Types of Tables
If you’re looking to buy new furniture for your home and you’re overwhelmed by the different kinds of tables you will see online and in a physical shop, then you’re not alone.
In fact, like many others, you need a special guide that can give you sufficient knowledge on the different kinds of tables and their uses.
Shopping can really be stressful especially if you don’t know exactly what you are looking for.
So many times the struggle and tension are knowing the purpose and point of a particular furniture piece.
In the case of tables, you have to understand the first rule and misconception in buying one.
That is, it’s a mistake to think that just because other people or families have certain types of tables that you also need one.
For example, just because your mother-in-law has a fabulous table that blends so well in her home, doesn’t mean you should also get one.
It may not be the right style or it may not fit your space as intended.
The opposite is also true.
Just because your mother-in-law advises you that it may not look well without a couch at the end of your living room doesn’t mean you have to take it as true.
In fact, from a designer’s perspective, the best interior design doesn’t just look nice, it also provides functionality and usefulness to the space in question.
You need to find pieces that work well with your space, even if that means buying pieces that no one else has.
In this table buyers guide we are going to talk about the different kinds of tables and their uses so you can complete the different rooms in your house with functional and beautiful furniture pieces.
Let’s get started!
Types of Tables
We’ve already made it clear that there are different types of tables that are found in furniture shops, but the goal of this article is not for you to stress about the different names there are – what’s important is understanding the purpose and function of each table.
Understanding the purpose and function of each type of table will help you identify exactly what you need in what space in your home.
That said, let’s break down each kind of table according to its categories.
Living Room Tables
Otherwise known as “occasional” tables, there are nine different types and they are utility tables that blend both beauty and function.
Coffee tables are commonly found in living rooms and situated right in front of a couch.
Not only do coffee tables complete a room, they also add value and usefulness as you can place food or drinks, display plants, and even place coffee table books.
The possibilities are endless and no living room is complete without a coffee table.
The accent table is also a term that’s used to identify various types of tables such as end tables or console tables.
The beauty of this is that it sparks your creativity!
Whether it be at the end of a couch or in between two lounge chairs, an accent table completes a room and fills in those awkward spaces.
Another interchangeable term called console tables is “end tables” or better known as “sofa tables”
To simply describe this kind of table, it’s long, thin and narrow and fits perfectly behind a sofa.
Also, it looks very useful to place it near the front door as you can toss your keys and bag or wallet on top of this table.
Taken from the name itself, a side table placed beside a sofa is the best place where it should be.
You can decorate it with a lamp on top of it or have your drink placed there as well.
It fills in the space and is also functional.
Because of its unique C-shape, that’s where the C-table got its name.
The purpose of the C-shape design is for the table to rotate and be used to hold a book, a drink, or even place your laptop on.
It can fit well beside a bed, chair, or couch.
Well, this is a no-brainer.
This is not a complicated type of table and you’ve guessed it; its purpose is to hold your drink!
Drink tables can be tall but they can be found on the shorter side as well.
These tables are not as common but are ideal for small spaces.
Nothing much to mention here.
As stated above, an end table is similar to an accent table or side table.
Bunching Table (known as stacking or nesting tables)
If you don’t have enough space to use in your home, a bunching table or nesting table is a great option for you.
Basically, a bunching table can either be a coffee table or an accent table.
To simplify it further, it refers to two or more tables that can be spread out or fit together.
A little historical fact, a drum table was first made back in the 1700s.
It is circular shaped and is heavy in its mass.
Uniquely designed, there are some drum tables that are tall enough for you to place a chair and others have bookshelves and drawers attached to them.
For a more contemporary type, the term can be equally be referred to as a round coffee table made out of stone which makes it heavy.
Occasionally, foyers do not have tables set up but they are nice to look at and they can also serve a purpose.
Foyer tables are called right after their location because foyer tables look organized when they’re leaning against the wall, but it also looks perfect if they’re placed in the middle of sizeable foyers.
