As the centrepiece of our dining rooms and the base for gatherings with both family and guests, a poor choice of dining table is not going to go unnoticed. A great dining table on the other hand, will likely be the recipient of admiring compliments and host many happy moments. To ensure you get it right, we’ve put together a quick guide to help you find the best style, size and shape of dining table for your home, plus some smart decorating ideas.


The Main Styles of Dining Tables

Rectangular dining tables are the shape of choice for many dining rooms today. This versatile dining table style offers a large surface area that can fit the whole family and is well-suited to rectangular-shaped dining rooms. That being said, square, and round dining tables in particular, are becoming increasingly popular, with their advantages of balanced seating that invites conversation, and no hard edges on round dining tables.

Apart from their shape, different styles of dining tables include different dining table leg design, various colours, and other useful features. Many dining table designs have four legs, while others common styles feature pedestal bases, trestle bases, or crossed legs. As well as a visual difference, these can also make a difference to how many dining chairs can fit around your dining table so it’s an important factor to consider. Wooden dining tables can also have a number of different coloured finishes applied to them, to suit different styles, or you can get a dining table design with glass top for easy maintenance.

Another useful dining table design is an extension table, which allow you to adjust the length of the table to suit different situations. These can be rectangular extension tables where extra leaves are added to the centre, round or oval extension tables which come with a foldable butterfly leaf inside, or drop-leaf dining tables. All of these are great options for entertaining extras, especially if your dining room is not spacious enough to accommodate a large dining table all the time.


A Guide to Dining Table Sizes

Mill-Yard Dining Setting

How to choose dining table size? It all comes down to three dimensions. 

The standard height for dining tables in New Zealand is around 750mm, apart from bar tables which are made higher to accommodate bar stools or people standing. This standard size generally works for most dining chairs and people, but can be adjusted if necessary.

It is generally recommended that dining table width is at least 900mm to allow room for place settings and food, however a table that is too wide makes conversing and passing food difficult. In order to easily get in and out of your dining chairs, you’ll want at least 900mm between your table and the walls or other furniture. So, if you have a narrow room, you might need a narrower table.

In terms of length, you’ll need to consider how many people you want to fit around it. 600mm of space for each person is about right, so for two people on each side, allow approximately 1200mm, three people- 1800m and so on, plus a bit of extra space in between.


With dining tables starting from 900mm x 680mm to extension tables which reach up to 2600mm long, Coastwood Furniture offers a tremendous range of dining table sizes, and can also customise them to suit your specific need.


How to Choose a Dining Table

Barclay Dining Setting

With so much on offer, narrowing it down to a final decision is the hard part. Start with defining the size you need. This should be influenced by the amount of people you want to seat and how big your room is, then you can decide if you need an extendable table or not. Once that is defined, you can work out what shape will meet your size requirements and fit in with the shape of your room. Finally, you can browse different styles, base types, and colours to find a table that you absolutely love. For a more detailed approach to choosing a dining table, read our 5 Things to Consider Before Buying A Dining Table.


How to Style & Decorate A Dining Table

Now to the fun part. While dining tables often end up as a place where all kinds of miscellaneous objects are left, it’s always nice to set it up with a decorative display, especially when you have guests over. So if you’re stuck with how to style a dining table, here are four stylish dining table design ideas that anyone can try in their dining room.


A Curated Vignette

Neo & Tori Dining Setting

Vignette is a term used in interior design to describe a small arrangement of decorative objects. Styling a vignette on your dining table is a great way to showcase some of your favourite ornaments while creating an eye-catching display. For best results, combine objects of different heights and textures and coordinating colours.


A Vase with Flowers/Greenery

Barclay & Billie Dining Setting

Sometimes less is more. Keep your dining table décor simple with just a single vase arranged with some greenery or a seasonal bouquet. By placing it in the centre, you’ll still have space to eat your dinner, without having to worry about moving your décor every time.


Set and Ready

Tiffany Dining Setting

If you’re entertaining or just want your table to really look the part, style it with individual plates, napkins, and cutlery, so you’re always ready for the next meal to begin.


Snack Time

Fenton Dining Setting

This is probably not ideal all the time, but if you’re expecting guests or hungry family members, lay out some nibbles on your dining table to give your home a lived-in and welcoming feel. A bowl of fruit is perfect if you want something you can leave out on a more permanent basis.




Don’t forget, all great dining tables need some complementary dining chairs to complete the space. Next up is our Dining Chair Designs & Styles Guide.