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What’s the best shape for a dining-room table?

There is never a single answer to questions of design, but put creative, expert minds together and chances are you'll solve your style conundrums or find the guidance you've been looking for to help you decorate a space. With that in mind, we've put together a panel of designers and a design blogger to share their secrets, straightforward principles and simple tips.

The latest instalment in this ongoing series tables a question about, well, tables. Whether you are sitting at a rectangle or a circle can make a big difference at a dinner party, so we asked the panel: "What's the best shape for a dining-room table?"

"I like large, oval tables. I had a huge Florence Knoll table that could fit 12 people. If it was just two of us, we could sit at the end really close to each other, and if it was four of us, we could sit at the end and still be intimate. I like the flexibility there."

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Robin Lewis

Interior designer at Elephants Limited and a host of Reno vs. Relocate

Style: "Purist, solutions-based design"

"I cast a vote for round because it's the most democratic. There's no head of a table at a round table. Everybody is equal and no one is further than the guy across from you. I've got a classic Knoll Saarinen tulip table with a white base and walnut top."

Christopher Jones

Founder of

Style: "Modern Maximalist"

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"For me, it comes back to what works with your room and your lifestyle. If you regularly have 16 people over for dinner and you need that flexibility, then you do what you have to do. My personal preference is for oval or round. It makes for easy conversation, regardless of who you end up beside at a dinner party."

Sara Parisotto

Designer and co-owner of Commute Home

Style: "A bit of a foot in the past with sights on the future"

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About the Author

Dave McGinn writes about fitness trends for the Life section and also reports for Globe Arts. Prior to joining the Globe, he was a freelance journalist, covering topics from trying to eat Michael Phelps' diet to why the Joker is the best villain in comics history. He's working on improving his 10k time. More


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