10 of the Best: Dining Tables

So it’s September. The summer holidays may still be rolling on, but for the rest of us, it’s all about shiny new pencil cases and starting afresh. We started this series with a look at the 10 best dining chairs, moved on to floor lamps and now it’s back to food (a subject always close to my heart) with a look at 10 of the best dining tables. You will note there are no round tables. I just can’t get on board with a round table. I don’t know why. Perhaps, if faced with outrage from you all, I shall focus on round tables at a later date – let me know (I’m sure you will). I have, however, tried to include a mix of sizes, prices, materials and shapes (any shape as long as it’s a rectangle) by which I mean look at the legs.


EBBE GEHL (four to eight seater)

for John Lewis


ebbe gehl dining table by john lewis
ebbe gehl dining table from john lewis

Good old John Lewis. The first stop for safe choices but also, and increasingly, the secretly stylish number. This comes in various sizes – you can either have a straightforward six seater or a four seater that extends for eight people. It’s a Danish design and I rather like smooth lines. It’s made from oak with an oiled finish and there’s a matching bench if you like. One of my clients recently bought this for his flat – most of the time it will be a four seater but he likes that it has extra capacity for more people.




rough table by norr 11
rough table by norr 11

I’m declaring an interest in this one as I hope to be shortly taking delivery of it. Each piece of wood is hand selected and dried and their last batch didn’t meet the standards so it has been taken off the site while they wait for the new batch. I can’t wait to get mine and you’ll be seeing lots of pictures of it when it comes in. Perfect for the modern rustic kitchen. I have another client who is also quite keen to get her hands on one, it’s not just me.


Go Modern


mogg cementino table
mogg cementino table

Yes, this is very expensive but I just love that inlaid detail. The plain shape balances the tiles perfectly and this is a piece you could love for ever. It’s all in the detail and without it, this would just be a (very fine) table, but the inlay elevates it.


By Steuart Padwick


steuart padwick double cross table
steuart padwick double cross table

This table is so cool. When you want it to be smaller you simply fold the top of the table in half and then fold the legs back against each other and bingo. It’s such a clever idea and I have seen this table in real life and can vouch for its fabulessness. The legs come in either orange or yellow, but Steuart will make them in any colour you like if you ask him nicely (and pay a little more).


Atkin and Thyme


chevron dining table by atkin and thyme
chevron dining table by atkin and thyme

Still focusing on the legs, look at these brass beauties. The top is a chevron pattern made from mango wood which is also a bit different, but just look at those legs.




box frame counter table from westelm
box frame marble counter table from westelm

For the smaller kitchen, why not consider a bar table? This marble one is rather elegant and you could push it up against a all when not in use. There’s something about a high table which turns every day into cocktail day don’t you think?


Rowen and Wren


gable folding trestle table from rowen and wren
gable folding trestle table from rowen and wren

Folding tables are so practical for small spaces and extra guests and this is a really good one. And when you don’t need it for the kitchen, it will make a brilliant card table for louche Saturday afternoons in winter. Go on you know you want to…




normann copenhagen my table large
normann copenhagen my table large

This is so elegant. I think we are coming to the end of chunky farmhouse furniture and there will be a move to thinner pieces that are more grown up. This is simple, like the Mogg one above, but somehow it’s more refined and doesn’t need a pretty inlay to finish it off.




nira dining table from anthropologie
nira dining table from anthropologie

Simple, large but with a fabulous grain to give it that something special. Anthropologie is the butt of many jokes (often from me) for its outsize prices but, as tables go, this isn’t at all bad.



€49.75 per leg

tiptoe legs from France
tiptoe legs from France

Finally, if you can’t find exactly what you want then make your own. I have featured this brilliant French company before but I couldn’t do a round up of tables without including them. Choose your legs (lots of colours) and find something you like for the top. This could be anything from a slab of marble, to an old door or a piece of concrete. It’s a really clever idea and, hell, you could even change the top with the seasons if you felt like it. If the day comes when you have found the dining table of your dreams and no longer want to use these legs, then change the top and use it as a desk in another room. Bingo. That’s me being practical again, by the way.


Kate Watson-Smyth

The author Kate Watson-Smyth

I’m a journalist who writes about interiors mainly for The Financial Times but I have also written regularly for The Independent and The Daily Mail. My house has been in Living Etc, HeartHome and featured in The Wall Street Journal & Corriere della Sera. I also run an interior styling consultancy Mad About Your House. Welcome to my Mad House.


  1. Brilliant post. Thanks Kate

    We bought a beautiful Arne Vodder mid-century 8 seater table last month. I am having such a difficult job finding table linen that works for this style and size of table. Any chance you could follow this up this post with a Mad about the house blog post about table linen??

    Love the blog – it’s an every day read!

  2. Hi Kate – Great post! Do you know anything about the dining chairs paired with the tiptoe leg table?

  3. Interesting and timely article as we are currently searching for a new dining table. Spent a few days in London last week, but were unable to find what we wanted in terms of shape, size and cost. Rectangular tables are often the best choice in large or open-plan kitchens, but when the dining table is in the living room, sometimes only a round table will fit and it often needs a circular form to visually break the pattern of larger, more rectangular furniture.

  4. I love round tables. Something more convivial about them. Also, I like working at a round table. I’ve been searching high and low for the perfect round dining table for a square-ish room (a separate room, not the kitchen), one that would be small enough for paperwork and projects, and that would extend to seat 8 or so for family occasions etc. The options seemed to all be polished mahogany, heavy oak or painted country style. Many lovely examples, but none suited the room. Finally, this month I found it: a 60s Danish table from Danish Homestore in Nottingham, and the owner delivered it personally. And it was cheaper than buying a new table (but not cheap). It’s simple for every day and elegant for dressing up, in teak, with gently shaped legs (that screw off for transporting), and crucially, the extension leaves have the same apron as the table, so the edge is continuous, and not broken. I just need to train my family about the use of coasters.

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