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Why We Still Love Tulip Tables—and You Should, Too

MARCH 8, 2018
Photo credit: Design by Decorist Elite Designer Jessica McCarthy

Designed in 1957 by Eero Saarinen in an attempt to eliminate "the slum of legs" underneath tables and chairs, the Tulip table is the little black dress of the home. It's sexy, classic, and goes with everything. Yes, it is usually white, but the Tulip table has been made in black as well. Today, Knoll, its original manufacturer, produces the Tulip table with an option of a white or black base, along with more than a dozen tabletop material options like Calacatta marble, laminate, and walnut. Additionally, there are reproductions, like the one shown above, available at all price points, so it's also accessible.

So what gives the Tulip table its lasting power? A combination of versatility, subtlety, and simplicity. As you'll soon see, the Tulip table integrates beautifully with literally any style of interior, from a preppy East Coast kitchen to a bohemian Spanish dining room to modern-eclectic Los Angeles apartment. With its single curved, tulip-shaped base, it is the epitome of simplicity, as well understated and subtle. It's not the showpiece of a room, but instead a reliable stronghold of chic, that lets other scene-stealing furnishings take the spotlight.

Read on to see why the Tulip table is a must-have for every home.

Photo credit: Ashley Gieseking for Domino

Topped with an aqua beaded chandelier and sprinkled with graphic patterns of blue, this St. Louis kitchen banquette has preppy punch. The Tulip table is a clean, sleek, and solid element that balances out the business of the patterns, color, and texture.


Photo credit: Design by Decorist Elite designer Katie Hodges

Designed by Decorist Elite designer Katie Hodges, this bright kitchen banquette has a modern-eclectic vibe with woven midcentury chairs, global pillows, and modern pottery. The Tulip table, an IKEA reproduction of the original Knoll design, is the perfect size for this petite window nook.


Photo credit: Laure Joliet for Domino, Design by Decorist Celebrity designer 

If you haven't figured it out already, a Tulip table, plus a banquette, and a couple of chairs is a winning equation. We love how a sofa was used here instead of a banquette—it feels more like a casual place to sit and do a little work rather than a designated dining area. Cane chairs, a rattan basket, and a woven pendant light give this space an organic modern feel, and the Tulip table provides just enough shine to give it polish.


Photo credit: Design by Luis Galliussi

In a Spanish home, surrounded by bright, multicolor stripe chairs, a vintage dresser, and a colorblock painting, the Tulip table takes a much more bohemian eclectic style. It truly goes with everything! Here, we see it paired with not two but six chairs—and thanks to its simple base—we're not overwhelmed by a "slum of legs."



Photo credit: Design by Decorist Elite designer Noz Nozawa

This banquette designed by Decorist Elite designer Noz Nozawa is bold, modern, and glamour. Instead of rustic elements like a sisal carpet, the Tulip table faces off against Lucite side chairs and ladylike tufting. It's the perfect foil, for, well, anything.


Photo credit: Design by Decorist

Decorist used a walnut-topped Tulip table in the Nashville home of The Bachelorette's Kaitlyn Bristowe. Here it has a modern-eclectic aesthetic along with a metallic cowhide rug, a sheepskin throw, an indigo textile, and a cactus. The white Eames chairs are equally versatile, and the whole sitting area can easily be restyled by swapping in alternate textiles.


Want some help styling a Tulip table of your own? Decorist's designers are ready and waiting. Start a project today!

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