Fun fact is, an ottoman table and its furniture concept may find its origin and reason why it’s designed because of people that have been caught putting their feet on top of coffee tables.
The beauty of this table is multi-functional and multi-purpose.
There are some ottoman tables that can be found in a furniture shop that are large with a flat top designed to serve as a table.
Tables for Meals
Dining tables should be the most common type of table found in this list just about every house has a dining table.
As far as design is concerned, dining tables are usually made to fit about six people around them and are usually used on special occasions or grand affairs.
An added feature for this is a dining table usually has extra spaces for additional seating, just in case you need to increase your capacity.
Well, guess what, it is a no-brainer where a kitchen table is found.
Definitely, it’s not in the living room. Of course in kitchens!
Kitchen tables are strong and it’s a powerful utility.
When we say utility, it is used for many purposes.
Whether it be for meals with your family, or playing crafts and spending time with kids, doing your work, and more; a kitchen table is not shy from being used for many different reasons.
There are also smaller ones which can accommodate two people but normally, that’s called a bistro table.
For its size, it can accommodate about four to six people, really perfect for if you’re starting your own family.
You can also get space-saving ones if you need to adjust your kitchen space.
A brief explanation for a pub table is its number of seating capacity that it can accommodate.
They usually come with stools and can fit about two to six people.
Pub tables are generally taller like you would find in a pub or restaurant.
From the word patio itself, patio tables are most visible in outdoor spaces like a deck, porch, and other outdoor spaces.
During winter, these tables should be able to withstand the intense coldness of the season.
But if the climate is harsh, some should be placed inside.
For patio tables, it shouldn’t just be limited to old white plastic materials, but more often, this type of table looks neat and nice for indoor use as well.
Bedside Table (aka Nighstand)
Not only are tables found in living rooms, dining rooms, or kitchens, almost all bedrooms also have at least one table inside.
Whether it is a nightstand or a bedside table leaning towards your bed, you can never leave this one out.
It serves a very good purpose as these types of tables are used for placing items within arms-reach from the bed.
When you’re about to go to bed, you can place your cellphone, book, eyeglasses, and even that annoying alarm clock; any valuable item to you and that you can easily reach while you’re in bed.
These bedside tables or nightstand can be small cabinets or tables that are chest levels, tables with shelves, or really an actual table – whatever it is, it’s still served its purpose.
As far as price in the market is concerned, bedside tables don’t cost too much.
But unlike everything else that’s sold in the market, there are also luxury options that you can choose from.
In this category, there are three main types of work tables that are part of this list.
First up is the ordinary yet huge workforce which is the work table in itself.
It doesn’t mean that if it’s called a work table it is unattractive.
It only means that it’s designed for a specific job or purposed in mind like for woodworking, art, gardening, and more.
They don’t have a standard size, rather, they vary depending on their usage and where you place them.
Quite similar to a dining table, a conference table is more or less large and grand in structure.
Commonly found in corporate offices or meeting rooms, a conference table sets itself apart from a dining table because it features some plugs and ports for laptops and other gadgets to plug into.
This type of working table is very useful for board discussions, conferences, meetings, and others.
Who isn’t familiar with a computer table or hasn’t heard of one?
With the age of technology, practically, a computer has become a part of everyone’s life.
And since computer and technology, in general, is part of our lives, it is given that a computer table should not be unheard of.
In fact, coming from the name itself, a computer table is used for (guess it) computer!
Computer tables are designed to have holes in their structure for wires and cables to get into so that your table looks organized.
These holes are for the keyboard and mouse wires, cables for the monitor and power utility, and some even have levels for the printer to be placed on.
Essentially a computer table is manufactured to have your full set of computer placed on it from the CPU (computer processing unit), monitor, printer, and other accessories.
Probably the exciting and fun part of this list is including this category, the game tables section.
There are four main types of game tables that are used for gatherings and parties.
In most resorts and hotels, you’ll never miss out on a pool table.
A pool table is otherwise known as a billiard table.
