three wooden Johannes Andersen nesting tables stands in descending size order.
A set of 1960s Johannes Andersen nesting tables nest easily into each other when not in use.

The clever engineering of nesting tables, also known as stacking tables, allows them to add aesthetic appeal to rooms while pulling their weight functionally. When not in use, they can be neatly stowed away to save space — then separated again when needed to create extra table tops for parties or to display newly acquired tchotchkes.

Johannes Andersen, a prominent Scandinavian modernist, is known for his exquisite nesting tables and innovative use of teak, mahogany and rosewood. 

Accent Tables

Two white Carrara marble accent tables of different sizes, designed by Angelo Mangiarotti, stand next to each other.
These vintage Italian accent tables from Angelo Mangiarotti are crafted from white Carrara marble, showcasing postmodern design in their lotus-shaped tops and cone bases.

The intricate detailing of accent tables infuses panache into spaces in need of something extra. With their unique designs and materials, these decorative pieces, including credence and console tables, add character to quiet corners, dark niches or between a pair of armchairs.

Italian architect and designer Angelo Mangiarotti designed these modernist Carrara marble accent tables, which epitomize practical artistry.

Bedside Tables

A bright red, spherical side table by Anna Castelli Ferrieri features two sliding doors, one atop another, that hide extra storage space.
Anna Castelli Ferrieri‘s tiered Componibili side tables for Kartell marry modular style with maximum functionality.

Nightstands and bedside tables provide sturdy surfaces and additional storage while enhancing a bedroom’s decor and keeping your reading material, lamp or glass of water within arm’s reach.

Embodying functional simplicity with mid-century modern flair, the cylindrical Componibili side tables by Anna Castelli Ferrieri for Kartell double as mini storage units.

In the ever-evolving world of interior design trends, the most popular table designs reflect wider cultural movements. The diversity of these coveted styles ensures that options exist for every space and taste.

Industrial Tables

Two aged steel nightstands from the 1920s stand beside each other against a white background.
These 1920s brushed-steel nightstands have a utilitarian charm that characterizes industrial design.

Industrial tables combine clean lines and moody color schemes with materials — like solid wood, metal and concrete — that convey a strong sense of utilitarianism. Their distinctive look and focus on durability have made industrial-style tables and lighting top choices for both urban lofts and contemporary country homes.

This pair of brushed-steel nightstands from the 1920s displays practical details like those found in Industrial Age manufacturing spaces.

Antique Tables

This dark oak rectangular table from the 19th century has ornately carved designs in the Gothic style.
Gothic-style tables, like this 19th-century carved-oak center table, are popular designs.

With their often exceptional craftsmanship and historical significance, antique tables never go out of style. Victorian, Gothic and Louis XV tables lead the list of sought-after antique furniture, for good reason — their exquisite design and the traditional craftsmanship they embody are endlessly alluring.

The intricate inlay top and ornate scrollwork of this Victorian coffee table from 1870 are wonderful examples of the antique details sought after today. 

Mid-Century Modern Tables

A pair of wooden coffee tables shaped like artist’s palettes stand against a white background.
These boomerang-shaped Artist’s Palette coffee tables, 1960s, exemplify many of the traits that distinguish mid-century modern design.

Mid-century modern tables are typified by warm woods, bold colors and uncomplicated structures. Celebrated for their minimalist yet elegant designs in a range of materials, they often become statement pieces in the interiors they occupy.

These boomerang-like Artist’s Palette tables from the 1960s display many characteristics of mid-century modern design: playful asymmetry, fine woodwork and an aesthetically pleasing shape that also serves a practical purpose.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Tolix T55 dining table and chairs in raw steel are made for indoor or outdoor use.

How many types of tables are there?

There are between 30 and 40 distinct types of tables serving a broad range of functions — and no, you don’t need to own them all. 

What’s the difference between a coffee table and a console table?

Coffee tables are generally placed in the living room. They’re low-standing to align with the heights of sofas and armchairs, and they have large top surfaces handy for holding drinks, snacks, books and decorative objects. Console tables are typically placed against walls and have longer legs and narrower surface areas suitable for storage and display.

How do I choose the right type of table for my space?

In choosing the right table, you should consider factors like its intended use, the existing decor and the dimensions of the room where it will reside. Measure your space carefully and determine your form and function preferences. 

Are there types of tables designed specifically for outdoor use?

Yes, tables designed for outdoor use are called outdoor or patio tables. Made from weather-resistant materials like wicker, wood, stone, glass, resin and aluminum, either singly or in combination, they come in various styles and are designed to fulfill various functions, from dining and coffee tables to side tables, to create inviting outdoor spaces around your home.

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