Tables have been a furniture staple in homes for thousands of years. While tables now come in a variety of designs, materials, and colors, their basic shape has stayed the same with a top and four legs.
Tables have been used since ancient civilizations came about, and for many uses. Below are many varying types of tables that can be seen in homes and other places all over the world.
Tables in the Living Room
A coffee table is a low table usually placed in the center of the living room near the middle of the couches. Décor may be placed on this table, but there is usually also room for drinks and meals for guests to use as a miniature version of the dining table.
The coffee table in this picture is round with a white tabletop and three wooden legs. A beautiful white vase with green flowers decorates the top of the table. A cell phone, book, reading glasses, mug and saucer with snacks are also placed on the table.
A coffee table can be used as a piece of décor, a place to show decorations, and an extra surface to place various items. This coffee table functions for all of these uses.
A side table usually goes next to a couch. It might be placed between couches or on one end. A side table is usually a smaller table. Various items can be placed on it, based on its function.
The side table in the picture has room for a lamp to use when extra light is needed at night, a picture frame for a family photograph, and a vase with flowers and greenery. These items take up most of the space on the dark tabletop.
The side table should also match the rest of the furniture in the living room. While neutral colors dominate the couch, a solid black pillow and pillow with black-and-white stripes match the dark side table.
An end table is very similar to a side table, where it is usually placed on one end of a couch. Sometimes, two of these tables are placed on either side of the couch. End tables are also small and can be used as a functional or decorative piece of furniture.
The round end table makes a great addition to the cream couch in this living room. The table acts as a decorative stand for the white vase with a green plant. There is also space to place small items, such as a cup or phone.
While an end table can be used both as a functional and decorative piece, the owners of this table have chosen to use it as more of a decoration.
A console table is a tall, narrow table, usually placed next to a wall in the living room or a hallway. A console table can have shelves and drawers, or just legs below the tabletop for a clean look and design.
Adding a console table to a hallway is a great way to showcase the hallway in that area, especially by adding décor that matches the rest of the room.
A sofa table is a table that fits right behind a sofa. It is usually no taller than the sofa. It is very similar to a console table, except it fits behind the sofa at the same height.
A sofa table is a great choice for those who have a couch in the middle of the living room, with plenty of space behind for the table.
An ottoman can be used as a table, footstool, or stool. They do not have a back or arms. Many come with a couch to use as a footstool or table and match in color and design.
The first ottoman came from the Ottoman Empire, where low seats were made on a wooden platform with plenty of cushions. The first was a large piece of furniture that went around three walls in a room.
Europeans brought these furniture pieces from the Ottoman Empire in the late 18th century. The term ottoman was first used in English in 1789 by Thomas Jefferson.
Nesting tables are small tables that are made to fit under each other, giving them a nesting look.
Thomas Sheraton was an English cabinetmaker who made the first nesting tables. When it was teatime, a chair and table would be moved from the wall to the middle of the room. These items were placed back toward the wall to make room after tea was served.
As time went on, this small table was used for various purposes. It became more convenient to have several of these tables that can be placed under each other, which led to the creation of nesting tables.
A c-table is a small table that can fit a laptop and other small items on top. It is shaped like a c to be easily moved around and slid next to a chair, couch, or bed to be used as needed.
The top is flat so that a laptop and other items can fit on top. The backside has legs or a single piece that acts as a leg. The bottom is similar to the top and is structured to be easily slid under couches and beds.
This table can also be used as a temporary side table or end table. They can be made of wood, metal, and other hardy materials.
A drink table is a small table just big enough to set drinks on. A drink table usually has a circular top and is tall enough for guests to stand next to.
Drink tables can be seen at receptions of weddings and bars where guests find it comfortable to stand while drinking.
A drum table is a heavy table in a circular shape, with the main support in the middle. These tables were first made in the late 18th century. The top was covered in leather, with drawers and bookshelves just below it.
These were usually made of wood, either in a simple design or with carvings.
A TV stand is a table made specifically to stand a TV on top so that viewers can comfortably watch television from a couch in the living room. It is also called an entertainment center due to the electronics that can also be placed on or in the stand.