Structure-wise, it has six pocket holes on the sides and it is solid in its form and frame.
The playing area where the billiard balls are placed is often made up of woolen cloth or polyester.
There are different materials used in making one such as wood, slate, and plastic, depending on the finish of the pool table.
It also varies in sizes ranging from small-scale ones where kids can play around and large-scale pool tables where it’s the standard sized used for competitions.
The sizes would also depend on where you are placing your pool tables.
Ping Pong Table
Another fun sport that uses tables is ping pong.
If you want to sweat it out but you don’t want to be in outdoor places, then ping pong or otherwise known as table tennis should be the sport you should choose and practice.
This type of game and sport can either be outdoor but mostly used for indoor purposes.
A ping pong table is similar to a tennis court, but a mini one and has a table in itself.
It is divided into two sections with a net dividing each one.
For its playing area, its finish is usually matte for the ball to bounce well on it.
Whether you’re a kid or an adult, it’s given that a foosball is for all ages.
No one is ever too young not to enjoy this game and no one is ever too old to be a killjoy for this.
A foosball is football-inspired, but it’s placed indoors.
You’ll commonly find these tables in arcades and game rooms.
For its design and structure, foosball tables are made up of different styles where some have a luxurious finish while others have a more classic look.
The balls also vary in their materials where some are made up of wood, plastic metal, and others out of marble – all depends on your preference and choice.
A card table isn’t really necessary, but if you’re a fanatic of card games, then a card table is one that you should be familiar with.
Card tables are really exciting to use for family gatherings.
Aside from their size, card tables also vary from the materials used to make them.
There are some card tables that use wood and others have metal frames as well.
For it not to take up so much space in your storage, card tables often have a standard feature that is foldable.
When you think of tables, obviously they come in different sizes, forms, materials, and shapes.
And speaking of shapes, there are different purposes why the tables differentiate in this.
Let’s say for example a round table.
Round tables often look great in small spaces, where you need to accommodate many people in one sitting for meals and discussions.
In fact, true to its purpose, legends say that King Arthur had a famous round table moment and it is said that they argued with his knights on who was most deserving or rightful to receive the highest seating.
The beautiful reason why round tables are perfect for meals and discussion is that each person that sits around it can easily practice direct eye contact with another member seated around the table without leaning in and out and adjusting to your body language.
With round tables, exciting conversations are often easy to bring up without changing the dynamics in your conversations.
See why it’s easy to love round tables?
Aesthetically and for interior design purposes, round tables are also pleasing to the eye especially if your space has some hard lines like walls, ceilings, and more.
If you add a circle table in it, it’s not considered the odd one out.
In fact, it adds a different flavor into the mix, breaking the flow of lines and adding an element of surprise.
While round tables were difficult to make in years past, there were other shapes that were easier to form but really traditional in structure.
Square or Rectangle
Growing up, it’s a given that a table is usually rectangular or square-shaped.
A kid would always draw a table with four sides and four corners.
It’s not something that a kid has to think about how a table should look like, but you can never go wrong with having four corners and sides with the table.
Rectangular tables are suitable for narrow places yet long ones.
They would look small in those places even smaller than round tables yet still they can cover a lot of space in it.
Rectangular tables are really perfect tables to use for special gatherings where you can just to fit more people in one long table.
Rectangular-shaped tables are still a good choice with design and purpose combined.
Unique, uncommon, and different.
Three words to best describe the polygon-shaped table.
It isn’t round, not even square, and rectangular in shape.
But that doesn’t mean that you a polygon-shaped table should be out of your list.
In fact, it’s the very reason why you should never count out this uniquely shaped table.
As far as interior design is concerned, it can come as a surprise without having to go to traditional types of tables.
But, not to burst your bubble, it would be difficult to find let’s say polygon-shaped dining tables.
You’d be lucky enough to find one.
