Of all furnishings, the table is perhaps the most essential. It provides a functional surface to work, eat, play, study, share and gather. Regardless of style, all tables share two commonalities – a flat surface and supporting legs. By modifying features like height, size, shape, surface angle and material, a table can serve a variety of purposes.
Tables to work on range from those designed for computers with grommets to organize cables to activity tables for preschoolers made in bright colors and adjustable-height legs. For eating, lunch tables are available in the form of cafeteria tables with built-in bench seating to café tables and outdoor picnic tables. Popular tables for play include sand and water tables for early learners. There are task-specific tables, too. Good examples of this style include drafting tables with an angled tabletop for drawing, work benches that can withstand excessive weight and sharp tools, and science tables with epoxy or phenolic resin surfaces for protection from chemical spills.
Study tables can be found in libraries, common areas and other learning environments, and can seat a single student to many depending on the size. While these same tables can also be used for students to gather and share, there are more accommodating tables available for this task like whiteboard tables and collaboration tables. With a writable surface, whiteboard tables encourage students to jot down ideas and brainstorm together. Plus, whiteboard or collaboration tables typically have wheels, making it easy for small groups to come together.
There are other styles worth noting. Folding tables allow for easy set up and tear down, plus require minimal storage space. They are available in several shapes and sizes for use in banquets, conferences and other events. Another style are wheelchair accessible tables with wider spaced legs that are also adjustable to help ensure everyone feels included. Tables are also available as sets with two, four, six and even eight chairs to make the selection process that much easier.
The versatility a table can provide in any environment makes it a highly valuable and used furnishing. Simple features like adjustable heights, wheels, surface material and shape can transform it into a key component in any learning environment.