This modern TV stand is long enough for the flat screen and lamp to be placed on the top of the table. There is plenty of space on the right side of the TV for another lamp or decorative item.
A DVD player or video game console can be placed in the area just below the television. The white drawers under the stand can be a place to store DVDs, video games, and other electronics to be used with the TV.
Tables in the Dining Room and Kitchen
The dining table is a table specifically used to dine on. Various meals can be served and eaten here. It is also a place used by many families to discuss events of the day.
Guests and family members can enjoy eating a meal together and catching up around the dining room table, since this piece of furniture can be large enough to fit a family, but still small enough to talk to everyone.
This dining table is set up and ready for family and friends to eat at. There is also space in the middle to decorate with a bouquet of flowers and candles.
A kitchen table is a table in the kitchen, used for eating on or preparing food on. Kitchens have been mainly used for cooking and preparing food for centuries.
In modern times, the dining room is right next to, or in the same area as the kitchen. Some homes have one or two kitchen tables and use one for eating at and the other to prepare the food on.
A pub table is a small table made to fit into a pub. A pub table is similar to a drink table in that it was a tall table, but with bar stools so that guests could comfortably sit while drinking and visiting with friends.
These tables are usually small and self-standing. They can fit around two to four people around it.
Toddler Feeding Table
A toddler feeding table is a table designed for a baby to eat at. The chair is small enough to fit a small child comfortable on. A plastic tray can be attached to the front where the child can eat their meals and set their food on.
This piece of furniture is also known as a high chair, since the chair is usually built higher than traditional chairs.
These toddler chairs can be wooden or plastic. The one in the photo is plastic with a colorful backing on the chair that is soft so the toddler can lean back and sit comfortably while eating their food.
A folding table is a table that can be folded to store away when not being used. These tables are usually built for temporary use. They are usually round, square, or rectangular to fit individual needs and uses.
Folding tables are great to use as extra tables when guests are visiting. They also make great gaming tables for a fun night with friends. Families can eat comfortably in front of the television with a folding tray table.
The folding table in the photograph is being used by a family while out camping. Food and drink items can be kept here until the table is folded and stored.
Tables in the Bedroom
Bedside Table / Nightstand
A bedside table, also known as a nightstand, is a small table placed next to a bed. There is room to place items on top, as well as one or more drawers to store more items in.
A nightstand was originally used as a place to store a chamber pot. They were small cabinets with a drawer on top and a door that revealed storage for the chamber pot. These cabinets were also called commodes.
Pressboard and wood were common materials that were used to make these nightstands.
A bedside table can still be made of wood, as well as metal and refurbished materials. They can be fitted with drawers, shelves, or both.
Bedside cabinets are small cabinets that can fit next to a bed. Two can be placed on either side of the bed as well.
These cabinets have drawers to store clothes and other items used in the bedroom. There is also space on top to place a lamp, décor, and other items within easy reach of the bed.
Tables in the Workroom
A computer table is a table specifically made to use with a computer. Many have special compartments and shelves that can fit the keyboard, mouse, computer tower, screen, and other items to be used with the computer.
Some are also simpler made and in the basic shape of a regular table, like the one pictured. The computer is placed in the middle of the desk with the keyboard in front and the mouse off to the side.
A large desk lamp sits on the left to be used at night. Drawers are placed next to the windows, where various files and other paperwork can be kept.
A writing desk is a desk used to write letters, notes, and other documents by hand. A top was made to close over the desk to keep work private. This also made the area by the desk and the room look neat.
The writing area would fold down or slide out to keep the area small and compact. Small drawers, known as pigeon holes, were located around the desk to hold papers, pencils, ink, envelopes, and other materials used for writing.
These desks were made with various materials, sizes, and designs over the years. While some are still available and used, modern writing desks have been replaced by computer desks.
A standing desk is a working desk for people to stand by instead of sitting next to it. These have become a recent trend for workers but standing desks have been around for a long time. Charles Dickens, Ernest Hemingway, and Thomas Jefferson were a few notable historical figures who used standing desks to write on.
