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Refectory Tables

Antique Refectory Tables

Dear Diva Readers,

When clients come on tour, they are sourcing everything under the sun including furniture, accessories, lighting, and artwork. However some pieces seem to constantly be in demand, and tables are one of those things. Whether clients are looking for original, modified, or repurposed tables, they just can’t get enough of them! With homes being larger and open concepts being the new normal in architecture, antique refectory tables are ideal for using in dining rooms, open kitchens, and even as consoles or center tables in grand entryways.

Antique Refectory Tables

Antique Refectory Tables

A refectory table is a very long table originally used for dining in European monasteries. Early refectory tables can date back to the Medieval period and often times there would be numerous refectory tables in one dining hall of a monastery where the monks would eat and listen to sacred texts being read aloud.

Antique Refectory Tables

Antique Refectory Tables

Around the first part of the 16th century, these large tables started appearing in castles and large estate homes of the nobility and were used for feasts. Made of solid wood— usually oak or walnut– and crafted by hand, refectory tables were built to be used. It is thought that secular use of refectory tables began in and around Italy, and throughout the 16th century this trend of using them in private homes spread throughout Europe.

Antique Refectory Tables

With the wide geographical popularity of refectory tables, their styles range from ornate to rustic. Ornamental carvings and graceful iron stretchers embellish some tables, signifying the skill of their craftsmen and the status of their owners. More simple versions may have been used in country farm houses. Regardless of the style you prefer, these hefty tables can accommodate a crowd.

Antique Refectory Tables

Today, refectory tables are in high demand due to their generous proportions, quality construction, and lovely patina. From Italy to France to England to Belgium, we are constantly sourcing these fabulous pieces for clients all over. If you would like information on taking an Antiques Diva Buying Tour email us at

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