5 Reasons the Trestle Table is the Perfect Dining Table

From the Middle Ages to modern times, trestle tables have been serving up elegance, durability and timelessness.

Ironwood Dining Room
The average family no longer gathers in a formal dining room to eat at the dining table. These regal spaces, once considered a symbol of wealth and privilege where only the finest china could be displayed, don’t have the same appeal they once did. Instead, dining tables of today need to offer up a hefty serving of benefits along with stylishness as they are now front and center, used as a place to work, do homework or even put together a craft.

For this reason, the surface needs spaciousness, flexibility and solid construction, which is exactly what the trestle table was designed to provide. With its myriad of benefits, this may be the perfect table you never knew you were looking for!

Let us give you five reasons why.

1) Trestle tables have (a long) history

Trestle tables are believed to be the oldest type of American dining table and likely the oldest table in the world. They were originally constructed with a long narrow plank of wood atop a frame of several trestles or horizontal beams which were pegged and braced to the table top. With legs that were designed to be easily dismantled, these tables were ideal for movement onto wagons and ships as the world was expanding as well as used for the military while out in the field.

During medieval times, trestle tables became a fixture in monastery refectories. In these rooms where group congregating would happen, the long trestle tables came to be known as refectory tables. In the later middle ages, castles and estates used them for banquets and feasts.

Monastery table

Photo by Phillip Glickman on Unsplash

Plain and utilitarian or ornate and hand carved, these tables were and continue to be made of solid wood. Indeed built to last for generations upon generations.

2) Trestle tables are legless

If you’ve ever had to sit at a table while straddling a table leg or had the misfortune of banging a knee or two while getting up or sitting down, you’ll understand why not having legs at the corners is much more comfortable. Without this hindrance, trestle tables made sense for the large gatherings of the Middle Ages as much as they do for ones we have today.

Wildwood Trestle Table

Instead of legs, the base of the trestle table consists of two or three trestle supports that are spaced evenly and usually connected by a beam that runs horizontally underneath the length of the tabletop. This allows for the option to seat more people with greater legroom and comfort. Trestle tables also allow for the use of benches on one or both sides, and because they can be pushed fully under the table, provide both more flexibility and more seating.

3) Trestle tables have stability and flexibility

Because the weight of a trestle table is supported by a wider area with its base, they are less likely to tip or sag in the middle. The trestle supports and the horizontal beam of the base are all one piece, adding that much more sturdiness to an already strong table.

Trestle Table with Center Butterfly Leaf

This also means that table extensions are easy to add. Often, trestle tables are built with extensions tucked inside. The base of the table stays intact with just the table top sliding apart on either ball bearings or metal gear slides. The extensions are then added to the middle or sides of the table with ease while making the table just as sturdy as it was without them and adding more surface area and space for guests!

4) Trestle tables are spacious

Even without extensions, trestle tables are still able to fit more people than a standard leg table. This makes them ideal if you do a lot of hosting or gatherings, assuring your guests will be comfortable no matter where they sit. They also work really well in smaller areas. While the table may take up a good portion of the space, you will be able to maximize the number of people that can be seated because chairs don’t need to be placed around legs. Fun fact - table legs gobble up anywhere between 6-10 inches of usable table space!

As an added benefit, their spaciousness also makes them great alternatives for use as a buffet or craft table.

5) Trestle tables go well with every style

Given their long history, trestle tables have a timeless design matching well with whatever style your home currently displays. From mission and Arts and Crafts to contemporary styles of today and everything in between.

The designs of the stretcher and trestles are what define the look of the table. Therefore, this is what you’ll want to focus on when trying to match the table to your current style of decor. Don’t be afraid to mix and match chairs with and without cushions as well as benches.

When looking to purchase a trestle table, keep the following considerations in mind:

  • How much space are you working with - height, width, length and floor space?
  • What type of wood are you interested in?
  • Do you want rectangle or oval?
  • Will the table be used frequently or sporadically?
  • How many people will be using the table on an average day? On a special occasion?
  • What is your budget?

Let us help you answer these questions and find the right table that will meet your needs for generations to come.

Auburn Bay Trestle Table
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