They have been used with varying materials and designs. Some standing desks are built with a specific function, such as for architectural drafting or as a telephone desk. Marie Antoinette had a standing desk made for her in 1778 that she could use while pregnant.
The standing desk in the picture is in a home office for someone who wants to stand while working on their computer.
An executive desk is a large desk in the office of a CEO or other person that is high ranking in a company. These desks can also be found in luxurious home offices and libraries.
An executive desk is similar to a pedestal desk, with a large rectangular surface, space to sit in the middle and each leg containing drawers for storage.
A conference table is a large table with plenty of chairs to allow certain people to talk about current business concerns in a group while at work. These types of tables have differed in size, shape, and material over the years.
The one pictured is a foldable table with several chairs all around it. It is in a long, rectangular shape so that many people can sit around it and discuss the events of the day. While the people are dressed in business attire, the chairs and table are made and styled in a more casual way.
A work table, or work bench, is a table where manual work happens. These tables can be basic or complex. A basic workbench can be made of wood or other hard material.
They are usually rectangular with four legs. Some have shelves in the back or a special wall to hang tools on.
A pool table is a table specifically built and used to play pool. Billiards is the generic term for this and similar games. Billiards were first introduced in the 15 century and are still popular today.
The table is high enough so that the players can comfortably aim for a ball with the stick. Most are made in a rectangular shape with holes on each corner and one located at the center of each long side.
They are covered with billiard cloth, which is a wool and nylon blend known as baize or woven wool. The one shown in the picture is a typical pool table in modern times.
The ping-pong table was used to play the sport of ping-pong, or table tennis. This game was invented in the early 20th century in England. It was originally called ping-pong but changed to table tennis when the old Ping Pong Association from 1902 restarted.
The table is rectangular and made simple in design and structure. A net is located in the middle to distinguish one side from the other.
The table can be green or blue, as shown in the photograph. They are usually portable with wheels, as seen in the picture.
A foosball table is a table made to play foosball, which is also called table football or table soccer. Patents for table games close to foosball came out in the 1890s in Europe, although the game did not come out until 1921.
Harold Thornton of the United Kingdom invented the game since association football was popular in Europe and Spain. This type of football was one that people could play in the comfort of their home.
It did not arrive in the United States until the 1950s, where it is still regularly played today.
A poker table is a table used to play card games. The table was made around 1700 when card games became very popular in Europe. Most of these tables were built to use in homes.
Modern poker tables are types of card tables covered with a type of speed cloth or felt so that cards slide easily over the surface. Tables can be oval, octagonal, or round. The edge is usually padded so players can comfortably rest their arms.
The poker table in the photograph is oval with a straight side for the dealer. Red felt covers the table to slide the cards and chips across with no problems.
A baccarat table is a table where the card game baccarat is played. There is some proof that the game was invented in the 19th century.
The table has felt on it like other casino tables to easily distribute cards and chips. The table also has lines so that the banker and player know where to place their items while playing.
Board games have been played since ancient times. Chess first appeared in India around the 6th century. As the game evolved, a table was made to play chess on.
Tables vary in material and design. Some chess tables come with drawers that can fit the pieces when not used.
Other tables, such as the ones pictured, are made simpler with the boards painted on the tables. Some are very detailed and made of cedar, mahogany, or rosewood with engravings.
Chess tables are a popular site at parks and in coffeehouses. They can be used to play chess, checkers, and similar games.
A casino table is a type of table where casino games are played. These games include baccarat, blackjack, roulette, and craps.
A casino table is usually laid over with a special felt to help cards and chips slide easily across to players. Most have marks to help players know where to place their cards and chips. The dealer stands on one side, while players sit and play on the other side.
The photograph shows an example of a casino table in a casino filled with people.
Air Hockey Table
An air hockey table is a table made to play air hockey. The game was invented by a group of employees from Brunswick Billiards from 1969 to 1972. The game took off in popularity right away.
The table is made to produce a continuous amount of air to keep the surface frictionless so that the pucks and striker can move smoothly across the surface.
