What Your Kitchen Table Says About You

There's a story behind every home's table. Well, on top of every table that is.

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Image of vintage kitchen.
Shutterstock / Irina Palei

A family heirloom or a garage sale find, shiny and new or missing a leg—kitchen tables are as unique as their owners. Each one, and the things that top it, is the perfect descriptor of you and your family. So, what does your kitchen table say about you?

Does your kitchen need a facelift? Try these expert-recommended organizational tips.

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Messy office desk
Shutterstock / Leszek Czerwonka

If your kitchen table is invisible due to it being a catchall for everything no one wants to put away…

You’re a dreamer. You dream of the day when you can not only find those matching placemats you bought at one time, but actually use them. You fantasize about the day when you’ll have time to declutter the way some people dream about the day they’ll visit the Eiffel Tower. You may also be a yeller, as in, “GET YOUR STUFF OFF THE TABLE OR IT WILL DISAPPEAR BY MORNING.”

Psst! There’s a reason why you should be buying fresh flowers at the grocery store.

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Still life images of a busy entrepreneur's desk in their home office space, with technology and paperwork cluttering the table space

Tell me more.

But, mostly a dreamer. You have big plans for the future, and they are outlined on at least six different Pinterest boards. You want to start your own business, and you’d be great at it too, if only you had a table from which to work from. You know that buried underneath those layers of month-old mail, half-completed puzzles, impulse Target purchases and a sleeping cat lives a space for you to make things happen. Big things. Shark Tank-esque things. You’ll get there.

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Large green dining room with leather chairs and large windows.
Shutterstock / Artazum

If your kitchen table is oversized, pristine, surrounded by tufted chairs and looks like it could be on the cover of Architectural Digest

You like being fancy. If your name is Nancy, the nickname practically writes itself. You own at least three fondue pots, your teacups are made out of bone china and you have multiple sets of towels that no one has ever breathed on because they’re solely for display purposes. Some have tassels.

These kitchen trends are sadly on their way out.

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Kitchen interior with a wooden floor, black marble countertops and black cupboards with built in appliances.
Shutterstock / ImageFlow

Tell me more.

Your obsession started when the Bedazzler was invented and you’ve only known a blinged-out life since then. You have a room in your house dedicated entirely to gift-wrapping and the door is password protected because god forbid anyone try to mess up your ribbon spools. You love a good decorative pine cone and you insist on sit-down dinners every night with the family. Linen napkins and restrained political discussions are involved.

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Two happy kids, two brothers, having healthy breakfast sitting at wooden table in sunny kitchen, eating waffles and watching cartoon on tablet
Tomsickova Tatyana/Shutterstock

If your kitchen table has five plates of completely different food on it starting to cool …

There are tiny humans in your house. They are all bottomless pits but require very specific meals due to their discerning natures, much like seasoned food critics. You, being the dutiful cook you are, entertain these requests partly because you’re a people pleaser and partly because you just don’t want to endure incessant whining about how “carrots are yuck.” You aim to make those in your life happy—young and old alike.

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Chocolate cookies and Gift box on wood table
Shutterstock / AOFTO

Tell me more.

You never forget a birthday, you like to send cards “just because” and you introduce yourself with the words, “Sorry, I’m a hugger!” You’re famous for a specific cookie recipe and often drop them off on the doorstep—in a decorative basket of course—of anyone who’s had a rough day. The reward for your endless thoughtfulness? Just the self-satisfaction that you’re helping make the world a happier place. Well, that and a fridge covered in crayoned love notes.

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Glass topped breakfast table in modern kitchen
Shutterstock / sirtravelalot

If your kitchen table is glass …

You’re a daredevil. You aren’t afraid of fingerprints, watermarks or snakes. You have an unregulated zipline through your backyard. You wear white pants while making homemade marinara. Aprons are for wimps. You believe life is a risk or nothing at all and you’re thinking of getting that tattooed somewhere—is the lower back acceptable again?

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Kitchen with island bench and open plan dining area in modern australian home
Shutterstock / Jodie Johnson

Tell me more.

You love bold fashion statements, like an unexpected hat, and consider neon yellow the new black. Your favorite Friday night activity are those wine and paint nights, except you never follow the directions and always go abstract while everyone else paints a cactus. Your retirement plans include buying a tiny house and learning how to make chunky jewelry.

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A kitchen table that has become a terrible mess
Shutterstock / Olaf Speier

If your kitchen table is mildly sticky at all times …

Listen, there aren’t enough hours in the day. It’s either you sacrifice basic personal hygiene (and deodorant is important) or a few household chores—cleaning that table being one of them. You just can’t anymore. Your work schedule is insane right now and just getting yourself and your family out of the house on time is like an Olympic sport every morning. You would probably get a bronze. It’s OK—everyone got breakfast, even if the littlest one just had two Girl Scout cookies and a cheese stick, but at least all family members left with shoes on, including yourself.

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Pile of dirty dishes in the metal sink and pouring tap water.
Shutterstock / Katarzyna Mazurowska

Tell me more.

Since no one but you is capable of actually putting a dish into the dishwasher (they must not know these tricks), you’ll call cereal bowls in the sink a win. You may describe yourself as “scatterbrained” but everyone around you says you’re amazing for juggling so many things simultaneously. Not only are you rocking your job, you’re also rocking life in general. It’s OK to pass off grocery store sugar cookies for your own at the bake sale, just like it’s OK to consider wet wipes a suitable bath alternative for people under 6. You don’t have time for gratitude lists or meditation apps, but you do have time to read half of a Curious George book before falling asleep in a toddler bed. You’re doing your best and that’s all that matters.

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Sea view dining, living room and kitchen in beach house

If your kitchen table looks out over the beach …

You’re winning at life. You sold that book/business/invention and now you sip your morning coffee while watching the waves crash in. Your friends are insanely jealous even though they insist they “love the cold!” of the East Coast. Your favorite food is freshly caught oysters and you only drink French press coffee.

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Sea view kitchen and dining room in luxury vacation home with modern white interior design
Shutterstock / terng99

Tell me more.

Your Instagram is full of you doing elegant yoga poses and pictures of a seagull you’ve named Fredrick who lands on your deck every afternoon. You give him small pieces of ahi tuna. Would your friends call you pretentious? Not if they want to use your guest room they wouldn’t.

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Selected focus empty brown wooden table and Coffee shop or restaurant blur background with bokeh image.
Shutterstock / Indypendenz

If your kitchen table is collecting dust …

You love a good TV tray and Wheel of Fortune. You’ve applied to be on a dozen times and are confused as to why they haven’t called you yet, but you’re pretty sure it’s because they know you’d be too proficient at it. You love family movie nights, food that doesn’t require utensils (popcorn counts as a meal when it involves cheese) and collecting throw pillows with witty sayings on them.

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close up of happy friends or teenage girls eating popcorn and watching movie
Shutterstock / Syda Productions

Tell me more.

You’ll always choose comfort over style and make no excuses for it—if rubber clogs weren’t cool, then why are they sold everywhere? You consider your dog smarter than most people and you’re thinking about starting a blog where you muse about life’s ironies and also share your flea market finds.

Amanda Kippert
Amanda Kippert has been an award-winning freelance journalist for nearly two decades. She is based in Tucson, Arizona and specializes in food, health, fitness, parenting and humor, as well as social issues. She is the content editor of the domestic violence nonprofit DomesticShelters.org.