The Drum on Dining Tables

by Creative Style Interiors

The dining space has evolved over the years to become a place to gather with our family and friends for everything from formal celebrations to casual get-togethers over a cuppa or glass of wine. It can even moonlight as an office and games area for those of you who love Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit or Uno, so it makes sense that the dining table not only suits the decor, but also meets all our functional needs. Even though the tabletop and legs are frequently made of the same materials they don’t have to be, so we’re looking at them separately.

Tabletops – Glass v Timber

Glass, clear or coloured, and timber, lacquered or ‘painted’ are the mainstays for tabletops. Both can look great in a variety of design styles, and offer practical functionality for the many uses they’re needed for.


P1040846 A glass tabletop should always be tempered or toughened for safety. Glass looks sleek, especially when combined with a stainless steel base. It complements a contemporary décor style because of its ultra shiny surface. Additionally, if your dining room is small or enclosed, a glass topped dining table is an excellent option because its transparency doesn’t interrupt the space as much as an opaque top. Why not consider amber, grey or black glass to suit your colour scheme if plain clear glass doesn’t appeal to you but you need its openness. If you don’t fancy seeing through your glass tabletop at all but like its reflective quality, you could also choose a translucent white or opaque finish. Opaque glass has a colour painted on the underside, similar to your kitchen splashback. Like all shiny surfaces, glass shows fingerprints but is easily wiped clean and though toughened it can still scratch if you use something sharp on it.

TimberIMG_3277 copy

We usually associate lacquered timber with more traditional and classic décor, but there are many styles with simple clean lines on the market to suit contemporary homes. Timber dining tables are readily available in a range of finishes from smooth and shiny to raw and rustic. Another option for timber, usually MDF is painted in 2 pac polyurethane in a high gloss finish in the latest on trend colours, currently charcoal and white. However if you’re having your table custom made you can have it finished in any colour that works with your colour scheme. Like glass, timber is simple to clean but is more easily marked and scratched. Depending on your décor, using a tablecloth or place mats will help a lot and make sure you invest in some excellent heat-proof mats for serving dishes so that your timber table doesn’t develop heat marks.  


Table legs are available in a variety of shapes such as tapered, straight, curved, sled and pedestal. They can be plain or carved and made in a range of materials such as metal, timber, wrought iron and glass.


IMG_3273 A tapered leg is a common feature of contemporary and Mid-Century table styles. They can have either a square or round profile, and as the name suggests, taper in diameter, starting wider at the top and finishing narrower at the floor. Tapered legs may also be fitted at a slight angle to the skirt creating a trapezoid shape that looks sleek and contemporary.


A straight leg is simple and evenly proportioned along its length. A straight leg can suit both traditional and modern décor and there are no hard and fast rules around how thick the leg should be for a particular style. A thick leg could suit a contemporary design style just as well as it does a traditional one. It’s more about the material it’s made from.



A sled leg (despite the connotation of the name) is popular on contemporary dining tables, either in timber, stainless steel or aluminium. As it has a U shaped leg, care needs to be taken to ensure that you can comfortably place all your chairs around the legs, particularly at the ends.


Pedestal tables are supported by a wide base at the centre. Square or round tables often feature a single pedestal, whereas rectangular tables may require two pedestals to stop the table overbalancing. A traditional pedestal table may more commonly be timber, stone or wrought iron, with contemporary pedestals often incorporating stainless steel and glass. Again there are no hard and fast rules.

CurvedIMG_3261 copy

Curved legs are all about elegance so they’re usually tapered too. They are shaped to curve out from the corner of the table, back in, and then out again as it meets the floor. We tend to associate them with particular design styles such as French Provincial and Queen Anne.

Helpful extras



The edge of the tabletop can be as simple as a straight line through to heavily carved and routed. A straight edge works best with contemporary décor while carved and routed with classic and traditional. If glass is dropped into a timber top a common feature of the glass is a beveled edge where the edges have been cut at a slight angle. This gives it a more ‘up market’ look than a simple polished edge.


A skirt on a table is an extra length of timber on all 4 sides, fitted at right angles to the tabletop. Its purpose is to hide the underside of the tabletop and conceal unsightly joinery. However it can also be shaped, carved and routed to add more decoration and can help to define the style of the table.

Extension Tables

Do you like to entertain? There are occasions where we need a large dining table to accommodate extra guests… but that doesn’t mean you need to commit to a large dining table if you simply don’t have the permanent space for it. This is where an extension table comes in handy. It can extend from the ends or have extra leaves that slot in the middle when needed. Of course the extra leaves need to be stored somewhere when not in use. You may also have heard of the butterfly leaf that comes up from underneath the centre of the table. This mechanism is uncommon today in favour of the end leaves.


Keep in mind that your dining table should suit the proportions of the room or space in which it sits. There should be at least 60 cm of space around each end of the table to make taking your seat easy. And finally, make sure the shape of your table matches the shape of the usable space. A square table in a rectangular room can look rather odd because of their conflicting proportions, but will look fabulous in a square space. Don’t forget that other furniture placed in the room may alter the shape of the space for your table. If you need help finding your ideal dining table, feel free to call me on 0416 190 792 or email me at [email protected]. Also visit my Pinterest page for some home inspiration.

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