Handcrafted Dining Tables: Tips, Suggestions, and a Style Sampler

The first step in choosing a dining table is to decide which shape is right for your living space. Will a round table, a rectangular table, or a square table work best? Round tables are flexible, rectangular tables are classic, and an oval shape can marry strengths of both.

Design experts suggest positioning a dining table in the room in such a way that accommodates three or four feet of “chair space” around each side. In smaller spaces or open floor plans, a square table, or an added banquette can be a fun, functional option.

While obvious, it may be helpful to evaluate function. Will you create a formal dining room for special occasions, or will you ask your table to multi-task as a work or play surface, too? Will the table and space need to flex to accommodate large gatherings? Of note, table height is an interesting criteria to consider. See Jason Breen’s blog to learn more and hear user feedback.

Once you’ve clarified the few basic things above, design customization comes into play. What kind of table best expresses your style, and captures the personality of your home? Will it be Mid-Century, Modern, Farmhouse, Shaker, Craftsman, Mission, Victorian, or Traditional? Maybe that’s the easiest part with a custom furniture maker, but it was fun collecting the various examples below.

queen anne

Tiger Maple Queen Anne-Style Dining Table from Paul Donio, Hawk Ridge Furniture, Saint Johnsbury VT.

Dan Mosheim and Dorset Custom Furniture

Claro Walnut Slab Table with Ladderback Chairs from Dan Mosheim, Dorset Custom Furniture, Dorset VT.

pickwell lomas

Asian, Arts & Crafts, and Contemporary combined in John Lomas’ cherry dining table. John Lomas Custom Furniture, Hinesburg VT.


Custom Pine and Pipe Table from Erin Hanley Furniture, Burlington VT. See Erin’s work by clicking through, and visit her own website for other shots of this piece.

richard trestle

Classic Shaker Trestle Table from Richard Bissell Fine Woodworking, Putney VT. Sustainably harvested woods. Also pictured, Richard’s chairs and counter stools.

Maple and Brass Oval Drop Leaf Table from Paul Zenaty, Hineseburg VT. Click through for Paul’s profile on our site and visit his own to view this piece.

Round tables offer a great deal of flexibility and they feel really inclusive, encouraging interaction among guests. A small round table can become an oval with drop leaf sides, if the footprint is small but seating needs to accommodate more than four or five people. A glass top, as with David Hurwitz piece below, can be modern, but also light and open in a smaller space.

modern hurwitz

Custom Cherry Round Dining Table with Glass Top from David Hurwitz Originals, Randolph VT.

A classic pedestal table and Anna Liffey chair from Charlie Shackleton & ShackletonThomas.

breen breakfast table

Cherry breakfast table and chairs from Jason Breen Fine Woodwork, Brattleboro VT.

Rectangular tables are the most popular, whether a classical design or a modern interpretation. If you’re working with a smaller space, don’t be afraid to preserve the length while customizing the width. Even 28″ can allow for place settings, shared dishes, and a bit of elbow room while remaining conversational in a conservative footprint.

Farmer’s Table from ShackletonThomas, a great starter table for a couple just starting out! Detail of table and pin detail below.

Super fun custom dining table with steel base from Dorset Custom Furniture. You’re allowed to think outside the box!

Michael Pollan once said, “The shared meal elevates eating from a mechanical process of fueling the body to a ritual of family and community.” From biology to “an act of culture.” As Vermont’s finest furniture makers, we take our craft seriously. It’s an incredible privilege to work with our clients to create dining tables (and dining spaces) that will be the center of family life and celebration for many generations.


2 thoughts on “Handcrafted Dining Tables: Tips, Suggestions, and a Style Sampler

  1. JoAnn Snatchko

    Do you ship to Pennsylvania ? Your website has such beautiful tables. My dream table is a mid century rectangle with the splayed legs. I do not have a formal dining room so I’m trying to create an interesting dining area including a straight banquette with storage. Can’t seem to find the rite look. I like the length to b about 56″ and width a thin 36″. Can u help?


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