Conference Room Tables for the Boardroom and OfficeBy Ryan Rodgers · January 16, 2019
The 4 Things You Should Know to Choose the Best Conference Room Table
Choosing the Right Conference Table
When it comes to conference room tables, there are several key factors to consider: the size of the space, the seating you need, the shape of your table, and what your table is made of. Every conference room, board room, meeting space, and executive office is a little different, so finding the right table to suit your needs can be a challenge.
Size of the Space
For the size of your space, it’s important to consider the usable floor space rather than just the room dimensions. Your conference room may be 18’ by 12’, but if there’s a counter or other table along the back wall for refreshments during long meetings, your usable floor space is much smaller. Additionally, consider what types of meetings you’ll be having in the given space, easels with presentations require more area than a wall-mounted monitor or TV for slideshows. Give your presenters space to work with in the room.
If your boardroom table will be in a large meeting area, be sure to allow enough room for people to pull their chairs out and sit down comfortably. Generally allow 36” between your table edge and the nearest piece of furniture or wall to accommodate chairs for your meetings. The chart below is a good guideline on how large of a table you can fit in a given space. While you don’t have to fill the entire space with your conference table, going significantly smaller may make the table seem smaller than it actually is; there’s nothing wrong with this look, but it is something to remain aware of when designing your space.
Seating At Your Conference Table
To determine seating at your conference table consider both everyday and occasional use - how many people are at your regular company meetings? How many are present during client presentations? A table with seating for 30 can feel cold and intimidating to a group of 4, while having to bring in extra chairs can seem unprofessional. If you have a great variance in the amount of attendees for meetings, consider establishing another space for your smaller or larger meetings. This also opens the door to have a more casual, collaborative space for employee meetings while maintaining a polished, professional conference room for clients.
When you’ve determined how many people you’d like to be able to sit at your conference table, it’s time to consider how large the table has to be to accomodate them. Just like with dining chairs and tables, allow 24”-30” for each chair, although you may want to err on the side of more space to allow attendees to keep their notes and papers handy without cluttering up each others’ space. A 10’ table can comfortably seat 8 people (4 on either side with 30” of space each). You can add seats to the ends of tables if your conference table is wider or if you utilize less chairs on the sides.
Shape of Your Conference Table
The importance of shape for your conference table is easily overlooked, but a crucial step in making the most effective use of your boardroom. Round tables can feel inclusive and are conducive to collaborative meetings such as brainstorming sessions. Longer, rectangular tables are best for more presentation or report oriented spaces. Long tables also work well for negotiating or team-on-team discussions. When choosing between a true rectangular shape or a “boat” shape, consider how the room will primarily be used. If you have a lot of presentations or looking through slides, the boat shape may be the best option. By having a curve throughout the table, individual heads are more staggered, so all participants can easily look towards one end of the table without having their vision obscured.
Stylistically, curved shapes typically evoke a more fluid and modern look, while rectangular tables and straight lines can seem more austere, especially if there aren’t embellishments or more free-flowing design elements in the legs of the table. As with any other interior design, it’s important to consider the other elements that you’ll have within the space and fit your styles accordingly. An ultra modern conference table can look very out of place when paired with opulent and traditional chairs.
Conference Table Material
Your material choice will have a big impact on the look and feel of your space as well. Glass and metal materials give a modern or industrial feel. Glass in particular can make conference tables seem smaller or more fluid if more emphasis on the room is desired, such as scenic views from the window. To make the conference table a focal point of the room, we always recommend a solid wood top (though we may be biased). When selecting a wood species, there are a lot of things to consider, to help you choose the best option for you, we recommend checking out our guide to selecting your hardwood species.
A growing trend in design inside and out of the office is live edge furniture. Live edge conference tables don't just draw attendees' attention, it demands it. Every piece of live edge furniture is unique and impactful. While perhaps a bit too contemporary for certain spaces, slabs are an awe-inspiring addition to any conference or boardroom. All live-edge conference tables we offer are custom built to order. If you or your office are interested in one, please contact us for pricing and design information.
When it comes to a solid wood conference table, your wood species and finish matter, not just for style, but also for practical considerations. Different wood species have different levels of hardness and therefor can stand up to differing levels of abuse. If your conference table isn’t going to see a lot of heavy use, you may be able to go with a softer species of wood, but if there will be extensive writing and frequent meetings, you should consider a harder species of hardwood to stand the test of time. Check our real wood hardness guide for more information on hardwood species.
The finish applied to your hardwood conference table also drastically affects its durability and appearance. Oil finishes such as tongue oil and danish wood oil polymerize in the outer pores of the wood. Oil finishes are what many older pieces of furniture are made with and will often lend a slightly yellow tone to the piece. At Countryside, we use a clear Catalyzed Conversion varnish that gives a clean, crisp finish to our pieces that accentuates the stain or natural color of the wood. For our conference tables and restaurant tables though, we use a commercial grade varnish that is significantly more durable. With our commercial grade finish, your table can stand up to significantly more abuse from writing and regular use.
There are a myriad of options when choosing a conference table. We hope that this article has been of some help to you in your selection. You can browse our selection of conference tables on our website. We also offer customization on most of our pieces and B2B rates. Contact us for details.