These tables can still be seen and played on at arcades and gaming centers.
Children’s Play Table
A children’s play table is a small table made for children to do activities on. These are smaller than typical tables, so that small children can stand or sit around the table comfortably.
These tables are made in various materials, colors, and designs. The one in the photograph is made of wood with the tabletop and legs painted in different colors. Each leg is painted to look like the end half of a wooden pencil, complete with metal and eraser.
Children can play with toys at their table, draw, write, or do crafts, like these children in the picture.
Tables in the Bathroom
A bathroom table is usually a small table placed in the bathroom. This table serves a variety of purposes, such as being a place to keep extra items in a bathroom, such as towels, soaps, and other toiletries.
These small tables can be made of wood, plastic, or metal. They can be styled in a basic way or with some designs.
Diaper Changing Table
A diaper changing table is a table made to change diapers on a baby. Many new parents have these in their homes to make changing their new baby’s diapers easy.
Changing tables are usually made of plastic or wood. The flat surface on top usually has raised sides to keep the child from rolling or falling off. It is usually high enough so that parents can comfortably change their baby while standing.
These tables usually have shelves and drawers to keep diapers, clothes, and other items handy.
Many public restrooms have these available for parents to easily change their babies while on the go.
Table in the Foyer
A foyer table is a table located in the foyer, an entrance hall usually located in a theater, concert hall, opera house, and other public buildings used for fine arts and entertainment purposes. An office and large home can also have a foyer.
The foyer table is usually an elegant table located against a wall or in the center of the room. It reflects the design and décor in the rest of the room.
The home foyer in the photograph has a moderately-sized table with beautiful vases and dried plants. The dark wood on the table reflects the wood on the grandfather clock and beautiful staircase.
A patio is an outdoor area that is usually paved and used for recreation or dining. It is right next to a home and is considered an addition to the yard around the home. It comes from a Spanish term meaning “yard” or “courtyard”.
A patio table is a table made to withstand outside elements due to its location. They can be made of various materials, such as plastic and teak wood. Many restaurants with outdoor space use patio tables to accommodate guests who want to dine outside.
Some are plain and made in a generic way, while others are more elegant. The one in the photograph comes with matching chairs that can be folded when not in use.
A picnic table is a table with benches used for outdoor dining. The A-frame rectangular table has been popular in the United States since the early 20th century.
A table that was very similar was talked about in 1903 and compared to the 18th-century sawbuck table. A popular modern design is the “Lassen table”, which was first used in 1926.
During the Victorian era, picnics became popular, which led to the first modern picnic table being patented in 1903. Its basic design can still be seen in many picnic tables today.
Wooden tables have been around for many years and wood is still a popular material for tables. The ancient peoples of Egypt and Mesopotamia were the first to make tables out of wood. This material was a popular choice for tables in ancient Green and Rome, since timber could be taken from nearby European forests.
Wooden tables could be carved with intricate details or kept in their natural state. The wooden table in the photograph is a basic table with a rectangular top, four legs, and supports just under the top.
A metal table has all or some of its parts made of metal. Stainless steel, iron, aluminum, and Carbon steel are all metals used to make furniture.
A table made of cast iron is best suited for outdoor use, since it is heavy and hardy enough for using outside. Stainless steel is mainly used for body pieces, hinges, and other supports for a table.
Metal furniture has been gaining popularity in the United States since the 1920s. Most modern metal tables are made from aluminum or steel. The table in the picture is made completely of metal to prepare food in a kitchen.
A plastic table is commonly seen outside as part of a patio furniture set with chairs. Plastic is a synthetic material used to make inexpensive pieces of furniture and other items. It is durable enough to withstand changes in temperature outside, making it an ideal material to use to make tables.
Natural plastics have been used since Mesoamericans found natural rubber in 1600 BC. The first man-made plastic was invented in 1855 by Alexander Parkes. Other forms of plastic have been made over the years.
Marble is a material that has been used to make furniture for thousands of years. The ancient Greeks used marble to make some of the Parthenon and other buildings. It was used to make flooring, sculptures, and wall facades.
