And everything you need to know about them.
The number of table styles in existence is infinite, but who among us doesn’t need a reminder to branch out from our favorites. If you ask us, a frequently used, front-and-center piece like a dining table needs to be timeless (not to be confused with forgettable)—especially for ones that multitask between meals and homework. If longevity is the goal, ditch the trends and consider a classic look that will stand the test of time. From a trestle-style profile, which dates back to the Middle Ages, to the iconic midcentury Tulip pedestal, these popular table styles are deemed timeless because they’ve already transcended decades or even centuries. Here are the eight everlasting designs to refresh your mood boards—and your next project.
Named for the French word for half-moon, demilune tables are the crescent-shaped answer to so many spatial problems. They’re ideal for tight entries, landings, and hallways because the straight edge of the semicircular top sits flush against the wall while the rounded side makes it easy to brush past. Plus, the unexpected silhouette always feels elegant.
Since the late 16th century, the drop-leaf table has been saving space in homes everywhere by dropping down to a smaller size when not in use. It features a fixed section in the center and hinged sections—otherwise known as leaves—on either side that can be folded down (or dropped) when the supportive brackets are moved out of position.
Farmhouse-style tables are, well, what you might find on an actual farm. They’re sturdy, leafless tables made of natural wood, with aprons and turned spindle legs. For a classic rustic vibe, the farmhouse table is the way to go. Vintage finds are charming so long as you’re cool with the irregular surface, which isn’t ideal for art projects or homework sessions, or consider a custom piece if you’re seeking country charm and a high-functioning surface.
If you like the idea of a table that looks like the tree from which it came, a live edge table is what you’re seeking. The term refers to the raw, natural border that’s maintained on the wood slab, so your dining surface—or coffee table exudes a refine ruggedness that’s hard to find elsewhere. Sometimes, even the bark is included for extra texture.
A group of tables rather than a singular piece, nesting tables are typically a set of the same exact table in two or three different sizes. They are cleverly designed to fit within each other like a babushka doll, so you can stagger them for amble surface space or tuck them away to save room. They come in a variety of styles, so you can get creative.
French designer Jean-Michel Frank first invented the modernist Parsons table with his students while teaching at Parsons Paris in the 1930s. Intended to be the most basic of all tables, it has a rectangular shape and four square legs that are flush with and of equal thickness to the top. The style works flawlessly in contemporary homes and is a perfect crisp note in more traditional ones.
Finnish-American designer Eero Saarinen is responsible for the Tulip table, which debuted in 1956 at Knoll, though pedestal tables existed long before in more ornate and traditional iterations. This round, mid-century style with a single base was Saarinen’s attempt to resolve the “ugly, confusing, unrestful world” beneath tables (and makes it conveniently easy to slide in and out of banquettes). Its surface is often made of laminate or marble, making it a dining nook favorite.
The earliest evidence of a trestle table dates back to the Middle Ages. Over the centuries, it evolved to what it is today: two or three trestle supports that are connected by a stretcher and topped with a board-like surface. They’ve been prominent in Americana style since the very beginning and thus look beautiful among modern traditional decor.