Today’s Most Popular Table Styles
We don’t have enough time to give you an extensive classroom-like lecture on the subject of furniture, but in this next section, we can give you an overview so that when someone asks and compliments your taste of furniture, then you can quickly respond intelligently and confidently.
With the name itself, industrial tables make use of materials that are turn-of-the-century.
Materials like exposed brick, old-fashioned used wood with stains on it, steel, and other kinds of metal.
These are really an eye-catching design and guests would definitely catch the attention of people.
Even if you live in an apartment where you can show the exposed materials like brick and beams, an industrial table made out of metal as its foundation can add a new flavor to the design of your home.
If you’re an artist and want to creatively play your ideas on tables, industrial tables can be a piece of art for you where you can use some old materials that you can still find useful.
A farmhouse table is identified as a strong and heavy weathered wood with touches of a craftsman design.
Usually, these types of tables are found in the countryside in countries like France or Italy.
Farmhouse tables are really perfect for centerpieces where you can combine with beautiful and attractive pieces of artwork with antique decors used to provide accents to your design.
A shabby chic is very similar to a farmhouse table but slightly differs in the lightness of wood used and often looks more feminine with more touches of style.
Rachell Ashwell, the one who popularized this type of table back in the 1980s first featured a mix of old and slightly weird combination of furniture with variation and playing of white and soft colors.
With the increase of DIYers who want to replicate certain types of furniture, a shabby chic table is one that’s popular for being copied.
Shabby chic tables are finished often with soft colors like white and pastel colors and blended with flea market finds to give it an added value for design and style.
Plus, you’ll easily find shabby chic coffee tables made from recycled pallets done by DIYers.
Just like other kinds of furniture, when you mention a piece of mid-century modern furniture, it is basically referred to as ones that are popularized in the mid-1900s.
Despite it being old and classic as far as years of longevity is concerned, it is still extremely popular for the new generation because for several reasons like: very natural, clean, and organized in lines designed well to make it look comfortable, attractive, and versatile.
There are also mid-century modern design tables that include iconic designs or pieces of artwork such as tulip designs, a mix of futuristic style with classic white colors, and more.
This type of table was popularized by Eero Saarinen where he said, “more than ever before, we need to relax.”
And for mid-century modern tables, these are indeed a relaxing type of table to have in your home.
Scandinavian tables are similar to a mid-century modern type with the use of natural and clean lines in their design but leaning towards a more minimalistic look.
However, for true Scandinavian tables, they use lighter colors in their style.
For instance, colors white and light colors are more favored than those that are bright.
Rarely do you find Scandinavian table designs that use plush textiles as their main exterior design.
Scandinavian tables prefer clean and light-colored styles with wood floors in shades of white and gray.
White walls look pleasant wherever you place it just because it looks neat and clean, though some Scandinavian table designers would prefer maximizing modern, geometric patterns.
Another reason why Scandinavian tables are a top choice is because of how useful it is. It isn’t just a type of table for decor purposes, but it has a use as well.
It is slim but still retains its elegant vibe, and these are crafted from wood or metal and painted in very light colors.
Ikea, known as a huge furniture brand and store all over the world is slightly responsible for bringing these types of tables to the United States and is selling these like hotcakes because they are ready-made with few simple steps for assembling.
Options for Table Assembly
As far as antique tables are concerned they’ve really come back in style over this past decade or two and are still gaining ground and popularity with the new emerging generation.
You can find some really beautiful and unique antique pieces for your home.
If driving around from antique shop to antique shop isn’t your thing, you can use the internet to search online antique shops.
And if you’ve found one, get to know the owners of the store and find out some information about where they’re able to supply more antique furniture from and what periods they carry them.
Don’t forget to let them know what you are looking for as well.
Since we’ve been talking about costs already, antique tables and furniture can come at an expensive price.
One way to cut the expenses is to find antique furniture that are smaller in size.
Let’s say you’re thinking about buying an antique kitchen table, but you’re tight on budget, what you can do is to buy inexpensive side tables that will complement the main one.
