The Most Versatile Dining Table

paloma contreras saarinen tulip table

{My Breakfast Room | Photography by Brittany Ambridge for my feature in the Winter 2014 Issue of Domino}

As a designer, I have found so much fulfillment in how different various client projects are from one another. Executing a variety of styles allows me to spread my creative wings. While my clients’ homes vary in aesthetic from one to the next, they are all infused with my own style and feature some of the same elements that I find to be fundamental. I try not to use the same pieces all of the time, but there are a handful of things that I have used multiple times. One of these key pieces is one of my favorite dining table styles in existence. Eero Saarinen’s iconic Tulip Dining Table is an absolute classic in my eyes. It’s clean lines work in just about any environment and it pairs perfectly with a variety of chairs. The original, available through Design Within Reach is available in round or oval options, in a variety of finishes, the most popular being a white base with the option of a marble top, white laminate top, or Rosewood veneer top. There are also plenty of Saarinen-inspired tulip tables out there for a less cost-prohibitive approach.

I have a tulip table in my breakfast room (pictured above) and I love it so much. It is so sculptural and adds a perfect touch of modern style to the space. I paired mine with Ballard Design’s Dayna Side Chairs and a Choros Chandelier from Visual Comfort. I recently removed the layered geometric rug and have plans to reupholster the chairs to change up the look a bit! For a different look, I recently used a laminate top tulip table in my clients’ breakfast room pictured directly below. They have young children, so it was important to use low maintenance materials. We paired the table with white Bertoia side chairs with white vinyl cushions, a striped indoor/outdoor rug, and a custom-designed, upholstered banquette in Perennials fabric.  We added a roman shade in John Robshaw fabric, an Extra Large Hicks Pendant by Thomas O’Brien, and hung my clients’ collection of plates on the wall. I have rounded up some examples of stylish breakfast rooms that illustrate that the tulip table really is the most versatile dining table there is, along with a few of my favorite combinations.

Paloma Contreras Design | Tulip Table | Hicks Pendant | Bertoia Chairs | Custom Banquette

{A Sneak Peek of a Breakfast Room I Recently Designed for a Client | Photography by Max Burkhalter}

tulip table cococozy

{A Classic White Tulip Table Paired with Bistro Chairs | via Cococozy}

tulip table jenni kayne thonet chairs

{A White Saarinen Table with Thonet Armchairs | via Rip + Tan}

tulip table mark sikes

{My friend, Mark Sikes has a tulip table in his kitchen, too. He originally paired it with white director’s chairs which have now been changed out for wicker armchairs.}

tulip table platner chairs lourdes gutierrez

{This chic breakfast room by Lourdes Gutierrez is fabulous! She paired a white tulip table with white Platner chairs and a roman shade with built-in window seat in green Arbre de Matisse, one of my very favorite fabrics. | via Quadrille}


The Most Versatile Dining Table | La Dolce Vita

{Classically Pretty: A Marble-Topped Tulip Table, Jonathan Adler Chippendale Side Chairs, and Visual Comfort’s Choros Chandelier}

The Most Versatile Dining Table | La Dolce Vita

{Young and Modern: A Tulip Table paired with Bertoia Side Chairs, Ikat Pillows for Comfort and a Dose of Color, and Everyone’s Favorite Extra Large Hicks Pendant}


The Most Versatile Dining Table | La Dolce Vita

{Elegant + Traditional: If the tulip table is the most versatile dining table, the Louis XVI style dining chair wins the prize for most versatile chair, but that is for another post! I love the high contrast of the white table, dark upholstery of the classic Louis XVI side chairs, and antiqued brass Mykonos Chandelier. The look is effortless and timeless.}

The Most Versatile Dining Table | La Dolce Vita

{Finally, if you’re aiming for a Parisian bistro-inspired look or want something that works in a coastal-style environment, you can’t go wrong with a tulip table, Serena & Lily bistro side chairs, and the classic, yet relaxed Square Tube Hanging Shade by Visual Comfort.}


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  1. Love this! I actually have almost the identical set up with the Dix pendant and Bertoia chairs myself! I always say to my husband that our Saarinen table is my “what I’d grab in a fire” item but it’s so heavy that he’d have to help me, therefore making it his mandatory thing he’d grab in a fire, haha!

  2. This is such a classic table that as you have shown can dressed up or down and used in so many ways! Love it!

    The Arts by Karena
    Featuring Sharon Santoni

  3. I went from your post to one on Habitually Chic featuring Peter Som’s apartment. The dining room had a tulip table and Louis XVI chairs and looked very classy indeed.