Cir­cu­lar is­sues

Weekend Herald - Canvas - - CONTENTS - Tracey Strange

Most sep­a­rate din­ing rooms are rec­tan­gu­lar, mak­ing per­fect sense of a rec­tan­gu­lar ta­ble. In­creas­ingly, how­ever, the ar­eas in which peo­ple eat are at­tached to the kitchen. These larger spa­ces mean ev­ery­one, in­clud­ing the cook, can be part of the ac­tion, and most suit rec­tan­gu­lar ta­bles. But there are many rea­sons for con­sid­er­ing a round one.

First, round ta­bles don’t have cor­ners. This means they are eas­ier to get around, and there’s less chance fam­ily or guests will bump or crowd each other when try­ing to sit down to din­ner. This may not be so much of an is­sue in a large area but it cer­tainly is when space is tight. Es­sen­tially, round ta­bles make small din­ing spa­ces work much harder. They save space and peo­ple feel less crowded.

Sec­ond, round ta­bles are ar­guably more so­cia­ble. Rec­tan­gu­lar ta­bles sit peo­ple in rows, which can limit in­ter­ac­tion. You are more likely to speak to the per­son sit­ting next to or op­po­site you than you are some­one at the op­po­site end of the ta­ble. For dif­fer­ent rea­sons, if they are too big, round din­ing ta­bles share a sim­i­lar prob­lem but, gen­er­ally, a round ta­ble is more so­cial. Ev­ery­one faces each other. It can be eas­ier, too, to reach for a plat­ter of food, or at least catch the eye of some­one to pass it to you.

Third, round ta­bles of­ten come on pedestal legs. One leg, rather than four or six, means a small footprint and more leg room for din­ers. A cu­ri­ous as­pect of round ta­bles is that also they tend to vis­ually draw sur­round­ing el­e­ments to­wards them. They can make things look ti­dier, or more har­mo­nious.

Fourth, round ta­bles can be safer if you have a house­hold with chil­dren or adults who are a lit­tle prone to clum­si­ness. No one feels happy af­ter hav­ing bumped a hip into the cor­ner of a ta­ble.

Round ta­bles are space-savers and ar­guably more con­ducive to en­ter­tain­ing. They can be tucked into a cor­ner with­out mak­ing a room feel cramped and they are eas­ier to get around. But they aren’t good in a tra­di­tional rec­tan­gu­lar din­ing room, if you have a large fam­ily or if you reg­u­larly en­ter­tain groups of eight or more. The best way of dis­cern­ing if round is a good shape for your room is to first make a tem­plate with pa­per, fac­tor­ing in room for chairs.

Round din­ing ta­bles can be a per­fect fit for cot­tages, beach houses and apart­ments. Louis Poulsen PH5 mini pen­dant from De­sign Den­mark, de­sign­den­mark.co.nz.

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