With that, you don’t have to worry about empty pockets or even emptying your bank account.
You can always mix and match old with new.
There is an increase in popularity for people who want to invest in custom furniture makers.
One reason is that custom furniture is really made solely for you.
Custom furniture also allows you to do the style you envisioned and really had in mind for your space.
If you’re one that’s looking for a custom furniture maker, you can start by fishing from your family and friends from their own network.
In the age of social media where the world is more connected and more skilled workers are putting their work out there, it isn’t hard to find these custom furniture manufacturers.
In fact, a simple Facebook post can go miles especially if you are specific about what you’re looking for.
Aside from social media, the internet in general and search engines like Google should have the answers to your questions.
They can lead you to the suppliers that you are searching for.
Just make sure that as a designer or one that wants an item of custom furniture, you already have clear plans in mind before executing one.
Big Box Self-Assembled
Back during our parents’ or even our grandparents’ time, purchasing a piece of furniture would mean driving to a local furniture shop and probably haggling the salesman for a certain item they are looking for.
Another option would be hiring a skilled craftsman who can work on the piece they have in mind.
But, times are changing.
With the emergence of technology, purchasing items has also drastically changed over periods of time.
Thanks to big furniture brands and shops like Ikea, and retailers like Target, Walmart, and Wayfair, they now offer self-assembled furniture that can be quickly done by an ordinary person in just a few simple steps.
Not only are they easy to assemble, but they are also cost-friendly.
While these are better options now for customers and clients looking for neat and still classy furniture, the downside is that it isn’t unique in design anymore.
You’ll find people having the same design and style by the end of their couch and the only difference might be the color of the furniture.
As a customer, you have to choose between the affordability and uniqueness of the furniture that you want.
With these big box self-assembled tables, they are affordable and you don’t have to think about heavy commitments as well.
In between a local furniture store and huge suppliers like Ikea, you’ll find a local furniture store somewhere in there.
Companies like Room-to-Go, offer furniture that varies in quality but definitely better than what you’ll find in retail stores like Target.
This furniture may not be as unique as custom-made ones but you’ll still save an amount of money with smaller commitments.
DIY or Restoration
The best and quick-to-find DIY ideas for furniture making or ideas for restoration is Pinterest.
You’ll never go wrong with it.
For sure you will find ideas that range from “I have to be a skillful craftsman” to ones that are “I’m sure this will take only a minute to work on.”
If you want to discover simple to-do coffee tables with materials that you can easily find in the market, there’s a plan for that on Pinterest.
Just pin it and viola, you can dive into the plan and work on your own DIY or restoration project.
Pinterest has everyone covered from ideas on building a plant box to sewing, making an invitation card, and more.
Check out Pinterest and just a warning, you’ll spend hours, not minutes, just scrolling through interesting ideas.
One of the advantages of exploring through Pinterest is you don’t have to start from scratch.
Some are caught back with what materials to use or where to begin.
With Pinterest, you’ll have a specific plan on how to execute your ideas.
While DIY has some limitations, this is also an opportunity for your to explore your own creativity with your own bare hands.
Trust us, you’ll enjoy your work even more.
Another option to find the perfect furniture for your home is to look for pre-loved or slightly used items.
Utilize social media like Facebook Marketplace where people in your local area post items that might interest you.
You an also use apps like Offer Up or Craigslist.
You may not find exactly what you’re looking for but you’re given different options to explore.
Not only do you have options, but you can also get great deals as far as cost is concerned.
There are times that the furniture needs some refitting or restoration, but for sure only a limited work will do.
Now that you know what you are looking for and where you can find great deals for tables for your home, you now have ample and basic knowledge of tables.
Now, what are the materials used?
Here are some more common popular ones.
Wood veneer is a commonly used material for different types of tables, more specifically in contemporary designs.
Though these are not a new type of invention, they are still used for certain styles today.
Though wood veneers are often confused with laminate, they aren’t because wood veneers are actual wood in themselves.