Marble symbolized wealth during the Renaissance and Victorian age. Marble was difficult and expensive to acquire, so was only reserved for the wealthy. Thanks to technology, marble is becoming more common in many homes.
One place marble can be seen now is on tabletops. The table in the photograph has a beautiful slab of white marble with gray streaks running through it.
Glass has been made to create decorative and functional items since the Mesopotamians made it in 3,600 BC. Many civilizations used glass to make glass bowls, cups, vases, windows, and furniture.
Glass was not mass-produced until 1887 in Castleford, Yorkshire by the Ashley firm. Machines were used to make 200 bottles per hour. In the 1900s, other methods were developed to make float glass, allowing very flat surfaces on glass, such as seen on this beautiful table.
Concrete is made of coarse and fine material formed together with a cement paste that will harden over time. It has been a popular building material for many years. Mayans made their structures with a form of cement, as did the Ancient Egyptians and Romans.
Portland cement is a common kind for general use. It is made of mortar, concrete, and many plasters. It was patented in 1824 by Joseph Aspdin, a British masonry worker.
The table and chairs in the photograph is made of a type of cement. It will last for many years since cement is durable.
Square or Rectangle
Common shapes of tabletops include squares and rectangles. A square table will have four legs at each corner, or one in the middle that widens at the base to support it. Rectangle tables generally have four legs at each corner, with or without middle supports.
Some are painted or carved with designs and figures, while others are plain. The one in the photograph is a wooden table painted over with lacquer to make it shine and the finish to last.
Round tables are still a common type of table seen in homes, restaurants, and other places. They can have four legs, or one main leg that widens at the center.
This antique wooden table has beautiful carvings on the sides of the top and legs. It has one stand in the middle with three short legs at the bottom.
Oval tables can be seen in dining rooms and restaurants. Some of these have an island in the middle, that can be taken out or put in, counting on how many people are going to be eating at the table.
This one is made of wood with matching chairs and cushions.
A polygon is any two-dimension shape made by straight lines. This can be a square, rectangle, hexagon, and so on. This polygon table has a top that is in the shape of an octagon.
A modern table can have straight lines and is more about function than form. This is a broad term, since modern tables come in many designs.
The one in the picture is a coffee table in a basic structure, with a wooden top and metal legs that connect in the middle.
A farmhouse table is a table done in the farmhouse style. Farmhouse style uses white and neutral colors that reflect back on times when farming was the common lifestyle of the day. Mixing up old with new is a great way to reflect farmhouse design with furniture.
The wooden table in the picture is a reflection of a common material used during farming days. The dark tabletop and bench seats contrast sharply with the cream colored legs and supports at the bottom.
An industrial table has an urban look to it, and is usually made with wood, metal, and other materials. There is a basic style, structure, and function to the table.
This industrial table is made of wood with metal reinforcements. Metal wheels are used in place of legs.
Coastal style reflects what is seen just off the coast, such as the ocean and weathered wood. Light blue, white, and wood furniture is a typical coastal look. The white table with wooden legs reflects this style.
Shabby Chic is a type of interior design that uses furnishings and furniture that are antiques or have an antique look to them, mixed with cottage-style décor.
Furniture is heavily painted to show layers over time. New furniture can have this look with certain painting methods to look older.
New furniture can be painted. Once the paint is dry, it can be rubbed and sanded down to show wood or base coats, also called “distressing” the finish.
The round, wooden table looks to be painted in this fashion to achieve an “older” look.
A Scandinavian table is one with very clean lines. It is neat in form and function, with no frills. This simple rectangular table with thin, steel legs fits with the Scandinavian style of furniture.
Vintage is a design term that means another time period that is important to the designer or owner. Many vintage items have gained value over time. These items were made in a style that was popular for their day.
Most furniture items that are considered vintage can be twenty years or older. Vintage is a term that has been argued over due to its vague definition.
The table in the photograph is considered a vintage item due to its age and style. While the carvings, figures, and design are beautiful and look to have taken much time to create, this style is no longer popular or widely seen in homes.