Wood veneer is a thin cut of wood that is applied to both sides of a strong core surface.
It’s lighter than solid wood furniture but very affordable and a great choice for people looking for large tables.
The main difference between a laminate and a wood veneer is that laminate is a man-made product.
Though it looks like a block of wood from afar, laminated products are made of plastic and have been printed to look like a block of wood.
Laminate has grown in popularity over the years because of its affordable price, but it usually isn’t the best quality.
With laminate furniture, you are not only sacrificing quality but also resale value as well.
Laminate furniture is great for temporary living spaces such as dorm rooms or secondary apartments.
Marble is a stunning material used for flooring, walls, bathroom and kitchens, and furniture.
It looks sturdy, elegant, and rich in history.
It dates back to Greek ancient times with the identities of statues and Roman emperors.
If you want to add a taste of drama and a classic vibe to your room, then a table made of marble is one you are looking for.
And while marble tables comes in different sizes, shapes, and colors and it looks classy as a piece of furniture, it is one of those high-maintenance pieces of furniture that you need to have a careful watch over.
Marble tables can easily get scratches and stains so you will want to keep that in mind.
It’s one of those types where you have to be very meticulous in using coasters for your guests.
And after using them, you have to religiously clean your table with approved cleansers.
There are some marbled tables that need to be sealed regularly.
While they are more high maintenance and more expensive, they are beautiful.
If you’re thinking of longevity and sturdiness as a material you want to use for your tables, then you’ll never think twice about using solid wood.
Its texture is not light, but the good thing is you can have solid wood sanded and repainted keeping the longevity status of the material.
Wood has different variations when it comes to grain, texture, and softness depending on the type of tree used.
For example, an oak tree is typically the best material for furniture because it is heavy and sturdy, and affordable.
While a pine tree is also a good choice, they are softer compared to oak.
The best sources of solid wood come from South America and Asia and they can provide distinction in your home design as well.
Compared to marble, solid wood is less of a hassle to maintain and although it can be expensive, it is still cheaper than marble and lower maintenance.
When it’s dirty, you can just wipe it with an approved cleaner and maybe schedule some waxing over a period of time.
Metal tables are often seen in industrial places but because of their great lines, they are also commonly seen in modern furniture where they can provide depth and focus making your table a good centerpiece in your living room.
As far as maintenance is concerned, you don’t have to worry about it because you just have to seal and repaint to avoid rust especially if you’re living in a humid climate.
To round off this extensive list of materials of tables that you often see in furniture, glass is what is commonly seen but it is one that you should not be investing especially if you have playful children around.
While it is of low maintenance because you just have to clean the glass frequently to avoid smears, it’s also a material that you have to good care of diligently.
It’s a blended mix of traditional and modern furniture and adds a little touch to your room.
If you don’t want your table to be the focus of guests’ attention, then the glass is the perfect option for you.
Of course, there are other materials that you can make tables from.
There are tables made from ceramic, granite, acrylic, polymer, engineered wood, and many others.
This is the great thing about tables; the form can be so basic but the materials can be as amazing and unique as can be.
The shape is probably the most important decision you need to make when deciding on a table.
However, the height is a very close second.
You can’t take this for granted as this can possibly make or break the experience – whether your table is super expensive or the cheapest one out there.
Heights of tables can range from very low coffee tables to countertop height tables.
You should be able to judge and determine the height of the table according to your needs.
Let the room size guide you in making the decision about how high the tables should be.
If your room is somewhat taller and more spacious, choose a taller table.
Inversely, smaller, more compact tables for smaller rooms.
And, of course, for obvious reasons, make sure that you feel comfortable sitting at your table – not too high, not too low.
Look at the design of the room and then determine the height that you feel most comfortable sitting in.
That’s about it for this simple guide for types of tables to give you enough knowledge on the differences of each table you find in a furniture shop.
The moment you drive yourself into a local store or scroll through Amazon or eBay, you now know what exactly you are looking for that bests suits your interior home design.